« ElőzőTovább »
effected by Reason. Groping about in experience, SENSE can never produce a single fact about which there can be no controversy. How came a live toad to be enclosed in a petrifaction, which geologists affirm to have been buried for centuries? Which came first into existence, the oak or the acorn? What intensity of feeling has any certain thing produced in any individual ? Suppose even two persons are viewing the same object, each has a different line of vision. Much less can I attribute my own individual feeling to another person : if I am hot, another person may be quite cold. In short, no individual feeling can be the ground of mathematical or scientific certainty. A bad foundation, this, upon which to raise a universal and permanent Religion. Though Christ was seen by his disciples, and the multitude who followed, walking up a mountain, however well this fact may be attested, it affords no moral precept, no universal rule of conduct; but, when our Saviour taught, on this very mountain, the law that Reason acknowledges — “ Do unto others as you would they should do unto you," where is the REASON that can absolve itself from this universal and necessary law! All the operations of matter, that raise sensations in man, which are either successive or extended, that is, within the limits of TIME and SPACE, are included in the blue field of the Diagram;. and all they have the power to do is to evince their existence in TIME, in accordance with the law of time, each having a beginning, middle, and end, in time. CONSCIOUSNESS determines the actual presence of mundane objects, each of which lasts for a limited time, like the sensations they produce. Can any thing be more human, or more decidedly belonging to man, than these sensations? And can the discourse about these feelings be better designated than by calling it the WORD OF MAN?
Upon the clear and evident distinction that exists between the Moral and Physical world, we establish, for ever, the principle on which the DIVARICATION of the “ Holy Book” into DOCTRINE and History is founded. Whatever regards DOCTRINE must partake of its purity, be permanent, and exist in ETERNITY. Whatever concerns HISTORY must have been fleeting in its nature, and have consisted of matter, and its action upon other matter; thus filling up a part of SPACE, and occupying a portion of Time. This distinction is rendered intuitive by a mere glance at the Diagram. So necessary, however, are these two laws of nature, that, were they annulled, the whole kingdom of nature would be annihilated, and blank nothingness left, on which human thought cannot be engaged. The laws of Time and Space are, therefore, visibly stamped on all the objects of nature, which exist only for a limited period. Yet these events are capable of being noticed, because they produce new and different sensations, by constantly gliding down the stream of TIME. But a faithful account of all the circumstances that have occurred in Time must necessarily constitute a HISTORY of past events.
This view of the subject completely exhausts every notion that we can form relative to the mutations which take place in TIME, and, as far as our records reach, constitutes History.
Among the most important of these events are those recorded in the “Sacred Book,” the history of the Creation by Moses, and of the first man, Adam, who was made a living soul, placed in a garden, where he yielded to temptation, and thus fell. How beautifully does this allegory display the gradual enlightenment of mankind, by showing that, prior to the development of REASON, the individual was unable to withstand the seductions of the inclinations, and that consequently SENSE obtained the predominance. Hence the Fall of Man! The second part of this “Sacred History” amply redeems this fatal overthrow. For here the second Adam, who is tempted in a wilderness, entirely vanquishes his enemy—the bad passions of the fleshand is the quickening spirit ; for, by the efforts of his Reason, the aóyos incarnate, he so purified himself from sensible gratifications, that he completely vanquished the arch-enemy of mankind. Thus did Christ redeem the world by displaying that obedience to the WORD OF God, the ráyos, that the whole force of the inclinations of the flesh were unable to draw him from his duty; and thus did he complete the great work of Atonement, This affecting history affords a proof of the possibility of Reason obtaining the supremacy over SENSE. This is the state of cultivated REASON.
The moral extracted from this “ HISTORY” will last as long as there are human beings to appreciate its value ; while it is doubtful if any two particles of the material on which Moses recorded his momentous story are still in contact. A sufficient proof that the moral, the DOCTRINE, is the permanent part of the
“ Book,” because even the component parts, or its substantial particles, may fade away, while the “ Morality" of the Book endures for ever. Nay, with respect to the facts which it records, each individually could only have occurred at one precise point of Time, and can
It would afford abundant information to the existing generation to have it proved that the serpent really talked, and actually told Eve to give Adam the apple that he might consummate his own condemnation. But, all the researches of the most erudite will never be able to produce a fact about which there cannot be two opinions. History is, therefore, the ground of disagreement, while DOCTRINE is the ground of perfect unanimity.
The HISTORY of our Saviour, his humble birth, his ministry, and even the heart-rending recital of his crucifixion, though they convey a very affecting and most instructive moral, were each of them evanescent circumstances, about which no absolute proof can be afforded at the present day. Was there darkness over the land from the sixth till the ninth hour Was the veil of the temple rent from the top to the bottom ? Is it in the power of man to vouch for what has occurred nearly two thousand years ago ? And, if ascertained to