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harp that whispered music to the softest breeze, now hardly wakens at the loudest cry of conscience, and never starts but at the scorpion sting of remorse. “Do you envy that man? Look into his bosom 1 See how many hours he spends in unavailing regret, how often he wastes the present in thinking of the past, how many times and how long he ponders on good advice neglected, salutary admonitions disregarded, tender mercies refused, solemn warnings scoffed at. Every hour of his life he sows the seeds of repentance, but never produces the fruit of amendment. Thus he goes on from sin to remorse and from remorse to sin. At this moment he is tired of sin. Satiety has begotten disgust and he strives to reform in part for the sake of variety. “Is such a man to be respected? Yet you admire him. I do not wonder at it. At the moment when you saw him, his soul had broken out of his bosom to gambol in the purer air of virtue, with more than the delight of a devil escaped from hell. You have seen what he is 1 You cannot even imagine what he might have been. Tell me not of his genius—his genius has destroyed his happiness. Talk not to me of his talents—his talents have undone his heart. He is alone and sad, wearied with the tumult of life and sick of its cares and sorrows. The days of his youth—the friends of his youth —the feelings of his youth are gone. The mother whose tender care watched over the years of his infancy—the father whose counsels guided his early life—the sisters who shared his sports—all are gone. He is alone and sad.” “ * * * * And thus ends his story. He set out in life with as ardent aspirations after virtue as ever entered the heart of man, and cherished hopes as high as ever he had who reached the “topmost round of young ambition's ladder,” yet he was neither virtuous nor successful, for he never took a right view of life, but always lived in the fairy world of his own creation; and when he had dreamed out his dream, and attempted to turn his eyes upon human nature, as it is, he found that his vision was too enlarged for the dull realities of life, and that the earth-bound creatures of our sphere were beings far less beautiful and feeling than the bright conceptions of his own imagination. And he died—far from the home of his childhood—with no friend to soothe his dying hours—no loving hand to smooth his pathway to the tomb—but strangers wept for him, and in the grave perhaps he found that peace which on earth he denied himself. No train of senseless mourners followed him to his home, no proud mausoleum decks the earth where his dust reposes, but the winds of heaven sweep their solemn requiem over his grave and the tears of friends have hallowed the spot where lie his ashes.
A SISTER'S DREAM.
(Trying to sleep.)
Her bosom heaves—a gentle sigh is heard,
As downy plumage from a wandering bird,
She speaks in slumber, (whilst there falls a tear,)
“Oh Mary, Mary, sister! art thou here 3'
THE REAL OBJECT OF PHILOSOPHY.
The character and usefulness of philosophy, as it has existed in the world, have been so changing and doubtful that the attentive student yields cautiously to its deductions, and the man of mere practical experience suspects its most imposing inferences. Truth has ever been the professed end of the philosopher's search, and the object of his pure devotion. He has sought it for its intrinsic beauty and glory, alledging at the same time, that this beauty was its being essentially eternal and immutable. And yet, philosophy, the boasted image of enduring truth, has wandered in twilight, giving to phantoms—forms and names and reality It has created for its disciples an indefinable universe of eternal essences, pre-existent to the actual manifestation of real forins; it has reflected these original essences in ideal images upon the human mind, and then between these extremes it has thrown the world of sensible forms, an emanation from the essentials, pausing to be recognized through the medium of the correspondent images. At another time, it has annihilated the external world, or converted it into a crowded concourse of restless and jostling conceptions. And, at once to crown and certify its madness, it has assailed its own temple, the mind—driven out its native occupants—and converted the abode of reason into the lodging place of wandering impressions. These errors and a thousand others equally absurd and contradictory, have disgraced the history of philosophy in all its departments, logical, mental and physical. It was the honor of Socrates, that he was reputed to have brought philosophy down from Heaven to reside among men, but as if error on earth were omnipotent, even this heavenly guest, like the frail objects of its beneficence, has ever been the unfortunate victim of seduction. It would seem that the world, so often misled by the pretensions of philosophy, would long since have abandoned it to merited oblivion;–that hope so often wearied with delay, and tortured with final disappointment, would have expired in despair, and left ill-fated man to mingle and die with the brute. But instead of this, every disappointment, though followed by greater distrust and caution, has yet prompted to increased assiduity in its cultivation; and as a consequence of this it has been constantly advancing towards persection. As a general science the maxims that should govern its investigations are mostly settled. Philosophy has to do with actual phenomena. Its object is to observe, compare and classify facts, and to deduce from these, principles. Its sole concern is with what is revealed and definable. It may discover but cannot originate new facts or principles. This is the object of philosophy, simple and obvious, it is true, yet sufficiently neglected to justify distinct notice in this essay. From the objects of philosophy it is easy to discover its utility. This consists in ascertaining what is fixed and uniform in nature, and what is capable of modification and change; thus directing industry to its proper end—the production of possible and beneficial changes. It points out to us all the available resources of nature—informs us of their value—and teaches the extent to which they are subject to human control. By it we learn how to accommodate ourselves to what is established, and to appropriate what is changeable. Ancient philosophy