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the atonement, is not at all wonderful. But we were unprepared for an attempt of this kind from a writer of so much candor and good sense, as are usually displayed by Dr. Wayland. How far he has made the trial, and with what success, may be ascertained from a perusal of the two sections already alluded to, on "virtue in general," and on" virtue in imperfect beings." A few extracts will show what positions the author labors to establish.

"And as, on the one hand, we can have no conception of the amount of attainment, both in virtue and vice, of which man is capable, so, on the other hand, we can have no conception of the delicacy of that moral tinge by which his character is first designated. We detect moral character at very early age; but is by no means proves, that it did not exist long before we detected it. Hence, as it may thus have existed before we were able to detect it, it is manifest that we have no elements by which to determine the time of its commencement. That is to say, in general, we are capable of observing moral qualities within certain limits, as from childhood to old age; but this is no manner of indication that these qualities may not exist in the being before, and afterwards, in degrees greatly below and infinitely above any thing which we are capable of observing." - p. 85.

"Man is created with moral and intellectual powers, capable of progressive improvement. Hence, if he use his faculties as he ought, he will progressively improve; that is, become more and more capable of virtue. He is assured of enjoying all the benefits which can result from such improvement. If he use these faculties as he ought not, and become less and less capable of virtue, he is hence held responsible for all the consequences of his misimprovement.

"Now, as this misimprovement is his own act, for which he is responsible, it manifestly does not affect the relations under which he is created, nor the obligations resulting from these relations; that is, he stands, in respect to the moral acquirements under which he is created, precisely in the same condition as if he had always used his moral powers correctly. That is to say, under the present moral constitution, every man is justly held responsible, at every period of his existence, for that degree of virtue of which he would have been capable, had he, from the first moment of his existence, improved his moral nature, in every respect, just as he ought to have done. In other words, suppose some human being to have always lived thus (Jesus Christ, for instance), every man is, at every successive period of his existence, held responsible for the same degree of virtue as

such a perfect being attained to, at the corresponding periods of his existence. Such I think evidently to be the nature of the obligation which must rest upon such beings, throughout the whole extent of their duration.

"In order to meet this increasing responsibility, in such a manner as to fulfil the requirements of moral law, a being, under such a constitution, must, at every moment of his existence, possess a moral faculty, which, by perfect previous cultivation, is adapted to the responsibilities of that particular moment. But, suppose this not to have been the case; and that, on the contrary, his moral faculty, by once doing wrong, has become impaired, so that, it either does not admonish him correctly of his obligations, or that he has become indisposed to obey its monitions. This must, at the next moment, terminate in action more at variance with rectitude than before. The adjustment between conscience and the passions, must become deranged; and thus, the tendency, at every successive moment, must be, to involve him deeper and deeper in guilt. And, unless smoe other moral force be exerted in the case, such must be the tendency forever.

"And suppose some such force to be exerted, and, at any period of his existence, the being to begin to obey his conscience in every one of its present monitions. It is manifest, that he would now need some other and more perfect guide, in order to inform him perfectly of his obligations, and of the mode in which they are to be fulfilled. And supposing this to be done as he is at this moment responsible for such a capacity of virtue, as would have been attained by a previously perfect rectitude; and as his capacity is inferior to this; and as no reason can be suggested, why his progress in virtue should, under these circumstances, be more rapid than that of a perfect being, but the contrary; it is manifest, that he must ever fall short of what is justly required of him,-nay, that he must be continually falling farther and farther behind it.

"And hence, the present constitution tends to show us the remediless nature of moral evil, under the government of God, unless some other principle, than that of law, be admitted into the case. These conditions of being having been violated, unless man be placed under some other conditions, natural religion would lead us to believe, that he must suffer the penalty, whatever it be, of wrong. Penitence could in no manner alter his situation; for it is merely a temper justly demanded, in consequence of his sin. But this could not replace him in his original relation to the law which had been violated. Such seems [?] to be the teachings of the Holy Scriptures; and they seem to me to declare, moreover, that this change in the conditions of our being, has been accomplished by the mediation of a Redeemer, by which we may,

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through the obedience of another, be justified (that is, treated as though just), although we are, by confession, guilty."— pp. 90


Now, if it be remembered that we are under obligations, greater than we can estimate, to obey the will of God, by what manner soever signified, and that we are under obligation, therefore, to obey Him, if he had given us no other intimation of His will, than merely the monition of conscience, unassisted by natural or revealed religion, how greatly must that obligation be increased, when these additional means of information are taken into the account! And, if the guilt of our disobedience be in proportion to the knowledge of our duty, and if that knowledge of our duty be so great that we cannot readily conceive how, consistently with the conditions of our being, it could have been greater, we may judge how utterly inexcusable must be every one of our transgressions. Such does the Bible represent to be the actual condition of man; and hence it every where treats him as under a just and awful condemnation; a condemnation from which there is no hope of escape, but by means of the special provisions of a remedial dispensation.

