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which corrected feeling places these writings, On this ground it is not the most irrefra. in a historical sense, far beyond the range gable verbal logic that will serve us ;-it is of doubt or question. Moreover, during no nicely worded propositions, put together this same period, several elaborate and in the most approved technical order, that highly ingenious endeavours to nullify the will help us at all. It must be a large, a historical evidence, or to reduce it to a cordial, and a genuine philosophy ;-it must cloudy condition, have signally failed; and be a true metaphysics; and this metaphysics these abortive attempts, spurned as they must be inclusive of the axiom that, to those are by the learned everywhere-in Germany who occupy a place as we do in this world, as in England — have been handed over in the midst of a system wherein evil so as a useful stock in trade to those inferior much abounds, the attainment of a point of writers and popular lecturers who contrive view toward which all lines might be seen to to earn a miserable subsistence, as the converge, is an achievement which should apostles of Atheism, among the common not be thought of as possible ;—for, to suppeople.
pose it attainable, is just to assume that disBut what, now, is the consequence of this order is only a form or a disguise of order, movement and of this advance? It has pro- and that evil is good. duced a feeling which may thus be put into It is in this sense, therefore, that Chalmers' words :-"As matter of history your Chris- Essay on the Christian Evidences, though it tianity is now granted you; we do not care will always be popularly available, and any more to encounter the argument on that though it may without any scruple be pat ground; and as to what is supernatural
, and into the hands of unsophisticated young perthe elimination of which from the historical sons, must fail to recommend itself to those element, is, as we allow, very difficult, we who are conversant with the course of abstain from expressing any distinct opinion thought at the present time, and who have concerning it; in fact, we do not trouble passed through the discipline of an intellectual ourselves either to frame or to defend any education. such opinion, even if we had formed one; But we have now to see in what manner we are in possession of no hypothesis, thereto Chalmers deals with these arduous antecedent relating, which altogether satisfies ourselves. questions. We look, therefore, to the two But granting, as we do, your Christianity in volumes of its historical aspect, and waiving the per- NATURAL THEOLOGY.---At the outset of an plexed question of its supernatural accom- argument which, if it is to bring conviction paniments, we must claim for ourselves the to an instructed reader, should be purely right to step back, or rather to ascend to a scientific in its method, and abstinently conhigher position of theological speculation. cise in its style, we have to regret those You must needs allow us this liberty, because faults of method and style which tax our you come to us asking our submission to the patience even when the author is not acting Christian Revelation on this very plea, as our guide in the region of abstract philonamely that it follows as a legitimate sophy; -we need scarcely say that we refer inference from the principles of Natural to his wonted method of cumulative and Religion. Be it so; but if it be so, then redundant illustration, and to his rhetorical, we must feel our way toward it, and we not to say factitious style. The pellucid must touch firm ground upon this specula- stream of thought, flowing without noise in tive path. Until we have reasonably dis- a channel that is well defined and not tortuposed of some formidable difficulties, and ous, is that to which the reader would until we have secured for ourselves a position willingly surrender himself in this region. ---somewhere short of Atheism, and short of Chalmers' course of thinking whirls itself Pantheism too, and short of a Deism that through many eddies, and hurries us onward rejects the moral attributes of the Creator- at a stormy speed; but too often he brings until we have achieved all these arduous us round to a spot which is at no perceptilabours, we must postpone altogether the ble distance from the point of departure. It Christian argument." This plea for an in- is these uninviting characteristics of his style definite adjournment of the question may, which must, as we imagine, confine his philoundoubtedly, be conclusively replied to; and sophical writings to a comparatively narrow it may be shown to be both insufficient and sphere ; – they are substantially valid in irrelevant. But such a showing is indispen- argument, and they may with entire confisable ; and in attempting it, regard must be dence be used for purposes of popular inhad to the depth and to the difficulty of the struction ;-we mean, they may be put into subject, as seen from the position which cul- the hands of intelligent and Christianly tivated minds have come into anew at this trained young persons; but they must not be present time.
brought forward when we have to do with those who are acute, accomplished, and In the fifth chapter, on" the Hypothesis thoroughly instructed.
