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of those selfish and ambitious passions which are now too often the motives to mental effort; but we cannot conceive of him as acting in his true character as a man, who is to become in knowledge and virtue what God intends him to be except in connexion with the expansion of his higher powers. The more these are strengthened and expanded, the stronger is our feeling of satisfaction, and the stronger would it be, even though man had no physical wants to which he might cause science to minister.” “It is this high and disinterested idea of the elevation of man that gives their chief interest, when they are estimated as they should be, to the institutions of religion and of learning in a coun
What individual happiness thus demands is demanded with additional emphasis by the two fundamental principles of our government. First, the people must rule; second, the people must be so educated as to rule well. If these “fundamental principles of republican government be obeyed, then the superficial divisions and rents of party will not extend to the foundation, and the building will stand. If not, there is no charm in the forms of a free government by which they can support themselves; nor any alchymy in any forms, by which intelligence, and justice, and purity, and kindness, can be extracted from the associated action of men, ignorant, unprincipled, intemperate, and selfish,"
When Dr. Hopkins says, that the expansion by a true culture of the mind of man is the highest result that is wrought out by the whole frame work and steady course of nature, he must not be understood as affirming that the expansion of the human intellect is the great end to be accomplished by the creation and preservation of the uni
It is one of the ends, and as far as we are concerned, it is one of the highest and noblest ends of the creation. But man, the scarcely discernible inhabitant of a world, which itself is but a grain of shining dust, in the immensity of God's works, has no right and no ability to decide upon the ends which the stupendous fabric of the universe is designed to answer; much less is he entitled to suppose that his improvement, the expansion of his mind, is the grand result which it is to accomplish. We know from the Bible all we can know on this subject, that God is the beginning and the end ; that all things are by Him, through Him, and to Him; that the manifestation of his glory is the great and all-comprehending end of all his works. Subordinate to
this great ultimate end is the holiness, intellectual improvement, and happiness of his rational creatures. We deem it an elevating exercise, and one peculiarly appropriate, in an utilitarian age, to contemplate the universe of God, not in its subserviency to the bodily wants of man, but in its adaptation to his education and culture as an intellectual being. To this subject we wish, in the following remarks, to call the attention of our readers.
Among the objects of most profound and abiding interest to man, there are two which must forever hold a commanding place: One is his Maker, the other is himself. By the first impulse of his rational nature he contemplates himself, not as self-existent, not as the offspring of chance; but as made by an intelligent power. By the second, he explores the mysteries of his own being, and learns how fearfully and wonderfully he is made. It was in equal correspondence with the laws of human reason, and with just moral sentiments, that the great English poet represented Adam, at the beginning of his existence, as first inquiring of the lively and brilliant creation around him, concerning his Maker, and then turning to survey and admire himself. It is the proper and natural order of human thoughts. The reason of man, even in the depths of her native darkness, gropes for the residence of the Self-existent and the Eternal; and having lighted her torch at the fountain of illumination, she goes forth to examine the wonders of the created universe. Enlightened reason spontaneously rises from the creation to the Creator, and thence returns, with chastened and submissive demeanour, to investigate and admire the multitude of the Creator's works. Among these works she herself stands most conspicuous. From her Maker she receives her impulse; from him she receives the laws of her operation; and thus imelled and directed in her intercourse with the works of God, she watches her own exercises with reference to their due regulation and their ends.
Man, therefore, in his own regard, stands properly next to his Maker. Above him appears only God, his first cause and upholder, the only known being who claims his reverence as a superior; all other things are around and beneath him as the objects and the instruments of his activity, the props and incitements of his life. He stands, indeed, and would that he never forgot it, at a measureless remove from that glory which he seems to approach; yet far as he, the humble worshipper, is separated from the infinitely and
only adorable, he must ever seem to himself to stand between the rest of the created universe and the Creator. In one view, he puts himself with the rest of the creation, and is taught to say that God has made all things for himself. In another, he distinguishes himself from the other portions of the works of God, and is permitted to say that all other things are made, in an important sense, for him.