"It belongs to theology to treat of the nature of this remedial dispensation. We shall, therefore, attempt no exhibition, either of its character or its provisions, beyond a simple passing remark, to show its connections with our present subject.

"The law of God, as revealed in the Scriptures, represents our eternal happiness as attainable upon the simple ground of perfect obedience, and perfect obedience upon the principles already explained. But this, in our present state, is manifestly unattainable. A single sin, both on the ground of its violation of the conditions on which our future happiness was suspended, as well as by the effects which it produces upon our whole subsequent moral character, and our capacity for virtue, renders our loss of happiness inevitable. Even after reformation, our moral attainment must fall short of the requirements of the law of God, and thus present no claim to the Divine favor. For this reason, our salvation is made to depend upon the obedience and merits of another.". pp. 146, 147.

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We have no wish to comment upon the matter of the foregoing extracts. The doctrines defended have hitherto been regarded either as so contrary to reason, or above reason, that they rested solely upon scriptural authority, and were to be received as special matters of revelation, upon the instrumentality of faith alone, with a reverential submission of human judgment to the wisdom and power of God. Whatever may


be thought of the Scriptural argument in their favor, they are so entirely repugnant to our natural feeling of justice, that when a person attempts to maintain them on the grounds of consciousness, by doing away with this repugnancy, we cannot argue with him. He is a different being from us. That such an attempt has been made, only shows what loose habits of reasoning are induced by the endeavor to support these doctrines even on Biblical grounds; and evinces still more strongly the necessity of keeping the department of Ethics distinct from that of Dogmatic Theology.

The argument of the second extract, however, from its great ingenuity, may appear to deserve a more close examination. The fallacy in it has arisen from the preconceived opinions of the writer on religious subjects, which have induced him, in a treatise purely Ethical, to attribute guilt to vice, but no merit to virtue. It is a poor rule, which will not work both ways. If from the general power of habit, the commission of a single fault blunts the discriminative power of conscience, lessens its impulsive force, and leads to other vicious acts, so that the individual can never be released from its future injurious operation, — then we urge, e contra, that one virtuous action, a deed of charity for instance, is not only meritorious in itself, but from its tendency to strengthen the benevolent impulses of our nature, creates a fund of good desert, equally permanent in its working to the benefit of the agent. It is surely possible, that a result of the latter kind should balance one of the former. Dreadful and debasing as are the tendencies of sin, there is an effective, healing power in virtue. This is heresy, Dr. Wayland will say. He had better call it sophistry, for then only could we join issue with him. It is not asserted, that a dependent being can claim merit with the Creator for any action whatever; but only that he deserves and receives the approbation of conscience, when he has complied with the dictates of this faculty. But after all, from the admitted position, that evil habits deteriorate the moral powers, to infer the irretrievable effects of a single error or crime on the individual's whole future capacity for amendment, is to draw the argument altogether too fine, and to apply a mode of reasoning, which, however proper in mathematics, is ludicrously out of place in morals.

The doctrine is too harsh and repulsive in its first aspect. Men can never be persuaded to repent, unless previously as

sured of the efficacy of repentance. To deny them this assurance is to blot the moral sun from the heavens, and leave all mankind to the agony of unavailing regret. Individuals have been driven to madness from the fear of having committed the unpardonable sin. Dr. Wayland would make all sins unpardonable, for the sake of proving, that we can be saved only by the merits of another; and he would teach this doctrine too, not as an incomprehensible revelation from the Deity, but as the obvious dictate of natural reason. We believe neither in such a state, nor in such a remedy. Firmly persuaded of the evils of transgression, we are yet to learn, that it leaves man in a condition entirely hopeless, except from the expiation of his guilt by the sufferings of a different and an innocent being. We believe, that in his punishment are contained the elements, if he will use them, of his restoration; that remorse pursues sin, but repentance overtakes and vanquishes it.

We close this notice of Dr. Wayland's book, with the expression of deep regret, that with all his usual liberality and acuteness of mind, he has yet suffered his peculiar religious views to exert so strong an influence, that a portion of a work designed to be used for a scientific manual in our higher seminaries of learning, is rather to be regarded as a controversial publication on disputed points in theology.

F. B.

ART. VI. Miriam; A Dramatic Poem. Boston: Hilliard, Gray, & Co. 1837. 12mo. pp. 124.

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THERE are many things to recommend this Poem to the favor of the public. It is the work of a Lady. It is not a hasty production, written by a steam process, and hurried all hot and immature from the brain of the writer upon the notice of the community. It has lain by eleven years, a fact that evinces no common degree of self-denial. The object of the writer in composing it appears to have been, to indulge her own taste for literary pursuits, and to entertain" a small circle of friends." And under such circumstances the mind is more likely to exert itself freely and happily, than when it is ham

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