« AnteriorContinuar »
Mr. Stewart, you find a peculiar copi- mind and body are essentially differousness and beauty of application, and ent, that he considers even the Ideai as you advance from the statement of theory of Berkeley as “more philoa general principle to its applications, sophical than the doctrine of materiyou are perhaps struck with surprise at alism,” in as much as the former "onfinding yourself pursuing an investi- ly contradicts the suggestions of our gation which at the first view, would perceptions, while the latter contraappear to have little or no connexion dicts the suggestions of our consciouswith the main subject.
The work before us is an outline The latter part of this article is too of Mr. Stewart's lectures on the lo- good to be passed over without pretellectual and Moral Powers of man. senting to our readers almost the whole Its design is " 10 exhibit such a view of it. of the arrangement of his lectures, as
“There are various circumstances which might facilitate the studies of those render it highly probable, that the union to whom they were addressed.” Of between soul and body, which takes place course it is made up of but little more in our present state, so far from being esthan a mere statement of propositions faculties, was intended to limit the sphere without illustrations. It takes so wide of our information; and to prevent us a range however, that instead of giv- from acquiring in this early stage of our ing a complete analysis of the work, being, too clear a view of the constitution we shall only select a few of its most when we reflect on the difference between interesting topics for consideration, the operations of mind and the qualities and those chiefly wbich are of a more of matter, it appears much more wondertheological cast.
ful, that the two substances sbould be so We would, first, call the attention intimately united, as we find them actual.
ly to be, ihan to suppose that the former of our readers to bis observations on may exist in a conscious and intelligent the evidences of a future state of ex state when separated from the latter. istence, so far as they are made man
The most plausible objections, never.
theless to the doctrine of a future siale jfest by the light of nature. And in
have been drawn from the intimacy of the first place, “too much stress' he this union. From the effects of inios. says 'has been laid on the argumentication, madness, and other diseases, it apo derived from the nature of mind." pears that a certain condilion of the body The proper use of the doctrine of the is necessary to tbe intellectual operations;
and in the case of old men, it is generally soul's Immateriality, he says, is “not found that a decline of the faculties keeps to demonstrate that the soul is phys- pace with the decay of bodily health and ically and necessarily immortal; but vigour. The few exceptions that occur 10 to refute the objections which have that there are some diseases fatal 1o life, been urged against the possibility which do not injure those parts of the body of its existing in a separate state from with which the intellectual operations are the body.”
In short, he does not more immediately connected. think our knowledge of the nature these objections is equally ingenions and
Tbe reply which Cicero has made to of mind is sufficient to afford us any solid. “ Suppose a person to have been positive argument on the subject; for educated, from bis intancy, in a chamber we knon nothing of the nature of mind where he enjoyed no opportunity of see
ing external objects, but through a small except that, since its qualities are es
chiok in the window shutter : would he sentially different from the qualities not be apt to consider this chink as essen: of matter, the nature of the one is tial to his vision ; and would it not be difprobably different from the nature of ficult to persuade him that his prospect the other; and consequently the dise walls of his prison ?” Admitting that this
would be enlarged by demolishing the solution of the body does not neces- analogy is founded merely on fancy; yet sarily imply the extinction of the soul, if it be granted that there is no absurdity but the " presumption is in favour of in the supposition, it furnishes a sufficieut the contrary supposition.” So confi- been stated against the possibility of the
answer to all the reasonings which have dent is he however, that the nature of soul's separate existence, from the consid
eration of its present union with the body. his wishes, and even of his abilities
does his conduct fall. Of the evidences of a future state
One half of our time must be dearising from the human constitution, voted to the refreshment of our bodand from the circumstances in which jes and the relaxation of our minds
; man is placed, he mentions nine or and of the remaining half, how small ten. They are stated however, mere
a part is at our own disposal. As ly as heads, without any illustration. we are meditating on some plan, by To consider them all, would carry us
which we may achieve something nobeyond our limits. We would how- ble for the good of mankind, and ever examine three or four of them, raise ourselves to a higher elevation though with all possible brevity.
