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supported, contained in Mr. Locke's Essay on the Understanding, or Paley's Moral Philosophy, or Bishop Butler's Analogy, or President Edwards' Treatise on the Freedom of the Will. Yet each of these books is written with far more clearness and conclusiveness than those of any ancient philosopher, and the common people of this country are incomparably more enlightened than those of Greece and Rome. Plainly, then, the writings of the ancient philosophers must have been of little or no use to the great body of their countrymen.

VI. The philosophers taught contradictory doctrines with the same confidence, earnestness, and evidence.

This was done to a great extent by the same individual, and still more by different individuals of the same sect. Most of all the different sects, while they contradicted each other endlessly, asserted their respective dogmas in the same strenucus and decisive manner, and supported them with reasonings which they professedly considered as being conclusive. Of these, a considerable number were ingenious men; and some, persons of great talents. The whole force of their ingenuity and their reputation was, in each case, added to their respective dogmas. The writer was here posted against himself. Individuals were arrayed against other individuals, and sects were embodied against other sects. The number, skill, and prowess of the combatants were, to the eye of a spectator, equal. All claimed the victory; and it was impossible for any one who surveyed the conflict, to determine where the victory lay. Accordingly, one class, or one individual, had at one time the greatest number of adherents, or at least of admirers ; and another, at another. What sober man could be willing to rest his soul and his salvation on such instruction as this.

But the evil extended much farther than the account which I have here given. All these men taught truth and falsehood, sober sense and contemptible absurdity, virtue and vice, in the same system, in the same treatise, and not unfrequently on the same page. All these, also, were supported with the same ingenuity, with the same confidence, and with arguments possessing apparently the same force. What, then, was to be done by those whom they taught? Was the whole to be swallowed? How loathsome, as well as obnoxious, must be the dose ? Was the whole to be rejected ? Of what value, then, were the instructions ? Was the truth to be separated by the reader from the falsehood, and the right from the wrong? This was beyond his power.

VII. Philosophers were totally destitute of authority.

Wherever evidence is wanting, and instructions and precepts are yet to be given, its place must be supplied by authority. In other words, the teacher must be known, or at least believed, to be so wise, so skilled in the things which are taught, as to be obeyed on account of his character. In this respect philosophy has ever been totally defective. No philosopher ever possessed such a character as to place him clearly above those by whom he was contradicted and decried. No philosopher ever possessed the character which I have mentioned above, and which is plainly indispensable for this great purpose. Many of them were generally acknowledged to be ingenious, and some of them to be learned ; but not one of them was regarded as being sufficiently intelligent, sincere, and wise to be believed and obeyed on the ground of his personal reputation. Not one of them, therefore, had any decisive influence. Socrates is acknowledged to have been the wisest and best of the Greek philosophers. Yet Socrates had no material influence over the Athenians. On the contrary, they evidently regarded him as a mere projector of reformation ; unauthorized ; an enemy to the established religion ; a proper object of public odium ; and justly meriting death from the government of his country.

Nor is the authority of infidels, at the present time, on a higher scale. Mr. Hume has undoubtedly obtained as much reputation as any man of this class, and greater efforts have been made to give him a distinguished place on the roll of fame than have ever been made in behalf of any of his associates. Yet in his integrity, probably, no sober man confides. Of his wisdom no such man is satisfied, and his skill in moral subjects appears to have been little else than an ability ingeniously to perplex them. Among all those who have praised his ingenuity, I do not remember an individual who has even remotely expressed the least confidence in his character as a teacher of morals. Indeed, no man who reads his essay on miracles, or almost any other of his favourite performances, with impartiality and care, can believe him to have possessed such a degree of integrity as is indispensable to this important character.

But there is another kind of authority, of a far higher nature, and absolutely necessary to command the belief of mankind, and their obedience to a moral system. This is a known right to utter precepts, and to require obedience. Such a right cannot reside in man, nor in any being but God, and those whom he commissions with his own authority. It is unnecessary to observe, that philosophers never had any such commission, nor could make a single pretence to any such authority. Of course, whatever they uttered was mere advice, not precept. No man felt himself bound to obey. He might admire; he might not dispute; but to yield obedience he could feel himself under no possible obligation. Whatever might be pleaded in favour of the system, or any instructions which it contained, it would regularly be opposed by this reasoning, which could never be answered. “ If God required us to be“ lieve and obey the things which this man has taught, why has “ he not made known his pleasure by some certain, or at least “ by some probable indication ? It may be true ; but, if it “ were necessary in the sight of God that we should obey it, “ he certainly would have discovered to us this necessity.”

