صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

First, « That morality and its laws are eternal and immutable, not factitious or arbitrary.

Secondly. “That the law and ideas of good originate in and are attributes of God, and are not derived from outward objects of sense, or anything finite or corporeal.

Thirdly. “That the nature of man is the same in all ages, and does not change from age to age.

Fourthly. “That there was a* Primitive Revelation of God to man."

Fifthly. “That Society is a fixed and established channel of moral law and moral knowledge.”

And to these we may add, sixthly, “ That language is not an invention of man, so that the primitive men were dumb, and gradually, from the grunts and screams and howlings of mere animals framed themselves that wonder—a language; but that in itself it was the gift of God, and of his framing."

Now these six opinions are all taken for granted in that our elucidation as true,—drop one, and it falls.

Another observation will aid us very much to discern the importance of the Spiritual Reason in man. We have shown how this, in the peculiar and proper sense in which we have defined it, is that wherein the “image” consists, and so it was held by the Ancient Church universally; so that in reference to God, it is his image in us; and truly so since it reflects his attributes and applies the Spiritual, the Unseen, the Infinite to man, who is finite. This, then, is its relation unto God,—His image in man is the Spiritual Reason. Now in reference to the first faculty of man's nature, the Conscience, we have before made a remark that we give to it a personality different from our own, and that, especially, when we attribute unto it the high and supreme authority which Conscience has, we speak of it not as “I,” but as another being commanding and ruling, by a legitimate and infallible sway, over that which every man understands when he says “I.”

But with reference to the “Spiritual Reason,” as an acute author has remarked, the Reason we consider to be our personality ; the “I,” it is the exponent of our whole nature, that which in action reveals the man, the representative in action of his nature.

* For an exposition of the circumstances of this, see first Book. † “But though each man's desires and affections belong specially to himself,

Having thus seen the relation of the Reason to the man, we go on now to examine its offices and operations; and by the description we have given of it we see that to perceive the ideas that we call moral is one of its offices, seeing that by means of it alone we receive them, and not from external nature. The second office is manifestly the retaining and keeping them in the mind as rules and laws and patterns after which to model our action : and the third is the applying them to our action.

Of these we shall at length enter into the examination, but previously to this discussion we would point out to our readers a critical remark of some interest. The attributes of God in the first are perceived, in the second they are retained in the Reason as "rules and models.” Now models are in Greek idéac, (ideai); in us, then, these are ideas, ideai, models, after which to form our conduct. The Platonists transfer these ideas to God, and ask, are not these the models" in the Eternal Mind after which he made the world? This I conceive to be a fair representation of the Platonic doctrine of “ideas,” in their sense, and of its origin.

Again, the famous question of “innate ideas” herein is resolved by the same consideration, a question which, as it is discussed, is like the question as to whether the fire is in the flint or the steel: and which we answer in this way, that the “Reason” is in man the image of God, and in it, therefore, all ideas that are not of sense, but of the “Infinite," “Spiritual," and Eternal, are innate and existent as germs ;* but latent, the feeling, aptitude or instinct, rather than the idea, so that of itself spontaneously, except the same idea in a definite external form be brought to the mind from without, it could never arise to consciousness. But when the Tradition and the Law, through the channel of Society, touches upon it, then, from the union of the two, the idea is consciously developed. The fire is in the flint, it is not in the flint; it is in the steel, it is not in the steel, but from the flint and the steel together, it is. This, then, we count the resolution of the problem of innate ideas.

while Reason is a common faculty in all men, we consider our Reason as being ourselves rather than our Desires and Affections. We speak of Desire, Love, Anger as mastering us, or of ourselves as controlling them. If we decide to prefer some remote or abstract good to immediate pleasure, or to conform to a rule which brings us present pain, which decision implies the exercise of Reason, we more particularly consider such acts as our own acts. .... We identify ourselves with our Rational part.” Whewell, Elem. of Morality, vol. I. 22 58, 59.

* This manifestly can be so only because man is made in the image of God, ånd only so far as he is so.

Having thus touched upon these two questions, we shall now proceed to the examination of the powers of the Spiritual Reason, and their laws, in the next chapter.


The Spiritual Reason.-Its Modes.- 1st. Moral Perception; 2d. Moral Feel

ing; 3d. Moral Principle.--These established and illustrated.— Mental cultivation is different from moral, and cultivation peculiarly moral is necessary.--Is ever the Divine Spiritual Reason wholly undeveloped ? Answered in the affirmative.--The Reason may be developed consciously and unconsciously.

In our last chapter we have sufficiently established the existence of the faculty, which we have called the Spiritual' Reason. We have indicated its object in the attributes of God, manifested unto us as moral truths,—-eternal and immutable truths,—brought to bear upon us by the channel of Society. We proceed to examine it a little more fully in reference to its action.

