of the noble chancellor affected an abstract and speculative refinement.

A similar subtlety is couched under Lord Bacon's Idols of the Den, which in practice are again reducible to the “complexions and custom” by which individual character is modified, and sometimes so “ cabined, cribbed, confined," as to render expedient the warning, “ that he who studies nature should distrust those things which he is accustomed to contemplate with delight.” So far correction is possible;-we may resist effectually, if we will, what Roger Bacon denominates consuetudinis diuturnitas — but there is a personal character given to every man, and included in Lord "Bacon's phrase, of which no man can rid himself; a character, perhaps, previous to his birthor even the embryo organization-an antecedent spiritual personality to which all material configurations are only so many approximations, and what we recognise as an individual's genius is the nighest approach.

In the two remaining biases both Bacons stand on the same level: the vulgar prejudices of the market-place, and the theatrical prejudices of philosophic schools, are hindrances which can and ought to be removed; and relative to which, the attempt militates nothing against those antecedent and prior laws which make the human mind what it is, and which are for us the only tests of scientific truth. We have, however, already observed that we should be upon our guard how we receive to its full extent the sweeping condemnation of the Aristotelian and scholastic modes, which pervades the writings of both Bacons, but the later most. Roger Bacon, indeed, professes the utmost reverence for the genuine works of Aristotle; and limits his censure to the Arabic versions, and the corrupt copies then in use. It would be to submit to the slavery of a new school, and, in so doing, to violate one of its own first principles—i. e. to worship the idola theatri therein-to condemn the schoolmen without inquiry, solely on the authority of either Bacon, or of both. We have not so learned the experimental philosophy; and we therefore feel qualified to admire whatever is excellent in speculations often profound and subtle, though sometimes frivolous and fantastic. Our task at the present juncture, as we have already indicated, is to correct a tendency in the opposite direction, and to recall the mind to the forms of thought from the almost exclusive search after the phenomena of matter. Connected with the genesis and growth of Protestantism, we cheerfully advocate the claims and use of inductive science; but it

may be, that both have hitherto been fortified in extreme opinions as the only method of correcting the opposite tendencies which they were divinely appointed to counteract. But, in resisting the heresy of Rome, the Protestant does not necessarily surrender his belief in a “holy catholic and apostolic church;"

and, indeed, the expediency becomes daily more and more evident, that the Protestant should assert the great principle of the reality of such a church, and insist upon his own being acknowledged as the purest embodiment of it which the world has yet seen.

Thus it is that already signs are apparent of the restoration of that equilibrium which has so long been disturbed. Sooner or later, we are prophetically instructed, that it is in the economy of Providence this result shall be produced. In like manner there is no reason to doubt, but that all the apparent contradictions of philosophy and science are capable of solution and reconciliation; and that all methods of inquiry, whether à priori or à posteriori, have a tendency to conduct the human mind finally to firm and immutable principles. If one mode is expedient for the corroboration, the other is clearly necessary for the discovery of laws. If one fact were not sufficient to suggest an idea of the kind-or if, when suggested, man must wait until all the applicable phenomena were produced— Newton would in vain have conceived the theory of gravitation, or rather would have failed to conceive it altogether. We are convinced that the time is at hand when scientific men will be able to declare that the great classes of facts are sufficiently determined; and that the laws of physics should henceforth be contemplated with reference to the mental conformation, in order to their more complete solution. The noblest of all sciences, that of selfknowledge, will then again have its professors and disciples; who, being taught by the experience and the mistakes of past ages, will effectually distinguish the practical from the speculative, the moral from the intellectual—and, without separating either from the other, maintain the order of the faculties, and arrive at the due appreciation and proper use of all those " high capacious powers,” which hitherto, comparatively speaking, have lain “ folded up in man.” When that time arrives, it will be witnessed that even our errors have had their use, and that the folly of the creature has been the wisdom of the Creator.

ART. IV.-The Refutation of Nonconformity on its own

professed Principles. By the Rev. È. C. KEMP, M. A. Parts I. and II. Whitaker and Co. London.

WHY is it, we have often reflected, that moral and religious truths, depending upon a chain of presumptive evidence for their proof, will invariably meet with opposition and cavil, and be received with every degree and variety of belief, from the lowest point of incredulity where a thing is judged barely possible, to . that state of infallible conviction which merges doubt in faith? A man shall possess that unhesitating reliance on the testimony of others in pure mathematics, of which he may be lamentably

deficient in all that concerns his eternal welfare. He would not perhaps scruple to adopt, as a link in the chain of his geometrical conviction, a theorem of Archimedes, although he has no leisure to examine it for himself, and no grounds whatever for supposing it free from paralogisms, save faith in his authority; but that higher faith which compasses the revelation from above is a stranger to his soul,--the evidence which is invariably not to be impugned: and every individual who chooses to examine into it will come to the same conclusion, and on the same grounds. It is really remarkable, the different impression which moral truth will make upon men; presenting a clear light to some, which, by illustrating their duty, makes it attractive to them—whilst unto others it has all the character of a distressing and irksome glare, which irritates and arms their fury against it, till it seems to blind their eyes by its intensity; as there are plants which are sure to wither away if too directly exposed to that sun, which gives vitality and beauty to the vegetable world. To what is this remarkable distinction in the nature of moral and mathematical proof to be attributed ? In the apostolic age, christian martyrs have welcomed the stake in as firm belief of the incarnation of the WORD, and of the life and immortality thereby brought to light, as ever they might entertain of the three angles of a triangle equalling two right angles. How could those flames hold out any terrors, which were only an avenue to the bosom of their Lord and Saviour ? In the midst of the conflagration they chaunted their hallelujahs; and Hope, without a shadow of misgiving, would steep her wings in the bliss of paradise. They beheld the “ Truth"—that light from Heaven, figured by the star which appeared to the wise men, and the only object here below, worthy the cares and researches of mankind. Such was the virgin singleness of heart, such the fervour, with which the faith of Christ was embraced during the first centuries of his dispensation; but ages have since intervened, and the spirit hath wofülly evaporated. What an infinite variety of opinion in all the stages of belief and unbelief must have existed from the hour when the first martyr, “ full of the Holy Ghost,” “ saw Jesus standing on the right hand of God,” and called upon him as God to receive his spirit, -to the days of Priestley and Tom Paine! And yet the word of God cannot be inconsistent with itself: the truth of the Almighty is and must ever be the same: what was the fact in morals and religion and belief eighteen hundred years ago, is true in morals and religion and belief at this day. Truth, in the hour that St. Stephen “fell asleep," must have been one and the same with truth when he, who made the Scriptures his jest-book, wrote the impious inscription, Deo erexit Voltaire. The arch-infidel, any more than “ the synagogue of the libertines,” could never question the relation of an antecedent to its consequent in a series of equal ratios. How is it, we repeat, that mathematical evidence hath this advantage over

