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muddle-headed followers, glad to escape thors to be condemned to write on till they their trial, pretended to have founded sys- had made their meaning intelligible. Some tems of Pantheism-or, what is just the have laboured with incredible industry to same thing—Atheism, on some of their comply with this very reasonable request, too obscure definitions. One man declared but their notions seem to grow darker that he could do nothing without the and darker at every step; and one in parMonads of Leibnitz, each of which, says ticular has written a huge folio, in which, that philosopher, "is a mirror represent by universal consent of men and angels, ing the universe, though obscurely, and there is not the smallest glimmer of meanknows everything but confusedly;" which ing from one end to the other. Another last clause is unexceptionable enough. even complains in private of the want of Another rogue asked for the archetypes of philosophical genius in the court of celestial Plato-he had had a notion, he said, that criticism, and declares that in Germany a good deal might be made out of them | they could have constructed ten theories without Plato's Demiurgus ;-another, for of the universe, and given twenty solutions the constituents of the vital automata of of the “infinite” and the "absolute,” in Descartes; he had been mislel to believe the time he has been vainly endeavouring that if animals could be mechanically pro- to explain his meaning to personages so duced, the whole universe might have deplorably deficient in metaphysical acubeen so produced also. The Archangel men.' assured them and others, with much po- He was going on with some other details liteness, that, if the philosophers in ques of the hapless philosophers. tion could in any way make their meaning 'I would much rather hear from you,' intelligible, heaven would do its poor best said I, ‘for it is a subject in which I take to realize their conceptions, but that it a far deeper interest, how those have sped was impossible for even omnipotence to who have objected to the Revelation with execute commands which even omniscience which God has favoured man, on the could not comprehend.

ground that it cannot be true, else it would ‘Similarly, one man requested that he have been more unexceptionably framed, might be provided with a little of Ari- or more wisely promulgated. I take it for stotle's “ Eternal Matter;" but he was granted that these have not been destitute told that there was no such thing in rerum of opportunities of trying their experiment.' natura, and that it was unfortunately too 'Surely not,' replied my new acquaintance, late to make it. He seemed to think him- «« The Paradise of Fools” is well stocked self very unjustly treated. Another de- with creatures of this description. Many manded some of the Atoms of Epicurus, of the experiments, which required time to make a slight experiment with; unex- to test them, were commenced hundreds ceptionably spherical, indivisible, and so of years ago, and are completed. Others forth. These, he was told, he might be are still unfinished, while there have been accommodated with; and that all he had many which required only to be comto do was to shake them long enough, and, menced, and they were completed indoubtless, the fortuitous jumble would stantly, to the confusion of their authors.' come out at last a miniature world.

'I should much like,' said I, 'to hear an • Above all, there were several German account of some of these experiments.' philosophers, who, having founded various "Well, then; first there was one worthy physical theories, more or less extensive, philosopher, who, having seen the advanon the perspicuous metaphysics of their tages which infidelity has gained from the countrymen, were confident that if they discrepancies and other difficulties occahad not hit on the modes which Supreme sioned by the varied testimonies which the Wisdom had adopted, their modes were evangelical historians haveleft behind them, yet very excellent modes; and they were resolved, after having wrought a number absolutely clamorous that their experi- of splendid miracles (uniformly affirmed, ments should begin. But, alas! many of and never denied, by the parties in whose them stood but little chance of being ever presence they were performed), that they tried, for the very same reason which pre- should all be consigned to one single his. vented the disciple of Leibnitz from ob- tory, so admirably constructed, that there taining his “ Monads;" their authors could

was not a single discrepanc from beginnot make their meaning intelligible to the ning to end.' delegated omniscience. As to some of And what was the effect ?' the metaphysicians of the same country, 'Why, in the first place, you must resince their theories embraced nothing less collect that according to that or any other than the evolution of the "totality" of the mode of authenticating a divine commuuniverse, the “infinite" and the “absolute” nication by miracles, there were a great included—it was, of course, impossible many more of those who never saw the that they could be tried. But it was thought miracles than of those who did; for if an appropriate punishment for their au- | miracles had been common, they would

