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tant mysteries let alone? Yet from the time when men began to study any thing, they have been engaged in studying the skies; and as intent have they ever been upon understanding the magnitudes and motions of the heavenly bodies, as the properties of food and the methods of agriculture. How long have the keenest eyes of philosophy been fixed on those splendid wonders; and yet, for ages, to how little purpose. The early astronomers found out little of what they were anxious to know. Some knowledge, indeed, which they most longed for, eluded their search only by an hair's breadth; and we now see what could be discovered and demonstrated. The true science of the heavens is now proved to have been attainable by man, and is now ascertained. It is spread before the world. It invites examination, correction and improvement. The astronomer now describes and foretels the movements of those distant orbs, and their relative positions at given times. He has stretched his line round the sun, and taken its dimensions. He has measured the orbits of the planets. He pursues, through the depths of the universe, the track of the comet. He has shown by what sure and rapid steps a just philosophy may advance to the discovery and statement of truths which no human mind can comprehend.

These operations while they constitute a genuine process of education, exhibit some of its most striking results. The great facts of astronomy enlarge the conceptions, and allure the mind to the utmost exertion of its power of comprehension; and until the thoughts have accustomed themselves to phenomena displayed on so magnificent a scale, they are incompetent to pursue the science of the starry heavens. We need say nothing farther to make it seem clear to every reflecting mind, that if the Creator in making and arranging the heavens had solely intended to make them instruments and occasions of mental discipline for man, he adopted a perfect plan. What could be better suited to the purposes of exercise and discipline for the human understanding?

If we turn to the intellectual kingdom, what a world of mystery is before us. It seems, in some views, strange that the mind of man, with such a passion as it has for knowing every thing, should have so little satisfactory knowledge of itself. Yet this fact is in perfect keeping with the universal arrangement of things for the use and benefit of mankind. The first subject of inquiry to a serious and reflecting mind is its own nature and operations. Of all subjects this is the most

interesting. So strong are the incitements of the mind to scrutinize its own operations, that peculiar difficulty may be thrown around this subject, without peculiar hazard. Our remarks in this whole discussion imply, what we will here state in terms, that man's having infallible knowledge of things seems to have been, in the view of the Creator, of far less moment, than his being trained to close and rightly conducted thought. The benefit of knowledge to man, consists largely in the benefit of working for it. The extreme intricacy of the science of mind does not deter men from pursuing it. Nor, though the results obtained are ever so doubtful and unsatisfactory, has the study ever been abandoned. For several centuries after the science began to assume its form, its principles were too indefinite and its points too obscure, to become the subjects of controversy; and the whole range of thought and of opinion was long controlled by the speculations of one man. But the mind of man could not be thus trammelled forever. By slow but sure degrees, it became conscious of its confinement; and being fastened by its locks, to the web of a false and cumbrous logic, from which it could not at once be extricated, it awoke out of its sleep and went away with the pin and with the beam and with the web. The fragments hung upon it for centuries, and have now only just disappeared. When the era of inquiry opened, it threw the whole science into confusion. No axioms could be laid down on which a system of reasonings could be built. No two philosophers acquiesced in each other's theory; and to this day it remains to be settled what are some of the leading phenomena of mind. How can the laws of mind be determined while so much obscurity envelopes the facts of the mind? When we consider how difficult it is for any man to tell in language what his mental exercises are, and to express his own consciousness in terms which will exactly answer to the consciousness of his neighbour, we cannot wonder at the prevalent diversity of opinion in intellectual science. We cannot wonder at the difficulty of settling the questions with which the science must begin. For all this, men are never weary of the study, and it would almost seem that the less they can hope to know, the greater is their enthusiasm for the science. Their zeal seems inversely as their ability. It is a fact that the number of principles which are settled beyond controversy in intellectual science, compared with those of other sciences, are very few. And still it is another fact that the study of the mind loses

none of its attractions. The number of writers in this branch of philosophy has, of late, increased beyond all precedent; and in all the seats of learning of the civilized world, the science of mind as an instrument of education and a branch of learning is rising and expanding. In such facts we find the proof that the mind of man has an innate desire to know itself; that it has the faculty and the disposition to watch and observe its own operations; and that the Creator has provided that the minimum of certain knowledge shall be gained by the maximum of study. In no department of science can the philosopher expect less, in none does he labour more. Were he sure, that by some decided discovery, the intellectual and moral machinery of the human soul would be laid entirely open, he could scarcely inflame his devotion with a greater zeal. We cannot but regard such facts as pre-eminently instructive. They lead us into some of the counsels of God. They show that God has formed the mind for the study of itself, and for this pursuit has endowed it with both taste and ability. They teach us that God intends that the human mind shall make its self inspection at once, a means and an end of its own training; that by the study of itself, it shall become qualified for the study of itself, and of all other things. And we may here indulge the significant and reverential inquiry whether, if this had been his sole aim in determining the constitution of the mind, he could have chosen a more effective plan?