that the world is Eternal,” that want of In the first chapter of this treatise—“On severe analytic reasoning which damages the distinction between the ethics of Theo- the preceding portion of the argument, leads logy, and the objects of Theology,”a true the author to risk the whole of it by stepping distinction is well stated and insisted upon. upon ground which must be judged to be at But a few pages might have sufficed for con- the best very precarious. "The Theistic veying it to the intelligent reader with pre- argument, as it stands opposed to Hume's cision. The illustrative comparison between sophism, is good, irrespectively of any the mathematics of astronomy, and the determination of the question concerning the observed facts of the science, is indeed per- world's origin in time, or its alleged eternity. tinent; but the four or five ideas which this We may state the case thus:- book which distinction and this illustration bring together, happens to be just now under my eye, may are, in this chapter, turned over and over have been produced last season, or a thousand, again with so unsparing a profuseness, that or five thousand years ago; or its origination they are made to fill as many as fifty-six may stretch out into the infinitude of past pages! This prefatory chapter, therefore, time; nevertheless, and whichsoever of these would at once discourage a reader whose suppositions I assume to be true, its pages babits of thinking are scientific, and whose let me open the book where I may, bring me literary taste is at all fastidious. A passage at once into correspondence and communion in the next chapter, which Chalmers quotes with another mind, namely, the mind of from John Foster, exhibits all the difference the author, and I find it to be a mind like my between his own order of mind and that of own in its constitution :-it is the same in its one who could be philosophical, even when rational structure, and it is like my own rhetorical; and who, when he amplifies, does also as to its tastes, and as to its sensibilities. so by exhausting his subject--not by holding The mind of the author, with which his book up some of its constituent ideas in twenty has brought me into this vivid correspondaspects that are nearly identical. The ence, must have been greatly superior to second chapter reiterates the argument of my own, as to its range of knowledge, and as the first, and might be listened to with to its powers, and as to the compass and elepleasure as a sermon; and indeed it would vation of its moral sentiment, for I cannot read well if condensed within the compass imagine myself to have written a book such of three paragraphs, prefatory to a philoso- as this;-and yet, now that it is written, and phical essay. It is after making our way now that it has come into my hand, every ihrough nearly a hundred pages that we page, every paragraph, and each line of it, come upon the real argument of the treatise. is intelligible to me; and it is so, although I
Nor have we gone far before we meet dare not flatter myself so far as to think with evidence of the author's peculiar powers that I could have written it; nevertheless, I of mind; as, for instance, in his exposition of may at least take to myself the consciousness the illusory quality of the à priori argument, of knowing that, as the reader of it, I am as propounded by Dr. S. Clarke. In this such a reader as the author himself would chapter, as well as in the next, wherein have wished for. In reply to my eager inHume's, atheistic doctrine is considered, the quiry-Who was the author or when did instructed reader may perhaps desire a he live? you may tell me perhaps that no stricter process of analytic reasoning; but one knows, or that he lived and died a undoubtedly it is robust good sense which is million years ago; or you may say that the here brought to bear upon a specious book itself has always been in existence, and sophism; and, bating some redundancies, is eternal. You do not mean the paper and and some repetitions of reasoning which the ink, for these are perishable, and are oceurs elsewhere, a substantial argument is even now, as appears, in course of decay. very effectively and powerfully presented. That, then, which is eternal, must be the Yet, in fact, available as these chapters are, thoughts—the feelings--the tastes—which (IV. and V.) it would be needful, if we were are therein embodied. What I hold in my directing the studies of well-informed young hand—the paper, is recent-is perishable, men, or of those who intend to become for it is material : but that which is impewell-informed, to shew them that the line rishable is the symbolized mind and soul of of reasoning pursued by Chalmers, when he the author : this, whencesoever it may have undertakes to be the critic of Hume, may be proceeded, allies itself instantaneously with presented in a manner which is much less my own mind, and claims kindred with it open to exception, and which may be brought irresistibly: with this mind and soul---with within less compass. This, in fact, has been this intelligence-with this feeling, I hold done by several recent writers.
