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to want a leg, are equally objects of moral disapprobation—that adultery must be practised if a man would acquire all the advantages of life-that if generally practised, it would in time cease to be scandalous, and that if practised secretly and frequently, it would by degrees come to be no crime at all." Look at Godwin. In his Political Justice, he walks by the light of expediency; and where does it conduct him? "The maxim," says he, "that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, though possessing considerable merit as a popular principle, is not modelled with the strictness of philosophical accuracy." He maintains, that, if our neighbor is more worthy, or useful than ourselves, we ought to love him better-ought to prefer, for example, his life before our own, and that on the same principle, if we had to choose between saving the life of a Fenelon, or the life of our own mother, we should prefer the former, if his life were of the most importance to the world! He insists further, that gratitude, "a principle, which has been so often the theme of the moralist, and the poet, is no part either of justice or virtue"-that "men have no rights" that promises, absolutely considered, are an evil, and stand in opposition to the wholesome exercise of an intellectual nature"-that "oaths of allegiance being surperfluous promises, their imposition is atrociously unjust, and the breach of them, peculiarly susceptible of apology" and that "treaties of alliance, are, in all cases wrong." In fine, as if to sum up the glories of expediency in a single proposition he declares, that "all human laws are unjust, and tyrannical." "Who," he asks, "has authority to make laws. -to exercise that tremendous faculty of prescribing to the rest of the community, what they are to perform, and what avoid." The answers to these questions he adds, " are exceedingly simple. Legislation, as it has been usually understood, is not an affair of human competency." "Law tends no less than creeds and catechisms, to fix the mind in a stagnant condition, and to substitute a principle of permanence in the room of that increasing perfection which is the only salubrious element of mind." On this subject "the language of reason is plain. Give us equality and justice, but no constitution." And anticipating a time when such constitutions shall be for ever done away, he breaks out in the exclamation: "With what delight must every well-informed friend of mankind look forward to that auspicious period, the dissolution of political government-that brute engine which has been the perennial cause of the vices of mankind, and which has mischiefs of various sorts incorporated with its very substance, and not otherwise to be removed than by its utter annihilation !"
Such then is the doctrine of expediency; or in the language of our own day and of a large and growing school of writers, such is Utilitarianism, the philosophy which resolves all actions into self-interest as the motive, making public utility our rule of life. We have spoken of it as furnishing a ground of duty; and also as affording a criterion or standard by which we are to estimate all actions. We have endeavored to test its truth by comparing its principles with the native dictates of the human heart and with the unalterable truths of history. In tracing its consequences on the speculations of its defenders, and on the state of ancient and modern society we have submitted it to its own ordeal, the ordeal of utility. We have followed it out to its bold results in the writings of a Godwin and a Hume, as well as to its timid developments in the equivocal suggestions and partial licenses of the Christian divine. Such as it is we commend it to the study of our readers. Before they adopt it in form or in substance, let them as they would cherish in their hearts a pure and lofty morality, weigh well the principles of this system. Let them guard alike against its more plausible and its more odious developments. In this age of utility, when we are so frequently measured only by our success or our popularity, the approaches of such a philosophy are equally insidious and constant. It is at such a time then, that we ought to cling most closely to the good, though old-fashioned, philosophy of our Bibles-the philosophy, which builds its authority on the moral constitution that God has given us, and on the essential and immutable difference between right and wrong. Instead of sending us abroad over the earth to calculate tendencies and possibilities, this philosophy bids us turn our eye homeward, and consult, with reverence, the dictates of the monitor within. In order to enlighten, and strengthen, and quicken these dictates, it offers us the aid of divine teaching and divine influence. It demonstrates, too, that while duty and happiness are distinct and independent, they are still perfectly coincident; and that we are never so sure of the latter as when thinking little of it, and intent chiefly, if not wholly, on the former, we give ourselves to the service of our race and of our God.
Love thyself last-cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace
To silence envious tongues. Be just and fear not;
ART. III.-The Life of the Rev. John William Fletcher, Vicar of Madeley. By the REV. ROBERT Cox, A. M. First American edition: with an introduction, and a selection from the correspondence of Mr. Fletcher. By the REV. GEORGE A. SMITH, M. A. Philadelphia: George and Byington. 1836. 12mo. pp. 240.
"No age or country has every produced a man of more fervent piety, or more perfect charity; no church has ever possessed a more apostolic minister." It is thus that Mr. Southey, in his life of Wesley, speaks of Fletcher; and we well remember, when long ago reading that work, how our admiration was excited, and our heart warmed by the record of the self-denying labors of that great apostle of Methodism, and his associates. But among all the examples of Christian devotedness which are there given, none are more striking or beautiful than that contained in the sketch of Mr. Fletcher. Years have since passed away, and although most of the impressions made at that time, have been worn away and forgotten amidst the bustle and cares of this busy world, yet it was not so with our recollections of this eminent servant of God. Whenever we met with his name in other works, it has borne to our mind a feeling of pleasure, produced by the remembrance of his exalted holiness and unwearied exertions in his Master's cause. It was, therefore, with high raised expectations that we sat down to the perusal of his life by Mr. Cox; and we are happy to say, that our hopes were not disappointed. We found it to be an admirable delineation of that devoted Christian's character, and a work every way rich in spiritual instruction: and we think we shall do well in bringing it before the notice of our readers. "If any thing," says Mr. Le Bas, "can rally our fainting energies in times which savor so rankly of things that be of men,' it is the contemplation of noble and elevated examples of heroism and self-devotion, displayed in support of the things that be of God.'"
