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Imperial Magazine ;
OR, COMPENDIUM OF RELIGIOUS, MORAL, $ PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE.
“SOCIAL REFINEMENT HAS NO EXISTENCE WHERE LITERATURE IS UNKNOWN.” [1822.
TRE PHYSICAL AND MORAL WORLD.
at first, where mere intellect ends and
faith begins, does it afford a twilight No. 12.--The Scale of Grace illustrated, by which the new-born soul can but
and the Morality belonging to this imperfectly discern spiritual objects ; new State.
but afterwards, it is by faith it stands,
and overcomes, and conquers; " for In the course of this investigation, we this is the vietory that overcometh the bave before observed, that the first | world,” says the apostle John, step of the Moral scale, which is faith, our faith." is founded on the last of the Intellec Taking faith, therefore, along with tual, which is humility and docility. us in the illustration of the different
Faith, then, in the scale of Grace, steps of the scale, and viewing it as occupies the same place that the Ele- the necessary ingredient which conmental does in the scale of Nature. stitutes the whole ; the scale of Grace But as nature, in its elemental aspect, will be found to harmonize with the is not a subject on which we can rea- scale of Nature in the following son ; so in like manner neither is manner, faith. As the former presents os with 1. Light and Darkness, in the first a state of things which excludes all step, are expressive of the imperfect ideas of diversity or change; so faith, views of faith in its almost incipient the latter, is to be considered simple, state, or state of enıbryo, just striking and not capable of being divided and in upon the intellect like a faint twisubdivided into what have been non- light, when the soul is brought to sensically termed direct and reflex, that state of humility and docility, that circumflex and appropriating, acts of it is disposed to hearken to all that faith ; but faith is simply to be consi- the Lord has to say, By and by it dered as the belief of truth. And the becomes stronger, as the light of divine reason why it is spoken of in such a truth shines into the mind. But, in particular' manner in scripture, is not this state, only seeing in part, as so much on account of the nature of through a glass darkly, there is all faith itself, as of the nature of the along, as in the planetary system, a truths it is called to believe. They mixture, and sometimes even alternaare truths, as we have seen in the tions, of light and darkness. course of this inquiry, which stand 2. Attraction and Repulsion, are the directly opposed to the pride and false next step in order; and are phenoglory of the human intellect; and can mena in the sale of grace, arising as never be admitted by creatures under naturally from the divine illumination the influence of such false principles, wbich precedes, as does the instinct till they be converted and born again, for food in the new-born infant. But and like little children be humble and let it be observed, that this attraction docile, and ready to admit upon its and repulsion, in the scale of grace, own legitimate authority, without ca- proceeds upon the inverse ratio of villing or gainsaying, all that God noxious moral attraction and repulbath declared in his word.
sion; and therefore to illustrate the Bat again, as the whole fabric of first by the Jast, you have just to the material universe is composed of reverse the whole. the elements of matter variously 3. Composition and Decomposition, go arranged; or rather, as this first prin- entirely upon the same principle. The ciple runs throughout all the steps of Christian, as a wise moral chemist, the scale of matter; so does faith, will extract all the good out of subwhich we may style the elemental jects, and reject the bad. He will state of grace, run throughout all the reduce many bulky subjects to their steps of the scale of grace. Not only I quintossence; and, out of all the No. 47.VOL. IV.
beaps of rubbish, which the zeal and and indifferent. If even an earthly industry of the foolish moral chemists prince would not thank a person for a have for ages been collecting, take service to which he must be dragged only what is genuine, be it little or like a malefactor to the gibbet ; in the much. And if he seek to serve God name of wonder, how can any expect and his church, as the others do the the King of heaven to do so ? devil and the world ; there is no dan 6. Knowledge and Ignorance, in the ger but he will succeed both in bis scale of grace, arise necessarily from analysis and synthesis, and in the use the imperfection of the present state: to which both his simples and com- " for here we know only in part; but pounds may be applied.
when that which is perfect is come, 4. Strength and Weakness, in the that which is in part shall be done scale of grace, may be well illas- away." trated, from the situation they hold in 7. Right and Wrong, in the scale of the scale, by the vegetable kingdom, grace, arise also necessarily from the whose soul and strength is derived imperfection of the present state; bat from the sun. Place, therefore, in the it is incompatible with the Christian scale of grace, the Sun of righteous character heedlessly to allow erong; ness, and see how the Scripture doc- so that in this last step of the scale, he trine barmonizes with this scheme. is put upon examining, with much Like a plant or vegetable, the Chris scrupulousness, all the steps which tian is strong or weak, just as he precede it; and perceiving in the receives, or does not receive, the be- whole train, that in many things be nigo infuences of this glorious spiri- comes sbort, and offends in them all, tual luminary. Without Cbrist he he hence arrives by this last step at can do nothing; but through Christ the very point where he began, that is strengthening him, he can do all to say, humility and docility; for he things.