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have ceased to be miracles. There were "Why, our reasonable creatures require vast numbers, therefore, who even in the a great deal of management,—that is the age in which they were performed never truth. There is no way in which you canbelieved them; but, what is more, in four not prove to your own satisfaction, that no generations there was not a soul that did one of any divine communications (given not treat them as old wives' fables.' under the conditions aforesaid) is to be be

Surely they were very unreasonable,' Ilieved; but perhaps, after all, the method said.

would have been more sure, had these Not at all; it was inevitable; for it was sages consigned these communications to asked (and every one assented to it), whe-different testimonies, in which the general ther it was reasonable that a story so mar- harmony and undesigned coincidences vellous, and so contrary to experience, should be manifest, but which should conshould be believed on any single testimony, tain slight discrepancies, and even some however unexceptionable ? There were apparent contradictions, which the parties, also keen crictics, who said that as there if there had been collusion, would certainly was proof that in the very age in which nave obviated. This would, perhaps, have the miracles were wrought there were been the best guarantee that there could many who did not believe the message not be any fraud in the case.' which they professedly confirmed, it was a But this,'. I remarked, was just the strong indication that the whole was a fic- mode which the Gospels of Christ were tion; while some others of still greater consigned to mankind.' acumen discovered that the very freedom * And you see with what mixed result. from all discrepancies and contradictions It was sufficient, indeed, to justify the in the account itself smelt very strongly of method, if it was attended with less disasart and design; that this perfection of con- trous effects than any other mode. For it sistency was not the characteristic of any is a problem of limits, even at the very history ever written by an honest man; | best.' and that no doubt it had been elaborately I asked my visitor how it fared with the contrived by a single highly inventive many who have objected to the clearness mind.'

and force of prophecy, and who have not 'The idiots !' I exclaimed. Why, this scrupled to assert that, if prophecies had very circumstance ought surely to have been given, they would have been given in led them to argue the other way.'

such a shape as would have made their They thought otherwise; and I must claims more plain, and their fulfilment say I think they argued very plausibly, more incontrovertible. Were there none and that very much is to be said for them. who relied on this mode of demonstrating They thought that perfect self-consistency the reality of a divine revelation, and might possibly be attained by a single manifesting their claims to be regarded as mind of highly inventive power, and they an embassy from heaven ?' preferred believing that, to receiving such Many, he replied ; ‘so many that it wonderful things supported by any single were tedious to detail them. But you are testimony.'

quite mistaken if you suppose it possible But did none attempt to remedy this that even God can employ any moral defect of the unhappy speculator ?' methods which man cannot evade; how

O yes; another attempted to establish much less the fools who think they can in a second community of our reasonable improve upon his! The wisdom of God,' shadows a revelation on the same basis of said he, with a melancholy smile, 'is no miracles; but instead of trusting to one match for the ingenuity of man. As to witness, he recorded the results by ten; your present question, you know there and with such perfection of art that all the have been persons who have continually ingenuity of all the critics of succeeding complained in your world that prophecy is ages could not detect a single variation 80 obscure that the event cannot be certainly other than in language; the records them- known to have been referred to by it, or selves and their contents were precisely else so plain that, ipso facto, it proves that the same.

the prediction must have been composed And what was the result ?'

after the event. Now it was precisely in 'Much the same as before ; for this iden- attempting the juste milieu between these tity of substance and almost of manner extremes that our prophetical speculators showed most evidently, said the critics, wrecked themselves. Men always had it that there had been collusion between the to say that their prophecies had been either several parties who had framed the reve- too plain or too obscure; or, if very plain, lation :--and in the course of three or four and yet as plainly written before the event, generations it was universally rejected as that their very plainness had ensured their totally unworthy of belief.'

own accomplishment by prompting to the I see not, then, how a revelation by any very actions and conduct they so clearly such means could be authenticated at all!' indicated !!