Lest this assertion should wear the aspect of hyperbole; or seem to disagree with the humility and self-abasement becoming a creature, and most of all such a creature as man, we must not confine our view to the imperfections of our nature; but consider that excellence with which we are really, though imperfectly, endowed. In character and condition, man is truly and mournfully imperfect. But even in his low estate, he represents a glorious and exalted nature. Here is strength encompassed with weakness; a brilliant gem, half buried in rubbish. In man, we observe a rational and moral nature, sublime in endowment, responsibility and destiny; yet encumbered with corporeal grossness and infirmity; confined within a narrow field of exercise, stinted in knowledge, and deprived of control over its own experience. Man's real and lawful dominion over the inferior creation is joined with a ceaseless dependence on that creation, for a large portion of his enjoyment. He binds all things to his service, yet is himself bound to provide for and serve all things that serve him. He enjoys rare and enviable immunities, but is compelled, while he enjoys his immunities, to pay their price. But notwithstanding his temporary and conditional depression, he is allied, by nature to the highest order of being. Though we freely admit, what we have good reason to believe, that the human mind is formed on the lowest known scale of rational existence, say, if you please the lowest conceivable, and that our understandings compared with others which may and do exist, exhibit only the feeblest twinklings of intelligence, we still see this rational diminutive holding the most important and solemn relations. We see how little of the rational and moral principle is required to make a being of great dignity and worth. Be it true that we have little knowledge, and that this little knowledge is gained by toil; we still have knowledge, and the power to use it for the noblest ends. The difference between us and the highest order of beings below us, is the difference between a rational and an irrational nature. Although man stands
near the line which divides the kingdom of blind instinct from the kingdom of reason, he is nevertheless on the side of it which looks towards the Infinite Intelligence; and by that line, his spirit that goeth upward is separated from the spirit of the beast that goeth downward. We belong to the family of mind. We have the power of perceiving and enjoying truth ;—the same power which, in its perfection belongs to the Essential and Infinite Glory in whose image we are made. In this view, man, the creature, under all his disadvantages, rises to a station of dignity; seems worthy of his sceptre of terrestrial dominion, and capable of making all things serve high purposes by serving him.
Let it then be deemed sufficiently true to be adopted as the motto of a few observations, that the created universe, so far as it falls within the utmost bounds of our knowledge, was made for man. We will not say exclusively for man. So far as our present object is considered we need not say that. But we believe, and it may not be useless to show, that whatever ends may be answered by created things beyond our knowledge, there is, in the constitution and course of all things within our knowledge, a manifest provision for attaining some high ends respecting man. First then in order, and first in importance is the enquiry, what are those purposes respecting man which the constitution and course of all known things seem intended to serve.
The chief end of our present life is perfection in the future. We have labour here for reward hereafter. We have discipline in this life for excellence in the life to come. It is not for their own sake that the allotments of our earthly life are appointed; nor for the sake of their temporal results. But the labours and the temporal results together, are joint means to ends still future. The experience of this lise, whether of joy or sorrow, is no part of the ultimate design of the life itself. It may be, in the aggregate, desirable, its early vicissitudes may improve the later periods of our temporal state, but it does not endure through the term of our innate and ceaseless exigency, nor expand into adequate capacity for the vast and various results of our rational and moral activity. How much of man's most pious and prudent toil fails here of its reward. How many harvests of enjoyment come in, like blasted grain, large, perhaps and strong in appearance, even to a cumbrous bulk, but scantily filled. It is one of our common-place convictions that men
sow in this life, what, in this life they do not reap. We spend our life in laying up what we do not stay to enjoy. We live rather to learn, than to yield the fruits of learning. Intellectual and moral discipline is here sought and acquired to serve scarcely any earthly purpose but to propagate itself. What then? It would seem better not to live, than to live here for nothing hereafter. Should this mortality yield nothing good to our immortality, even reason would almost breathe her curse upon it. But with a boundless immortality before us, we can solve the problem of our earthly existence. If the river pours its waters and wafts its commerce into the ocean, it flows to a worthy purpose. If time flies towards eternity, it flies not in vain. But disconnect time from eternity, let the present life contribute nothing to the future, and you annihilate its value. You leave it like the river of the desert, whose waters, after flowing thousands of miles are supposed to sink into the sand.
The universe of created things, so far as it may affect the condition of man is charged with an important office. And who can doubt that its office is worthy of itself? The life is more than meat, and the body than raiment. What interest of a rational and moral immortality would not be wisely purchased at any expense of irrational and perishable things? Are ye not of more value than many sparrows ? We do not adopt that plausible and incredulous economy which accounts it inconsistent with the relative importance of things, that all things should be made for man. Is it said that this world, and the starry fields through which it moves, are too vast to be made for the benefit of the human race; that such an end, compared with the magnitude and grandeur of the means were despicable ? That this is the chief end of the universe we do not assert; but our presumption is that were it so, the end would be worthy of the means. On the one hand, observe a race of rational immortals; formed, located and trained with the manifest design of acquiring just and everlasting impressions of their Maker. On the other, an irrational creation, immense, diversified, glorious, indeed; but with no power of knowing its Creator, none of enjoying his intellectual and moral glory, none of appreciating itself. How can this reasonless system declare its Maker's glory, but by its influence on intelligent minds? Whence but from its connection with created intelligence, does this material universe derive its value? What were it alone, as a mirror of God,