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Title: Aids to Reflection - And the Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit
Author: Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Aids to Reflection - And the Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit" ***

Transcriber's Note.

The "Aphorisms on that which is indeed Spiritual Religion" extend from
p. 102 to p. 241. They are interspersed with other material that is
listed in the Table of Contents. In addition some of the Aphorisms are
listed separately in the Table. It has been modified to clarify this.

Biblical references have been standardised on one of the more common
formats, viz. "1 John iv. 5.".

The Erratum has been incorporated in the text.

Apparent typographical errors have been corrected, although
inconsistencies in hyphenation have been retained.

Italics are indicated by _underscores_. Greek accents have been
omitted though rough-breathing marks have been retained. Small
capitals have been converted to full capitals.












The present re-print of the 'Aids to Reflection' is mainly from Mr. H.
N. Coleridge's, or the fourth edition. In some points, however, the
earlier editions, which have been carefully consulted throughout, have
been followed.

Dr. Marsh's Preliminary Essay to the 'Aids to Reflection' is printed
from his own second edition, published with the 'Aids' at Burlington,
U.S., in 1840.

Coleridge's posthumous 'Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit' is from
Mr. H. N. Coleridge's text, which was printed from the author's MS.

The 'Essay on Faith' and 'Notes on the Book of Common Prayer' are
re-printed from Coleridge's 'Remains,' as being, possibly, parts of
the "supplementary volume" to the 'Aids to Reflection,' which the
author contemplated (_vide_ p. 257) but never published. The 'Nightly
Prayer' is also re-printed from Coleridge's 'Remains.'


 AIDS TO REFLECTION:                                              PAGE

   Author's Original Title-page, 1825                               ix

   Mr. H. N. Coleridge's Advertisement to the Fourth Edition        xi

   Author's Address to the Reader                                 xiii

   Author's Preface and Advertisement                               xv

   Dr. Marsh's Preliminary Essay                                 xxiii

   Introductory Aphorisms                                            1

   On Sensibility                                                   22

   Prudential Aphorisms                                             27

   Moral and Religious Aphorisms                                    35

   Elements of Religious Philosophy                                 88

   Aphorisms on Spiritual Religion                                  96

   Aphorisms on that which is indeed Spiritual Religion            102

   On the Difference in kind of Reason and the Understanding
     (after Aphorism VIII.)                                        143

   On Instinct in Connection with the Understanding
     (in Comment on Aphorism IX.)                                  162

   On Original Sin (Aphorism X.)                                   172

   Paley not a Moralist (Aphorism XII.)                            196

   On Redemption (in Comment on Aphorism XIX.)                     223

   On Baptism                                                      242

   Conclusion                                                      258

   Appendix A: Summary of the Argument on Reason and the
     Understanding                                                 277

   Appendix B: On Instinct; by Prof. J. H. Green                   278

   Inspiration of the Scriptures                                   285

   The Pentad of Operative Christianity                            288

   Questions as to the Divine Origin of the Bible                  289

   Letter I.                                                       291

   Letter II.                                                      296

   Letter III.                                                     301

   Letter IV.                                                      308

   Letter V.                                                       321

   Letter VI.                                                      322

   Letter VII.                                                     333

 ESSAY ON FAITH                                                    341

 NOTES ON THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER                                350

 A NIGHTLY PRAYER                                                  360

 INDEX                                                             363





    This makes, that whatsoever here befalls,
    You in the region of yourself remain,
    Neighb'ring on Heaven: and that no foreign land.




This corrected Edition of the Aids to Reflection is commended to
Christian readers, in the hope and the trust that the power which the
book has already exercised over hundreds, it may, by God's
furtherance, hereafter exercise over thousands. No age, since
Christianity had a name, has more pointedly needed the mental
discipline taught in this work than that in which we now live; when,
in the Author's own words, all the great ideas or verities of religion
seem in danger of being condensed into idols, or evaporated into
metaphors. Between the encroachments, on the one hand, of those who so
magnify means that they practically impeach the supremacy of the ends
which those means were meant to subserve; and of those, on the other
hand, who, engrossed in the contemplation of the great Redemptive Act,
rashly disregard or depreciate the appointed ordinances of
grace;--between those who, confounding the sensuous Understanding,
varying in every individual, with the universal Reason, the image of
God, the same in all men, inculcate a so-called faith, having no
demonstrated harmony with the attributes of God, or the essential laws
of humanity, and being sometimes inconsistent with both; and those
again who requiring a logical proof of that which, though not
contradicting, does in its very kind, transcend, our reason, virtually
deny the existence of true faith altogether;--between these almost
equal enemies of the truth, Coleridge,--in all his works, but
pre-eminently in this--has kindled an inextinguishable beacon of
warning and of guidance. In so doing, he has taken his stand on the
sure word of Scripture, and is supported by the authority of almost
every one of our great divines, before the prevalence of that system
of philosophy, (Locke's,) which no consistent reasoner can possibly
reconcile with the undoubted meaning of the Articles and Formularies
of the English Church:--

    _In causaque valet, causamque juvantibus armis._

The Editor had intended to offer to the reader a few words by way of
introduction to some of the leading points of philosophy contained in
this Volume. But he has been delighted to find the work already done
to his hand, in a manner superior to anything he could have hoped to
accomplish himself, by an affectionate disciple of Coleridge on the
other side of the Atlantic. The following Essay was written by the
Rev. James Marsh, President of the University of Vermont, United
States of America, and prefixed by him to his Edition of the Aids to
Reflection, published at Burlington in 1829. The Editor has printed
this Essay entire;[1]--as well out of respect for its author, as
believing that the few paragraphs in it having a more special
reference to the state of opinion in America, will not be altogether
without an interest of their own to the attentive observers of the
progress of Truth in this or any other country.

Lincoln's Inn, 25th April, 1839.

[1] See pp. xxiii-lxxvi. Mr. H. N. Coleridge gave the first edition of
Dr. Marsh's Essay. The reader has in the present volume the essay as
it appeared in its second and revised edition, 1840.--ED.


Fellow-Christian! the wish to be admired as a fine writer held a very
subordinate place in my thoughts and feelings in the composition of
this volume. Let then its comparative merits and demerits, in respect
of style and stimulancy, possess a proportional weight, and no more,
in determining your judgment for or against its contents. Read it
_through_: then compare the state of your mind, with the state in
which your mind was, when you first opened the book. Has it led you to
reflect? Has it supplied or suggested fresh subjects for reflection?
Has it given you any new information? Has it removed any obstacle to a
lively conviction of your responsibility as a moral agent? Has it
solved any difficulties, which had impeded your faith as a Christian?
Lastly, has it increased your power of thinking connectedly?
Especially on the Scheme and purpose of the Redemption by Christ? If
it have done none of these things, condemn it aloud as worthless: and
strive to compensate for your own loss of time, by preventing others
from wasting theirs. But if your conscience dictates an affirmative
answer to all or any of the preceding questions, declare this too
aloud, and endeavour to extend my utility.[2]

[2] In the place of this Address the first edition, 1825, had the
Advertisement which we now print at the end of the Author's Preface,
p. xix.--ED.

 Ουτως παντα προς ἑαυτην επαγουσα, και συνηθροισμενη ψυχη,
 αυτη εις αὑτην, ραιστα και μαλα βεβαιως μακαριζεται.


_Omnis divinæ atque humanæ eruditionis elementa tria, Nosse, Velle,
Posse; quorum principium unum Mens; cujus oculus Ratio; cui lumen * *
præbet Deus._


_Naturam hominis hanc Deus ipse voluit, ut duarum rerum cupidus et
appetens esset, religionis et sapientiæ. Sed homines ideo falluntur,
quod aut religionem suscipiunt omissa sapientia; aut sapientiæ soli
student omissa religione; cum alterum sine altero esse non possit



An Author has three points to settle: to what sort his work belongs,
for what description of readers it is intended, and the specific end,
or object, which it is to answer. There is indeed a preliminary
question respecting the end which the writer himself has in view,
whether the number of purchasers, or the benefit of the readers. But
this may be safely passed by; since where the book itself or the known
principles of the writer do not supersede the question, there will
seldom be sufficient strength of character for good or for evil, to
afford much chance of its being either distinctly put or fairly

I shall proceed therefore to state as briefly as possible the
intentions of the present volume in reference to the three
first-mentioned points, viz. _What?_ For _Whom?_ and _For_ what?

I. WHAT? The answer is contained in the title-page.[3] It belongs to
the class of _didactic_ works. Consequently, those who neither wish
_instruction_ for themselves, nor assistance in instructing others,
have no interest in its contents. _Sis sus, sis Divus: sum caltha, et
non tibi spiro._

II. FOR WHOM? _Generally_, for as many in all classes as wish for aid
in disciplining their minds to habits of reflection--for all who,
desirous of building up a manly character in the light of distinct
consciousness, are content to study the principles of moral
architecture on the several grounds of prudence, morality, and
religion. And lastly, for all who feel an interest in the Position, I
have undertaken to defend--this, namely, that the CHRISTIAN FAITH (_in
which I include every article of belief and doctrine professed by the
first Reformers in common_)[4] IS THE PERFECTION OF HUMAN
INTELLIGENCE,--an interest sufficiently strong to insure a patient
attention to the arguments brought in its support.

But if I am to mention any particular class or description of readers,
that were prominent in my thought during the composition of the
volume, my reply must be; that it was _especially_ designed for the
studious Young at the close of their education or on their first
entrance into the duties of manhood and the rights of self-government.
And of these, again, in thought and wish I destined the work (the
latter and larger portion, at least) yet more particularly to Students
intended for the Ministry; _first_, as in duty bound, to the members
of our two Universities: _secondly_, (but only in respect of this
mental precedency _second_) to all alike of whatever name, who have
dedicated their future lives to the cultivation of their race, as
Pastors, Preachers, Missionaries, or Instructors of Youth.

III. FOR WHAT? The worth of an author is estimated by the ends, the
attainment of which he proposed to himself by the particular work;
while the value of the work depends on its fitness, as the Means. The
objects of the present volume are the following, arranged in the order
of their comparative importance.

1. To direct the reader's attention to the value of the Science of
Words, their use and abuse (see _Note, p. 5_) and the incalculable
advantages attached to the habit of using them appropriately, and with
a distinct knowledge of their primary, derivative, and metaphorical
senses. And in furtherance of this Object I have neglected no occasion
of enforcing the maxim, that to expose a sophism and to detect the
equivocal or double meaning of a word is, in the great majority of
cases, one and the same thing. Horne Tooke entitled his celebrated
work, "Επεα πτεροεντα, Winged Words": or Language, not only the
_Vehicle_ of Thought but the _Wheels_. With my convictions and views,
for πεα I should substitute λογοι, that is, Words _select_ and
_determinate_, and for πτεροεντα ζωοντες, that is, _living_ Words.
The _Wheels_ of the Intellect I admit them to be; but such as Ezekiel
beheld in _the visions of God_ as he sate among the captives by the
river of Chebar. _Whithersoever the Spirit was to go, the wheels went,
and thither was their Spirit to go: for the Spirit of the living
creature was in the wheels also._

2. To establish the _distinct_ characters of Prudence, Morality, and
Religion: and to impress the conviction, that though the second
requires the first, and the third contains and supposes both the
former; yet still Moral Goodness is other and more than Prudence, or
the Principle of Expediency; and Religion more and higher than
Morality. For this distinction the better schools even of Pagan
Philosophy contended. (_See pp. 20, 21._)

3. To substantiate and set forth at large the momentous distinction
between Reason and Understanding. Whatever is achievable by the
Understanding for the purposes of worldly interest, private or public,
has in the present age been pursued with an activity and a success
beyond all former experience, and to an extent which equally demands
my admiration and excites my wonder. But likewise it is, and long has
been, my conviction, that in no age since the first dawning of Science
and Philosophy in this island have the truths, interests, and studies
that especially belong to the Reason, contemplative or practical, sunk
into such utter neglect, not to say contempt, as during the last
century. It is therefore one main object of this volume to establish
the position, that whoever transfers to the Understanding the primacy
due to the Reason, loses the one and spoils the other.

4. To exhibit a full and consistent Scheme of the Christian
Dispensation, and more largely of all the _peculiar_ doctrines of the
Christian Faith; and to answer all the objections to the same, which
do not originate in a corrupt Will rather than an erring Judgment; and
to do this in a manner intelligible for all who, possessing the
ordinary advantages of education, do in good earnest desire to form
their religious creed in the light of their own convictions, and to
have a reason for the faith which they profess. There are indeed
Mysteries, in evidence of which no reasons can be brought. But it has
been my endeavour to show, that the true solution of this problem is,
that these Mysteries _are_ Reason, Reason in its highest form of

Such are the special Objects of these "Aids to Reflection." Concerning
the general character of the work, let me be permitted to add the few
following sentences. St. Augustine, in one of his Sermons, discoursing
on a high point of theology, tells his auditors--_Sic accipite, ut
mereamini intelligere. Fides enim debet præcedere intellectum, ut
sit intellectus fidei præmium._ Now without a certain portion of
gratuitous and (as it were) _experimentative_ faith in the writer, a
reader will scarcely give that degree of continued attention, without
which no _didactic_ work worth reading can be read to any wise or
profitable purpose. In _this_ sense, therefore, and to _this_ extent,
_every_ author, who is competent to the office he has undertaken, may
without arrogance repeat St. Augustine's words in his own right, and
advance a similar claim on similar grounds. But I venture no further
than to imitate the sentiment at a humble distance, by avowing my
belief that he who seeks _instruction_ in the following pages, will
not fail to find _entertainment_ likewise; but that whoever seeks
entertainment only will find neither.