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muddle-headed followers, glad to escape thors to be condemned to write on till they their trial, pretended to have founded sys- had made their meaning intelligible. Some tems of Pantheism-or, what is just the have laboured with incredible industry to same thing—Atheism, on some of their comply with this very reasonable request, too obscure definitions. One man declared but their notions seem to grow darker that he could do nothing without the and darker at every step; and one in parMonads of Leibnitz, each of which, says ticular has written a huge folio, in which, that philosopher, "is a mirror represent- by universal consent of men and angels, ing the universe, though obscurely, and there is not the smallest glimmer of meanknows everything but confusedly;" which ing from one end to the other. Another last clause is unexceptionable enough. even complains in private of the want of Another rogue asked for the archetypes of ! philosophical genius in the court of celestial Plato-he had had a notion, he said, that criticism, and declares that in Germany a good deal might be made out of them they could have constructed ten theories without Plato's Demiurgus;- another, for of the universe, and given twenty solutions the constituents of the vital automata of of the “infinite” and the “absolute,” in Descartes; he had been mislel to believe the time he has been vainly endeavouring that if animals could be mechanically pro- to explain his meaning to personages so duced, the whole universe might have deplorably deficient in metaphysical acubeen so produced also. The Archangel men. assured them and others, with much po- | He was going on with some other details liteness, that, if the philosophers in ques. of the hapless philosophers. tion could in any way make their meaning 'I would much rather hear from you,' intelligible, heaven would do its poor best said I, ‘for it is a subject in which I take to realize their conceptions, but that it a far deeper interest, how those have sped was impossible for even omnipotence to who have objected to the Revelation with execute commands which even omniscience which God has favoured man, on the could not comprehend.

ground that it cannot be true, else it would Similarly, one man requested that he have been more unexceptionably framed, might be provided with a little of Ari- or more wisely promulgated. I take it for stotle's “ Eternal Matter;" but he was granted that these have not been destitute told that there was no such thing in rerum of opportunities of trying their experiment.' natura, and that it was unfortunately too 'Surely not,' replied my new acquaintance, late to make it. He seemed to think him-« The Paradise of Fools" is well stocked self very unjustly treated. Another de- with creatures of this description. Many manded some of the Atoms of Epicurus, of the experiments, which required time to make a slight experiment with; unex- to test them, were commenced hundreds ceptionably spherical, indivisible, and so of years ago, and are completed. Others forth. These, he was told, he might be are still unfinished, while there have been accommodated with; and that all he had many which required only to be comto do was to shake them long enough, and, menced, and they were completed indoubtless, the fortuitous jumble would stantly, to the confusion of their authors.' come out at last a miniature world.

'I should much like,' said I, 'to hear an "Above all, there were several German account of some of these experiments.' philosophers, who, having founded various "Well, then; first there was one worthy physical theories, more or less extensive, 1 philosopher, who, having seen the advanon the perspicuous metaphysics of their tages which'infidélity has gained from the countrymen, were confident that if they discrepancies and other difficulties occahad not hit on the modes which Supreme sioned by the varied testimonies which the Wisdom had adopted, their modes were evangelical historians haveleft behind them, yet very excellent modes; and they were resolved, after having wrought a number absolutely clamorous that their experi- of splendid miracles (uniformly affirmed, ments should begin. But, alas ! many of and never denied, by the parties in whose them stood but little chance of being ever presence they were performed), that they tried, for the very same reason which pre- should all be consigned to one single hisvented the disciple of Leibnitz from ob tory, so admirably constructed, that there taining his “Monads;" their authors could was not a single discrepancy from beginnot make their meaning intelligible to the ning to end. delegated omniscience. As to some of ' And what was the effect ? the metaphysicians of the same country, "Why, in the first place, you must resince their theories embraced nothing less collect that according to that or any other than the evolution of the “totality" of the mode of authenticating a divine commuuniverse, the “infinite" and the “absolute" nication by miracles, there were a great included-it was, of course, impossible many more of those who never saw the that they could be tried. But it was thought miracles than of those who did; for if an appropriate punishment for their au- | miracles had been common, they would

