« السابقةمتابعة »
MORISONIANISM PUT TO THE TEST, AND FOUND
WANTING. That there is no conviction like experimental conviction, is a statement that requires no argument in support of it. Experience rectifies many errors, and every theory which will not stand this test is, beyond all doubt, unsound. So long as powers are untried, they may be invested with fictitious strength; but a practical confutation does more to unmask their hollow pretensions than any amount of argument, however forcible. In all theories there is an important principle, of universal prevalence, which must never be lost sight of the principle of adaptation or mutual fitness, existing alike in the natural, social, and moral world—in virtue of which there is a nice accuracy of adjustment, that leaves no chasm or fissure, and which will eventually make up, when all things are fitted into their places, a perfect whole. Selecting but one instance, and tracing it through all its analagous manifestations in the different departments we have adverted to, let us consider the gracious relation between weakness and strength, between dependence and support, between helplessness and help, whether as evinced in the tendrils of the ivy or the vine, clasping in close embrace the prop by which the feeble plant is upheld—in the fragile infancy of the animal and rational tribes, reposing on parental tenderness and parental strength, or, in its highest manifestation, the spirit of man, awakened, for the first time, to cry out, 'Woe is me, for I am undone! just at the moment when an Omnipotent arm is outstretched for his rescue. Without the sense of helplessness, on the one hand, there would be nothing fitting or appropriate in the proffered help, on the other. They who can walk are not to be carried—they who can walk alone are not to be led. Many who, in the time of health and peace, have great confidence in their own strength, and much assurance of their own good estate before God, may find, when death draws near, that their strength is weakness and their hope delusion. By way of illustration, we have heard of one who, in the pride of an unsubdued and selfdeceiving heart, disdained to admit the humbling fact of human inability to believe on the Saviour, and to do those things on the fulfilment of which all that is truly important to human weal depends. Flushed with a high conceit of the innate powers of the human soul, he passed from village to village, from hamlet to hamlet, from house to house, declaring, as he went, that in the matter of man's salvation, God had already done all that was to be done in every case. No further divine interposition was required; for in every soul he addressed, he assumed that there lay the latent power, which only needed to be aroused and excited, of embracing gospel offers and believing gospel truth, and to which there was no impediment that human power could not remove. One after another waked up from the dream of their easy slumber, as he passed along-gazed at him for a moment, smiled a glad acquiescence, proud to think their destinies were so entirely under their own control, their wills so much at their own bidding, and congratulating themselves that what they could do at any
time they need not do now, folded their hands, and closed their eyes, and again composed themselves to their dreamy slumbers, as the sound of his footsteps and vehement declamations died away. Many of them, we believe, continued to sleep on till they lifted up their eyes, being in torments. But we may not pause to inquire into the fate of the sleepers; for our course is with him who had lulled them, as he passed into this fatal torpor, as by the wafting of some poisoned breath, from the destroying angel's wing. Following his erratic wanderings, we find him at last in the grasp of fell disease. Life trembles in the balance-Death, ghastly death, confronts him, and, with his skeleton hand, seems about to open the portal of the spirit-world. He reels, he staggers—the ground sinks from beneath his feet-his boasted confidence gives way, just when he was needing to lean all his weight upon it for eternity. As the shades of the dark valley seem to gather around him, his lamp is going out—its flickering flame, quenched by the damps of that noisome atmosphere, expires as he advances into the thickening gloom, and he cries out in
agony of conviction and despair! We sketch no imaginary scene: it is a tale from real life. To meet the necessities, and, if possible, relieve the sufferings of body and mind, medical and spiritual aid were both called in. The physician skilfully arrested the ravages of disease; but the pastor strove in vain to pacify the tortured soul. • Dead! dead !' was his constant cry. "Yes; dead have I been, and dead am I still—dead, dead in trespasses and sins. I have been under a dreadful delusion, as I now see too clearly.' Think not of the past, but believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt live,' was the emphatic reply, the right christian counsel of the man of God. But, oh, it seemed to add mockery to misery. 'Believe! yes, if I could believe, all were indeed well. Believe easy for you to stand there and say, Believe! Sir, I cannot believe ; and yet unless I believe, I must perish! I know it_I know it all ; but with death on my right hand, and the devil on my left, and hell yawning beneath me, I cannot believe. I now, indeed, feel I can do nothing. O, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?' This was the point; here was the cry of helplessness wrung from his despairing lips; and the Helper was at hand. Help was laid upon One who was mighty—that cry brought him to the rescue, and the lawful captive was delivered. He received faith to be healed—be believed, because the Spirit touched him, and set him upon his feet-he leaped, he walked, and resolved, ere he came down from this bed of affliction, to be as zealous in proclaiming the absolute necessity of special grace, as he had once been in opposing it. His language to us all is : 'I was dead, and am alive again ; I was lost, and am found. Ye are dead
He that quickened me, can quicken you; he that found me, can find you; but except ye be quickened by him, and found by him, ye are dead—ye are lost for ever! Let no man, therefore, deceive you by flattering words, respecting the innate powers of the human soul. I was once thus deceived ; but, in the time of need, I found this doctrine to be a lying mockery-and so will you, sooner or later.'