READER!--You have been bred in a land abounding with men, able in
arts, learning, and knowledges manifold, this man in one, this in
another, few in many, none in all. But there is one art, of which
every man should be master, the art of REFLECTION. If you are not a
_thinking_ man, to what purpose are you a _man_ at all? In like
manner, there is one knowledge, which it is every man's interest and
duty to acquire, namely, SELF-KNOWLEDGE: or to what end was man alone,
of all animals, endued by the Creator with the faculty of
_self-consciousness_? Truly said the Pagan moralist, _e cælo
descendit_, Γνωθι σεαυτον.

But you are likewise born in a CHRISTIAN land: and Revelation has
provided for you new subjects for reflection, and new treasures of
knowledge, never to be unlocked by him who remains self-ignorant.
Self-knowledge is the key to this casket; and by reflection alone can
it be obtained. Reflect on your own thoughts, actions, circumstances,
and--which will be of especial aid to you in forming a _habit_ of
reflection,--accustom yourself to reflect on the words you use, hear,
or read, their birth, derivation and history. For if words are not
THINGS, they are LIVING POWERS, by which the things of most importance
to mankind are actuated, combined, and humanized. Finally, by
reflection you may draw from the fleeting facts of your worldly trade,
art, or profession, a science permanent as your immortal soul; and
make even these subsidiary and preparative to the reception of
spiritual truth, "doing as the dyers do, who having first dipt their
silks in colours of less value, then give them the last tincture of
crimson in grain."

[ADVERTISEMENT.[5]--In the bodies of several species of animals there
are found certain parts of which neither the office, the functions,
nor the relations could be ascertained by the Comparative Anatomist
till he had become acquainted with the state of the animal before
birth. Something sufficiently like this (for the purpose of an
illustration at least) applies to the work here offered to the public.
In the introductory portion there occur several passages, which the
reader will be puzzled to decipher, without some information
respecting the original design of the volume, and the changes it has
undergone during its immature and embryonic state. On this account
only, I think myself bound to make it known, that the work was begun
as a mere selection from the Writings of Archbishop Leighton, under
the usual title of "The Beauties of Archbishop Leighton," with a few
notes and a biographical preface by the Selector. Hence the term
_Editor_, subscribed to the notes, and prefixed, alone or conjointly
to the Aphorisms, according as the passage was written entirely by
myself, or only modified and (_avowedly_) interpolated.[6] I continued
the use of the word on the plea of uniformity; though, like most other
deviations from propriety of language, it would, probably, have been a
wiser choice to have omitted or exchanged it. The various Reflections,
however, that pressed on me while I was considering the motives for
selecting this or that passage; the desire for enforcing, and as it
were entegrating, the truths contained in the original author, by
adding those which the words suggested or recalled to my own mind; the
conversations with men of eminence in the literary and religious
circles, occasioned by the objects which I had in view; and, lastly,
the increasing disproportion of the Commentary to the Text, and the
too marked difference in the frame, character, and colours of the two
styles; soon induced me to recognize and adopt a revolution in my plan
and object, which had in fact actually taken place without my
intention, and almost unawares. It would indeed be more correct to
say, that the present volume owed its accidental origin to the
intention of compiling one of a different description than to speak of
it as the same work. It is not a change in the child, but a

Still, however, the selections from Leighton, which will be found in
the Prudential and Moral sections of this work, and which I could
retain consistently with its present form and matter, will both from
the intrinsic excellence and from the characteristic beauty of the
passages, suffice to answer two prominent purposes of the original
plan, that of placing in a clear light the principle which pervades
all Leighton's writings--his sublime view, I mean, of Religion and
Morality as the means of reforming the human Soul in the Divine Image
(_Idea_); and that of exciting an interest in the works, and an
affectionate reverence for the name and memory of this severely tried
and truly primitive Churchman.

S. T. C.]

[3] Coleridge's original title-page, viz., that to the 1825 edition,
is given at p. ix. That edition bore the imprint of Taylor and Hessey,
93, Fleet Street, and 13, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall.--ED.

[4] This parenthesis was in editions one to three, but was dropped out
of the fourth.--ED.

[5] Coleridge's advertisement to the first edition, 1825. It has been
omitted since, until now.--ED.

[6] In the first edition the Aphorisms were superscribed "Leighton,"
&c., when selected, and "Editor" when by Coleridge himself. Some later
editions excluded these useful headings. We revert to the author's
first plan, substituting the name Coleridge for "Editor."--ED.



Whether the present state of religions feeling, and the prevailing
topics of theological inquiry among us, are particularly favourable to
the success of the Work herewith offered to the Public can be
determined only by the result. The question, however, has not been
left unconsidered; and however that may be, it is not a work, the
value of which depends essentially upon its relation to the passing
controversies of the day. Unless I distrust my own feelings and
convictions altogether, I must suppose, that for some, I hope for
many, minds, it will have a deep and enduring interest. Of those
classes, for whose use it is more especially designated in the
Author's Preface, I trust there are many also in this country, who
will justly appreciate the objects at which it aims, and avail
themselves of its instruction and assistance. I could wish it might be
received, by all who concern themselves in religious inquiries and
instruction especially, in the spirit which seems to me to have
animated its great and admirable author; and I hesitate not to say,
that to all of every class, who shall so receive it, and peruse it
with the attention and thoughtfulness, which it demands and deserves,
it will be found by experience to furnish, what its title imports,
"AIDS TO REFLECTION" on subjects, upon which every man is bound to
reflect deeply and in earnest.

What the specific objects of the Work are, and for whom it is written,
may be learned in a few words from the Preface of the Author. From
this, too, it will be seen to be professedly didactic. It is designed
to aid those who wish for instruction, or assistance in the
instruction of others. The plan and composition of the Work will to
most readers probably appear somewhat anomalous; but reflection upon
the nature of the objects aimed at, and some little experience of its
results, may convince them that the method adopted is not without its
advantages. It is important to observe, that it is designed, as its
general characteristic, to aid REFLECTION, and for the most part upon
subjects which can be learned and understood only by the exercise of
reflection in the strict and proper sense of that term. It was not so
much to teach a speculative system of doctrines built upon established
premises, for which a different method would have been obviously
preferable, as to turn the mind continually back upon the premises
themselves--upon the inherent grounds of truth and error in its own
being. The only way in which it is possible for any one to learn the
science of words, which is one of the objects to be sought in the
present Work, and the true import of those words especially, which
most concern us as rational and accountable beings, is by reflecting
upon and bringing forth into distinct consciousness, those mental acts
which the words are intended to designate. We must discover and
distinctly apprehend different meanings, before we can appropriate to
each a several word, or understand the words so appropriated by
others. Now it is not too much to say, that most men, and even a large
proportion of educated men, do not reflect sufficiently upon their
own inward being, upon the constituent laws of their own
understanding, upon the mysterious powers and agencies of reason, and
conscience, and will, to apprehend with much distinctness the objects
to be named, or of course to refer the names with correctness to their
several objects. Hence the necessity of associating the study of words
with the study of morals and religion; and that is the most effectual
method of instruction, which enables the teacher most successfully to
fix the attention upon a definite meaning, that is, in these studies,
upon a particular act, or process, or law of the mind--to call it into
distinct consciousness, and assign to it its proper name, so that the
name shall thenceforth have for the learner a distinct, definite, and
intelligible sense. To impress upon the reader the importance of this,
and to exemplify it in the particular subjects taken up in the Work,
is a leading aim of the Author throughout; and it is obviously the
only possible way by which we can arrive at any satisfactory and
conclusive results on subjects of philosophy, morals, and religion.
The first principles, the ultimate grounds, of these, so far as they
are possible objects of knowledge for us, must be sought and found in
the laws of our being, or they are not found at all. The knowledge of
these, terminates in the knowledge of ourselves, of our rational and
personal being, of our proper and distinctive humanity, and of that
Divine Being, in whose image we are created. "We must retire inward,"
says St. Bernard, "if we would ascend upward." It is by
self-inspection, by reflecting upon the mysterious grounds of our own
being, that we can alone arrive at any rational knowledge of the
central and absolute ground of all being. It is by this only, that we
can discover that principle of unity and consistency, which reason
instinctively seeks after, which shall reduce to an harmonious system
all our views of truth and of being, and destitute of which all the
knowledge that comes to us from without is fragmentary, and in its
relation to our highest interests as rational beings but the
patch-work of vanity.

Now, of necessity, the only method, by which another can aid our
efforts in the work of reflection, is by first reflecting himself, and
so pointing out the process and marking the result by words, that we
can repeat it, and try the conclusions by our own consciousness. If he
have reflected aright, if he have excluded all causes of
self-deception, and directed his thoughts by those principles of truth
and reason, and by those laws of the understanding, which belong in
common to all men, his conclusions must be true for all. We have only
to repeat the process, impartially to reflect ourselves, unbiassed by
received opinions, and undeceived by the idols of our own
understandings, and we shall find the same truths in the depths of our
own self-consciousness. I am persuaded that such, for the most part,
will be found to be the case with regard to the principles developed
in the present Work, and that those who, with serious reflection and
an unbiassed love of truth, will refer them to the laws of thought in
their own minds, to the requirements of their own reason, will find
there a witness to their truth.

Viewing the Work in this manner, therefore, as an instructive and safe
guide to the knowledge of what it concerns all men to know, I cannot
but consider it in itself as a work of great and permanent value to
any Christian community. Whatever indeed tends to awaken and cherish
the power, and to form the habit, of reflection upon the great
constituent principles of our own permanent being and proper humanity,
and upon the abiding laws of truth and duty, as revealed in our reason
and conscience, cannot but promote our highest interests as moral and
rational beings. Even if the particular conclusions, to which the
Author has arrived, should prove erroneous, the evil is comparatively
of little importance, if he have at the same time communicated to our
minds such powers of thought, as will enable us to detect his errors,
and attain by our own efforts to a more perfect knowledge of the
truth. That some of his views may not be erroneous, or that they are
to be received on his authority, the Author, I presume, would be the
last to affirm; and although in the nature of the case it was
impossible for him to aid reflection without anticipating, and in some
measure influencing, the results, yet the primary tendency and design
of the Work is, not to establish this or that system, but to cultivate
in every mind the power and the will to seek earnestly and steadfastly
for the truth in the only direction, in which it can ever be found.
The work is no further controversial, than every work must be, "that
is writ with freedom and reason" upon subjects of the same kind; and
if it be found at variance with existing opinions and modes of
philosophizing, it is not necessarily to be considered the fault of
the writer.

In republishing the Work in this country, I could wish that it might
be received by all, for whose instruction it was designed, simply as a
didactic work, on its own merits, and without controversy. I must not,
however, be supposed ignorant of its bearing upon those questions,
which have so often been, and still are, the prevailing topics of
theological controversy among us. It was indeed incumbent on me,
before inviting the attention of the religious community to the Work,
to consider its relation to existing opinions, and its probable
influence on the progress of truth. This I have done with as severe
thought as I am capable of bestowing upon any subject, and I trust too
with no want of deference and conscientious regard to the feelings and
opinions of others. I have not attempted to disguise from myself, nor
do I wish to disguise from the readers of the Work, the inconsistency
of some of its leading principles with much that is taught and
received in our theological circles. Should it gain much of the public
attention in any way, it will become, as it ought to do, an object of
special and deep interest to all, who would contend for the truth, and
labour to establish it upon a permanent basis. I venture to assure
such, even those of them who are most capable of comprehending the
philosophical grounds of truth in our speculative systems of theology,
that in its relation to this whole subject they will find it to be a
Work of great depth and power, and, whether right or wrong, eminently
deserving their attention. It is not to be supposed that all who read,
or even all who comprehend it, will be convinced of the soundness of
its views, or be prepared to abandon those which they have long
considered essential to the truth. To those, whose understandings by
long habit have become limited in their powers of apprehension, and as
it were identified with certain schemes of doctrine, certain modes of
contemplating all that pertains to religious truth, it may appear
novel, strange, and unintelligible, or even dangerous in its tendency,
and be to them an occasion of offence. But I have no fear that any
earnest and single-hearted lover of the truth as it is in Jesus, who
will free his mind from the idols of preconceived opinion, and give
himself time and opportunity to understand the Work by such reflection
as the nature of the subject renders unavoidable, will find in it any
cause of offence, or any source of alarm. If the Work become the
occasion of controversy at all, I should expect it from those, who,
instead of reflecting deeply upon the first principles of truth in
their own reason and conscience and in the word of God, are more
accustomed to speculate--that is, from premises given or assumed, but
considered unquestionable, as the constituted point of observation, to
look abroad upon the whole field of their intellectual vision, and
thence to decide upon the true form and dimensions of all which meets
their view. To such I would say with deference, that the merits of
this Work cannot be determined by the merely relative aspect of its
doctrines, as seen from the high ground of any prevailing metaphysical
or theological system. Those on the contrary who will seek to
comprehend it by reflection, to learn the true meaning of the whole
and of all its parts, by retiring into their own minds and finding
there the true point of observation for each, will not be in haste to
question the truth or the tendency of its principles. I make these
remarks because I am anxious, as far as may be, to anticipate the
causeless fears of all, who earnestly pray and labour for the
promotion of the truth, and to preclude that unprofitable controversy,
which might arise from hasty or prejudiced views of a Work like this.
At the same time I should be far from deprecating any discussion which
might tend to unfold more fully the principles which it teaches, or to
exhibit more distinctly its true bearing upon the interests of
theological science and of spiritual religion. It is to promote this
object, indeed, that I am induced in the remarks which follow to offer
some of my own thoughts on these subjects, imperfect I am well aware,
and such as, for that reason, as well as others, worldly prudence
might require me to suppress. If, however, I may induce reflecting
men, and those who are engaged in theological inquiries especially, to
indulge a suspicion that all truth, which it is important for them to
know, is not contained in the systems of doctrine usually taught, and
that this Work may be worthy of their serious and reflecting perusal,
my chief object will be accomplished. I shall of course not need to
anticipate in detail the contents of the Work itself, but shall aim
simply to point out what I consider its distinguishing and essential
character and tendency, and then direct the attention of my readers to
some of those general feelings and views on the subjects of religious
truth, and of those particulars in the prevailing philosophy of the
age, which seem to me to be exerting an injurious influence on the
cause of theological science and of spiritual religion, and not only
to furnish a fit occasion, but to create an imperious demand, for a
Work like that which is here offered to the public.