now sees his need of them more and 6. Action and Passion, in the scale more, and how vastly short bis best of grace, are manifested, when not performances are, of the grand sumcarnal, but divinely illuminated reason mit of perfection to which bis ardent bears the sway in the intellect, and soul aspires ! the passions are only spurs to urge us We come now to speak of the morion in the performance of what reason, lity belonging to this new state. thus enlightened, discovers to be It is to be observed, with regard to duty. Here it is that the world the morality founded upon this scheme charges the Christian with enthusiasm of gospel grace, that it is radically and madness; but let them compare the same with that formerly founded this step in the scale of grace, with its upon the moral principle in the racorresponding step of noxious action tional soul. They equally inculcate and passion in the scale of moral evil, love to God and man, as the one point and, themselves being judges, let on which the whole bangs; and differ them declare which is the enthusiast only as it respects the motive by which and the madman? But in grace, as this principle is inculcated. In regard well as in the animal or moral econo- to the one, man stood to God in the my, there must be action and passion, relation of a creature to its Creator; otherwise it is impossible to serve the and to love and serve him with all the Lord. The state between these is, heart, and soul, and strength, and that of the lukewarm hypocritical for- mind, as the Author and Preserver of malist ; a more disgusiful and loath- its being, were the motives that patu, some object it is impossible to meet rally inspired his soul: But in regard with; it is such as God hath said he to the other, man is in the state of a will spue out of his mouth. Here lost, but redeemed sinner; and as this then let not the Christian be asbamed new relation is effected solely by the of his zcal, for it is good to be always grace of God in the gospel of his Son, zealously affected in a good cause; so the motive to love and obedience, but let him rather learn a lesson from in this new relation, in addition to the way of the world; for it is well the former, arises from the nature of known that, in all enterprises of im- the case. 'When God redeemed his portance, they will always prefer the people out of Egypt, the law of lett man, ceteris paribus, who has his heart for of the ten commandments
, which and soul in the work, to the lukewarm I he then promulgated,
with these words, “I am Jehovah / troubling you with these few thoughts tky Aleim, which have brought thee out upon that great source of error,--Preof the land of Egypt, out of the house of judice. bondage." Here is a further motive It is one of the greatest principles urged, than that of mere Creator and of wisdom, says a well-known writer, Preserver, even that of a Deliverer ; " that the degrees of our assent to and it serves as a fit example by which every proposition should bear an exto represent the nature of the motives act proportion to the different degrees under which we are now laid by the of evidence.” So that it is not the scheme of grace in the gospel.
mere forming a judgment upon weak But a difficulty here occurs, which, evidence, which ought to be called to many, is exceedingly perplexing, prejadice, (as the definition given of namely, whether these new motives it by the same writer would seem to are to be considered as bioding on all imply,) but, to deserve that title, the men, or only upon the saved; and judgment must be stronger than the whether they ought to be urged upon evidence will warrant. I will thereall indiscriminately, or only upon fore define prejudice to be a fixed such as believe in Christ Jesus. judgment formed upon weak evi
I freely own, that there is indeed a dence. difficulty here, and could it be clearly As then we have seen “ that wissolved, it would tend very much to dom consists in apportioning the deset the gospel free from those shackles, gree of our assent to the degree of and fetters, and distorted views, which evidence," for by so doing we form have ever been given to it by all the correct judgments; so it is the part of partisans in Christendom.
folly, to form determined opinions But though we have many weighty upon slight evidence, for by that considerations to advance on this im- means we imbibe prejudices in the portant subject, and many further place of real knowledge. Taking it elacidations to unfold, of the scheme then for granted, that prejudice is of gospel grace, opon this new method folly, and therefore ought to be avoidof treating the subject; yet as these ed; I will proceed, without delay, to would lead into too lengthened a dis- lay down a few rules, by the obsercussion in the close of this paper, and vance of which, we may, in a great as this paper completes the series for measure, keep our minds from falling the present year ; so we conclude the into so grievous an error. whole, by wishing that a similar be From my definition of prejudice, it nefit may arise to the reader, that the will appear evident, I think, ibat whewriter flatters himself he has derived ther our judgments may be termed in composing them.
knowledge, or but mere prejudices, 9, Elder-Street, Edinburgh,
will depend in a great measure upon Aug. 12, 1822.