ye are lost.
ETERNITY. What is Eternity to man, unto the souls of all Who are the death-doomed travellers of this terrestrial ball ? O thought exceeding ev'ry thought !—for thou wouldst speak a clime Where is no perishable thing, no root or branch of time, No ruins of antiquity, no dust, and no decay, Eternal night at once around-at once eternal day? Giants of fear, and dread, and awe, thou rousest in the mind, In garb of probeless mystery, in shape all undefined, Eternity, O how immense! how deep! how broad! how vast! Whose ages ererlasting roll when Time hath groan'd its last. Though near and nearing to thy coast life's voyage we pursue, What mortal eye can pierce the mists that hide thee from the view? And those of earth who are the sons once landed on thy shore, The great, the bold, whate'er they be, they can return no more.
Death, cver busy on our world, strides, slaying with his dart
He who all things created, he, the one eternal God,
The Method of the Divine Govern- into the inner sanctuary; but he then
mient, Physical and Moral. By the lets forth its full effulgence; and as it Rev. JAMES M.Cosu, A.M.Ed- is reflected from the crystalline inburgh : Sutherland and Knox, arches, and glittering walls of the 1850.
splendid, though damaged edifice,
the clear view thus furnished of the The modest title of this volume original beauty of the structure, the scarcely intimates the nature of its glory of its architect, its present dicontents. To some it might suggest lapidated state, and the condition of a common-place treatise on Divine its fallen and guilty inhabitants, Providence, and to others the dis- most strikingly exbibits the brightness cussion of some quisquis question and beneficence of that supernatural in ecclesiastical polemics. It is there- light by which it is now illuminated. fore with all the greater pleasure The volume is divided into four that the reader, on opening it, finds books. Their titles are, I. •A bimself introduced to a profound general view of the Divine Governand interesting disquisition on an im- ment as fitted to throw light on the portant department of natural theo- character of God.' 11. Particular logy, constituting at the same time, inquiry into the method of the Di. after the manner of Butler's Analogy, vine Government in the physical a powerful argument in behalf of the world. III. • Particular inquiry into truth of revelation. The harmony the principles of the human mind between scientific and revealed truth through which God governs manbas engaged the attention, particu- kind.' IV. “Results-the reconci. larly of late, of some of the most liation of God and man.' The argugifted and pious minds. Alive to the ment of the author is twofold: an obvious fact, that neither can that analysis of the government of God, theology be sound which dreads the as displayed in those physical laws by development of any department of which he governs the material world ; God's works, nor that philosophy and in those mental and moral phenosuccessful wbich, in attempting to mena which distinguish the present penetrate the arcana of the physi, condition of man. From both these cal and moral world, would reject sources separately, as well as from the aid of a volume dictated by its their mutual relations, he not only author, they have devoted all iheir draws, with the ordinary writers on energies to the interesting demonstra- natural theology, many beautiful tion, that the truths of science and illustrations of the Divine perfections, of holy scripture have one common
but also deduces many pregnant origin, and shed a most benign and proofs that man is at present under satisfactory light upon one another. a peculiar state of discipline-that
In this field our author has shown both his own moral condition, and himself a most able and successful the physical laws to which he is sublabourer. He enters the temple of ject, plainly imply a state of restraint science, (with the penetralia of and forbearance; and applying to this which he shows himself intimately independent but indistinct represenacquainted,) not like the mere philo- tation the clear light of the word of sopher groping in the dark, or God, like a key to an intricate lock, availing himself only of the few he at once explains the mysteries of scattered rays of Nature's light which man's actual condition, and estabpenetrate through the crevices; but lishes the divine origin of that blesscarrying the torch of Divine revela- ed volume by which the discovery is tion in his hand. Like the guides fully made. into the celebrated grotto of Anti