In regard then to the distinguishing character and tendency of the
Work itself, it has already been stated to be didactic, and designed
to aid reflection on the principles and grounds of truth in our own
being; but in another point of view, and with reference to my present
object, it might rather be denominated A PHILOSOPHICAL STATEMENT AND
THE CHRISTIAN SYSTEM. In order to understand more clearly the import
of this statement, and the relation of the Author's views to those
exhibited in other systems, the reader is requested to examine in the
first place, what he considers the _peculiar doctrines of
Christianity_, and what he means by the terms _spirit_ and
_spiritual_. A synoptical view of what he considers peculiar to
Christianity as a revelation is given in Aphorism VII., on Spiritual
Religion, and, if I mistake not, will be found essentially to
coincide, though not perhaps in the language employed, with what among
us are termed the Evangelical doctrines of religion. Those who are
anxious to examine further into the orthodoxy of the Work in
connection with this statement, may consult the articles on ORIGINAL
SIN and REDEMPTION,[8] though I must forewarn them that it will
require much study in connection with the other parts of the Work,
before one unaccustomed to the Author's language, and unacquainted
with his views, can fully appreciate the merit of what may be peculiar
in his mode of treating those subjects. With regard to the term
_spiritual_, it may be sufficient to remark here, that he regards it
as having a specific import, and maintains that in the sense of the
New Testament, _spiritual_ and _natural_ are contradistinguished, so
that what is spiritual is different in kind from that which is
natural, and is in fact _super_-natural. So, too, while morality is
something more than prudence, religion, the spiritual life, is
something more than morality.

In vindicating the peculiar doctrines of the Christian system so
stated, and a faith in the reality of agencies and modes of being
essentially spiritual or supernatural, he aims to show their
consistency with reason and with the true principles of philosophy,
and that indeed, so far from being irrational, CHRISTIAN FAITH IS THE
PERFECTION OF HUMAN REASON. By reflection upon the subjective grounds
of knowledge and faith in the human mind itself, and by an analysis of
its faculties, he developes the distinguishing characteristics and
necessary relations of the natural and the spiritual in our modes of
being and knowing, and the all-important fact, that although the
former does not comprehend the latter, yet neither does it preclude
its existence. He proves, that "the scheme of Christianity, * * *
though not discoverable by human reason, is yet in accordance with it;
that link follows link by necessary consequence; that Religion passes
out of the ken of Reason only where the eye of Reason has reached its
own horizon--and that Faith is then but its continuation."[9] Instead
of adopting, like the popular metaphysicians of the day, a system of
philosophy at war with religion, and which tends inevitably to
undermine our belief in the reality of any thing spiritual in the only
proper sense of that word, and then coldly and ambiguously referring
us for the support of our faith to the authority of Revelation, he
boldly asserts the reality of something distinctively spiritual in
man, and the futility of all those modes of philosophizing, in which
this is not recognized, or which are incompatible with it. He
considers it the highest and most rational purpose of any system of
philosophy, at least of one professing to be Christian, to investigate
those higher and peculiar attributes, which distinguish us from the
brutes that perish--which are the image of God in us, and constitute
our proper humanity. It is in his view the proper business and the
duty of the Christian philosopher to remove all appearance of
contradiction between the several manifestations of the one Divine
Word, to reconcile reason with revelation, and thus to justify the
ways of God to man. The methods by which he accomplishes this, either
in regard to the terms in which he enunciates the great doctrines of
the Gospel, or the peculiar views of philosophy by which he reconciles
them with the subjective grounds of faith in the universal reason of
man, need not be stated here. I will merely observe, that the key to
his system will be found in the distinctions, which he makes and
illustrates between _nature_ and _free-will_, and between the
_understanding_ and _reason_. It may meet the prejudices of some to
remark farther, that in philosophizing on the grounds of our faith he
does not profess or aim to solve all mysteries, and to bring all truth
within the comprehension of the understanding. A truth may be
mysterious, and the primary ground of all truth and reality must be
so. But though we may believe what _passeth all understanding_, we
_cannot_ believe what is _absurd_, or contradictory to _reason_.

Whether the Work be well executed, according to the idea of it, as now
given, or whether the Author have accomplished his purpose, must be
determined by those who are capable of judging, when they shall have
examined and reflected upon the whole as it deserves. The inquiry
which I have now to propose to my readers is, whether the idea itself
be a rational one, and whether the purpose of the Author be one which
a wise man and a Christian ought to aim at, or which in the present
state of our religious interests, and of our theological science,
specially needs to be accomplished.

No one, who has had occasion to observe the general feelings and views
of our religious community for a few years past, can be ignorant, that
a strong prejudice exists against the introduction of philosophy, in
any form, in the discussion of theological subjects. The terms
_philosophy_ and _metaphysics_, even _reason_ and _rational_, seem, in
the minds of those most devoted to the support of religious truth, to
have forfeited their original, and to have acquired a new import,
especially in their relation to matters of faith. By a philosophical
view of religious truth would generally be understood a view, not only
varying from the religion of the Bible in the form and manner of
presenting it, but at war with it; and a rational religion is supposed
to be of course something diverse from revealed religion. A
philosophical and rational system of religious truth would by most
readers among us, if I mistake not, be supposed a system deriving its
doctrines not from revelation, but from the speculative reason of men,
or at least relying on that only for their credibility. That these
terms have been used to designate such systems, and that the prejudice
against reason and philosophy so employed is not, therefore, without
cause, I need not deny; nor would any friend of revealed truth be less
disposed to give credence to such systems, than the Author of the Work
before us.

But, on the other hand, a moment's reflection only can be necessary to
convince any man, attentive to the use of language, that we do at the
same time employ these terms in relation to truth generally in a
better and much higher sense. _Rational_, as contradistinguished from
_irrational_ and _absurd_, certainly denotes a quality, which every
man would be disposed to claim, not only for himself, but for his
religious opinions. Now, the adjective _reasonable_ having acquired a
different use and signification, the word _rational_ is the adjective
corresponding in sense to the substantive _reason_, and signifies
what is conformed to reason. In one sense, then, all men would appeal
to reason in behalf of their religious faith; they would deny that it
was irrational or absurd. If we do not in this sense adhere to reason,
we forfeit our prerogative as rational beings, and our faith is no
better than the bewildered dream of a man who has lost his reason.
Nay, I maintain that when we use the term in this higher sense, it is
impossible for us to believe on any authority what is directly
contradictory to reason and seen to be so. No evidence from another
source, and no authority could convince us, that a proposition in
geometry, for example, is false, which our reason intuitively
discovers to be true. Now if we suppose (and we may at least suppose
this,) that reason has the same power of intuitive insight in relation
to certain moral and spiritual truths, as in relation to the truths of
geometry, then it would be equally impossible to divest us of our
belief of those truths.

Furthermore, we are not only unable to believe the same proposition to
be false, which our reason sees to be true, but we cannot believe
another proposition, which by the exercise of the same rational
faculty we see to be incompatible with the former, or to contradict
it. We may, and probably often do, receive with a certain kind and
degree of credence opinions, which reflection would show to be
incompatible. But when we have reflected, and discovered the
inconsistency, we cannot retain both. We cannot believe two
contradictory propositions knowing them to be such. It would be
irrational to do so.

Again, we cannot conceive it possible, that what by the same power of
intuition we see to be universally and necessarily true should appear
otherwise to any other rational being. We cannot, for example, but
consider the propositions of geometry as necessarily true for all
rational beings. So, too, a little reflection, I think, will convince
any one, that we attribute the same necessity of reason to the
principles of moral rectitude. What in the clear daylight of our
reason, and after mature reflection, we see to be right, we cannot
believe to be wrong in the view of other rational beings in the
distinct exercise of their reason. Nay, in regard to those truths,
which are clearly submitted to the view of our reason, and which we
behold with distinct and steadfast intuitions, we necessarily
attribute to the Supreme Reason, to the Divine Mind, views the same,
or coincident, with those of our own reason. We cannot, (I say it with
reverence and I trust with some apprehension of the importance of the
assertion,) we _cannot_ believe that to be right in the view of the
Supreme Reason, which is clearly and decidedly wrong in the view of
our own. It would be contradictory to reason, it would be irrational,
to believe it, and therefore we cannot do so, till we lose our reason,
or cease to exercise it.

I would ask, now, whether this be not an authorized use of the words
reason and rational, and whether so used they do not mean something.
If it be so--and I appeal to the mind of every man capable of
reflection, and of under standing the use of language, if it be
not--then there is meaning in the terms _universal reason_, and _unity
of reason_, as used in this Work. There is, and can be, in this
highest sense of the word but one reason, and whatever contradicts
that reason, being seen to do so, cannot be received as matter either
of knowledge or faith. To reconcile religion with reason used in this
sense, therefore, and to justify the ways of God to man, or in the
view of reason, is so far from being irrational that reason
imperatively demands it of us. We cannot, as rational beings, believe
a proposition on the grounds of reason, and deny it on the authority
of revelation. We cannot believe a proposition in philosophy, and deny
the same proposition in theology; nor can we believe two incompatible
propositions on the different grounds of reason and revelation. So
far as we compare our thoughts, the objects of our knowledge and
faith, and by reflection refer them to their common measure in the
universal laws of reason, so far the instinct of reason impels us to
reject whatever is contradictory and absurd, and to bring unity and
consistency into all our views of truth. Thus, in the language of the
Author of this Work, though "the word _rational_ has been strangely
abused of late times, this must not disincline us to the weighty
consideration, that thoughtfulness, and a desire to rest all our
convictions on grounds of right reason, are inseparable from the
character of a Christian."[10]

But I beg the reader to observe, that in relation to the doctrines of
spiritual religion--to all that he considers the peculiar doctrines of
the Christian revelation, the Author assigns to reason only a negative
validity. It does not teach us what those doctrines are, or what they
are not, except that they are not, and cannot be, such as contradict
the clear convictions of right reason. But his views on this point are
fully stated in the Work.[11]

If then it be our prerogative, as rational beings, and our duty as
Christians, to think, as well as to act, _rationally_,--to see that
our convictions of truth rest on the grounds of right reason; and if
it be one of the clearest dictates of reason, that we should endeavour
to shun, and on discovery should reject, whatever is contradictory to
the universal laws of thought, or to doctrines already established, I
know not by what means we are to avoid the application of philosophy,
at least to some extent, in the study of theology. For to determine
what _are_ the grounds of right reason, what are those ultimate
truths, and those universal laws of thought, which we cannot
rationally contradict, and by reflection to compare with these
whatever is proposed for our belief, is in fact to philosophize; and
whoever does this to a greater or less extent, is so far a philosopher
in the best and highest sense of the word. To this extent we are bound
to philosophize in theology, as well as in every other science. For
what is not rational in theology, is, of course, irrational, and
cannot be of the household of faith; and to determine whether it be
rational in the sense already explained or not, is the province of
philosophy. It is in this sense that the Work before us is to be
considered a philosophical work, namely, that it proves the doctrines
of the Christian Faith to be rational, and exhibits philosophical
grounds for the _possibility_ of a truly spiritual religion. The
_reality_ of those experiences, or states of being, which constitute
experimental or spiritual religion, rests on other grounds. It is
incumbent on the philosopher to free them from the contradictions of
reason, and nothing more; and who will deny, that to do this is a
purpose worthy of the ablest philosopher and the most devoted
Christian? Is it not desirable to convince all men that the doctrines,
which we affirm to be revealed in the Gospel, are not contradictory to
the requirements of reason and conscience? Is it not, on the other
hand, vastly important to the cause of religious truth, and even to
the practical influence of religion on our own minds, and the minds of
the community at large, that we should attain and exhibit views of
philosophy and doctrines in metaphysics, which are at least compatible
with, if they do not specially favour, those views of religion, which,
on other grounds, we find it our duty to believe and maintain? For, I
beg it may be observed, as a point of great moment, that it is not the
method of the genuine philosopher to separate his philosophy and
religion, and adopting his principles independently in each, to leave
them to be reconciled or not, as the case may be. He has, and can
have, rationally but one system, in which his philosophy becomes
religious, and his religion philosophical. Nor am I disposed in
compliance with public opinion to limit the application of this
remark, as is usually done, to the mere external evidences of
revelation. The philosophy which we adopt will and must influence not
only our decision of the question, whether a book be of divine
authority, but our views also of its meaning.