Jean Guillaume De La Flechere, or as he was called in England, John William Fletcher, was born at Nyon, in Switzerland, in the year 1728. His father, who had been a general officer in the French service, belonged to a respectable Bernese family, and was a descendant of a noble house in Savoy.
Even in childhood, the young Fletcher gave tokens of seriousness quite unusual at that age. The fear of God, appears to
have been blended with all his feelings, and to have exerted a constant influence over his actions.
After going through the usual course at the college at Geneva, he was sent by his father to Senzburg, where he re mained some time, engaged in the study of German and Hebrew. Until this period, his views had been directed to the church, for the service of which he was, in the opinion of his friends, well qualified by his love of study and his natural seriousness of disposition. At the age of twenty, he, however, abandoned these intentions, the reason of which change he gives in these words :—_
"From the time I first began to feel the love of God shed abroad in my heart, (I think at seven years of age,) I resolved to give myself up to God and to the service of his church, if ever I should be fit for it: but the corruption which is in the world, and that which was in my heart, soon weakened, if not erased, those first characters which grace had written upon it. However, I went through my studies with the design of going into orders; but afterwards, feeling I was unequal to so great a burthen, disgusted by the necessity I should be under to subscribe to the high Calvinism of the Geneva article, and disap proving of entering upon so sacred an office from any secular motives; I yielded to the desire of those of my friends who advised me to enter into the army."
But God had determined otherwise with regard to his future course, and after holding a commission for a short time, first in the Portuguese, and then in the Dutch service, the return of peace induced him to retire from military life. It was at this time that he resolved to visit England. His journey, undertaken, we are told, "partly from a desire after further improvement in literature, and partly from a hope of obtaining some situation for his support in life," was, in the wise arrangements of Providence, the cause of his being brought under a religious influence which changed his whole career in life. His first care on reaching that country, was to acquire the language, which he studied with assiduity for eighteen months. At the expiration of this period, the slender state of his finances, in consequence of his being a younger son, induced him to seek a situation which would relieve him from the necessity of being burdensome to his friends, and he accordingly engaged himself as tutor in the family of Mr. Hill, M. P. for Shrewsbury, who resided at Fern Hall, in the parish of Atcham.
With this change of situation commences the spiritual life of Mr. Fletcher. "His devotion had hitherto been rather a paroxysm than a habit; and his piety a latent principle, which, though readily called into action, not unfrequently remained
VOL I.-NO. I.
dormant, or, when employed, was found unequal to its office." His religion, in truth, had been wanting in steadiness and efficiency. It was only a feeling, instead of being a principle of action. But the time was at hand, when the spirit of God was to visit him in its power,-expanding his views, and warming his heart. We will leave him, however, to describe his own feelings as they are portrayed in a letter to his brother:
"At eighteen years of age I was a real enthusiast: for, though I lived in the indulgence of many known sins, I considered myself a religious character, because I readily attended public worship, made long prayers in private, and devoted as much time as I could spare from my studies to reading the prophetic writings, and a few devotional books. My feelings were easily excited, but my heart was rarely affected; and, notwithstanding these deceitful externals, I was destitute of a sincere love to God, and consequently to my neighbor. All my hopes of salvation rested on my prayers, devotions, and a certain habit of saying, 'Lord, I am a great sinner, pardon me for the sake of Jesus Christ.' In the mean time I was ignorant of the fall and ruin in which every man is involved, the necessity of a Redeemer, and the way by which we may be rescued from the fall, by receiving Christ with a living faith. I should have been quite confounded if any one had then asked me the following questions taken from the Holy Scriptures: Do you know that you are dead in Adam? . Do you live to yourself? Do you live in Christ and for Christ? Does God rule in your heart? Do you experience that peace of God which passeth all understanding? Is the love of God shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit? I repeat it, my dear brother, these questions would have astonished and confounded me, as they must every one who relies on the form of religion, and neglects its power and influence. Blessed be God, who, through his abundant mercy in Christ Jesus, did not then call away my soul, when with all my pretended piety I must have had my portion with hypocrites, those clouds without water, those corrupt, unfruitful, rootless trees, those wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
My religion, alas! having a different foundation to that which is in Christ, was built merely on the sand; and no sooner did the winds and floods arise, than it tottered and fell to ruins. I formed an acquaintance with some Deists, at first with the design of converting them, and afterwards with the pretence of thoroughly examining their sentiments. But my heart, like that of Balaam, was not right with God. He abandoned me, and I enrolled myself in their party. A considerable change took place in my external deportment. Before I had a form of religion; and now I lost it. But as to the state of my heart, it was precisely the same.. I did not remain many weeks in this state; my change was too sudden to be permanent. I sought for a reconciliation with my Saviour; or rather, the good Shepherd sought after me, a wandering sheep. Again I'became professedly a Christian, that is, I resumed a regular attendance at Church and the communion,