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"The metaphysicians admit this faculty, so that Phrenology only reveals its organ, and the effects of its endowment in different degrees. I have already stated an argument in favour of the being of a GOD, founded on the existence of a faculty of Veneration, conferring the tendency to worship, of which GoD is the proper and ultimate object. May not the probability of a future state be supported by a similar deduction from the possession of a faculty of Hope? It appears to me, that this is the faculty from which originates the notion of futurity, and which carries the mind forward in endless progression into periods of never-ending time. May it
be inferred, that this instinctive tendency to leave the present scene, and all its enjoyments, to spring forward into the regions of a far distant futurity, and to expatiate, even in imagination, in the fields of an eternity to come, denotes that man is formed for a more glorious destiny than to perish for ever in the grave? Addison beautifully enforces this argument in the Spectator, and in the soliloquy of Cato; and Phrenology gives weight to his reasoning, by shewing that this ardent hope, this longing after immortality,' is not a factitious sentiment, or a mere exuberance of an idle and wandering imagination, but that it is the result of a primitive faculty of the mind, which owes at once its existence and its functions to the Creator." There is more to the same purpose, but this is quite sufficient, and shews that Mr Combe is quite aware of the argument; and how, after having obtained so clear a view of a doctrine, in his opinion so beautiful and consolatory, deduced from a principle recognized by Phrenology, he should have omitted all notice of it in a work expressly founded on the basis of that doctrine, appears utterly unaccountable. Admitting that it did not strictly fall within the original plan of his work, it would, at any rate, have
formed a graceful and appropriate pendant to that work. It could have detracted nothing from the force of his previous reasonings, and might have obviated some of the objections which occur to his treatise in its present shape.
But though the passage I have quoted from his System shews that Mr Combe had there so far admitted the phrenological argument for a future state, he has not stated it quite correctly, nor followed it to its full extent, or to all its applications. He considers that the faculty of Hope" originates the notion of futurity," and carries the mind forward in endless progression to periods of never-ending time." This appears to be a mistake. As phrenologists recognize a special faculty and organ for giving us a feeling of duration or time, it seems a necessary consequence that this feeling must extend to the future as well as the past, and therefore that the notion of futurity must originate with that faculty; and the moment we admit this notion at all, we are necessarily carried forward in endless progression to eternity itself, as there is nothing which by possibility can set any limit to our notions of duration. It would appear that Hope does not originate, but merely modifies our feelings and anticipations of that futurity of which we previously had a distinct notion. Farther, it must be recollected that Hope is not the only faculty which looks forward to the future. Cautiousness, which, in its more active states, gives rise to the feeling of Fear, is no less interested in the subject of futurity; and in looking to the future, which must always in the present life be to us an object of much uncertainty, Hope and Fear alternately hold the sway, and keep our minds nearly equally balanced between them.
I would therefore say, that the probability of a future state. is supported not by one, but by various feelings and faculties of the mind. In the first place, reason or
causality points out, that as in the present life the vicious and immoral are frequently prosperous, while the good and the virtuous suffer various calamities, it is therefore probable, from the known justice of the divine character, that after the present life we shall pass into another state of being, where those irregularities shall be redressed, and where vice will be punished, and virtue rewarded, with perfect justice and impartiality. But still, though this may be probable, death, the passage to this new and unknown state, appears as something dark and mysterious, and Wonder has room to expatiate over a field where much uncertainty prevails. Hope, in the meantime, as Mr Combe justly represents, "beckons us to spring forward into the regions of futurity, and denotes that man was formed for a more glorious destiny than to perish for ever in the grave." But here our aspiring hopes are checked by Cautiousness, which, awakened by the still small voice of conscience, whispers to the sinner that this glorious destiny may not be prepared for him and that instead of death opening to us a region of never ending delight, it may only usher us into a place of punishment for offences reiterated, aggravated, and numberless.
Dark and dismal as death may appear, when considered merely as the termination of the present life, it becomes, from these obscure and conflicting views, when considered in the farther light of its being the commencement of another state of existence, an object of tenfold doubt and anxiety.
The view taken by Mr Combe of deducing the probability of a future state from a feeling of Hope alone, is clearly not the true view in which it is to be considered. Naturally, Fear unquestionably predominates. Every one is conscious of offences against his Maker's laws, which he feels to be deserving of punishment, while no one can assume to himself such a stock of merit as to
afford any just claim to, much less assurance of reward. To man, therefore, unenlightened by a revelation of the divine will, and of God's gracious purposes of pardon and acceptance to penitent sinners, the prospect of death, as viewed through the medium of his natural feelings, is almost universally an object of unmitigated terror.
Revelation removes, in a great measure, these natural terrors, by representing God as willing to forgive iniquity, and to receive into his favour all who shall come unto him in the way he has expressly appointed. Into this subject I have no occasion to enter. It belongs to the department of theology, and its explanation must be left to divines. It is sufficient here to indicate, that from this source alone can any rational or satisfactory antidote be obtained against those terrors with which death is universally regarded by the natural feelings of mankind.
This mode of considering the subject does not suit the views of Mr Combe. His object seems to be, to reject every view of our condition that does not flatter the pride, and gratify the selfish longings of our nature. He does not fairly consider all the principles of our constitution, even according to the system which he has adopted. He picks and chooses among the faculties,he has his pets and his favourites among them,--and magnanimously rejects all of them that have the misfortune to displease him. He worships Hope, as presenting him only with pleasing and flattering anticipations. He altogether renounces Cautiousness, as a most uncivil and impertinent faculty, whose never-ending doubts and prognostications of evil are positively disagreeable. Wonder is entirely at a discount, and seems only fit to be banished to the nursery. Veneration meets with no great favour. Conscientiousness is spoken of with respect, but deprived of more than half its authority, being dethroned from the seat of justice, and positively interdicted from its ancient and universally admitted office of
punishing the guilty: while Benevolence is deified and raised to a supremacy which no one has hitherto ventured to ascribe to it. This is no caricature; it is the strict and literal truth, and any one who will take the trouble to go carefully through the whole of Mr Combe's lucubrations, will find it to be so. Now, what kind of dealing with a subject is this? We have here several original principles and feelings implanted in the mind, all of the highest importance, the existence of which Mr Combe expressly acknowledges, Veneration, Wonder, Hope, Fear, Justice, and Benevolence,-all bearing, more or less, upon the subject of a future life, and all, for any thing we are able to pronounce, of equal weight and authority. But Mr Combe seems to think he is entitled to dispense with that authority whenever he pleases.
The united voice of all these faculties undoubtedly points to the high probability, if not absolute certainty, of a future state, but gives us no assurance of what that state will be. While Hope, encouraging us with views of the goodness of God, holds out the prospect of an eternity of felicity and glory, Cautiousness, or Fear, regarding only his greatness, his power, and his justice, represents the possibility, and something more than the possibility, of punishment for offences. Now, if the feelings which God has implanted in our minds point to these different conclusions as equally probable, or rather that the latter is the most probable of the two, where is the use of shutting our eyes to what, if true, must be our inevitable fate? This seems, however, to be the natural result of Mr Combe's doctrines.
We have seen that, when Mr Combe does think proper to look into this subject, he only takes advice of those counsellors who will flatter him, and give him the sort of advice he desires. But in the present work, he takes care to exclude all unpleasant suggestions, by