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have ceased to be miracles. There were “Why, our reasonable creatures require vast numbers, therefore, who even in the a great deal of management,—that is the age in which they were performed never truth. There is no way in which you canbelieved them; but, what is more, in four not prove to your own satisfaction, that no generations there was not a soul that did one of any divine communications (given not treat them as old wives' fables. I under the conditions aforesaid) is to be be

'Surely they were very unreasonable,' Ilieved; but perhaps, after all, the method said.

would have been more sure, had these 'Not at all; it was inevitable; for it was sages consigned these communications to asked (and every one assented to it), whe- different testimonies, in which the general ther it was reasonable that a story so mar- harmony and undesigned coincidences vellous, and so contrary to experience, should be manifest, but which should conshould be believed on any single testimony, tain slight discrepancies, and even some however unexceptionable? There were apparent contradictions, which the parties, also keen crictics, who said that as there if there had been collusion, would certainly was proof that in the very age in which nave obviated. This would, perhaps, have the miracles were wrought there were been the best guarantee that there could many who did not believe the message not be any fraud in the case. which they professedly confirmed, it was a “But this,' I remarked, was just the strong indication that the whole was a fic- mode in which the Gospels of Christ were tion; while some others of still greater consigned to mankind.' acumen discovered that the very freedom “And you see with what mixed result. from all discrepancies and contradictions | It was sufficient, indeed, to justify the in the account itself smelt very strongly of method, if it was attended with less disasart and design; that this perfection of con- trous effects than any other mode. For it sistency was not the characteristic of any is a problem of limits, even at the very history ever written by an honest man; | best." and that no doubt it had been elaborately i I asked my visitor how it fared with the contrived by a single highly inventive many who have objected to the clearness mind.'

and force of prophecy, and who have not The idiots !' I exclaimed. Why, this scrupled to assert that, if prophecies had very circumstance ought surely to have been given, they would have been given in led them to argue the other way.

such a shape as would have made their They thought otherwise ; and I must claims more plain, and their fulfilment say I think they argued very plausibly, more incontrovertible. "Were there none and that very much is to be said for them. who relied on this mode of demonstrating They thought that perfect self-consistency the reality of a divine revelation, and might possibly be attained by a single manifesting their claims to be regarded as mind of highly inventive power, and they an embassy from heaven ?' preferred believing that, to receiving such "Many,'' he replied; so many that it wonderful things supported by any single were tedious to detail them. But you are testimony.'

quite mistaken if you suppose it possible ‘But did none attempt to remedy this that even God can employ any moral defect of the unhappy speculator ?'

methods which man cannot evade; how O yes; another attempted to establish much less the fools who think they can in a second community of our reasonable improve upon his! The wisdom of God,' shadows a revelation on the same basis of said he, with a melancholy smile, 'is no miracles; but instead of trusting to one match for the ingenuity of man. As to witness, he recorded the results by ten; your present question, you know there and with such perfection of art that all the have been persons who have continually ingenuity of all the critics of succeeding complained in your world that prophecy is ages could not detect a single variation so obscure that the event cannot be certainly other than in language; the records them- known to have been referred to by it, or selves and their contents were precisely | else so plain that, ipso facto, it proves that the same.

the prediction must have been composed "And what was the result ?'

after the event. Now it was precisely in Much the same as before; for this iden attempting the juste milieu between these tity of substance and almost of manner | extremes that our prophetical speculators showed most evidently, said the critics, wrecked themselves. Men always had it that there had been collusion between the to say that their prophecies had been either several parties who had framed the reve too plain or too obscure; or, if very plain, lation :--and in the course of three or four and yet as plainly written before the event, generations it was universally rejected as that their very plainness had ensured their totally unworthy of belief.

own accomplishment by prompting to the I seo not, then, how a revelation by any very actions and conduct they so clearly such means could be authenticated at all!! | indicated !