But this is a subject, on which, if possible, I would avoid being
misunderstood, and must, therefore, exhibit it more fully, even at the
risk of repeating what was said before, or is elsewhere found in the
Work. It has been already, I believe, distinctly enough stated, that
reason and philosophy ought to prevent our reception of doctrines
claiming the authority of revelation only so far as the very
necessities of our rational being require. However mysterious the
thing affirmed may be, though _it passeth all understanding_, if it
cannot be shown to contradict the unchangeable principles of right
reason, its being incomprehensible to our understandings is not an
obstacle to our faith. If it contradict reason, we cannot believe it,
but must conclude, either that the writing is not of divine authority,
or that the language has been misinterpreted. So far it seems to me,
that our philosophy ought to modify our views of theological
doctrines, and our mode of interpreting the language of an inspired
writer. But then we must be cautious, that we philosophize rightly,
and "do not call _that_ reason which is not so." Otherwise we may be
led by the supposed requirements of reason to interpret
metaphorically, what ought to be received literally, and evacuate the
Scriptures of their most important doctrines. But what I mean to say
here is, that we cannot avoid the application of our philosophy in the
interpretation of the language of Scripture, and in the explanation of
the doctrines of religion generally. We cannot avoid incurring the
danger just alluded to of philosophizing erroneously, even to the
extent of rejecting as irrational that which tends to the perfection
of reason itself. And hence I maintain, that instead of pretending to
exclude philosophy from our religious inquiries, it is very important
that we philosophize in earnest--that we should endeavour by profound
reflection to learn the real requirements of reason, and attain a true
knowledge of ourselves.

If any dispute the necessity of thus combining the study of philosophy
with that of religion, I would beg them to point out the age since
that of the Apostles, in which the prevailing metaphysical opinions
have not distinctly manifested themselves in the prevailing views of
religion; and if, as I fully believe will be the case, they fail to
discover a single system of theology, a single volume on the subject
of the Christian religion, in which the author's views are not
modified by the metaphysical opinions of the age or of the individual,
it would be desirable to ascertain, whether this influence be
accidental or necessary. The metaphysician analyzes the faculties and
operations of the human mind, and teaches us to arrange, to classify,
and to name them, according to his views of their various
distinctions. The language of the Scriptures, at least to a great
extent, speaks of subjects that can be understood only by a reference
to those same powers and processes of thought and feeling, which we
have learned to think of, and to name, according to our particular
system of metaphysics. How is it possible then to avoid interpreting
the one by the other? Let us suppose, for example, that a man has
studied and adopted the philosophy of Brown, is it possible for him to
interpret the 8th chapter of Romans, without having his views of its
meaning influenced by his philosophy? Would he not unavoidably
interpret the language and explain the doctrines, which it contains,
differently from one, who should have adopted such views of the human
mind as are taught in this Work? I know it is customary to disclaim
the influence of philosophy in the business of interpretation, and
every writer now-a-days on such subjects will assure us, that he has
nothing to do with metaphysics, but is guided only by common sense and
the laws of interpretation. But I should like to know how a man comes
by any common sense in relation to the movements and laws of his
intellectual and moral being without metaphysics. What is the common
sense of a Hottentot on subjects of this sort? I have no hesitation in
saying, that from the very nature of the case, it is nearly, if not
quite, impossible for any man entirely to separate his philosophical
views of the human mind from his reflections on religious subjects.
Probably no man has endeavoured more faithfully to do this, perhaps no
one has succeeded better in giving the truth of Scripture free from
the glosses of metaphysics, than Professor Stuart. Yet, I should risk
little in saying that a reader deeply versed in the language of
metaphysics, extensively acquainted with the philosophy of different
ages, and the peculiar phraseology of different schools, might
ascertain his metaphysical system from many a passage of his
Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. What then, let me ask, is
the possible use to the cause of truth and of religion, from thus
perpetually decrying philosophy in theological inquiries, when we
cannot avoid it if we would? Every man, who has reflected at all, has
his metaphysics; and if he reads on religious subjects, he interprets
and understands the language which he employs, by the help of his
metaphysics. He cannot do otherwise.--And the proper inquiry is, not
whether we admit our philosophy into our theological and religious
investigations, but whether our philosophy be right and true. For
myself, I am fully convinced that we can have no right views of
theology, till we have right views of the human mind; and that these
are to be acquired only by laborious and persevering reflection. My
belief is, that the distinctions unfolded in this Work will place us
in the way to truth, and relieve us from numerous perplexities, in
which we are involved by the philosophy which we have so long taken
for our guide. For we are greatly deceived, if we suppose for a moment
that the systems of theology which have been received among us, or
even the theoretical views which are now most popular, are free from
the entanglements of worldly wisdom. The readers of this Work will be
able to see, I think, more clearly the import of this remark, and the
true bearing of the received views of philosophy on our theological
inquiries. Those who study the Work without prejudice, and adopt its
principles to any considerable extent, will understand too how deeply
an age may be ensnared in the metaphysical webs of its own weaving, or
entangled in the net which the speculations of a former generation
have thrown over it, and yet suppose itself blessed with a perfect
immunity from the dreaded evils of metaphysics.

But before I proceed to remark on those particulars, in which our
prevailing philosophy seems to be dangerous in its tendency, and
unfriendly to the cause of spiritual religion, I must beg leave to
guard myself and the Work from misapprehension on another point of
great importance in its relation to the whole subject. While it is
maintained that reason and philosophy, in their true character,
_ought_ to have a certain degree and extent of influence in the
formation of our religious system, and that our metaphysical opinions,
whatever they may be, _will_ almost unavoidably, modify more or less
our theoretical views of religious truth _generally_, it is yet a
special object of the Author of the Work to show that the spiritual
life, or what among us is termed experimental religion, is, in itself,
and in its own proper growth and development, essentially distinct
from the forms and processes of the understanding; and that, although
a true faith cannot contradict any universal principle of speculative
reason, it is yet in a certain sense independent of the discursions
of philosophy, and in its proper nature beyond the reach "of positive
science and theoretical _insight_." "Christianity is not a _theory_ or
a _speculation_; but a _life_. Not a _philosophy_ of life, but a life
and a living process." It is not, therefore, so properly a species of
knowledge, as a form of being. And although the theoretical views of
the understanding, and the motives of prudence which it presents, may
be, to a certain extent, connected with the development of the
spiritual principle of religious life in the Christian, yet a true and
living faith is not incompatible with at least some degree of
speculative error. As the acquisition of merely speculative knowledge
cannot of itself communicate the principle of spiritual life, so
neither does that principle, and the living process of its growth,
depend wholly, at least, upon the degree of speculative knowledge with
which it co-exists. That religion, of which our blessed Saviour is
himself the essential Form and the living Word, and to which he
imparts the actuating Spirit, has a principle of unity and consistency
in itself distinct from the unity and consistency of our theoretical
views. Of this we have evidence in every day's observation of
Christian character; for how often do we see and acknowledge the power
of religion, and the growth of a spiritual life in minds but little
gifted with speculative knowledge, and little versed in the forms of
logic or philosophy! How obviously, too, does the living principle of
religion manifest the same specific character, the same essential
form, amidst all the diversities of condition, of talents, of
education, and natural disposition, with which it is associated; every
where rising above nature, and the powers of the natural man, and
unlimited in its goings on by the forms in which the understanding
seeks to comprehend and confine its spiritual energies. _There are
diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit_: and it is no less true now
than in the age of the Apostles, that in all lands, and in every
variety of circumstances, the manifestations of spiritual life are
essentially the same; and all who truly believe in heart, however
diverse in natural condition, in the character of their
understandings, and even in their theoretical views of truth, are
_one_ in _Christ Jesus_. The essential faith is not to be found in the
understanding or the speculative theory, but "the _life_, the
_substance_, the _hope_, the _love_--in one word, the _faith_--these
are derivatives from the practical, moral, and spiritual nature and
being of man." Speculative systems of theology indeed have often had
little connection with the essential spirit of religion, and are
usually little more than schemes resulting from the strivings of the
finite understanding to comprehend and exhibit under its own forms and
conditions a mode of being and spiritual truths essentially diverse
from their proper objects, and with which they are incommensurate.

This I am aware is an imperfect, and I fear may be an unintelligible,
view of a subject exceedingly difficult of apprehension at the best.
If so, I must beg the reader's indulgence, and request him to suspend
his judgment, as to the absolute intelligibility of it, till he
becomes acquainted with the language and sentiments of the Work
itself. It will, however, I hope, be so far understood, at least, as
to answer the purpose for which it was introduced--of precluding the
supposition that, in the remarks which preceded, or in those which
follow, any suspicion was intended to be expressed, with regard to the
religious principles or the essential faith of those who hold the
opinions in question. According to this view of the inherent and
essential nature of Spiritual Religion, as existing in the _practical
reason_ of man, we may not only admit, but can better understand the
possibility of what every charitable Christian will acknowledge to be
a fact, so far as human observation can determine facts of this
sort--that a man may be truly religious, and essentially a believer at
heart, while his understanding is sadly bewildered with the attempt
to comprehend and express philosophically, what yet he feels and knows
spiritually. It is indeed impossible for us to tell, how far the
understanding may impose upon itself by partial views and false
disguises, without perverting the will, or estranging it from the laws
and the authority of reason and the divine word. We cannot say to what
extent a false system of philosophy and metaphysical opinions, which
in their natural and uncounteracted tendency would go to destroy all
religion, may be received in a Christian community, and yet the power
of spiritual religion retain its hold and its efficacy in the hearts
of the people. We may perhaps believe that in opposition to all the
might of false philosophy, so long as the great body of the people
have the Bible in their hands, and are taught to reverence and receive
its heavenly instructions, though the Church may suffer injury from
unwise and unfruitful speculations, it will yet be preserved; and that
the spiritual seed of the divine word, though mingled with many tares
of worldly wisdom and philosophy falsely so called, will yet spring
up, and bear fruit unto everlasting life.

But though we may hope and believe this, we cannot avoid believing, at
the same time, that injury must result from an unsuspecting confidence
in metaphysical opinions, which are essentially at variance with the
doctrines of Revelation. Especially must the effect be injurious,
where those opinions lead gradually to alter our views of religion
itself and of all that is peculiar in the Christian system. The great
mass of the community, who know little of metaphysics, and whose faith
in Revelation is not so readily influenced by speculations not
immediately connected with it, may, indeed, for a time, escape the
evil, and continue to _receive with meekness the ingrafted word_. But
in the minds of the better educated, especially those who think and
follow out their conclusions with resolute independence of thought,
the result must be either a loss of confidence in the opinions
themselves, or a rejection of all those parts of the Christian system
which are at variance with them. Under particular circumstances,
indeed, where both the metaphysical errors, and the great doctrines of
the Christian Faith, have a strong hold upon the minds of a community,
a protracted struggle may take place, and earnest and long-continued
efforts may be made to reconcile opinions which we are resolved to
maintain, with a faith which our consciences will not permit us to
abandon. But so long as the effort continues and such opinions retain
their hold upon our confidence, it must be by some diminution of the
fulness and simplicity of our faith. To a greater or less degree,
according to the education and habits of thought in different
individuals, the word of God is received with doubt, or with such
glozing modifications as enervate its power. Thus the light from
heaven is intercepted, and we are left to a shadow-fight of
metaphysical schemes and metaphorical interpretations. While one
party, with conscientious and earnest endeavours, and at great expense
of talent and ingenuity, contends for the Faith, and among the
possible shapings of the received metaphysical system, seeks that
which will best comport with the simplicity of the Gospel,--another
more boldly interprets the language of the Gospel itself in conformity
with those views of religion to which their philosophy seems obviously
to conduct them. The substantial being and the living energy of the
WORD, which is not only the light but the life of men, is either
misapprehended or denied by all parties: and even those who contend
for what they conceive the literal import of the Gospel, do it--as
they must, to avoid too glaring absurdity--with such explanations of
its import as make it to become, in no small degree, the _words of
man's wisdom_, rather than a simple _demonstration of the Spirit, and
of power_. Hence, although such as have experienced the spiritual and
life-giving power of the Divine Word, may be able, through the
promised aids of the Spirit, to overcome the natural tendency of
speculative error, and, by _the law of the Spirit of life_ which is in
them, may at length be made _free from the law of sin and death_, yet
who can tell how much they may lose of the blessings of the Gospel,
and be retarded in their spiritual growth when they are but too often
fed with the lifeless and starveling products of the human
understanding, instead of that _living bread which came down from
heaven_? Who can tell, moreover, how many, through the prevalence of
such philosophical errors as lead to misconceptions of the truth or
create a prejudice against it, and thus tend to intercept the light
from heaven, may continue in their ignorance, _alienated from the life
of God_, and groping in the darkness of their own understandings?

But however that may be, enlightened Christians, and especially
Christian instructors, know it to be their duty, as far as possible,
to prepare the way for the full and unobstructed influence of the
Gospel, to do all in their power to remove those natural prejudices,
and those errors of the understanding, which are obstacles to the
truth, that the word of God may find access to the heart, and
conscience, and reason of every man, that it may have _free course,
and run, and be glorified_. My own belief, that such obstacles to the
influence of truth exist in the speculative and metaphysical opinions
generally adopted in this country, and that the present Work is in
some measure at least calculated to remove them, is pretty clearly
indicated by the remarks which I have already made. But, to be
perfectly explicit on the subject I do not hesitate to express my
conviction, that the natural tendency of some of the leading
principles of our prevailing system of metaphysics, and those which
must unavoidably have more or less influence on our theoretical views
of religion, are of an injurious and dangerous tendency, and that so
long as we retain them, however we may profess to exclude their
influence from our theological inquiries, and from the interpretation
of Scripture, we can maintain no consistent system of Scriptural
theology, nor clearly and distinctly apprehend the spiritual import of
the Scripture language. The grounds of this conviction I shall proceed
to exhibit, though only in a partial manner, as I could not do more
without anticipating the contents of the Work itself, instead of
merely preparing the reader to peruse them with attention. I am aware,
too, that some of the language, which I have already employed, and
shall be obliged to employ, will not convey its full import to the
reader, till he becomes acquainted with some of the leading principles
and distinctions unfolded in the Work. But this also is an evil which
I saw no means of avoiding without incurring a greater, and writing a
book instead of a brief essay.