the quality and quantity of the evidence upon which they are formed; and, consequently, that it behoves us to take care that the quality of it is as
good, and the quantity of it as extenSOCRATES was styled, by Apollo, the sive, as the subject upon which we “Wisest of Men,” because he drew the are forming our judgment will admit. attention of mankind from subjects of That we may be able to do this, it is remote interest, and fixed it upon the necessary that we should have clear government of their passions, and the ideas of the various kinds of evidence, regulation of their minds. And if and of the different degrees of relihappiness in time and in eternity be ance which may be placed on each. the end of all our actions; if this end Watts distributes the several kinds of cannot be gained unless our actions evidence into these six: "Sense, are worthy; and if the worthiness of Consciousness, Intelligence, Reason, oar actions depend upon the proper Faith, and Inspiration;" upon each of regulation of our minds; surely every which I will offer a few remarks. In one is deserving of some share of the first place, then, of Sense:- If our praise who but endeavours to point senses are in a state of perfection, out the springs of error, and to lay great reliance may be placed upon tho down rules for their avoidance. 1 information they give; indeed, whon shall therefore offer no apology for the evidence of ono sense is corrobo
rated by that of another, conclusions when it is said to depend upon the may be drawn from it with greater testimony of God, we have only 10 certainty, perhaps, than from any of ascertain its divine origin to give a the other kinds of evidence, excepting proposition founded upon it our imthat of inspiration ; but then, let the mediate assent. Of the evidence of opinions which the vulgar form con- Inspiration," as it falls to the lot of so cerning the heavenly bodies, teach us few to be favoured with it, I will say (when the truth of a proposition relies very little ; only, that as it is derirwholly upon the evidence of one sense) ed immediately from God, its force how liable we are to be deceived. must be overwhelming; and of course Of “ Consciousness” and “ Intelli- the propositions founded upon it will gence,” I need say but little, con- be as true as God is true, who cannot sciousness being but internal sensa. lic. tion, and intelligence the evidence I have thus made a few brief reconveyed by self-evident propositions. marks upon the various kinds of evi. The evidence of “Reason, we gain dence, and upon the reliance we may from a natural and regular train of place upon each. And if prejudice argumentation, in the course of which, were altogether caused by an ignorance we probably bring into requisition of these points, it would follow of most of the other kinds of evidence; course, that nothing further would be so that before we admit propositions necessary than to overcome this ignofounded upon reason, as certain evi- rance, in order to be entirely free dence, we must make them undergo from prejudices : but, as there is the severest scrutiny; when, however, another cause of prejudice, viz. a any of these four kinds of evidence, wrong appropriation of our judgments, (viz.) those of sense, consciousness, it will be necessary to make a few intelligence, or reason, are found to observations upon the causes which be firm and indispuiable, the conclu- give rise to it. sions we draw from them are called Were we in a state of innocence natural certainties.
and purity, free from the corruptions The evidence of faith we derive from which sin has introduced, our judge the informations of others; therefore, ments would be unshackled, and our before we put confidence in such evi- decisions correct; but as this is far dence, we must take a number of sub- from being the case in our present ordinate circumstances into consider- degraded state, it is incumbent upon ation,-as, the general credibility of us to inquire into those causes which our informer; the opportunities he operate as perverters of our judghad of getting information upon the ments. These causes are too numeparticular subject of which he is rous to render it possible to give any informing us; whether he was likely tolerable account of them in a mere to be biassed by any political, religious, essay of this kind, therefore I shall or party feeling; whether there are not attempt it, but shall rest satisfed any other persons who saw, and whose with merely noticing a few of the testimony corroborates, the same fact; principal. and a number of other circumstances, As the passions make us view every which will have great weight in en kind of evidence through a false meabling us to determine what degree of dium, and consequently present us reliance we may place upon such evi- from apportioning our judgments dence. When a proposition founded aright; they may, I think, be turned upon the evidence of * Faith,” from a the most fruitful sources of prejudice. number of corroborating circumstan- From which we may perceive the 06ces, amounts to a great degree of pro- cessity of keeping a continual watch bability, it is called by logicians a over these disturbers of the mind; moral certainty. And, further, this orotherwise, what were given to os bo kind of evidence is divided into human our Creator bat as spors to action, and divine: it being called human, and to increase our happiness, will when depending upon the testimony become the bane of our lives, and the bf man; and divine, when depending destroyers of the best purposes of upon the testimony of God." or the our souls. Parents, therefore, who evidence of faith, when depending teach their children to bring their upon human testimony, I have already passions under the government of spoken; so that I will only add, that reason, instruct them, in fact, in one