of moral dignity and excellence,-the One of the evidences of a future thought breaks in upon our enchantstate which he mentions, is “the ex. ing reverie, that we are dependant act accommodation of the condition of on our own exertions for subsistence the lower animals to their instincts, in life. And when we look around and to their sensitive powers ;-con
us and enquire what must be done for trasted with the unsuitableness of the this purpose, how bitter the reflecpresent state of things to the intellect- tion that if we intend to live, and to ual faculties of man---to his capacities live in a comfortable and respectable of enjoyment,--and to the conceptions manner, we must drudge along in of happiness and of perfection, which some parrow path, and choose not he is able to form." There is surely that employment for life, which is an intellectual and a moral greatness suited to our immortal nature, and in the constitution of man which ele. which will open to us a field of vates bim far above the surrounding abundant and incessant usefulness, creation. If he relaxes from exertion but that which will procure for us and suffers his mind to lie dormant, our daily bread. Surely the condihe becomes the prey of melancholy tion of man on earth, is far below the and discontentment; and he longs capacities and the dignity of his nafor something to beguile his tedious ture; and if so, is there not a strong hours. If he enters on the business presumption in favour of another and the bustle of active life, he may state of existence? If we look alose himself for a short time, and ap- broad into the natural world, and into pear to others to have found a situa- the subordinate creation of animate tion where every spring of motion in beings, we find an exact accommodahis mind is busily set at work, aud tion of means to ends,—of external where every desire is completely condition to instincts and capacities. gratified. But let the few busy hours But there is nothing in the objects of pass by, and he becomes wearied with this world which is adapted as a the dull monotony of his pursuits, and means to satisfy the desires and fill longs for repose.
But repose soon the capacities of the human mind. becomes more wearisome than labour, Here then, without the supposition for it is unsuited to his constitution of a future state, the analogy of nature and he looks around for a new scene
fails, though if the supposition be adof activity. Thus he is driven from mitted, the phenomenon is easily exone object to another, seeking that plained, and the analogy of nature is happiness which will satisfy his de- preserved. sires; but be seeks in vain. In the
Another evidence of a future state silence of the evening he looks back
which Mr. Stewart mentions, is “the on the transactions of the day, and
foundation which is laid in the prin though here and there an act may
ciples of our constitution for a proappear, which is in a good degree sat- gressive and an unlimited improveisfactory to his conscience and his de- ment." There is no period in the life sire of usefulness, yet how far short of of the best man, when he can sav. 'I
have reached the perfection of intel guage of an enlightened, and an unlectual and moral excellence,'or if he biassed conscience, is the language of should say this, it would be regarded truth, else God has planted in our as an evidence of mental derange moral constitution a principle which ment. Indeed the farther we ad deludes us. yance in the cultivation of our minds, Among the other evidences of a and in the attainment of virtue, the future state, which Mr. Stewart menmore distant appears the end of our tions are the following. journey. And can powers which have apparently but just begun to 1. The natural desire of immortality; blossom, suddenly droop and die ? and the anticipations of futurity inspired The tender plant does nut yield to
2. The information we are rendered cathe storms of winter, without reserv pable of acquiring, concerning the more reing to itself its principle of life, and remole parts of the universe; the unlimited when the genial warmth of Spring re
range which is opened to the human imagi
nation through the impensi:y of space turns, it again puts forth its blos
and of time; and the ideas however impersoms, and lives, and grows, until it
fect, which philosophy affords us of the has reached the perfection of its na existence and attributes of an over-ruling ture. The animal does not stop in
mind :- Acquisitions, for which an obvi.
ous final cause may be traced, on the supits progress towards maturity at
position of a future state ; but which is the threshold of life; por do the cor ihat supposition be rejected, could have poreal powers of man. Then why no other effect iban to make the busioess should the powers of his mind ? It is of life appear unworthy of our regard.