Let it be understood, then, without further preface, that by the
prevailing system of metaphysics, I mean the system, of which in
modern times Locke is the reputed author, and the leading principles
of which, with various modifications, more or less important, but not
altering its essential character, have been almost universally
received in this country. It should be observed, too, that the causes
enumerated by the Author, as having elevated it to its "pride of
place" in Europe, have been aided by other favouring circumstances
here. In the minds of our religious community, especially, some of its
most important doctrines have become associated with names justly
loved and revered among ourselves, and so connected with all our
theoretical views of religion, that a man can hardly hope to question
their validity without hazarding his reputation, not only for
orthodoxy, but even for common sense. To controvert, for example, the
prevailing doctrines with regard to the freedom of the will, the
sources of our knowledge, the nature of the understanding as
containing the controlling principles of our whole being, and the
universality of the law of cause and effect, even in connection with
the argument and the authority of the most powerful intellect of the
age, may even now be worse than in vain. Yet I have reasons for
believing there are some among us, and that their number is fast
increasing, who are willing to revise their opinions on these
subjects, and who will contemplate the views presented in this Work
with a liberal, and something of a prepared feeling, of curiosity. The
difficulties in which men find themselves involved by the received
doctrines on these subjects, in their most anxious efforts to explain
and defend the peculiar doctrines of spiritual religion, have led many
to suspect that there must be some lurking error in the premises. It
is not that these principles lead us to mysteries which we cannot
comprehend; they are found, or believed at least by many, to involve
us in absurdities which we can comprehend. It is necessary indeed only
to form some notion of the distinctive and appropriate import of the
term spiritual, as opposed to natural in the New Testament, and then
to look at the writings, or hear the discussions, in which the
doctrines of the Spirit and of spiritual influences are taught and
defended, to see the insurmountable nature of the obstacles, which
these metaphysical dogmas throw in the way of the most powerful minds.
To those who shall read this Work with any degree of reflection, it
must, I think, be obvious, that something more is implied in the
continual opposition of these terms in the New Testament, than can be
explained consistently with the prevailing opinions on the subjects
above enumerated; and that through their influence our highest notions
of that distinction have been rendered confused, contradictory, and
inadequate. I have already directed the attention of the reader to
those parts of the Work, where this distinction is unfolded; and had I
no other grounds than the arguments and views there exhibited, I
should be convinced that so long as we hold the doctrines of Locke and
the Scotch metaphysicians respecting power, cause and effect, motives,
and the freedom of the will, we not only can make and defend no
essential distinction between that which is _natural_, and that which
is _spiritual_, but we cannot even find rational grounds for the
feeling of _moral obligation_, and the distinction between _regret_
and _remorse_.

According to the system of these authors, as nearly and distinctly as
my limits will permit me to state it, the same law of cause and effect
is the law of the universe. It extends to the moral and spiritual--if
in courtesy these terms may still be used--no less than to the
properly natural powers and agencies of our being. The acts of the
free-will are pre-determined by a cause _out of the will_, according
to the same law of cause and effect which controls the changes in the
physical world. We have no notion of power but uniformity of
antecedent and consequent. The notion of a power in the will to act
freely is therefore nothing more than an inherent capacity of being
acted upon, agreeably to its nature, and according to a fixed law, by
the motives which are present in the understanding. I feel authorized
to take this statement partly from Brown's Philosophy, because that
work has been decidedly approved by our highest theological
authorities; and indeed it would not be essentially varied, if
expressed in the precise terms used by any of the writers most usually
quoted in reference to these subjects.

I am aware that variations may be found in the mode of stating these
doctrines, but I think every candid reader, who is acquainted with the
metaphysics and theology of this country, will admit the above to be a
fair representation of the form in which they are generally received.
I am aware, too, that much has been said and written to make out,
consistently with these general principles, a distinction between
natural and moral causes, natural and moral ability, and inability,
and the like. But I beg all lovers of sound and rational philosophy to
look carefully at the general principles, and see whether there be, in
fact, ground left for any such distinctions of this kind as are worth
contending for. My first step in arguing with a defender of these
principles, and of the distinctions in question, as connected with
them, would be to ask for his definition of nature and _natural_. And
when he had arrived at a distinctive general notion of the import of
these, it would appear, if I mistake not, that he had first subjected
our whole being to the law of nature, and then contended for the
existence of something which is not nature. For in their relation to
the law of moral rectitude, and to the feeling of moral
responsibility, what difference is there, and what difference can
there be, between what are called natural and those which are called
moral powers and affections, if they are all under the control of the
same universal _law_ of cause and effect? If it still be a mere
nature, and the determinations of our will be controlled by causes out
of the will, according to our nature, then I maintain that a moral
nature has no more to do with the feeling of responsibility than any
other nature.

Perhaps the difficulty may be made more obvious in this way. It will
be admitted that brutes are possessed of various natures, some
innocent or useful, otherwise noxious, but all alike irresponsible in
a moral point of view. But why? Simply because they act in accordance
with their natures. They possess, each according to its proper nature,
certain appetites and susceptibilities which are stimulated and acted
upon by their appropriate objects in the world of the senses; and the
relation--the law of action and reaction--subsisting between these
specific susceptibilities and their corresponding outward objects,
constitutes their nature. They have a power of selecting and choosing
in the world of sense the objects appropriate to the wants of their
nature; but that nature is the sole law of their being. Their power of
choice is but a part of it, instrumental in accomplishing its ends,
but not capable of rising above it, of controlling its impulses, and
of determining itself with reference to a purely ideal law, distinct
from their nature. They act in accordance with the law of cause and
effect, which constitutes their several natures, and cannot do
otherwise. They are, therefore not responsible--not capable of guilt,
or of remorse.

Now let us suppose another being, possessing, in addition to the
susceptibilities of the brute, certain other specific susceptibilities
with their correlative objects, either in the sensible world, or in a
future world, but that these are subjected, like the other, to the
same binding and inalienable law of cause and effect. What, I ask, is
the amount of the difference thus supposed between this being and the
brute? The supposed addition, it is to be understood, is merely an
addition to its nature; and the only power of will belonging to it is,
as in the case of the brute, only a capacity of choosing and acting
uniformly in accordance with its nature. These additional
susceptibilities still act but as they are acted upon; and the will is
determined accordingly. What advantage is gained in this case by
calling these supposed additions moral affections, and their
correlative stimulants moral causes? Do we thereby find any rational
ground for the feeling of moral responsibility, for conscience, for
remorse? The being acts according to its nature, and why is it
blameworthy more than the brute? If the moral law existing out of the
will be a power or cause which, in its relation to the specific
susceptibility of the moral being, produces under the same
circumstances uniformly the same result, according to the law of cause
and effect; if the acts of the will be subject to the same law, as
mere links in the chain of antecedents and consequents, and thus a
part of our nature, what is gained, I ask again, by the distinction of
a moral and a physical nature? It is still only a nature under the law
of cause and effect, and the liberty of the moral being is under the
same condition with the liberty of the brute. Both are free to follow
and fulfil the law of their nature, and both are alike bound by that
law, as by an adamantine chain. The very conditions of the law
preclude the possibility of a power to act otherwise than according to
their nature. They preclude the very idea of a free-will, and render
the feeling of moral responsibility not an enigma merely, not a
mystery, but a self-contradiction and an absurdity.

Turn the matter as we will--call these correlatives, namely, the
inherent susceptibilities and the causes acting on them from without,
natural, or moral, or spiritual--so long as their action and reaction,
or the law of reciprocity, which constitutes their specific natures,
is considered as the controlling law of our whole being, so long as we
refuse to admit the existence in the will of a power capable of rising
above this law, and controlling its operation by an act of absolute
self-determination, so long we shall be involved in perplexities both
in morals and religion. At all events, the only method of avoiding
them will be to adopt the creed of the Necessitarians entire, to give
man over to an irresponsible nature as a better sort of animal, and
resolve the will of the Supreme Reason into a blind and irrational

I am well aware of the objections that will be made to this statement,
and especially the demonstrated incomprehensibleness of a
self-determining power. To this I may be permitted to answer, that,
admitting the power to originate an act or state of mind may be beyond
the capacity of our understandings to comprehend, it is still not
contradictory to reason; and that I find it more easy to believe the
existence of that which is simply incomprehensible to my
understanding, than of that which involves an absurdity for my
reason. I venture to affirm, moreover, that however we may bring our
understandings into bondage to the more comprehensible doctrine,
simply because it is comprehensible under the forms of the
understanding, every man does, in fact, believe himself possessed of
freedom in the higher sense of self-determination. Every man's
conscience commands him to believe it, as the only rational ground of
moral responsibility. Every man's conscience, too, betrays the fact
that he does believe it, whenever for a moment he indulges the feeling
either of moral self-approbation, or of remorse. Nor can we on any
other grounds justify the ways of God to man upon the supposition that
he inflicts or will inflict any other punishment than that which is
simply remedial or disciplinary. But this subject will be found more
fully explained in the course of the Work. My present object is merely
to show the necessity of some system in relation to these subjects
different from the received one.

It may perhaps be thought, that the language used above is too strong
and too positive. But I venture to ask every candid man, at least
every one who has not committed himself by writing and publishing on
the subject, whether in considering the great questions connected with
moral accountability and the doctrine of rewards and punishments, he
has not felt himself pressed with such difficulties as those above
stated; and whether he has ever been able fully to satisfy his reason,
that there was not a lurking contradiction in the idea of a being
created and placed under the law of its nature, and possessing at the
same time a feeling of moral obligation to fulfil a law above its
nature. That many have been in this state of mind I know. I know, too,
that some whose moral and religious feelings had led them to a full
belief in the doctrines of spiritual religion, but who at the same
time had been taught to receive the prevailing opinions in
metaphysics, have found these opinions carrying them unavoidably, if
they would be consequent in their reasonings, and not do violence to
their reason, to adopt a system of religion which does not profess to
be spiritual, and thus have been compelled to choose between their
philosophy and their religion. In most cases indeed, where men reflect
at all, I am satisfied that it requires all the force of authority,
and all the influence of education, to carry the mind over these
difficulties; and that then it is only by a vague belief that, though
we cannot see how, there must be some method of reconciling what seems
to be so contradictory.

If examples were wanting to prove that serious and trying difficulties
are felt to exist here, enough may be found, as it has appeared to me,
in the controversy respecting the nature and origin of sin, which is
at this moment interesting the public mind. Let any impartial observer
trace the progress of that discussion, and after examining the
distinctions which are made or attempted to be made, decide whether
the subject, as there presented, be not involved in difficulties,
which cannot be solved on the principles to which, hitherto, both
parties have adhered; whether, holding as they do the same premises in
regard to the freedom of the will, they can avoid coming to the same
conclusion in regard to the nature and origin of sin; whether in fact
the distinctions aimed at must not prove merely verbal distinctions,
and the controversy a fruitless one. But in the September number of
the "Christian Spectator" for 1829,[12] the reader will find remarks
on this subject, to which I beg leave to refer him, and which I could
wish him attentively to consider in connection with the remarks which
I have made. I allude to the correspondence with the editors near the
end of the number. The letter there inserted is said to be, and
obviously is, from the pen of a very learned and able writer; and I
confess it has been no small gratification and encouragement to me,
while labouring to bring this Work and this subject before the public,
to find such a state of feeling expressed, concerning the great
question at issue, by such a writer. It will be seen by reference to
p. 545 of the C. S., that he places the "_nucleus_ of the dispute"
just where it is placed in this Work and in the above remarks. It will
be seen, too, that by throwing authorities aside, and studying his own
mind, he has "come seriously to doubt," whether the received opinions
with regard to _motives_, the law of _cause and effect_, and the
_freedom of the will_, may not be erroneous. They appear to him "to be
bordering on fatalism, if not actually embracing it." He doubts
whether the mind may not have within itself the adequate cause of its
own acts; whether indeed it have not a self-determining power, "for
the power in question involves the idea of originating volition. Less
than this it cannot be conceived to involve, and yet be _free_
agency." Now, this is just the view offered in the present Work; and,
as it seems to me, these are just the doubts and conclusions which
every one will entertain, who lays aside authority, and reflects upon
the goings-on of his own mind, and the dictates of his own reason and

But let us look for a moment at the remarks of the editors in reply to
the letter above quoted. They maintain, in relation to original sin
and the perversion of the will, that from either the _original_ or the
_acquired_ strength of certain natural appetites, principles of
self-love, &c., "left to themselves," the corruption of the heart will
certainly follow. "In every instance the will does, in fact, yield to
the demands of these. But whenever it thus yielded, _there was power
to the contrary_; otherwise there could be no freedom of moral
action." Now I beg leave to place my finger on the phrase in italics,
and ask the editors what they mean by it. If they hold the common
doctrines with regard to the relation of cause and effect, and with
regard to power as connected with that relation, and apply these to
the acts of the will, I can see no more possibility of conceiving a
_power to the contrary_ in this case, than of conceiving such a power
in the current of a river. But if they mean to assert the existence in
the will of an _actual_ power to rise above the demands of appetite,
&c., above the law of nature and to decide _arbitrarily_, whether to
yield or not to yield, then they admit that the will is not determined
_absolutely_ by the extraneous _cause_, but is in fact _self_-determined.
They agree with the letter-writer; and the question for them is at
rest. Thus, whatever distinctions may be attempted here, there can be
no real distinction but between an irresponsible nature and a will
that is self-determined.

I cannot but be aware, that the views of the Will here exhibited will
meet with strong prejudices in a large portion, at least, of our
religious community. I could wish that all such would carefully
distinguish between the Author's views of the doctrines of religion
and the philosophical grounds on which he supposes those doctrines are
to be defended. If no one disputes, and I trust no one will dispute,
the substantial orthodoxy of the Work, without first carefully
examining what has been the orthodoxy of the church in general, and of
the great body of the Reformers, then I should hope it may be wisely
considered, whether, as a question of philosophy, the metaphysical
principles of this Work are not in themselves more in accordance with
the doctrines of a spiritual religion, and better suited to their
explanation and defence, than those above treated of. If on
examination it cannot be disputed that they are, then, if not before,
I trust the two systems may be compared without undue partiality, and
the simple question of the truth of each may be determined by that
calm and persevering reflection, which alone can determine questions
of this sort.

