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theologians, is to give a correct interpretation of Scripture, and not to presume to be wise above what is written. Scripture furnishes no information whatever respecting the organs of the brain, either as they existed at the creation, or as they exist now. As an object of natural science we may properly inquire into their present state, but all information fails as to their condition in a previous order of things. The bare proposing of such a question indicates a mind not thoroughly imbued with that true philosophical spirit, so beautifully alluded to by Dr Thomas Brown, in his introductory lecture," a spirit which is quick to pursue whatever is within the reach of human intellect, but which is not less quick to discern the bounds that limit every human inquiry, and which, therefore, in seeking much, seeks only that which man may learn.”
Again, supposing man to have possessed such faculties at his creation, it is just as little incumbent upon theologians to shew what were the objects of them in a paradisaical state, a world where there was no sorrow, sin, death, or danger. We may conjecture what might have been their use in such a world, but we never can possibly know. Mr Combe has pointed out certain uses which they serve in the world as it now exists, and that was enough for his avowed purpose, and all that as a philosopher he was entitled to do. Had he been inclined to treat the subject philosophically, he would have said, that he was not called upon to shew their uses in such a state; but that doubtless, in whatever state man may have been placed before the commencement of the present system of things, from the known wisdom and goodness of the Creator, we may be sure that he would be furnished with proper objects for the employment and gratification of all his faculties.
The next question is not excelled in absurdity, by any
that ever was propounded by the schoolmen: If these organs were bestowed after the Fall, whether man, with new organs added to his brain, and new propensities to his mind, continued the same being?" &c.Upon this I would only remark, that Mr Combe, in proposing such a question, seems to have forgotten what he had written in a former part of his work; for at page 7th he says, "If a theologian were to maintain that these organs, or several of them, were bestowed on man in consequence of sin, or from any other cause, philosophers would remain silent to such proposition." He seems to be aware, that such a statement as this, coming from his opponents, would be utterly unphilosophical and preposterous: and yet, with marvellous inconsistency, he makes no scruple of gravely submitting to them this very proposition, as requiring their serious consideration, and as giving rise to a question which it is incumbent on them to solve! This is utterly undeserving of answer. " Indignandum de isto, non disputandum est.”*
The last question is, "Whether the existence of these organs, and of an external world adapted to them, does not prove that man, as he now exists, is not actually the same being as when he was created, and that his corruption consists in his tendency to abuse his faculties, and not in any inherent viciousness attributable to his nature itself?" Passing over the ineffable nonsense about new organs being added to the brain, and admitting man to be essentially the same being, (that is, of the same species,) as he was at his creation, it may be asked, What does it signify whether his corruption consists in a natural tendency to abuse his faculties, or in any inherent viciousness attributable to these faculties? What is the difference between an inherent viciousness, and an inherent tendency to abuse? There is, and there
can be none whatever. Viciousness, is a tendency to abuse; and a tendency to abuse, is just viciousness. If Mr Combe admits a natural tendency in man to abuse his faculties, he admits quite enough to establish the doctrine of human depravity.
But to return to the questions put respecting the existence of such propensities as Combativeness and Destructiveness, although the questions themselves are utterly unphilosophical, and though they neither deserve nor admit of an answer, so far as regards the facts, it is easy to answer the objection which they are intended to raise against the paradisaical state of man at his creation. To the question, whether man was originally endowed with propensities of Combativeness and Destructiveness, we answer, that we have no means of knowing; but supposing he was, this affords no objection to the supposition that he was originally placed in a world from which sorrow, sin, death, and danger were excluded; for even in such a world, there might have been abundant exercise for such propensities. Mr Combe himself states, (p. 26,) that in his philosophical millennium, after man shall have been able to discover and obey all the natural laws, and when, consequently, on his own principles, pain and evil must be banished from the world, Combativeness and Destructiveness "would receive full gratification in muscular exercises," or "in any employment requiring the exertion of muscular strength."
I have already alluded to what Mr Combe has mentioned in his "System," (though he has not chosen to repeat it in his "Constitution of Man,") that these two propensities are general powers, not limited to the outward acts of fighting and killing, but communicating to the mind, each in its own way, a certain species of energy, which may be turned to account even in carrying
into effect the purposes of benevolence. This is the true view of the matter; and what is there in the fact of the existence of such faculties as these, inconsistent with the supposition of a paradisaical state? The fact is, that such faculties are not useful merely, they are absolutely necessary to the perfection of such a being as man in any state whatever. Without them he must have been a poor, weak, nerveless, and inefficient creature, unfit for maintaining the prominent place in creation he was destined to hold, and utterly incapable of exercising that dominion which was given to him over the creatures.
Combativeness is now perfectly understood to be a quality which gives the love of strenuous exertion of any kind, physical or mental. Destructiveness, or the feeling which goes under that name, communicates to the mind an energy superior to this, a vehemence and fiery impetuousity which bears down all before it, and which is necessary on various occasions to give effect to the brightest exhibitions of moral excellence, and the most splendid exertions of genius. Who that has heard the finest bursts of eloquence from some of our first rate orators, whether at the bar, in the senate, or in the pulpit, but must be satisfied of the immense effect which the powers we have mentioned have in exhibiting to advantage all the highest qualities of mind? Who, for instance, that has heard our own orator, Dr Chalmers, in some of his most transcendent displays of genius, but must be satisfied that the truths which he inculcates with regard to the condition of man, or the magnificent views which he opens up of the greatness and goodness of the Deity, owe more than half their power and effect to the overwhelming vehemence with which they are poured forth, and brought home to the consciences and the understandings of his hearers?
In fact, the qualities we have mentioned have not only
both a fair and legitimate sphere of activity of their own, but seem to be necessary to the effective and vigorous manifestation of all the other powers, bodily or mental. Holding this to be the case, can it be supposed that man, with all his faculties of body and mind in a state of absolute perfection, would, when placed in a world where no evil was allowed to enter, be deprived of powers so indispensable, and condemned to a state of bodily or mental inaction? Would not one great source of his happiness consist in the vigorous exertion of all his powers, accompanied with a perfect satisfaction such as at present we are hardly able to imagine? What we are now enabled to accomplish with toil and difficulty, he would then be able to perform with ease and pleasure. And what is there to prevent us from supposing, that in this perfect state of the faculties, the most powerful and energetic activity of these, and of all the other powers, bodily and mental, might be so controlled and modified as to be exercised on all occasions, and under all circumstances, consistently with the most perfect innocence, and that the highest exertions of power and genius might then be made harmless as the gambols of childhood? He must, at least, have a low idea of the perfection of human nature, of the goodness of God, and of the infinite resources of divine wisdom, who cannot imagine to himself all this, and a thousand times more, as possible in a world which God himself saw to be good, and into which sorrow and sin, pain and death, were not permitted to enter.
It is of no consequence whether what is here suggested in answer to Mr Combe's objection to the paradisaical state, be true or not, in point of fact. The matter lies beyond the reach of our faculties, and nothing respecting it can be reduced to the test of evidence. But what we have now suggested may be true, and that is quite suffi