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GENIUS AND DESIGN
BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON.
Respice, Aspice, Prospice.
Some individuals, who have professed to look deeply into the structure of human society, tell us that analogy has much in store for man ; because, though it is not infallible, it is that powerful engine or telescope of the mind, by which it is marvellously assisted in the discovery of both physical and moral truth. The great expectations which are entertained, they would found upon the extraordinary discoveries which have been made in physics, under the guidance of analogy: that powerful engine, they say, in the mind of a Newton, having discovered to us the laws of other worlds; and in that of Columbus, having put us in full possession of our own. “ Shall some discoveries in physics,” it has then been said, “ be so important as to produce a complete revolution in society, and others so powerful, that the very inventors of them have not as yet dared to apply them ; and shall not discoveries in morals be allowed a still more paramount and universal influence an influence the greater in proportion as matter is inferior to mind?” Under the influence of these anticipations, says the same individual, “ I foresee the period when some new and parent idea in morals, the matrix of a better order of things, shall reconcile us more completely to God, to nature, and to ourselves.”
Between discoveries in physics, and, what have been called, morals, there is, unquestionably, one strong analogy—that they are new only to us; all such discoveries being merely the observation of what has been true, from the beginning of the creation. To this parent idea in morals, therefore, many will not object, if it is shewn to be older than the
ages tions and cities, and if it involves nothing more than what has been already revealed by God in his word; just as all discoveries in physics, though not sooner observed, acquire peculiar interest from the conviction, that the same objects had been before the eyes of all preceding generations. At the same time, never let it be forgotten, that there is one material distinction between, not only the investigation, but the effects of discovery, in physics and in morals. Discoveries in the former are often flattering to human vanity, and conducive to the comfort or convenience of this transitory life only. Morals, if phey deserve the name, carry us above the starry firmament, and point beyond the grave; and in morals, since man has thrown off his allegiance to God, any discovery, if we may so speak, must be expected, not only to remind him of his apostacy, or rebellious disposition, but to be resisted by all the vicious propensities of our nature;
and before it can meet with a practical attention, it must be accompanied or followed by an influence from above-precisely the same quarter from whence the Revelation of God itself has come.
Yes, all the discoveries which man can make, or expect, in morals, are already before his eye, in the pages of divine revelation; and although “ he who believes the Scripture to have proceeded from Him