3. The tendency of the infirmities of true, the decline of the mind, like the
age and of the pains of disease, lo strength. decay of the body, is in most instan
en and confirm our moral babits; and the ces gradual, and it might seem that difficulty of accounting, upon the bypotb. the commencement of its decline esis of annihilation, for ihose sufferings must be the perfection of its improve
which commonly put a period to the es
istence of man, ment. But when the mind from its
4. The discordance between our moral connexion with the body, begins to judgements and feelings and the course of sink under the infirmities of age, it
5. The analogy of the material world; has but just begun its career of im
in some parts of which the most comprovement, whereas the body has
plete order may be traced ; and of which reached its perfection and must die. our views always become ibe more satisThe man of fifty or sixty, let him be
factory, the wider our knowledge exteods. the best man on earth, feels himself that can furnish a key to the present disor
It is the supposition of a future state alone, to be a child in moral and intellectual
ders of the moral world; and without it, excellence, and if he cherishes proper many of tbe most striking phenomena of busentiments, he longs to advance in his man life must remain forever inexplicable.
6. The inconsistency of supposing, that career, and after the winter of old the moral laws which regulate the course age is past, and death has unfettered of human affairs have no reference to any his soul, he hopes to rekindle with thing beyound the limits of the present the ardour of youth, and to resume
scene; when all the bodies wbich com
pose the visible universe appear to be rehis progress towards perfection. lated to each other, as parts of one great
Another evidence of a future state physical system is “the natural apprehensions of the
of the different considerations now mebmind when under the influence of re
tioned, Ibere is not one perbaps,wbich taken
singly, would be sufficient to establish the morse.” Ask the sinner who has
truih they are brought to prove; but tasuffered all the anguish of remorse ken in conjunction, their force appears irand all the other punishments which resistible. They not only terminate in tbe this world affords, if he is not deserve
same conclusion, but they mutually re
flect light on each other; and they have ing of something more, and if he speaks
ibat sort of consistency and condesion the language of his couscience he will among themselves, which could hardly be acknowledge that he is;, and, it supposed to take place among a series of should he remembered that the last
In order to feel the force of the sec- does not the business of human life, ond of these arguments we should if if this life comprehends our whole expossible, lay aside for a few moments istence, seem absolutely unworthy of all expectations of a hereafter. What our regard?' Our readers may say there then would be the aspect under which is more of declamation in all this, than the business of life would present itself, argument; but we ask them to conwere our hopes to terminate here? I sider, why we were made capable lift my views to the starry heavens; I of rising to these sublime contemplabehold a countless multitude of worlds, tions, is their only effect is to render which are in all probability inhabited us dissatisfied with these few fleeting by intelligent beings. Vook in ima- years of our existence. Why ungination beyond - my “faney expa- fold to us the glories of the universe, tiates in the outer regions of all that if their only effect is to make us almost is visible, and a new universe of despise this little ball on which we worlds bursts upon my view. I look are to tread for a moment, and then again, and perceive that these millions to vanish forever? Why especially of worlds must have had a cause. Some fill our souls with the enrapturing Almighty arm too must be abroad discoveries of God who sits in the over them, to suspend them in exis. heavens and rules throughout immentence, and to wheel them around in sity, if instead of being permitted to their orbits with an inconceivable ve dwell on the sublime contemplation, locity. I ask for what purpose these instead of rising to a nearer view of worlds were made; and as I consid- his glory, and expanding our love and er the ends to which one of their pum our gratitude, and our adoration, and ber seems to be subservient, and by our joy forever before his throne, we an analogical inference, give to them must soon close our eyes in endless all the accommodations, and the ul- might? But introduce into this dreatimate designs which prevail here, my ry picture, the bright dawn of a heresoul is overwhelmed with a percep- after, and how changed the scene ! tion of Almighty goodness. How The little insect of a day now rises glorious a discovery, that the incon- into dignity. The meanest act of his ceivable power which gave birth 10 lite, if performed from a solemn rethese worlds after worlds, and sys- gard to his duty, assumes a high imtems after systems, and which up- portance, for it has a bearing on an holds them in existence, and makes eternal state of existence. The earth, them wheel their majestic rounds with all its furniture acquires a value through immensity with
which outstretches calculation, for it which seems like the playful activity becomes the cradle of myriads of im. of a child, how glorious the discoy- mortal beings; and these bigh conery, that such tremerdous power is ceptions of God and his wonderful under the guidance of boundless works, and this unlimited range of the goodness! Were it otherwise, unut- imagination through the immensity terable despair.would overwhelm the of space and of time, are now the intelligent creation. Not a ray of hope richest of Heaven's blessings, and the would be left. This boundless thea- noble pledges of sublimer joys heretre above, would be hung in mourning, alter. and the darkness of midnight would After all that has been said howevspread through immensity. Now, er by writers on natural Theology, to what is man that thou art mindful of prove a future state of existence, the bim, or the son of man that thou con arguments are not so convincing as to descendest to visit him. Nay, what supersede the necessity of a revelawould be man, were he the mere crea
tion. The following lines present so ture of a day, and were his hopes to striking ard so grand a representation expire for ever in this narrow world. of the subject, that we cannot withIn view of these grand conceptions, hold them from our readers. Vol. 3.-No. V.
