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all are these virtues ? Who gave us the moral constitution of which they form a part and an ornament? Who is it that causes the pulse of an honourable man so to beat in the pride of a highminded integrity ? Who poured the milk of human kindness into the economy of our affections ? Who is it that attuned the heart to those manifold sympathies by which it is actuated ? the delightful sensibilities of nature their play, and sent forth the charities of life to bless and to gladden the whole aspect of human society? Who is the author of this beneficial mechanism; and by whose hand has so much of this boasted loveliness been spread over the aspect of our species ? The very Being who pencilled all the glories of nature's landscape, is the Being who strewed the moral landscape by all the graces wherewith it is adorned. Each virtue, which serves to deck and to dignify our nature, is an additional obligation to Him who is the author of it. It calls for a louder gratitude to Him who has so liberally endowed us; and therefore stamps a deeper atrocity on our ungrateful disregard of Him. These moral accomplishments are so many gifts, that only inflict the stain of a fouller turpitude on our indifference to the Giver, and make the state of practical atheism in which we live to be still more enormous.
16. We have already given an illustration of the moral by the natural philosophy.* In the latter science, we know how to distinguish the facts from the mathematics; and we are perfectly
See our “ Natural Theology," Vol. i. Chap. II. Art. 28-36.
aware that the mathematics which avail for the terrestrial, avail for the celestial physics also. It is conceivable that every object of the celestial physics may somehow or other be shrouded from the discernment of our species; that all which is known of the material heavens might pass into oblivion, and be beyond the power of our recalment; that thus all the celestial of Natural Philosophy might vanish away from the sight and the remembrance of men. This were the ruin of our astronomy; but it would not be the ruin of our mathematics—all the principles of which would still abide in the world, and admit of the same application as before to the objects and the distances on the face of our earth. And so it is with the celestial in Moral Philosophy. There is a distinction to be made here too ; and the distinction is between the objects of the science and the ethics of the science. Here also it is conceiv. able that the objects of the heavenly region may be forgotten; yet the ethics would remain, and continue to have an application to the objects of the earthly region. Just as there is a mathematics that would survive the extinction of Astronomyso there is a morals that would survive the extinction of our Theology; and as the mere existence of the mathematics bears no evidence to there being an Astronomy, after that all the objects of this science cease to be remembered—so the mere existence of a morals bears no evidence to the godliness of man, after that God has ceased to be regarded by them.
17. But these considerations, however fit to be addressed to those who philosophize on the subjects
of moral science, are vastly too general to be of any efficacy with the unlettered multitude. And therefore it is well, that the delusion which we now endeavour to expose, is not the one by which they are most liable to be misled. They see the truth more in its nakedness. It is not so hidden from their view, by the gloss of sentimentalismnor in humble life, must it be confessed, do there exist so many of those graces and plausibilities of character which have served, but served most unjustly, to alleviate, among the higher classes of society, the felt guilt of their real and practical indifference to God. This guilt, wherewith the book in question charges one and all of the children of humanity, it is found of the unsophisticated peasant, that he more willingly takes home, than the votary either of imagination or of science. There lies, as it were, a more open and unobstructed avenue between the volume in his hand, and the conscience that lies within his heart-So that the representations given by the one are more frequently and faithfully responded to, by the echo of a consenting testimony on the part of the other. It is thus that the evidence in question multiplies upon his observation, more than it often does on a reader of lofty scholarship and academic cultivation; and that whether scripture tells him of the moral disease that is upon his spirit, or proposes to him its own remedy for the removal of it—there is a coalescence between all that he feels within himself, and all that he descries on the outer page of revelation. The very simplicity of his mind lay; it open to a more correct impression
of the external truth; and his exemption from the prejudices of taste and vanity and refinement favours a clearer discernment, both of the matters that lie within the recesses of the inner man and which are cognizable by conscience alone, and also of the matters that lie on the face of the world and of general society-on which even the homely and unlettered peasant is often known to cast an eye of most intelligent observation. It is thus—that, having access on the one hand to the volume of a profest revelation, and access on the other to the whole of that home territory which forms the scene or the subject of many of its descriptions, he has two sides of a comparison, from the one to the other of which, there might be a busy play and interchange, between the readings of the book and the reflections of an independent consciousness. It is the sustained and the varied and the unexcepted coincidence between the sayings of the volume and the findings of him who peruses it-it is this which constitutes the internal evidence on which we now insist. It is this which, even at the very outset of our inquiries, stamps a verisimilitude on this profest record of an embassy from heaven,-a verisimilitude that we believe will with every honest and persevering inquirer be heightened at length into the impression, and that not a fanciful, but a most rational and well-warranted impression of its verity—so as to make stand out, even to the eye of our general population, such marks and characters on the face of the volume itself, as might palpably announce to them the divinity that penned it.
18. There is the philosophy of the subject as
well as its poetry in the following beautiful lines of Cowper—when he compares the happier intelligence of a poor and an aged female with that of Voltaire :
“ She for her humble sphere by nature fit,
"O happy peasant, О unhappy bard
She safe in the simplicity of hers." 19. It should be remarked, that, though in illustrating this branch of the experimental evidence, we confine ourselves to the affirmation which the Bible makes of human depravity, this is but one example of the accordancy which obtains between the statements of scripture and the felt state of the human heart. The Bible is instinct throughout with this evidence—so that a reader, at once enlightened in the knowledge of himself and in the knowledge of that book which pictures man forth to the eye of his own consciousness, feels in the perusal of it, a powerful and penetrating intelligence lighting up its pages. Even the one doctrine of man's moral depravation is set forth, not nakedly and dogmatically like the article of a creed—but often with incidental touches of graphic and descriptive accuracy which awaken the most vivid recognition in the mind; so that when telling in various ways of man's alienation, of