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And when the three powers or modes of the Spiritual Reason are brought, all of them, into action under the condition that it should rule; secondly, should rule always, and thirdly, should rule according to its law; then the result upon the character is the gradual growth of that “Moral Harmony” that we have spoken of; that internal law whereby the mind is governed and ruled, so that it is uniform with itself: and there is no jar, no sense of disagreement, but all the powers work on together equably; the manifold workings of the powers and parts of the whole nature, the body, soul and spirit, all consciously uniting in harmony of action this is the completion and perfection of the Reason, and it is brought about by the Reason as a governing power, guiding its own operation or workings according to its laws.
This question, then-what is the Law of the Reason ? manifestly shall complete our examination of the subject, and show the perfection of nature as far as this faculty is concerned. This shall be the subject of the next chapter.
The highest law of Reason is not Nature, nor the law of the Family, or of the
Nation, but the Faith of Christ, -and this in a three-fold view.--Ist, as written ; 2ndly, as enforced by the Church and in the Church; Gily, as dwelling in the hearts of the Sanctified.—Other practical inferences.—The source of fanaticism is in denying its food to this faculty.-Practical conclusions.-Exhortation to those who are the teachers of this faculty to teach without fear.
We have now examined the subject of the Spiritual Reason with the exception of its “Law” and its results; that is to say, that
‘Law," by which, according to the third principle of the governing powers laid down in the First Book, it may be brought to the highest practical perfection in the man; and secondly, the effect and consequence upon man's nature of that perfect operation of the faculty, which we have indicated as “Moral Harmony and Moral Progress."
To enter, then, into the examination of these two subjects, and fully to consider them, this will complete the discussion of the Reason.
We are now to seek the law of the Spiritual Reason, and as a guide in this, the reader will please bear in mind the principle before maintained, “that no governing Power can be a law to itself.” He will also remember, that it is not a "law” of the Reason we seek, but “the supreme Law of the Reason,” that which will embrace and in itself contain all others, the Law emphatically.
For to him that has been separated from all Society,—by the very fact of the harmony that goes through the whole world, and the analogy that all things have to one another, and the spiritual meaning that they bear, this the external harmony of Nature shall become a law to his Reason, --shall interpret itself with a manifold significance, and shall be an awakener of the Moral Apprehension, the Moral Feeling, and “the Moral Principle” in him. . Thus Nature shall be a law, and to him, if he have none other, the highest law and bounden therefore upon him.
Again, to him that is in the first form of Society, the “Family,” where there is no Nation nor Church, to him the law of the 'Family,” enforcing itself upon his actions, is a law of the Reason, and, as we have shown, will, from the primeval revelation, bring him knowledge, and enforce in him, even unconsciously, action that developes the Reason. This, then, becomes to him a higher Law than that of Nature, with higher knowledge, which does not supersede the other, but makes it, as it were, weightier and broader : so that what was the sole law is now associated with another, and transfers to it so far its supreme authority, becoming itself an auxiliary.
Again, the man is a member of a Nation—and then to his Spiritual Reason there are three laws,--the one of the harmony and analogy of nature, the other of the Family,---and the one that is to him the supreme Law of the Spiritual Reason, the law of the Nation. Not simply its enacted or statute law, but its “Universal Law,” its “ Common Law,” everything that dwells in the universal consciousness of the nation, as a general rule of action and government for all men of that Race, and Nation, and Country; and this, then, shall be to the man the Supreme Law of his Reason.
It will be seen that it is taken for granted that the analogy and
harmony of nature teaches so far the truths of Eternal Morality, —that the law and knowledge of the Family teaches the same,and the law of the Nation, even of pagan nations, the same.*
This may be manifestly seen from the fact that whatsoever “Law' prescribes anywhere, it prescribes it as good, and it is bad by ignorance, “corruption,” “mistake,” “misapprehension," or by stepping out of its sphere, but not by intention, or by its nature. And everywhere it has a corrective in that which it supersedes, for it cannot contradict, only confirm.
But higher and higher as these laws go from the outward harmony of Nature, up to the law of the Family, and from it to the law of the Nation, a higher law still is to be sought, in a more complete and perfect declaration of God's Nature and Will,—that is to say, in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the institution of his Church, the Regenerating power of the Spirit of Christ. In His truth and His light, it is to be sought: “I am," he says, “the way, the truth, the life; no one cometh to the Father but by me.”+
This, then, is the highest law of the Reason, the supreme one, that which does not destroy the other laws of the reason, but confirms them all and agrees with them all, while itself is supreme in authority over all,—the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We take “the Faith" for the whole Gospel, all that is written in the Holy Scriptures as the written word; the same word upheld as doctrine and law of life by the Universal Church; and the same as enforced by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the “Communion of Saints,"—the body within the Church of the Sanctified. This “the Faith of Christ," as, first, written in the Scriptures; 2ndly, enforced doctrinally and practically by the Church Universal; and thirdly, as living in the life and actions of the sanctified; the word and faith of Christ in this three-fold aspect is the highest Law of the Spiritual Reason, that which brings it to perfection,-“this Faith of Christ our Lord.”