If the system here taught be true, then it will follow, not, be it
observed, that our religion is necessarily wrong, or our essential
faith erroneous, but that the _philosophical grounds_, on which we are
accustomed to defend our faith, are unsafe, and that their _natural
tendency_ is to error. If the spirit of the Gospel still exert its
influence; if a truly spiritual religion be maintained, it is in
_opposition_ to our philosophy, and not at all by its aid. I know it
will be said, that the practical results of our peculiar forms of
doctrine are at variance with these remarks. But this I am not
prepared to admit. True, religion and religious institutions have
flourished; the Gospel, in many parts of our country, has been
affectionately and faithfully preached by great and good men; the word
and the Spirit of God have been communicated to us in rich abundance;
and I rejoice with heartfelt joy and thanksgiving, in the belief, that
thereby multitudes have been regenerated to a new and spiritual life.
But so were equal or greater effects produced under the preaching of
Baxter, and Howe, and other good and faithful men of the same age,
with none of the peculiarities of our theological systems. Neither
reason nor experience indeed furnish any ground for believing that the
living and life-giving power of the Divine Word has ever derived any
portion of its efficacy, in the conversion of the heart to God, from
the forms of metaphysical theology, with which the human understanding
has invested it. It requires, moreover, but little knowledge of the
history of philosophy, and of the writings of the 16th and 17th
centuries to know, that the opinions of the Reformers, and of all the
great divines of that period, on subjects of this sort, were far
different from those of Mr. Locke and his followers, and were in fact
essentially the same with those taught in this Work. This last remark
applies not only to the views entertained by the eminent philosophers
and divines of that period on the particular subject above discussed,
but to the distinctions made, and the language employed, by them with
reference to other points of no less importance in the constitution of
our being.

It must have been observed by the reader of the foregoing pages, that
I have used several words, especially _understanding_ and _reason_, in
a sense somewhat diverse from their present acceptation; and the
occasion of this I suppose would be partly understood from my having
already directed the attention of the reader to the distinction
exhibited between these words in the Work, and from the remarks made
on the ambiguity of the word "reason" in its common use. I now proceed
to remark, that the ambiguity spoken of, and the consequent perplexity
in regard to the use and authority of reason, have arisen from the
habit of using, since the time of Locke, the terms understanding and
reason indiscriminately, and thus confounding a distinction clearly
marked in the philosophy and in the language of the older writers.
Alas! had the _terms_ only been confounded, or had we suffered only an
inconvenient ambiguity of language, there would be comparatively
little cause for earnestness upon the subject; or had our views of the
things signified by these terms been only partially confused, and had
we still retained correct notions of our prerogative, as rational and
spiritual beings, the consequences might have been less deplorable.
But the misfortune is, that the powers of understanding and reason
have not merely been blended and confounded in the view of our
philosophy, the higher and far more characteristic, as an essential
constituent of our proper humanity, has been as it were obscured and
hidden from our observation in the inferior power, which belongs to
us in common with the brutes which perish. According to the old, the
more spiritual, and genuine philosophy, the distinguishing attributes
of our humanity--that _image_ of God in which man alone was created of
all the dwellers upon earth, and in virtue of which he was placed at
the head of this lower world, was said to be found in the _reason_ and
_free-will_. But understanding these in their strict and proper sense,
and according to the true _ideas_ of them, as contemplated by the
older metaphysicians, we have literally, if the system of Locke and
the popular philosophy of the day be true, neither the one nor the
other of these--neither reason nor free-will. What they esteemed the
image of God in the soul, and considered as distinguishing us
specifically, and so vastly too, above each and all of the irrational
animals, is found, according to this system, to have in fact no real
existence. The reality neither of the free-will, nor of any of those
laws or ideas, which spring from, or rather constitute reason, can be
authenticated by the sort of proof which is demanded, and we must
therefore relinquish our prerogative, and take our place with becoming
humility among our more unpretending companions. In the ascending
series of powers, enumerated by Milton, with so much philosophical
truth, as well as beauty of language, in the fifth book of Paradise
Lost, he mentions

    _Fancy_ and _understanding_, whence the soul
    REASON receives. And reason is her _being_,
    Discursive or intuitive.

But the highest power here, that which is the being of the soul,
considered as any thing differing in kind from the understanding, has
no place in our popular metaphysics. Thus we have only the
_understanding_, "the faculty judging according to sense," a faculty
of abstracting and generalizing, of contrivance and forecast, as the
highest of our intellectual powers; and this, we are expressly
taught, belongs to us in common with brutes. Nay, these views of our
essential being, consequences and all, are adopted by men, whom one
would suppose religion, if not philosophy, should have taught their
utter inadequateness to the true and essential constituents of our
humanity. Dr. Paley tells us in his Natural Theology, that only
"CONTRIVANCE," a power obviously and confessedly belonging to brutes,
is necessary to constitute _personality_. His whole system both of
theology and morals neither teaches, nor implies, the existence of any
specific difference either between the understanding and reason, or
between nature and the will. It does not imply the existence of any
power in man, which does not obviously belong, in a greater or less
degree, to irrational animals. Dr. Fleming, another reverend prelate
in the English Church, in his "Philosophy of Zoology," maintains in
express terms that we have no faculties differing in kind from those
which belong to brutes. How many other learned, and reverend, and wise
men adopt the same opinions, I know not: though these are obviously
not the peculiar views of the individuals, but conclusions resulting
from the essential principles of their system. If, then, there is no
better _system_, if this be the genuine philosophy, and founded in the
nature of things, there is no help for us, and we must believe it--_if
we can_. But most certainly it will follow, that we ought, as fast as
the prejudices of education will permit, to rid ourselves of certain
notions of prerogative, and certain feelings of our own superiority,
which somehow have been strangely prevalent among our race. For though
we have indeed, according to this system, a little _more_
understanding than other animals--can abstract and generalize and
forecast events, and the consequences of our actions, and compare
motives _more_ skilfully than they: though we have thus _more_
knowledge and can circumvent them; though we have _more_ power and can
subdue them; yet, as to any _distinctive_ and _peculiar_
characteristic--as to any inherent and essential _worth_, we are after
all but little better--though we may be better off--than our dogs and
horses. There is no essential difference, and we may rationally
doubt--at least we might do so, if by the supposition we were rational
beings--whether our fellow animals of the kennel and the stall are not
unjustly deprived of certain _personal rights_, and whether a dog
charged with trespass may not _rationally_ claim to be tried by a jury
of his _peers_. Now however trifling and ridiculous this may appear, I
would ask in truth and soberness, if it be not a fair and legitimate
inference from the premises, and whether the _absurdity_ of the one
does not _demonstrate_ the utter falsity of the other. And where, I
would beg to know, shall we look, according to the popular system of
philosophy, for that _image of God_ in which we are created? Is it a
thing of _degrees_? And is it simply because we have something _more_
of the same faculties which belong to brutes, that we become the
objects of God's special and fatherly care, the _distinguished_
objects of his Providence, and the _sole_ objects of his Grace?--_Doth
God take care for oxen?_ But why not?

I assure my readers, that I have no desire to treat with disrespect
and contumely the opinions of great or good men; but the distinction
in question, and the assertion and exhibition of the higher
prerogatives of reason, as an essential constituent of our being, are
so vitally important, in my apprehension, to the formation and support
of any rational system of philosophy, and--no less than the
distinction before treated of--so pregnant of consequences to the
interests of truth, in morals, and religion, and indeed of all truth,
that mere opinion and the authority of names may well be disregarded.
The discussion, moreover, relates to facts, and to such facts, too, as
are not to be learned from the instruction, or received on the
authority, of any man. They must be ascertained by every man for
himself, by reflection upon the processes and laws of his own inward
being, or they are not learned at all to any valuable purpose. We do
indeed find in ourselves then, as no one will deny, certain powers of
intelligence, which we have abundant reason to believe the brutes
possess in common with us in a greater or less degree. The functions
of the understanding, as treated of in the popular systems of
metaphysics, its faculties of attention, of abstraction, of
generalization, the power of forethought and contrivance, of adapting
means to ends, and the law of association, may be, so far as we can
judge, severally represented more or less adequately in the
instinctive intelligence of the higher orders of brutes. But, not to
anticipate too far a topic treated of in the Work, do these, or any
and all the faculties which we discover in irrational animals,
satisfactorily account to a reflecting mind for all the _phenomena_
which are presented to our observation in our own consciousness? Would
any supposable addition to the _degree_ merely of those powers which
we ascribe to brutes, render them _rational_ beings, and remove the
sacred distinction, which law and reason have sanctioned, between
things and persons? Will any such addition account for our
having--what the brute is not supposed to have--the pure _ideas_ of
the geometrician, the power of ideal construction, the intuition of
geometrical or other necessary and universal truths? Would it give
rise, in irrational animals, to a _law of moral rectitude_ and _to
conscience_--to the feelings of moral _responsibility_ and _remorse_?
Would it awaken them to a reflective self-consciousness, and lead them
to form and contemplate the _ideas_ of the _soul_, of _free-will_, of
_immortality_, and of God. It seems to me, that we have only to
reflect for a serious hour upon what we mean by these, and then to
compare them with our notion of what belongs to a brute, its inherent
powers and their correlative objects, to feel that they are utterly
incompatible--that in the possession of these we enjoy a prerogative
which we cannot disclaim without a violation of reason, and a
voluntary abasement of ourselves--and that we must therefore be
possessed of some _peculiar_ powers--of some source of ideas
_distinct_ from the understanding, differing _in kind_ from any and
all of those which belong to us in common with inferior and irrational

But what these powers are, or what is the precise nature of the
distinction between the understanding and reason, it is not my
province, nor have I undertaken, to show. My object is merely to
illustrate its necessity, and the palpable obscurity, vagueness, and
deficiency, in this respect, of the mode of philosophizing, which is
held in so high honour among us. The distinction itself will be found
illustrated with some of its important bearings in the Work, and in
the notes attached to it; and cannot be too carefully studied--in
connection with that between nature and the will--by the student who
would acquire distinct and intelligible notions of what constitutes
the truly spiritual in our being, or find rational grounds for the
possibility of a truly spiritual religion. Indeed, could I succeed in
fixing the attention of the reader upon this distinction, in such a
way as to secure his candid and reflecting perusal of the Work, I
should consider any personal effort or sacrifice abundantly
recompensed. Nor am I alone in this view of its importance. A literary
friend, whose opinion on this subject would be valued by all who knew
the soundness of his scholarship, says in a letter just now
received,--"if you can once get the attention of thinking men fixed on
his distinction between the reason and the understanding, you will
have done enough to reward the labour of a life. As prominent a place
as it holds in the writings of Coleridge, he seems to me far enough
from making too much of it." No person of serious and philosophical
mind, I am confident, can reflect upon the subject, enough to
understand it in its various aspects, without arriving at the same
views of the importance of the distinction, whatever may be his
conviction with regard to its truth.

But, indeed, the only grounds which I find, to apprehend that the
reality of the distinction and the importance of the consequence
resulting from it, will be much longer denied and rejected among us,
is in the overweening assurance which prevails with regard to the
adequateness and perfection of the system of philosophy which is
already received. It is taken for granted, as a fact undisputed and
indisputable, that this is the most enlightened age of the world, not
only with regard to the more general diffusion of certain points of
practical knowledge; in which, probably, it may be so, but _in all
respects_; that our whole system of the philosophy of mind as derived
from Lord Bacon, especially, is the only one, which has any claims to
common sense; and that all distinctions not recognized in that are
consequently unworthy of our regard. What those Reformers, to whose
transcendant powers of mind, and to whose characters as truly
spiritual divines, we are accustomed to look with feelings of so much
general regard, might find to say in favour of their philosophy, few
take the pains to inquire. Neither they nor the great philosophers
with whom they held communion on subjects of this sort can appear
among us to speak in their own defence: and even the huge folios and
quartos, in which, though dead, they yet speak--and ought to be
heard--have seldom strayed to this side of the Atlantic. All our
information respecting their philosophical opinions, and the grounds
on which they defended them, has been received from writers, who were
confessedly advocating a system of recent growth, at open war with
every thing more ancient, and who, in the great abundance of their
self-complacency, have represented their own discoveries as containing
the sum and substance of all philosophy, and the accumulated
treasures of ancient wisdom as unworthy the attention of "this
enlightened age." Be it so--yet the _foolishness_ of antiquity, if it
be _of God_, may prove _wiser than men_. It may be found that the
philosophy of the Reformers and their religion are essentially
connected, and must stand or fall together. It may at length be
discovered that a system of religion essentially spiritual, and a
system of philosophy which excludes the very idea of all spiritual
power and agency, in their only distinctive and proper character,
cannot be consistently associated together.