Now we have divided the operation of the Spiritual Reason in a triple way, and if we take all ideas whatsoever that belong to it, all that belong to the Infinite, the Spiritual, the Unseen, or, in other words, all those qualities of which we may say, “God is," for this is the formula that includes all the truths that are the objects of the Reason; if we take these in their action upon the mind, we shall find these modes exhaust that action,-“It is perceived,” “It is felt,” “It is held as a principle.” These, then, we make the faculties of the Reason as regards the eternal truths of God,—“Moral Perception,” “Moral Feeling," "Moral Principle,"

-three faculties or functions of the reason in man, by which he deals with truth.

Now at the very first we shall be met with the assertion, that this is strange that we should, as it were, assign in the mind a particular sense called “Moral Perception,” as if one man did not perceive the value of a Moral Truth as well as another. With reference to this, we say that it is so; that take any two men, one man shall hear the assertion, or make it, that “God is good,” or that “man ought to be benevolent,” or any other of the same kind of assertions in the same way, as a man in a dream speaks or hears. He shall say that they are true, just as he shall say it is true that “twice two are four.” Nay, he may be able to talk about it and argue on it ingeniously and eloquently, but this shall be in an outside, unimpressive, unimpressed, and unrealizing way, —a way not realizing his theme as a truth intimately suited to his nature,--not feeling it as of any importance --not applying it as a living law of life.

We have known, we say, men purely and entirely selfish, 80 far as God will permit man to be so, that had been taught in our Colleges that most destructive doctrine, that “Enlightened Selfishness is the main and only principle;' and we have seen their perception as to their own interest, tremblingly alive,-watching, with a prophet's eye, the slightest gloom over their horizon,-guarding, with an intense sensibility, against the remotest annoyance,searching with microscopic vision for the smallest addition to personal comfort; we ask, have not these men an intense “Perception" of self-interest and self-gratification, an intense “Feeling of self,—have they not? and a fixed and set “Principle” of self, guiding their conduct ?

And, then, let us try them with regard to any moral idea. They have, as to it, no Moral “Perception,” only a verbal, or logical, or a merely mental one. They are like Gallio, who understood Greek as a learned Roman, and Law as a wise governor, and heard St. Paul and the Jews disputing about the highest truths of religion, and thought them “words and names,” having no realities to correspond; or, like the acute heathen philosophers, who thought that St. Paul preached certain new deities, because he preached to them “Jesus and the resurrection,” taking undoubtedly, as St. Chrysostom remarks, “Jesus” for one new God, “Resurrection” (Anastasis,) for another.

This is the aspect such men turn to Moral Truth,-an aspect wholly unperceptive, insensible, frozen, dead, because they have merely a verbal perception, while towards self, or ambition, or money, their apprehension is endued with the keenest sensibility.


Again, this their object, or passion, or feeling, shall dwell upon their mind anxiously,—their thoughts naturally shall run that way, --their feelings gather themselves around it as a nucleus of emotion,--perpetual meditation shall consecrate it, and all moral subjects shall be unthought of, unfelt, unregarded. This desire shall be a living spring of action perpetually at work; consciously, so that the man knows and feels it himself; and also unconsciously, so that others feel and know it when he does not,-a principle, in other words an energic spring of action, ever at work, when no moral truth, no moral principle ever abides with them as a motive power.

Now we have given examples as to immediate deadness of the mind as regards moral truth. And we say, that if we consider any moral truth in these three modes,-if we look to one class of men and then to another, the one shall be found to hear a moral truth announced in words, to apprehend the meaning of the words logically, mentally, verbally, yet to have no living and realizing sense of its value,-no feeling of its worth,-in short, no perception of its relation and connection with themselves. While to the other, the words convey a truth which the individual apprehends as precious and valuable as his very existence; and the very knowledge of which will seem, as it were, to cast a glory over all nature, and a new light over heaven and earth,—to disclose a thousand secrets and a thousand mysterious ties that bind us to all men,—to open and awake in our being new founts and sources of joy that before had been hidden.

These are effects that each one perhaps in the world, at one time, has recognized in himself or in others,—a process that is perpetually going on; either the man becoming hard, and cold, and dead morally, or becoming more and more sensitive to good.

The power of Moral Perception is as much a power and faculty as that of Sensation, or that of Memory. Its objects are as definite, its action as manifest. We consider it to be determined, and we shall give rules and laws for its exercise when we have sufficiently determined the other two modes of the Spiritual Reason.

The first, then, of the faculties of the Spiritual Reason we consider Moral Perception to be--and we define it to be the “Spiritual apprehension of the immutable truths of Morality.”

The second mode of the Spiritual Reason, Moral Feeling, is very hard, indeed, to define, or bring clearly out in words, so that

« السابقةمتابعة »