And what shall we say of the science of moral duty? We see how the universe of matter is employed for the education of the intellectual man, and adapted to awaken and engage his powers. We see that the science of the mind itself attracts and fixes the thoughts, and promotes their activity and improvement. We cannot pass without a moment's inquiry into the similar properties of the science of moral duty. If any branch of human knowledge might be expected to be wholly intuitive, and to be entirely mastered without the labour of the mind, we should suppose it would be that branch which is concerned with the right and wrong of moral action. What else is man so deeply concerned to know? Of what else does he so need infallible knowledge? His temporal and everlasting happiness. depend largely upon it. His moral faculties he is taught to regard as the glory of his nature; his moral states, as the essence of his character; his moral acts, as the index of his heart; does he not require a prompt and correct perception of duty?


Would it not seem proper that he have an infallible knowledge of every precept in every possible application? Shall darkness cover the path by which man must arrive at his solemn and unchangeable destiny? Will not here be light, clear, glorious, and unfading? Will any question so vital as a question of moral duty be left open for dispute? Shall man be driven to processes of reasoning, toilsome and slow in themselves, and uncertain in their results, to find out how he may obey his God, escape punishment and secure reward? Unaccountable as it may, in some views, appear, it is truly so. The science of duty, like all other sciences, is a field for the exercise of thought. It is a part of the Creator's scheme for the discipline of the whole mind of man. Conscience is man's faculty of moral perception. It enables him to perceive the right and the wrong of moral objects, as the faculty of perception enables him to perceive the colours, sounds, or tastes of matter. But conscience without reason no more teaches man his duty, than perception without reason teaches him the properties and relations of matHere then is work for the mind. The science of human duty is to be learned by study. And accordingly the mind has gone to the work. It has erected a science of morals. It has discovered or at least has laboured with all diligence to discover a philosophical test of the nature and authority of moral law. We have grown familiar with elaborate discussions of the question, what is virtue. Theory follows theory in the effort to account for the moral phenomena of our nature. Nor is it alone the question, why is an action right or wrong, that enlists the zeal of the inquirer but every day in the affairs of life, there arises the grave and vital question whether a given action be right or wrong. And it is evident as demonstration could make it, that the Maker and Ruler of man would have this obscurity of moral duty become an instrument, and an occasion of discipline. for our intellectual and moral nature, that great as may be his pleasure when men judge rightly in morals, he would rather they should err, than find the right without toil. And hence it follows that if men will not bring their best thoughts to the task of examining and deciding the question of moral duty, the chances of finding the right are all against them. God has placed the knowledge of duty within the reach of men, but has left it so undefined, and so enveloped in obscurity that men to find the path of true morality, must apply the labour of investigation. And as the necessity of

mental discipline has been increased by moral degeneracy; so by the same cause, has the difficulty of proficiency in the true moral science been increased. Every degree of wickedness in the heart has its corresponding degree of derangement in the understanding. The discernment of truth is in the ratio of the love of truth. The greater need of mental discipline is, in the science of duty, accompanied by the more numerous and pressing occasions for its attainment. The recovery of the depraved mind to holiness is accomplished in connexion with its own exercises; and we find, so far as our observation can inform us, that the intensity of those exercises must be proportionate to the force of depravity to be overcome. The habit, the fixed and inveterate propension to evil is not annihilated by the reforming power. It is to be met and overcome in strenuous and often protracted conflict, by other principles in the mind itself. The war enlists all the powers of the mind. No faculty can remain neutral; and if any withhold the least portion of its resources or its power, the party militant that claimed its aid, loses a like proportion of advantage. These conditions of reformation are universal. God has provided for them in his system of moral and intellectual discipline. And had it been the sole aim of his plan to provide for those conditions, the plan could not have been better adapted to that end.

We trace the same design in the manner of his special revelation. He thus prevents man's necessity of studying duty from seeming to be incidental to the peculiar obscurity of moral philosophy. True, God has given man a special revelation. This revelation, compared with the dimness of nature, brings life and immortality to light. It teaches man more of his duty. It teaches him more clearly and more effectually. But does it relieve him from mental toil? God has not removed one jot or tittle of that burden. He has so formed and conducted his plan of special revelation, that without the submission of the understanding to the yoke of discipline, man shall not know the truth or the duty expressly revealed. "Thou shalt not kill," says one of the statutes, and with that skeleton of a prohibition before him man is left to adjust the portion of his moral action, therein concerned, to the various and ever-changing relations of his life. To this he must accommodate the lawful taking of human life; from this he must learn to appreciate the life of his neighbour, by this he must determine the wickedness of

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