It is our peculiar misfortune in this country that, while the
philosophy of Locke and the Scottish writers has been received in full
faith, as the only rational system, and its leading principles
especially passed off as unquestionable, the strong attachment to
religion, and the fondness for speculation, by both of which we are
strongly characterized, have led us to combine and associate these
principles, such as they are, with our religious interests and
opinions, so variously and so intimately, that by most persons they
are considered as necessary parts of the same system; and from being
so long contemplated together, the rejection of one seems impossible
without doing violence to the other. Yet how much evidence might not
an impartial observer find in examining the theological discussions
which have prevailed, the speculative systems which have been formed
and arrayed against each other, for the last seventy years, to
convince him that there must be some discordance in the elements, some
principle of secret but irreconcilable hostility between a philosophy
and a religion, which, under every ingenious variety of form and
shaping, still stand aloof from each other and refuse to cohere. For
is it not a fact, that in regard to every speculative system which has
been formed on these philosophical principles,--to every new shaping
of theory which has been devised and has gained adherents among
us,--is it not a fact, I ask, that, to all, except those adherents,
the _system_--the philosophical _theory_--has seemed dangerous in its
tendency, and at war with orthodox views of religion--perhaps even
with the attributes of God? Nay, to bring the matter still nearer and
more plainly to view, I ask, whether at this moment the organs and
particular friends of our leading theological seminaries in New
England, both devotedly attached to an orthodox and spiritual system
of religion, and expressing mutual confidence as to the _essentials_
of their mutual faith, do not each consider the other as holding a
philosophical _theory_ subversive of orthodoxy? If I am not
misinformed, this is the simple fact.

Now, if these things be so, I would ask again with all earnestness,
and out of regard to the interests of truth alone, whether serious and
reflecting men may not be permitted, without the charge of heresy in
RELIGION, to stand in doubt of this PHILOSOPHY _altogether_; whether
these facts which will not be disputed, do not furnish just grounds
for suspicion, that the principles of our philosophy may be erroneous,
or at least induce us to look with candour and impartiality at the
claims of another and a different system?

What are the claims of the system, to which the attention of the
public is invited in this Work, can be understood fully, only by a
careful and reflecting examination of its principles in connection
with the conscious wants of our own inward being--the requirements of
our own reason and consciences. Its purpose and tendency, I have
endeavoured in some measure to exhibit; and if the influence of
authority, which the prevailing system furnishes against it, can and
must be counteracted by anything of a like kind--(and whatever
professions we may make, the influence of authority produces at least
a predisposing effect upon our minds)--the remarks which I have made,
will show, that the principles here taught are not wholly
unauthorized by men, whom we have been taught to reverence among the
great and good. I cannot but add, as a matter of simple justice to the
question, that however our prevailing system of philosophizing may
have appealed to the authority of Lord Bacon, it needs but a candid
examination of his writings, especially the first part of his _Novum
Organum_, to be convinced that such an appeal is without grounds; and
that in fact the fundamental principles of his philosophy are the same
with those taught in this work. The great distinction especially,
between the understanding and the reason, is clearly and fully
recognized; and as a philosopher he would be far more properly
associated with Plato, or even Aristotle, than with the modern
philosophers, who have miscalled their systems by his name. In our own
times, moreover, there is abundant evidence, whatever may be thought
of the principles of this Work here, that the same general views of
philosophy are regaining their ascendancy elsewhere. In Great Britain
there are not few, who begin to believe that the deep-toned and
sublime eloquence of Coleridge on these great subjects may have
something to claim their attention besides a few peculiarities of
language. In Paris, the doctrines of a rational and spiritual system
of philosophy are taught to listening and admiring thousands by one of
the most learned and eloquent philosophers of the age; and in Germany,
if I mistake not, the same general views are adopted by the serious
friends of religious truth among her great and learned men.

Such--as I have no doubt--must be the case, wherever thinking men can
be brought distinctly and impartially to examine their claims; and
indeed to those who shall study and comprehend the general history of
philosophy, it must always be matter of special wonder, that in a
Christian community, anxiously striving to explain and defend the
doctrines of Christianity in their spiritual sense, there should have
been a long-continued and tenacious adherence to philosophical
principles, so subversive of their faith in everything distinctively
spiritual; while those of an opposite tendency, and claiming a near
relationship and correspondence with the truly spiritual in the
Christian system, and the mysteries of its sublime faith, were looked
upon with suspicion and jealousy, as unintelligible or dangerous

And here I must be allowed to add a few remarks with regard to the
popular objections against the system of philosophy, the claims of
which I am urging, especially against the writings of the Author,
under whose name it appears in the present Work. These are various and
often contradictory, but usually have reference either to his
peculiarities of language, or to the depth--whether apparent or
real,--and the unintelligibleness, of his thoughts.

To the first of these it seems to me a sufficient answer, for a mind
that would deal honestly and frankly by itself, to suggest that in the
very nature of things it is impossible for a writer to express by a
single word any truth, or to mark any distinction, not recognized in
the language of his day, unless he adopts a word entirely new, or
gives to one already in use a new and more peculiar sense. Now in
communicating truths, which the writer deems of great and fundamental
importance, shall he thus appropriate a single word old or new, or
trust to the vagueness of perpetual circumlocution? Admitting for
example, the existence of the important distinction, for which this
writer contends, between the understanding and reason, and that this
distinction when recognized at all, is confounded in the common use of
language by employing the words indiscriminately, shall he still use
these words indiscriminately, and either invent a new word, or mark
the distinction by descriptive circumlocutions, or shall he assign a
more distinctive and precise meaning to the words already used? It
seems to me obviously more in accordance with the laws and genius of
language to take the course which he has adopted. But in this case and
in many others, where his language seems peculiar, it cannot be denied
that the words had already been employed in the same sense, and the
same distinctions recognized, by the older and many of the most
distinguished writers in the language.

With regard to the more important objection, that the _thoughts_ of
Coleridge are _unintelligible_, if it be intended to imply, that his
language is not in itself expressive of an intelligible meaning, or
that he affects the appearance of depth and mystery, while his
thoughts are common-place, it is an objection, which no one who has
read his Works attentively, and acquired a feeling of interest for
them, will treat their Author with so much disrespect as to answer at
all. Every such reader _knows_ that he uses words uniformly with
astonishing precision, and that language becomes, in his use of it--in
a degree, of which few writers can give us a conception--a living
power, "consubstantial" with the power of thought, that gave birth to
it, and awakening and calling into action a corresponding energy in
our own minds. There is little encouragement, moreover, to answer the
objections of any man, who will permit himself to be incurably
prejudiced against an Author by a few peculiarities of language, or an
apparent difficulty of being understood, and without inquiring into
the cause of that difficulty, where at the same time he cannot but see
and acknowledge the presence of great intellectual and moral power.

But if it be intended by the objection to say simply, that the
thoughts of the Author are often difficult to be apprehended--that he
makes large demands not only upon the attention, but upon the
reflecting and thinking powers, of his readers, the fact is not, and
need not be, denied; and it will only remain to be decided, whether
the instruction offered, as the reward, will repay us for the
expenditure of thought required, or can be obtained for less. I know
it is customary in this country, as well as in Great Britain--and that
too among men from whom different language might be expected--to
affect either contempt or modesty, in regard to all that is more than
common-place in philosophy, and especially "Coleridge's Metaphysics,"
as "too deep for them." Now it may not be every man's duty, or in
every man's power, to devote to such studies the time and thought
necessary to understand the deep things of philosophy. But for one who
professes to be a scholar, and to cherish a manly love of truth for
the truth's sake, to object to a system of metaphysics because it is
"too _deep_ for him," must be either a disingenuous insinuation, that
its depths are not worth exploring--which is more than the objector
knows--or a confession, that--with all his professed love of truth and
knowledge--he prefers to "sleep after dinner." The misfortune is, that
men have been cheated into a belief, that all philosophy and
metaphysics worth knowing are contained in a few volumes, which can be
understood with little expense of thought; and that they may very well
spare themselves the vexation of trying to comprehend the depths of
"Coleridge's Metaphysics." According to the popular notions of the
day, it is a very easy matter to understand the philosophy of mind. A
new work on philosophy is as easy to read as the last new novel; and
superficial, would-be scholars, who have a very sensible horror at the
thought of studying Algebra, or the doctrine of fluxions, can yet go
through a course of moral sciences, and know all about the philosophy
of the mind.

Now why will not men of sense, and men who have any just pretensions
to scholarship, see that there must of necessity be gross sophistry
somewhere in any system of metaphysics, which pretends to give us an
adequate and scientific self-knowledge--to render comprehensible to
us the mysterious laws of our own inward being, with less manly and
persevering effort of thought on our part, than is confessedly
required to comprehend the simplest of those sciences, all of which
are but some of the _phænomena_ from which the laws in question are
to be inferred?--Why will they not see and acknowledge--what one would
suppose a moment's reflection would teach them--that to attain true
self-knowledge by reflection upon the objects of our inward
consciousness--not merely to understand the motives of our conduct as
conscientious Christians, but to know ourselves scientifically as
philosophers--must, of necessity, be the most deep and difficult of
all our attainments in knowledge? I trust that what I have already
said will be sufficient to expose the absurdity of objections against
metaphysics in general, and do something towards showing, that we are
in actual and urgent need of a system somewhat deeper than those, the
contradictions of which have not without reason made the name of
philosophy a terror to the friends of truth and of religion. "False
metaphysics can be effectually counteracted by true metaphysics alone;
and if the reasoning be clear, solid, and pertinent, the truth deduced
can never be the less valuable on account of the depth from which it
may have been drawn." It is a fact, too, of great importance to be
kept in mind, in relation to this subject, that in the study of
ourselves--in attaining a knowledge of our own being,--there are
truths of vast concernment, and lying at a great depth, which yet no
man can draw for another. However the depth may have been fathomed,
and the same truth brought up by others, for a light and a joy to
their own minds, it must still remain, and be sought for by us, each
for himself, at the bottom of the well.

The system of philosophy here taught does not profess to make men
philosophers, or--which ought to mean the same thing--to guide them
to the knowledge of themselves, without the labour both of attention
and of severe thinking. If it did so, it would have, like the more
popular works of philosophy, far less affinity than it now has, with
the mysteries of religion, and those profound truths concerning our
spiritual being and destiny, which are revealed in the _things hard to
be understood_ of St. Paul and of the _beloved disciple_. For I cannot
but remind my readers again, that the Author does not undertake to
teach us the philosophy of the human mind, with the exclusion of the
truths and influences of religion. He would not undertake to
philosophize respecting the being and character of man, and at the
same time exclude from his view the very principle which constitutes
his proper humanity: he would not, in teaching the doctrine of the
solar system, omit to mention the sun, and the law of gravitation. He
professes to investigate and unfold the being of man _as man_, in his
higher, his peculiar, and distinguishing attributes. These it is,
which are hard to be understood, and to apprehend which requires the
exercise of deep reflection and exhausting thought. Nor in aiming at
this object would he consider it very philosophical to reject the aid
and instruction of eminent writers on the subject of religion, or even
of the volume of Revelation itself. He would consider St. Augustine as
none the less a philosopher, because he became a Christian. The
Apostles John and Paul were, in the view of this system of philosophy,
the most rational of all writers, and the New Testament the most
philosophical of all books. They are so because they unfold more
fully, than any other, the true and essential principles of our being;
because they give us a clearer and deeper insight into those
constituent laws of our humanity, which as men, and therefore as
philosophers, we are most concerned to know. Not only to those, who
seek the practical self-knowledge of the humble, spiritually-minded
Christian, but to those also, who are impelled by the "heaven
descended γνωθι σεαυτον" to study themselves as philosophers, and
to make self-knowledge a science, the truths of Scripture are a light
and a revelation. The more earnestly we reflect upon these and refer
them, whether as Christians or as philosophers, to the movements of
our inward being--to the laws which reveal themselves in our own
consciousness, the more fully shall we understand, not only the
language of Scripture, but all that most demands and excites the
curiosity of the genuine philosopher in the mysterious character of
man. It is by this guiding light, that we can best search into and
apprehend the constitution of that "marvellous microcosm," which, the
more it has been known, has awakened more deeply the wonder and
admiration of the true philosopher in every age.

Nor would the Author of this Work, or those who have imbibed the
spirit of his system, join with the philosophers of the day in
throwing aside and treating with a contempt, as ignorant as it is
arrogant, the treasures of ancient wisdom. _He_, says the son of
Sirach, _that giveth his mind to the law of the Most High, and is
occupied in the meditation thereof, will seek out the wisdom of all
the ancient_. In the estimation of the true philosopher, the case
should not be greatly altered in the present day; and now that two
thousand years have added such rich and manifold abundance to those
ancient "sayings of the wise," he will still approach them with
reverence, and receive their instruction with gladness of heart. In
seeking to explore and unfold these deeper and more solemn mysteries
of our being, which inspire us with awe, while they baffle our
comprehension, he will especially beware of trusting to his own
understanding, or of contradicting, in compliance with the
self-flattering inventions of a single age, the universal faith and
consciousness of the human race. On such subjects, though he would
call no man master, yet neither would he willingly forego the aids to
be derived, in the search after truth, from those great oracles of
human wisdom--those giants in intellectual power who from generation
to generation were admired and venerated by the great and good. Much
less could he think it becoming, or consistent with his duty to hazard
the publication of his own thoughts on subjects of the deepest
concernment, and on which minds of greatest depth and power had been
occupied in former ages, while confessedly ignorant alike of their
doctrines and of the arguments by which they are sustained.

It is in this spirit, that the Author of the work here offered to the
public has prepared himself to deserve the candid and even confiding
attention of his readers, with reference to the great subject of which
he treats.