" Dim as the borrowed beams of moon and The fundamental principle of the Optistars
mists is, that all events are ordered for To lonely, weary, wandering travellers, the best ; and that the evils which we sufIs reason to the soul; and as on bigh fer, are parts of a great system conducted Those rolling fires discover but the sky, by Almighty power, under the direction Notlight us here,so reason's glimmering ray of infipite wisdom and goodness.”—p. 209. Was lent, not to assure our doubtful way, But guide us upward to a better day. It is unnecessary to add that Mr. And as those nightly tapers disappear, Stewart holds to the doctrine of the When days' bright" lord ascends our bem
Optimists. He belongs to that class isphere, So pale grows Reason in Religion's sight,
of Optimists however, who admit, the So dies, and so dissolves in supernatural freedom of human actions. He believes light."
that “every thing is right so far as it We would now call the attention is the work of God," and that "the of our readers to the chapter on the creation of beings endowed with free moral attributes of the Deity. So will, and consequently liable to moral far as they are discoverable by the delinquency,—and the government of light of nature, they are according to the world by general laws, from which Mr. Stewart, Benevolence and Jus- occasional evils must result, furnish tice. For the Benevolence of the no solid objection to the perfection of Deity, he thinks we have a strong the Universe.” At the same time he presumptive, a priori, argument, in- holds that although the permission asmuch as the exquisite pleasure of moral evil does not detract from which we know by our own experi- the goodness of God, it is nevertheence accompanies ihe exercise of be- less imputable to man as a fault, and nevolence, “the peculiar satisfac- renders him justly obnoxious to puntion with which we reflect on such of ishment,” inasmuch as it is an abuse our actions as have contributed to of his free agency for which his own the happiness of mankind, and the conscience condemns him. peculiar sentiment of approbation To the question, why has moral evil with which we regard the virtue of been permitted ?--he thinks it suffibeneficience," it would seem, render cient to reply, that “perhaps the obit difficult to conceive what other mo. ject of the Deity in the government tive could have induced a Being com- of the world, is not merely to commupletely and independently happy, to nicate happiness, but to form his creahave called his creatures into exist- tures to moral excellence ;-or that ence than that of benevolence. the enjoyment of high degrees of
On the question concerning the or- happiness, may perhaps necessarily igin of evil, the author mentions three require the previous acquisition of of the most celebrated theories. virtuous habits." 1. “ The doctrine of Pre-existence.
That virtue is in fact, an ultimate 2. The doctrines of the Manicheans. good, and consequently an ultimate 3. The doctrine of Optimism. According to the first hypoibesis
, the object of benevolence and that it may, evils we suffer al present are punishments
for this reason, be an end of our beand expiations of moral delinquencies, ing, as is here suggested by Mr. Stew. committed in a former stage of our being art, or that at least so much impor. This hypothesis, it is obvious, (to inen!jon
tance is attached to it in the economy no otber objection) only removes the ditř. culty a little out of sigbi, without afford
of the universe, as to furnish good ing any explavation of il.
reasons for believing that without it, a The Manicheans account for the mis high degree of happiness cannot, from lure of good and evil in the Universe, by the opposite agencies of two co-eterval
nature of things, be attained, apand independent principles. Their doc.
pears to us far from being improbaerine has been examined and refuted by ble ; else why should almost every many authors, by reasonings a priori; thing in the world, even happiness but the most satisfactory of all refutation is itself
, be made so subservient to its its ohvious inconsistency with li'at unity of design which is every where conspicu. encouragement? It is for the encourou in intare
agement of virtue, that the singer suf