We are

moral, when the singleness of the truth must be the same in both cases. It is as impossible that there should be two ways of interpreting the scope and design of the Almighty, and both right, whether in the Bible or the newer revelation, as that there can be two products of an arithmetical equation. There is no question, ifany man, by inspiration or an elaborate process, were to strike out some important result in figures, that all the world would be unanimous in certifying the truth; and yet, although" indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” are threatened “unto them that are contentious," and do not suffer themselves to be guided into all truth by the Holy Ghost-and that truth be the same at this day as when St. Stephen testified for it unto death-still do men differ respecting it, as if it bore a myriad of appearances, as if the knowledge of the truth were not solemnly enjoined on the disciples of Jesus, and as if they were not told “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'

We must request the reader to cast his eye back to the query we set out with, although, if he shall discern our drift, it will be, we fear, a force d'ennuyer. He will, however, favour us with his patient attention, while we attempt to elucidate our argument and to show its cogency.

Why should there be this distinction between moral and mathematical proof?

aware of the answer ever ready on the lip of the smatterer of a college, who with selfcomplacency raises his brow and shrugs his shoulder at our simplicity. We shall not, however, indulge him with the solution of the schools, but favour him with our own view of the matter. The truths which admit of being demonstrated after a mathematical process are to be worked out by the operation of the HEAD, whilst every moral certainty is the highest link in the chain of probability, but which cannot be brought to quadrate with aught in the understanding of another. Its proof must be involved in its own perception, and can only be reached by the feelers of the heart. Now we all know that “ the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” It will, if it be possible, obstinately close itself to conviction. is not merely the headstrong will, but the passions that require to be silenced ere we can hearken to the voice of truth. To indulge a single vicious inclination (and how few do not!) were insensibly to bias us to reject or misrepresent whatever is inconsistent with it; and any hope of that illumination, without which no man can apprehend aught to good purpose, will be out of the question. “ None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." Dan. xii. 10.

There is this specialty in moral and spiritual evidence which can have no place in the demonstration of the mathematical affections, magnitude and figure. We are taught that an upright heart is an indispensable preliminary to receiving divine truths,

NO. 1.-VOL. II.


Unless we turn unto the Lord with all our heart, and be wholly inclined unto him-unless our souls be offered up as a whole burntoffering without a particle of mental reservation,

and unpolluted by a single hypocritical equivocation, we shall, however we may flatter ourselves, be as much abroad as ever was Pilate, when startled, but not enlightened, he demanded, “ What is truth?" Whosoever would make a compromise of Christ and Belial in his heart, utterly incapacitates himself for understanding “ the doctrine whether it be of God.” It is not possible for us ever to arrive at the truth of salvation, or feel what God hath done for us, and what he requires of us, until our hearts be first reformed, and thenceforth“ be kept with all diligence.” Only the man that is of God understandeth with the heart, and therefore is of the truth, and apprehendeth the truth, and heareth the voice of Jesus.“ It is he that gives us an understanding heart, but we must first consider what he hath done for us.”

It is thus that, whilst mathematical demonstration is apprehended in the same single point of view by the weakest and the strongest intellect, by the worst or the best of the human race—there being neither degrees of evidence nor degrees of belief-the certainties of faith or the truths of Holy Writ can only be seized by that exquisite taet, the antenne of the heart, which, be it remembered, cannot consist with bitter envyings and strife. The wisdom that is from above is peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy; and the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. It wiủ be easily perceived what a vast majority of the descendants of the apostate Adam must, by the above definition, be excluded from the knowledge of the truth. But if there be a body of men in the country against which more than another the text of the apostle would seem to be pointed, it is composed of the numerous sects of nonconformists, who, of whatever discordant elements composed, have banded themselves together in a wicked confederacy (sceleratæ consensionis fides) for the prostration of the Establishment, the dissevering of that connexion between Church and State whereby a mutual benefit is conferred; and by which the former sanctifying, so to speak, the polity of the latter, gives dignity and stability, and receives protection in return. Over the outworks of the Establishment is flung the broad shield of the nation, securing her ecclesiastical rights, and preserving to the people free from fluctuation and caprice a great system of spiritual instruction.

From this Church, according to whose lovely ritual their fathers for the most part offered up the sacrifice of a contrite heart, and which will (it is our fervent aspiration!) hereafter witness the worship of their children and of their children's children, it hath seemed meet to a large section of the people to dissent. “ These be murmurers, complainers, makers of

« ForrigeFortsett »