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and fatiguing us with its miserable paper, and its more miserable type, it does credit, as this one does, to the press of our country.
Little's Three Sermons.
We have read with much satisfaction a lately published pamphlet, containing three sermons on the Sacred Origin, and Divine Authority of the Jewish and Christian Religions, argued from their internal Evidences, by the Rev. Robert Little of Washington. The arguments adduced, on this subject, are well selected, and forcibly urged.
The proof of the divinity of the Jewish dispensation is rested, as we conceive, on its only true ground. We are not required to go, book by book, and chapter by chapter, through the history, and writings of the Jews, and prove that every word is correct, and every deed is as it should be, and show, beside, the causes and the reasons of every thing that is said and done. It is impossible that such a task should be accomplished. We do not know half enough of the language, the manners, the situation, and the wants of that people to be qualified to enter into these minute explanations; though we are aware that it has been often attempted, and, considering all things, with good success. we have only to prove, and prove it we can, that there are certain marks, deep and broad, which indubitably manifest the immediate direction, and agency, and care, of the Supreme Being, in the Jewish dispensation; and then we are permitted, and indeed obliged, to infer, that every subordinate part of it must be in consistence with his goodness and wisdom. The simple fact that God was known to the Jews in his unity, his infinite and unrivalled power, and his matchless perfection; known, in short, as he was known to no other nation on the earth; would be quite proof enough for us, that the same God revealed himself to them, and was the author of their law.
The points insisted on in the two first of these sermons, which treat of the Jewish Religion, are comprised under the following heads. First, The pure and correct theology taught in their books, and maintained by their public and earliest institutions, is a presumptive evidence of supernatural aid. Secondly, The sublime devotional services of the Jewish Church, and thirdly, The prophetical anticipations with which these writings abound, justify similar inferences.
We have just received a valuable sermon, on The Duty of Public Usefulness, preached by the same gentleman, in Washington, on Sunday, February 16th, in the hall of the House of Representatives.
At Harvard, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, Jan. 1st, the Rev. IR. HENRY Thomas BLANCHARD was ordained over the Congregational Society in that place. Rev. Mr. Allen, of Bolton, made the Introductory Prayer; Rev. President Kirkland preached the Sermon; Rev. Mr. Foster, of Littleton, made the Consecrating Prayer; Rev Mr. Norton, of Weymouth, gave the Charge; Rev. Dr. Thayer, of Lancaster, addressed the Society; Rev. Mr. Osgood, of Sterling, gave the Right Hand of Fellowship; and Rev. Mr. Damon, of Lunenburg, made the Concluding Prayer.
The Evils of decrying Human Nature. INCULCATE the doctrine, that our nature is thoroughly and entirely vile; that all the affections which spring from it must partake of the impurity of their origin; that a debasing selfishness, under a thousand disguises, is the main and only principle of human action, so that however men's outward conduct may differ in appearance, still it all springs from the same corrupt principle; and what will be the probable influence of such representations?-Favourable to virtue, or otherwise?
It should clearly be the object of every one, who would raise the standard of virtue, and the tone of moral feeling in the community, to cause the distinction between virtue and vice to appear as wide as possible; to have it thought, that, even in this life, the good are divided from the bad by a mighty gulf. But the tendency of the representations just given, must be to confound this distinction altogether; for what distinction does it leave us to make between the good man and the bad man, except, indeed, that the good man is the greater deceiver of the two? Tell a young man, just coming into life, that all this talk about moral sentiments and moral feelings is a sham, a mere pretence to gull the weak and simple; that it is sordid interest alone that governs all men, the best as well as the worst of them;—and are these the representations that are to form him to high and noble resolves? Or, rather, will they not dispose him to meet the world as it is represented, on its own ground, and on its own principles; or at least produce in him a moral scepticism and heartlessness, that must be fatal to the growth and expansion of the higher virtues? Even if it were true, that there is no such thing as virtue in the world, and that it has no foundations in human nature, still it would be most ruinous to divulge it; for in order to persuade men to assume even the appearance of virtue, we must first convince them of its reality. It may be said of virtue as of God whoever would come to her, must first believe that she is.
We object, likewise, to the degrading representations of human nature, because we think them likely to destroy in man that self respect, which all must allow to be one of the most important and necessary safeguards of virtue. Could we give but two directions to guide men through life, the first should be Stand in awe of thy God;—and the second should be "like unto it”-Stand in awe of THYSELF. Indeed, what is it but a regard to this last injunction, that keeps us back from most excesses and immoralities? It is not so much a fear of God, nor of the laws, nor of public opinion, as it is a sense of character, a fear of ourselves, a secret and constant reference to the divinity within, a consciousness that the action would be unworthy of us, and would degrade us in our own eyes.
Clearly, therefore, it should be the object of every enlightened moralist, to heighten this sense of character, this feeling of a superior nature, this consciousness of moral and intellectual dignity. But how is he to do this? Not, we should think, by insisting on the doctrine, that our natures are corrupt, radically and to the very core; leaving us to understand, and, indeed, continually reminding us, that there is nothing so low and vicious, but we may do it without descending; that there is nothing so corrupt and debasing, but we may indulge in it, and yet act in perfect character; in short, that there is nothing of which we should be ashamed, because there is nothing so bad as ourselves. We speak not now of the improbability of such a doctrine, but of the generally bad tendency of such representations of human nature; and, if they have any tendency, must it not be bad? Teach a man to think meanly and contemptibly of himself, to cast off all sense of character, and all consciousness of a superior nature, and moral suasion can no more act upon such a man, than if he were dead. A man may be addicted to many vices, and yet there may be a hope of reclaiming him. But the moment he loses all sense of character, and all consciousness of a superior nature, that is, the moment he begins to look upon himself and his vices as worthy of one another, that moment all hope of reclaiming him perishes; for the last ground is surrendered, on which it is possible for his remaining good principles to rally, and make a stand. We have often known men who have retained their self respect, long after they had lost their regard for principle; but never one, who