was so little connected with practical subjects, that its errors and absurdities were of little consequence, except as they disturbed the vanity or disappointed the dreams of its disciples. But now it has extended to every project of life, and has its distinct departments. It is the great school in which we imbibe or correct all our notions of mind, matter and religion. Hence the slightest error or oversight now may be more disastrous in its consequences than the most monstrous reverie of antiquity. Then it was in its boyhood. Its extravagances, its follies and its airy castles, were all charged upon its youth, and wise men forgot them. But now it wears the mien of age and wisdom, and the world looks up to it with reverence. For this reason, in proportion as philosophy has advanced towards truth, have its remaining errors been injurious. Science has suffered long from those errors, but more than all they have injured religion. Pertaining as that does to an infinite Creator and an endless existence, philosophy has found in it an ample field for boundless speculation. And the developments of this immortal relation, being all locked in the unrevealed future, except so far as facts are necessary to this brief state of preparation, philosophy has full license for most capricious conjectures. For, when the subject is of such extent and the facts revealed so few, there is little danger of detection in error, whatever may be the extravagance of the speculative adventurer. Religion, stung and exasperated at the injuries she has thus received from a false philosophy, has recoiled upon her enemy, and at times so forgotten the maxims of wisdom, as to deny all the pretensions of her genuine and equally injured sister. But the time must come, when this unnatural separation will terminate. Undoubtedly both have erred, and therefore neither is perfect. If men, out of a mistaken adherence to philosophy, will reject religion, alledging that under an ever varying character, it has maintained a uniform claim to divine and therefore infallible origin, then may religion retort the same, and the contest ends in the overthrow of both. The time has come for the final encounter. The awakened attention of the world, and the accumulated energies of both, proclaim that one or the other must fall, or both join hands in eternal reconciliation. Philosophy cannot die. Its soundation and its history prove it immortal. But if religion falls, it leaves our relations to God and immortality shrouded in darkness—a darkness which philosophy can never penetrate, for it is bound by fundamental maxims to the consideration of revealed facts. If religion falls, a faint twilight lingers around existence here, and beyond,-involving night. But neither will fall. Both have erred, and concession is beeoming to both. Philosophy must lay aside its arrogance, and be content to occupy its appropriate sphere. As to what lies beyond the limits of human discovery, it must listen to the testimony of religion, convinced that facts may be revealed by inspired communieation, and if revealed, may be attested with evidence, in kind and in amount, as satisfactory as that of sense or consciousness. Religion too, must renounce her contempt for human reason, respect philosophy, and welcome its cooperation. Claiming for itself the province of inspiration, it must yield that of nature to philosophy. And truly, if the great Source of all knowledge has committed to her the mysteries of immortality, she may well be contented though philosophy presides in the lower school of nature. As friends to both, we rejoice in these prospective concessions, and in the hope of no distant reconciliation. Still we may be rash; there is yet danger of encroachments on both sides. Religion, weeping over the errors and miseries of man, is eager to enlist all her allies and hasten to his speedy deliverance. There is danger therefore that she will remit her severity in examining the credentials of those allies, and by admitting traitors in disguise, expose herself to desertion in the hour of trial. On the other hand, philosophy, astonished at its own attainments, and intoxicated with new discoveries of its powers, is in danger of self sufficiency. Occupied in tracing the progressive steps of nature, it will be liable to neglect religion, and incur disappointment when at length it has followed secondary causes to their limits, and there shall find its need of a superior hand to guide it onward to the great final Cause. As the universe is bounded, that limit will be reached, and then philosophy must sit down in despair, if she will be independent of a heavenly guide. The friends of philosophy and religion have therefore equal need of caution in order to bring about their reconciliation, that grand
vol. II. 35
“consummation devoutly to be wished.”
Especially does it become the friends of religion to learn what concessions are demanded of them, and to avoid every hasty act. Religion, though consistent with a true philosophy, is not discoverable by it. That philosophy is the result of the combined and perfect development of reason and observation,-powers, which, far as they may penetrate, can never comprehend the secret counsels of the Deity. It is plain then, that religion stands, if it stand at all, not on philosophy, but upon its own peculiar evidence and authority. Its sanctions and its credentials are derived from Him who proposes in them. His own will as the supreme law of the universe. If He is the author of religion, then He has based it upon that peculiar evidence... Why then do its advocates resort so much to philosophy, and call in that to silence the objections of its adversaries? If it could have been established upon philosophy, it would never have been revealed in a manner so extraordinary. Like all other sciences built upon reason and observation, it would have lain concealed till philosophy had stumbled upon and discovered it. But professing as it does, for its character a divine origin, and for its claims a divine attestation, its friends do it fatal discredit when they attempt to sustain any of its peculiar doctrines by other than divine testimony. Their proper business with philosophy is, either to reconcile it with religion, or to show by reason and observation that it is false. That we may not seem to be assailing a man of straw, we will illustrate