communion-like with like commingling;
and this communion of spirits quickens, ele- as this; indeed he does grant it in other vates, expands my own faculties, intellectual places. as well as moral. But now I lay aside this very much of this Natural Theology, as book, and turn toward a greater book-even of his other writings, would be quite proper the Material Universe. Is the world—the in a popular lecture, or as a sermon, for it Cosmos-eternal? I do not know: but is substantial as well as impressive; but, in whether it has had its birthday or not, yet its actual form, the tendency of some parts let me open its pages where I may-and of it is to suggest an atheistic rejoinder to this is true of every page which hitherto I the mind of any reader whose habits of thinkhave been able to open and to read-it sheds ing are exact, and who is well informed in light upon my reason, and gives instantaneous abstract philosophy. There are young men energy to my thoughts : it kindles the intel- whose atheistic surmises would become lect, it kindles the noblest emotions; it ripened into absolute atheism while reading awakens tastes: every page of this Book of this treatise. In the first place, the frequent the World becomes to me, as I go on to repetitions are disheartening to those who read it, a new education, the study of it is a easily admit an idea if it be once expressed new life to the mind, to the heart, to the with perspicuity; and who are offended by imagination. In the study and contempla- its recurrence a dozen times in a single chaption of this material universe I am daily ter. A neat thinker takes all care (if he be abiding in the company of a Teacher whose composing a philosophical treatise) to conevery word is wisdom and goodness. Where vey his meaning, once for all, in the fewest does He dwell? I know only that “ He in- and in the best terms. But Chalmers, when habiteth eternity." He is not visible as the a notion or a doctrine strikes him as highly material world itself is visible; but that He important, and especially if he regards it is, I have evidence which is more copious, a as subversive of some serious popular error, thousand times, than any which I have of the is never content with a first, a second, a existence of other minds around me. If third, presentation of it: he must say the there be, indeed, any meaning in the noted same thing, in almost the same words, until axiom-“I think, therefore I am," there is the patience of the reader is fairly exhausted. the same meaning in this version of it, It would be easy, but not useful, to adduce other minds around me think, and therefore instances from the first and second chapters they are; that they do think, I have proofs of the second book, more than enough of numberless, and proofs as good as that which this kind. We should not now advert to it I take as evidence of my own existence. at all, if it did not seein to us seriously imBut if other minds exist, so does that Crea- portant to caution a certain class of readers tive Mind, with which I hold communion in against the mistake of supposing that wellthe material universe.
instructed theists at this time, would be conBut further : Chalmers risks more than he tent to abide by the issue of an argument should have risked, when he goes about to conducted in the manner of Chalmers, as make the theistic evidence of the origin of seen in his philosophical writings. the world rest upon the chronology of the Candid as he was, and superior to the Mosaic books. In doing this, he mis-states small jealousies of mere authorship, he would the case as to the Modern Geology. In-himself, we fully believe it, have allowed structed persons who maintain, as well as Paley's superiority to himself in respect of they may, the truth of the Bible-Geology style, and as to the mode of treating a suballowed, carefully abstain from a pugnacious ject of this kind : his eulogy of Paley constyle, as if they felt themselves, while stand- veys implicitly, almost explicitly, a dispaing on their own ground, to be confronted ragement of himself. Paley, he says, “atwith “Geologists." They well know, that tempts no eloquence; but there is all the what they have to do with, and what they power of eloquence in his graphic represenshould make room for in their religious be- tation of classic scenes and natural objects: lief is, not “the daring speculations of Geo- without aught of the imaginative, or aught logists,” but the incontestable facts of Geo- of the ethereal about him; but, in virtue of logy, and that to kick at geology can be no the just impressions which external things proof of wisdom. The modern astronomy make upon his mind, and of the admirable convinced our predecessors, that the Hebrew sense and truth wherewith he reflects them Scriptures are true, if only they are inter- back again, does our author, by acting the preted under the guidance of common sense. part of a faithful copyist, give a fuller sense The modern geology repeats this same les of the richness and repleteness of this arguson, although in other terms. Chalmers, in ment than is or can be effected by all the elaboanother mood, or if he were writing at this rations of an ambitious oratory." In his writtime, would readily have granted as much ings, “we have altogether a performance nei
ther vitiated in expression by one clause or departments of thought or of action with epithet or verbiage, nor vitiated in substance which he concerned himself, Chalmers apby one impertinence of prurient or mis- peared, first as the Champion, and then, and placed imagination.” To cite the entire in a secondary sense, as the Philosopher : passage which Chalmers generously devotes or we might say, he was the well-instructed to the praises of Paley, would be to bring Philosopher, just so far as was needful to forward a curious sample of his own over constitute his qualification as the Champion done style.