The volume displays great powers patros, he veils indeed its light for a of metaphysical research, and extentime, till he has conducted his readers sive acquirements both in physical
and mental philosophy. The author ciples to the old reflection, that they is at home in both departments of have all the gnarls of the oak, withhis argument. He seems, however, out its strength-all the contortions to have spent his strength upon the of the sybil, without her inspirafirst, and perhaps has given it com- tion,' our author has imbibed, not paratively an undue place. But the manner, but the spirit, of his though we could have desired that
His fancy is enhe had enlarged more upon the other tirely his own, chaste, unaffected, and richer field, we know not what and always appropriate; and, like portion of this we could have wished the author of the Theory of Moral omitted. With a power of philoso- Sentiments, the charm of his style phical analysis which we have never throws an air of peculiar attraction seen surpassed, he has taken to pieces, around an abstruse subject; and, alas it were, the laws of nature, and luring to its study the admirer of shown that they not only furnish the genuine taste, will reward him with most conclusive evidence of an ever- something more substantial than a present and all-powerful Deity, but baseless theory. that they exhibit him as adjusting As a specimen, we insert the folall departments of the mundane sys- lowing, selected at random. It is tem to the present condition and for from Book II., chapter ü., section the appropriate discipline of those 5th, entitled, “Practical influence of intelligent and moral creatures by the various views which may be taken whom
it is presently occupied. We of Divine Providence.' After deconsider as particularly happy his scribing Atheism, which sees God in beautiful analysis of Causation, in none of his works-Pantheism, which which, in opposition to the pantheis- confounds him with the principle of tic, or rather atheistic, sentiment, order discovered in all his workswhich, by referring all things to fixed Superstition, which sees him only in and general laws, would exclude the some of his works, and forms a very Deity from the management of his imperfect and distorted idea of him own world, he shows that what are -and a sound and enlightened Faith, called general laws are mere adjust- which sees him in all the discoveries ments, which imply in each individual which he has made of himself, and case the presence and agency of a forms a correct and intelligent view superintending and intelligent agent. of him, he thus contrasts these dif
The style of the work is beautifully ferent sentiments :appropriate. Simple, clear, and pure, like a mountain stream, it seems to
“The error of the atheist arises from his bring the profoundest deeps over
not observing the footsteps of a designing which it flows to the very surface,
mind in the heavens and earth without and place their treasures within the
us, or of a Governor and Judge in the reach of the observer. It is that
moral sense or law within us. The error
of the pantheist does not consist in his stream, however, after it has descen
contemplating the laws of nature, so ded to the quiet valley, unbroken by
exact and so beautiful, but in refusing to cataracts and rapids, save where the look beyond them to a wise, an intelligent, ripple, occasioned by the introduction a righteous, and benevolent Being, who of some happy figure, at once enlivens not only gave to matter all its laws, but its flow, and throws light on its sub- all its arrangements also, and uses them ject. Nothing, in fact, pleases us for the furtherance of moral ends. The more, in perusing the volume, than error of the superstitious man consists in the variety and felicity of the author's
his seeing God only in those events which
are fitted to startle his fears or stir his imagery. As a distinguished pupil of Dr Chalmers, we would have ex
fancy, while he pays no regard to other pected from him not a little of the
portions of God's works reflecting no less
clearly the perfections of his character. play of fancy; but, entirely free of
The atheist closes his eyelids, and asserts the servile imitation which has ex- that there is no God, because he will not posed not a few of the Doctor's dis- open his eyes to behold the traces of him.