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"I can easily conceive that,' I answered. that before they found the rule for which But now for another problem. Not a few they were in search, the time for its appliof our older infidels complained of the cation had passed away. Many excused revelation in the Bible on the score that themselves from complying with the dicthe maxims of conduct which it delivers tates of justice and charity because they are too general to be of any use, because could not discover the cases that related the application of them is still left to be to their special circumstances; some even adjusted by a reference to particular cir- | denied that the rules could have been cumstances; and that if a revelation were devised by heavenly wisdom, because, framed it ought to take in all the limita- having carefully studied the whole of the tions of actions, and furnish, in fact, a seventy-five volumes, they did not hesitate complete system of casuistry; otherwise to say that there were many cases which it would be of no avail. Were there none had not been provided for at all ! who attempted this task?'

I was so amused with this last disasFive-and-twenty men,' he answered, trous attempt to construct a revelation, who were destined to be a torment to one that I laughed outright, and in so doing another, were instructed to compile such awoke. I found that my lamp was fast a system of rules, and publish them for going out; so, dismissing the innocent the benefit of a certain community as an volume of Leibnitz which had suggested infallible rule of life.'

all these incongruities, I went to bed; ' And have they completed it?'

firmly convinced that the shadows of men Completed it ? They have been sitting in the ‘Paradise of Fools' are about as now for two hundred years, and have not wise and ingenious as are men themselves. yet exhausted the infinitude of cases to be -The Eclipse of Faith. digested under their very first capitulary.' He said that being all of them ingenious men, all anxious to show their ingenuity, REMARKS ON MATTHEW VII. 1. and knowing that their credit was staked upon the completeness of their system, it JUDGE NOT.' There is perhaps no was incredible what strange and ridiculous precept of Christianity to which its procontingencies and combinations of cir- fessors pay so little practical regard as cumstance they had suggested as modify- this. It is certain there can be none more ing the application of their general rules. binding, since it is the plain authoritative The books of law, voluminous as they are command of Him who taught ‘as one in most civilised countries, were concise having authority.' It is in view of these ness itself compared with this new code of considerations that we attempt a few remorals. It was thought by many that the marks on the meaning of the command, labours of the commissioners would not and the reasons which enforce it. come to an end till long after the race for The world is the field of a mighty conwhose benefit it was designed had ceased troversy between good and evil, truth and to exist. Afraid, apparently, of such a error, right and wrong. In that controdireful contingency, they had published, versy no human being can be neutral, none about three years before, the first part in can stand as mere spectators of the conflict, seventy-five folio volumes, containing limi- the very fact of their neutrality ranging tations, illustrative cases, exceptions, and those who would thus stand in the ranks modifications, in relation to that very of the foe. To the bar of each man's obscure general maxim, " Do unto others judgment are actions, opinions, and prinas ye would that others should do unto ciples brought, and the same voice of you." All questions appertaining to this authority says, 'Why of yourselves judge point were from that time to be decided ye not what is right ? Judge what is by the precise statements contained in right! Yes, there must be no calling evil these statutes at large. But their mere good, and good evil-no compromising publication sufficed to make an incredible between right and wrong, no shading and number of infidels in the authority of the blending of truth and error, till the outcommission. Such a voluminous rule, lines of both become indistinct; each they truly said, could be no rule at all, ought, with whatever he possesses of inand could be fruitful of nothing but ever- tellectual discernment, of opportunity for lasting litigation. If (they admitted) gene- knowledge, or endeavour of strength or ral maxims had been as briefly as possible of grace, as God has given him, to decide laid down, and men's common sense had what line of conduct he shall pursue, what been left to interpret and apply them with opinions he shall adopt, and what principles the requisite restrictions, there would be he shall be guided by. But actions, opimuch more to be said for their divine nions, and principles, exist not as mere origin. But on such a system, no man, abstractions, they are embodied in almost if he lived for a thousand years, could tell | infinito varieties and modes in the lives what his duty was. Many complained and minds of men; and it is as so em

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