of religious principles, considered under their A passage which concludes the second philosophic aspect. It was in this manner book of this treatise, is noticeable, as being that he put forth the principal truths of the an instance, somewhat rare, we think, in the Christian system, as worthy of “all acceptaauthor's works, of his sympathy with those tion;" and thus also whatever relates to the saddened meditative speculations which sink welfare of men in society. In very few insome minds almost down to the abyss of stances, as we think, has he made any nodespair. We may, perhaps, find occasion ticeable contribution to science, strictly to recur to this passage." But it is, when speaking. But it was with instinctive sagathe course of his reasoning in this treatise city, and with a robust force, that he seized leads him upon the ground where he was upon whatever is of primary importance. always at home, that we find his great pow- As to truths already admitted—these he ers of thought and expression fully expanded, took up almost without scrutiny, concerning and this with such energy as to induce in the himself little with their constituent elements; reader a happy oblivion of everything but but he saw where they had got mingled with the writer's genius.
popular errors, and where they had suffered In the chapters “On the Supremacy of obscuration from the advances of a false phiConscience," as well as those which follow losophy; and then, with a high hand, he came on analogous subjects, Chalmers may have in to the rescue: he overthrew his oppobeen more or less indebted to his predeces- nents right and left, he cleared up popular sors, especially to bishop Butler, to whose misapprehensions, and came off with apsermons he makes a careful reference; but plause, and it was a well-earned applause. the staple of thought is his own, and these This, as we venture to affirm, is the light in chapters, occupied as they are with the which we should look at this great man's weightiest moral and theistic doctrines, pos- philosophic writings; they are powerful, sess a merit which ought to give them per- common-sense pleadings for certain momenmanence in this department of philosophic tous principles, which, in his day, had beliterature. Or, if this perpetuity be ques- come entangled, either popularly or learnedtionable, it must be on the ground of those ly, with errors that had crept over the nainterpolated discussions upon political or ec- tional mind through a period of spiritual clesiastical subjects, which the author's pecu- slumber. Chalmers, on behalf of a recovered liar opinions induced him to admit, and in Christianity, appears in the pulpit, and he admitting which, his vehement feelings over-rushes into the halls of universities to seize powered his sense of fitness. The "English and recover its own--for the Gospel. Poor Law," and the Tithe System of the It cannot be thought a good omen when a English Church,” hurry him away from the treatise, professedly scientific, opens in the prosecution of a lofty argument, and give a style of theologic animation, as thus "All polemical and an ephemeral aspect to a trea- must be aware of a certain rampant infitise in the perusal of which one class of delity which is now abroad.” A feeling of ideas--the moral and the theological, should, this kind, however warrantable it might be without distraction, have occupied the read in the Preacher, ill suits the Professor, and er's mind. A serious and a right-minded under its influence he will fail to do, from reader, when he comes on a sudden upon a the Chair, the work which might have been social question which is now quite obsolete, effectively done from the Pulpit, if the Chair relating to the stormy controversies of times had kept itself to its office--namely the congone by, is likely to throw the book aside in veyance of abstract truth, in a purely sciena fit of disgust. Yet in giving way to any tific style-condensed, unimpassioned, yet such impatience he would do himself a dis- not soulless. This “ rampant infidelity,” service; for the chapters which follow well which seemed ever present to Chalmers' deserve his careful attention. The several thoughts, whence had it come to darken topics which they treat of have been ably Scotland to so great an extent—a religiouslyhandled by recent writers; but if by sonie minded and piously-educated country? or with more precision, by none with more how was it that in Scotland, notwithstanding power.