Many of the distinguished heathen clearly perceived both this defect and its importance. Hence they endeavoured to supply it by various measures which they thought favourable to this end. Hence some of them, as Manco Capac and his sister, Mamæ Oella, claimed to be children of the gods, that a degree of divine authority might be supposed to have descended to them. Lycurgus professed to have received his instructions, his laws, and the government of Sparta from the oracle at Delphi. Numa professedly derived his from the nymph ed, and both in the very manner announced. Whatever God designs will exist in its proper time and place. Whatever he declares or requires will, therefore, harmonize with every thing which has taken place, or is to take place hereafter; with all that exists in this world, and in every other world; with the events of time, and with those of eternity. No event will be unexpected; no design disappointed; and no declaration fail of a complete accomplishment.

At the same time, these instructions are given in the best manner. The language of the Scriptures is the plain language of common sense; the customary language of man; the language which God formed him to speak and to understand. In this language, the doctrines, precepts, and ordinances, are delivered in short and simple rules, and obvious declarations, easily comprehended, easily remembered, and easily applied. By themselves they are far more evident, than the parts of a philosophical system ever was, by the aid of any arguments which its authors were able to produce.

The law of God contained in the two great commands, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart; and

thy neighbour as thyself;" though so short as easily to be written within the compass of a shilling, contains more sound wisdom, and involves more rectitude, than all the volumes of philosophy which have been written since the world began.

Scarcely less remarkable is it, or less deserving of our attention, that the Scriptural system is in a great measure constituted of facts. The great works of creation and providence ; peculiarly the wonderful work of redemption; the resurrection ; the conflagration ; the final judgment; the formation of new heavens and a new earth, wherein righteousness shall dwell for ever; are themselves, when reduced to the form of declarations, the primary doctrines of the Scriptures. How much is contained in this declaration of a single fact. “ For while we were “ without strength, Christ, in due time, died for the ungodly;" and in this, “ Of his mercy he saved us, by the washing of re

generation, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

Facts seem never to have had their proper place given to them in the apprehensions of the great body of philosophers. An ob



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server of human nature will easily discover, that they are far more convincing, as well as far more impressive, than any other kind of evidence which is applicable to moral subjects. This is not only true with respect to plain men, but with respect to all men. No abstract consideration concerning the divine character has ever had, or can have, the same influence upon mankind as the fact, that God is the Creator, Preserver, Ruler, and Judge of the universe. The proof of this is in every man's bosom. But philosophy knew not these facts, nor any of them. It conjectured indeed, and then doubted, and then conjectured again; and this was all which it was able to do.

The Scriptural system is also supported by facts ;—the best of all evidence; that which men can most clearly see, most successfully apply, and most powerfully feel ; and, indeed, the only evidence which is felt at all.

All this, however, is remote from the whole truth. The Scriptural system is a law. Its instructions are obligatory rules of faith; its ordinances of worship; and its precepts of moral practice. This consideration gives it a weight infinitely different from that of philosophy. Intelligent beings, and men especially, are not and cannot be controlled by mere advice. Of this, the acknowledged necessity of human governments furnishes the amplest proof; and has furnished it in every age, and in every country.

In the character of a law, it is promulgated by the proper Lawgiver,—the only Being who has a right to prescribe, or is able to prescribe rules of faith and practice to his intelligent creatures. All the attributes necessary as qualifications for this exalted, and, permit me to say, stupendous employment, of directing the consciences and the moral conduct of rational beings, are inherent in Jehovah. He, and He only, possesses the knowledge to discern what, in all cases, is true and right; the disposition, in all cases, to require it; the power to demand it; and the skill, ability, and inclination to reward it. At the same time, the beings to whom he prescribes are his property; made, preserved, and blessed by him. Hence, to judge and retribute their actions is his proper and undeniable province. Conjoined to all these things, he possesses an exaltation, great

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