* I would recommend upon this last point, my readers, to obtain the “Hulsean Lecture for the year 1846, by Richard Chenevix Trench." The subject hinted at in the above paragraph is there gone into fully, and it is shown, “that Christ” “the desire of all Nations," and that oven “Heathendom prophesied of Him unconsciously.” This, in fact, is the title of the book. The style is very beautiful, and thu sen:iment and argument exceedingly interesting.
† John xiv, 6.
And here natural Ethics and spiritual Ethics touch; here is seen the truth of that principle, " That Revelation is the complement of natural Religion and Grace of Nature.” For here is seen that the Spiritual Reason, in man, can be only perfected by Him who is in God,“ the Divine Word;" or, as it otherwise may be translated the Divine (Logos) Reason.
Nay, when we look at all those truths of natural Ethics, that upon this subject we have brought forth in our last few chapters, we shall see that each and every one of them has in the Gospel a corresponding truth of Revelation, which completes, perfects, and crowns it—so that although Human Nature is by itself a wild tree that bears no fruit; yet upon it, by its being, as made in the Image, a true and perfect fruit-bearing scion, may be grafted by Almighty Grace, that shall bring forth much fruit.
To illustrate this, we take “ this Spiritual Reason” to be ourselves personally, that which is truly and properly “T,”* or what represents the being and attributes of the individual; and at the same time, in this, the Reason, the wisest in the Church, nay, even the Heathen, † who have thought most deeply upon it, have placed the “Image," or resemblance of man to God.
Now when we look to the being of God we see that the Son is in the Father, the "Divine Reason," the “Word," the "Manifestation of his Glory," the “express image of his Person:" being, therefore, in the Father, as the “Spiritual Reason” is in us; with the essential difference, that in the Almighty Father, since He is Infinite in power, knowledge, wisdom, and all attributes, the “Word,” and “Wisdom,” and “Manifestation” of the Father is the Son,—a Personal Being, who is “God of God,” “Light of
very God of God.”! And we, made in the Image of God,
* See a previous quotation from Whewell's Morals. + Plato for example.
$ The word “of” in the phrases, “God of God,” “ Light of Light," Very God of Very God,"—is often read as if it were the sign of the possessive case, as in the phrases “the son of the king,” which is identical with the “king's son,” the “nature of God," that is “God's nature.” Whereas the word “of” is the emphatic word, answering to “ex” in the Greek original, or “de” in the latin version, being the preposition “of,” as in the phrase "he was descended of noble ancestors."
The English preposition “from,” perhaps, would be in our present idiom the clearest and most unambiguous translation, thus,~“God from God," “Light from Light,” “Very God from Very God,"expressing the great fact
are made in the Image of the Word: and the faculty that shows that. Image, the Spiritual Reason, this faculty has for its supreme law, the Faith of Him who is the express Image of His Father's person--not the image, as Reason is in us, of the Infinite in the Finite, but, the image in that He is “God of God,” Light of Light,”-“Very God of Very God.”
Such a natural congruity is there between the Relation of the Word to the Father, and the Relation of the Spiritual Reason to
And secondly, in the fact that man was made in the “ Image of God,” that is of the Word, which image, by the Fall, is defaced, but not become the image of the devil, but of Adam, a man fallen, yet still a man. These two natural congruities should surely indicate to us the truth of this that I have asserted, that the perfection of the “Spiritual Reason” in man, is the “Faith of Christ the Word.” A natural truth of the higher Ethics is thus completed by a truth of Revelation.
And he that doubts need not seek far; in the most ordinary Ethical books of the Heathen before Christ, he shall find the natural side of this truth stated as a fact, yet losing itself in theory and speculation, and folly, because the Spiritual complement of it had not yet been revealed. And in the Church's doctrine of the Divinity of the Word, and His relation to the Father, he shall find the other part, a truth of Nature and a truth of Grace, the one answering to and completing the other, from both which combined, we draw our inference, that to that natural faculty in man, which we have called the “Spiritual Reason," the supreme law and means of bringing it to the highest perfection, is “the Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We might, as other philosophers and other moralists have done, dwell upon the other Laws of Reason, which have been once to
of the “ Eternal Generation of the Word.” That from the Infinite and Unoriginate Father came forth eternally a personal being, the Word, who is the “ Manifestation of His Glory," the “Express Image of His Person,” the second person of the Holy Trinity, who" was incarnate and died for us! The agent (if we may use the phrase) of the whole power of the Father; the sole access and adit unto the Father for all men; the exclusive fountain, the one source of all Spiritual Life to man, is the Word eternally proceeding from the Being of the Father; and yet eternally dwelling in Him. God then or God, light of light, very God or very God, is the Almighty and Eternal Sin in his relation to the Almighty and Eternal Father.