the strictly-religious discipline through which MORAL AND MENTAL PHILOSOPHY.-I. all all men had passed in their boyhood, how
came it that so many of its brightest and dividual consciousness; as if to be the anatostrongest intellects had forsaken the religion mist of his own mental structure were his of their early homes, and had, some of them, only calling as a philosopher, Chalmers become the apostles of Atheism--noted as affirms the fact that -- especially as to the such throughout Europe ? An inquiry of emotions with which Ethical Philosophy has this sort had not presented itself to Chalmers' to do, the phenomena, themselves are gone, mind: the mere statement would have start- when they are thus subjected to scrutiny, led, and perhaps have angered him; but if and when the proper external excitement is he had been led by it to institute a compa- no longer present. While we are analysing rison between Scotland and England (eccle- an emotion, we are not feeling it - we are siastically considered) between Scotland and only recollecting something about it. Geneva, between Scotland and Germany- the ground of this incontestable fact, he de Calvinistic and Lutheran-his sagacity and mands that Moral Philosophy should be his stern integrity, and his high moral cou- made, far more than it has been; a science rage, might have brought him into a position of observation, and that its materials should to discern the root of the mischief, and to be sought for on the great theatre of comattempt a remedy; and thenceforward leav- mon life, and among the palpable realities ing "rampant infidelity” to run out its own of the open and busy world ; --not in the reckless course, and to work its own ruin, darkened closet of the recluse philosopher. he would have given his giant energy to the Brown and others, although exact thinkmore hopeful task of ridding his country and ers, have barely kept in view considerations so its Church of the thraldoms imposed upon essential as are those which Chalmers insists them in a dark and evil age.
upon is the first chapter of this treatise. How little he had allowed himself to look "To learn the phenomena of moral feeling, into things remote from his path, and in how the varieties of human life and character slender a degree he had made himself ac- must be submitted to its (the mind's) conquainted with the facts out of his range, ap- templation. In a word, it is the mind that pears in that passage of the preface to the is most practised among externals, which is Moral Philosophy (and again in the first most crowded with materials for the philochapter) in which he denounces at large the sophy of its internal processes ; -and we German Biblical Criticism : he seems to again repeat, that the way to be guided have misunderstood its quality and office; through the arcana of our subject is, not to yet we should keep in mind the fact, that a descend into mind as into a subterranean true discrimination, setting off the genuine vault, and then shut the door after us; but German criticism from the spurious, had to keep open communication with the light scarcely been effected, or even attempted, by of day, which can only be done by a perpetual the biblical scholars of his time.
interchange of notices between the world of Well and ably, in the first chapter, is the feelings that is within, and the world of important distinction between Ethical Sci- facts, and of illustrations, and of familiar exence and Intellectual Science, which in Scot- perience that is around us." Passages of land had been too little regarded, set forth and this order, and they are more than a few, defended. Throughout this treatise, what not merely give to this treatise a permanent might be called the independence of the value, but, on the ground of them, a claim moral element in human nature is boldly might be advanced on behalf of the author, affirmed ; bishop Butler's doctrine is stated as entitled to special commendation, when and elucidated, and Dr. Thomas Brown's placed in comparison with some of the leadsignal failures on this ground are pointed ers of the “Scotch Philosophy." out. In this respect the MORAL PHILOSOPHY The following chapters of this treatise has, and will continue to have, a substantial possess much substantial merit, and if they value : Chalmers here makes it his task to be perused as Essays on subjects intermedirectify the mistake of his distinguished pre- ate between Moral Philosophy and Christian decessors; of whom he justly says, that he Ethics, or as occupying a ground common “ does not see in the writings either of Stew- to both, they will be read with much satisart or Brown any tendency to restore these faction and great advantage. They suffer distopics (those of Moral Philosophy) to the paragement in the reader's esteem only. place and the pre-eminence which belong to when the volume is opened on the presumpthem.” A merit may also be claimed for tion that it is a strictly scientific disquisiChalmers, as compared with Brown (whose tion ;-viewed in this light, large portions proper merits he himself
, however, fully ad- which the plain Christain reader may think mits) on this ground, that whereas this acute the most instructive and the most « edifyanalyst is always throwing himself back ing,” will, to the well-informed reader, seem anong the evanescent phenomena of his in- out of place. If, as Chalmers so often says,