And although the claims of the Work upon our attention, as of every
other work, must depend more upon its inherent and essential
character, than upon the worth and authority of its Author, it may yet
be of service to the reader to know, that he is no hasty or
unfurnished adventurer in the department of authorship to which the
Work belongs. The discriminating reader of this Work cannot fail to
discover his profound knowledge of the philosophy of language, the
principles of its construction, and the laws of its interpretation. In
others of his works, perhaps more fully than in this, there is
evidence of an unrivalled mastery over all that pertains both to logic
and philology. It has been already intimated, that he is no contemner
of the great writers of antiquity and of their wise sentences; and
probably few English scholars, even in those days when there were
giants of learning in Great Britain, had minds more richly furnished
with the treasures of ancient lore. But especially will the reader of
this Work observe with admiration the profoundness of his
philosophical attainments, and his thorough and intimate knowledge,
not only of the works and systems of Plato and Aristotle, and of the
celebrated philosophers of modern times, but of those too much
neglected writings of the Greek and Roman Fathers, and of the great
leaders of the Reformation, which more particularly qualified him for
discussing the subjects of the present Work. If these qualifications,
and--with all these, and above all--a disposition professed and made
evident seriously to value them, chiefly as they enable him more fully
and clearly to apprehend and illustrate the truths of the Christian
system,--if these, I say, can give an Author a claim to serious and
thoughtful attention, then may the Work here offered urge its claim
upon the reader. My own regard for the cause of truth, for the
interests of philosophy, of reason, and of religion, lead me to hope
that they may not be urged in vain.

Of his general claims to our regard, whether from exalted personal and
moral worth, or from the magnificence of his intellectual powers, and
the vast extent and variety of his accumulated stores of knowledge, I
shall not venture to speak. If it be true indeed that a really great
mind can be worthily commended only by those who adequately both
appreciate and _comprehend_ its greatness, there are few who should
undertake to estimate, and set forth in appropriate terms, the
intellectual power and moral worth of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Neither
he, nor the public, would be benefited by such commendations as I
could bestow. The few among us who have read his works with the
attention which they deserve, are at no loss what rank to assign him
among the writers of the present age; to those who have not, any
language which I might use would appear hyperbolical and extravagant.
The character and influence of his principles as a philosopher, a
moralist, and a Christian, and of the writings by which he is
enforcing them, do not ultimately depend upon the estimation in which
they may now be held; and to posterity he may safely entrust those
"productive ideas" and "living words"--those

    ---- truths that wake,
    To perish never,

the possession of which will be for their benefit, and connected with
which, in the language of the Son of Sirach,--_His own memorial shall
not depart away, and his name shall live from generation to

J. M.[13]

[7] President of the University of Vermont, United States, where his
Essay was first published with Dr. Marsh's edition of the 'Aids,'
1829. See Mr. H. N. Coleridge's Advertisement to the Fourth Edition,
_ante_, p. xii.--ED.

[8] See pp. 172, 208, 223, &c.--ED.

[9] Coleridge's 'Biographia Literaria,' p. 301, Bohn's edition.--ED.

[10] Introductory Aphorisms, XVI., p. 8.--ED.

[11] Also in Appendix B of the 'Statesman's Manual, Bohn's edition p,

[12] The 'Quarterly Christian Spectator,' of New Haven, U.S. The
letter referred to is signed "Pacificus," and appeared in answer to a
review of "Taylor and Harvey" (American divines), "On Human
Depravity," which had appeared in the previous number of the

[13] Dr. Marsh's signature to the "Advertisement" published with the
above essay in its revised American edition was dated "Burlington,
Dec. 26, 1839."--ED.




In philosophy equally as in poetry, it is the highest and most useful
prerogative of genius to produce the strongest impressions of novelty,
while it rescues admitted truths from the neglect caused by the very
circumstance of their universal admission. Extremes meet. Truths, of
all others the most awful and interesting, are too often considered as
so true, that they lose all the power of truth, and lie bed-ridden in
the dormitory of the soul, side by side with the most despised and
exploded errors.


There is one sure way of giving freshness and importance to the most
_common-place_ maxims--that of _reflecting_ on them in direct
reference to our own state and conduct, to our own past and future


To restore a common-place truth to its first _uncommon_ lustre, you
need only _translate_ it into action. But to do this, you must have
_reflected_ on its truth.



It is the advice of the wise man, 'Dwell at home,' or, with yourself;
and though there are very few that do this, yet it is surprising that
the greatest part of mankind cannot be prevailed upon, at least to
visit themselves sometimes; but, according to the saying of the wise
Solomon, _The eyes of the fool are in the ends of the earth_.

A reflecting mind, says an ancient writer, is the spring and
source of every good thing. ('_Omnis boni principium intellectus
cogitabundus._') It is at once the disgrace and the misery of men,
that they live without fore-thought. Suppose yourself fronting a
mirror. Now what the objects behind you are to their images at the
same apparent distance before you, such is Reflection to Fore-thought.
As a man without Fore-thought scarcely deserves the name of a man, so
Fore-thought without Reflection is but a metaphorical phrase for the
_instinct_ of a beast.


As a fruit-tree is more valuable than any one of its fruits singly, or
even than all its fruits of a single season, so the noblest object of
reflection is the mind itself, by which we reflect:

And as the blossoms, the green, and the ripe, fruit, of an orange-tree
are more beautiful to behold when on the tree and seen as one with it,
than the same growth detached and seen successively, after their
importation into another country and different clime; so is it with
the manifold objects of reflection, when they are considered
principally in reference to the reflective power, and as part and
parcel of the same. No object, of whatever value our passions may
represent it, but becomes _foreign_ to us, as soon as it is altogether
unconnected with our intellectual, moral, and spiritual life. To be
_ours_, it must be referred to the mind either as motive, or
consequence, or symptom.



He who teaches men the principles and precepts of spiritual wisdom,
before their minds are called off from foreign objects, and turned
inward upon themselves, might as well write his instructions, as the
Sibyl wrote her prophecies, on the loose leaves of trees, and commit
them to the mercy of the inconstant winds.


In order to learn we must _attend_: in order to profit by what we have
learnt, we must _think_--_i.e._ reflect. He only thinks who

[14] The indisposition, nay, the angry aversion to _think_, even in
persons who are most willing to _attend_, and on the subjects to which
they are giving studious _attention_--as Political Economy, Biblical
Theology, Classical Antiquities, and the like,--is the phenomenon that
forces itself on my notice afresh, every time I enter into the society
of persons in the higher ranks. To assign a _feeling_ and a
determination of _will_, as a satisfactory reason for embracing or
rejecting this or that opinion or belief, is of ordinary occurrence,
and sure to obtain the sympathy and the suffrages of the company. And
yet to me, this seems little less irrational than to apply the nose to
a picture, and to decide on its genuineness by the sense of smell.



It is a matter of great difficulty, and requires no ordinary skill and
address, to fix the attention of men on the world within them, to
induce them to study the processes and superintend the works which
they are themselves carrying on in their own minds; in short, to
awaken in them both the faculty of thought[15] and the inclination to
exercise it. For alas! the largest part of mankind are nowhere greater
strangers than at home.

[15] _Distinction between Thought and Attention._--By THOUGHT is here
meant the voluntary reproduction in our own minds of those states of
consciousness, or (to use a phrase more familiar to the religious
reader) of those inward experiences, to which, as to his best and most
authentic documents, the teacher of moral or religious truth refers
us. In ATTENTION, we keep the mind _passive_: in THOUGHT we rouse it
into activity. In the former, we submit to an impression--we keep the
mind steady in order to _receive_ the stamp. In the latter, we seek to
_imitate_ the artist, while we ourselves make a copy or duplicate of
his work. We may learn arithmetic, or the elements of geometry, by
continued attention alone; but _self_-knowledge, or an insight into
the laws and constitutions of the human mind, and the _grounds_ of
religion and true morality, in addition to the effort of attention
requires the energy of THOUGHT.


Life is the one universal soul, which, by virtue of the enlivening
BREATH, and the informing WORD, all organized bodies have in common,
each _after its kind_. This, therefore, all animals possess, and man
as an animal. But, in addition to this, God transfused into man a
higher gift, and specially imbreathed:--even a living (that is,
self-subsisting) soul, a soul having its life in itself. "And man
became a living soul." He did not merely _possess_ it, he _became_ it.
It was his proper _being_, his truest _self_, _the_ man _in_ the man.
None then, not one of human kind, so poor and destitute, but there is
provided for him, even in his present state, _a house not built with
hands_. Aye, and spite of the philosophy (falsely so called) which
mistakes the causes, the conditions, and the occasions of our becoming
_conscious_ of certain truths and realities for the truths and
realities themselves--a house gloriously furnished. Nothing is wanted
but the eye, which is the light of this house, the light which is the
eye of this soul. This _seeing_ light, this _enlightening_ eye, is
Reflection.[16] It is more, indeed, than is ordinarily meant by that
word; but it is what a Christian ought to mean by it, and to know too,
whence it first came, and still continues to come--of what light even
this light is _but_ a reflection. This, too, is THOUGHT; and all
thought is but unthinking that does not flow out of this, or tend
towards it.

[16] The "_dianoia_" of 1 John v. 20, inaccurately rendered
"understanding" in our translation. To exhibit the full force of the
Greek word, we must say, _a power of discernment by Reason_.


Self-superintendence! that anything should overlook itself! Is not
this a paradox, and hard to understand? It is, indeed, difficult, and
to the imbruted sensualist a direct contradiction: and yet most truly
does the poet exclaim,

    ---- Unless _above_ himself he can
    Erect himself, how mean a thing is man!


An hour of solitude passed in sincere and earnest prayer, or the
conflict with, and conquest over, a single passion or "subtle bosom
sin," will teach us more of thought, will more effectually awaken the
_faculty_, and form the _habit_, of reflection, than a year's study in
the schools without them.


In a world, the opinions of which are drawn from outside shows, many
things may be _paradoxical_, (that is, contrary to the common notion)
and nevertheless true: nay, _because_ they are true. How should it be
otherwise, as long as the imagination of the Worldling is wholly
occupied by surfaces, while the Christian's thoughts are fixed on the
substance, that which _is_ and abides, and which, _because_ it is the
substance,[17] the outward senses cannot recognize. Tertullian had
good reason for his assertion, that the simplest Christian (if indeed
a Christian) knows more than the most accomplished irreligious


Let it not, however, be forgotten, that the powers of the
understanding and the intellectual graces are precious gifts of God;
and that every Christian, according to the opportunities vouchsafed to
him, is bound to cultivate the one and to acquire the other. Indeed,
he is scarcely a Christian who wilfully neglects so to do. What says
the apostle? Add to your faith _knowledge_, and to knowledge _manly
energy_: for this is the proper rendering of αρετην, and not
_virtue_, at least in the present and ordinary acceptation of the

[17] _Quod stat subtus_, that which stands _beneath_, and (as it were)
supports, the appearance. In a language like ours, where so many words
are derived from other languages, there are few modes of instruction
more useful or more amusing than that of accustoming young people to
seek for the etymology, or primary meaning, of the words they use.
There are cases, in which more knowledge of more value may be conveyed
by the history of a _word_, than by the history of a campaign.

[18] I am not ashamed to confess that I dislike the frequent use of
the word virtue, instead of righteousness, in the pulpit: and that in
prayer or preaching before a Christian community, it sounds too much
like _Pagan_ philosophy. The passage in St. Peter's epistle is the
only scripture authority that can be pretended for its use, and I
think it right, therefore, to notice that it rests either on an
oversight of the translators, or on a change in the meaning of the
word since their time.


Never yet did there exist a full faith in the Divine Word (by whom
_light_, as well as immortality, was brought into the world), which
did not expand the intellect, while it purified the heart;--which did
not multiply the aims and objects of the understanding, while it fixed
and simplified those of the desires and passions.[19]


If acquiescence without insight; if warmth without light; if an
immunity from doubt, given and guaranteed by a resolute ignorance; if
the habit of _taking for granted_ the words of a catechism, remembered
or forgotten; if a mere _sensation_ of positiveness substituted--I
will not say, for the _sense_ of _certainty_; but--for that calm
assurance, the very means and conditions of which it supersedes; if a
belief that seeks the darkness, and yet strikes no root, immovable as
the limpet from the rock, and like the limpet, fixed there by mere
force of adhesion; if these suffice to make men Christians, in what
sense could the apostle affirm that believers receive, not indeed
worldly wisdom, that comes to nought, but the wisdom of God, that we
might _know and comprehend_ the things that are freely given to us of
God? On what grounds could he denounce the sincerest _fervour_ of
spirit as _defective_, where it does not likewise bring forth fruits

[19] The effects of a zealous ministry on the intellects and
acquirements of the labouring classes are not only attested by Baxter,
and the Presbyterian divines, but admitted by Bishop Burnet, who,
during his mission in the west of Scotland, was "amazed to find a poor
commonalty so able to argue," &c. But we need not go to a sister
church for proof or example. The diffusion of light and knowledge
through this kingdom, by the exertions of the Bishops and clergy, by
Episcopalians and Puritans, from Edward VI. to the Restoration, was as
wonderful as it is praiseworthy, and may be justly placed among the
most remarkable facts of history.


In our present state, it is little less than impossible that the
affections should be kept constant to an object which gives no
employment to the understanding, and yet cannot be made manifest to
the senses. The exercise of the reasoning and reflecting powers,
increasing insight, and enlarging views, are requisite to keep alive
the substantial faith in the heart.


In the state of perfection, perhaps, all other faculties may be
swallowed up in love, or superseded by immediate vision; but it is on
the wings of the CHERUBIM, that is, (according to the interpretation
of the ancient Hebrew doctors) the _intellectual_ powers and energies,
that we must first be borne up to the "pure empyrean." It must be
seraphs, and not the hearts of imperfect mortals, that can burn
unfuelled and self-fed. _Give me understanding_ (is the prayer of the
Royal Psalmist), _and I shall observe thy law with my whole
heart_.[20]--_Thy law is exceeding broad_--that is, comprehensive,
pregnant, containing far more than the apparent import of the words on
a first perusal. _It is my meditation all the day._[21]


It is worthy of especial observation, that the Scriptures are
distinguished from all other writings pretending to inspiration, by
the strong and frequent recommendations of knowledge, and a spirit of
inquiry. Without reflection, it is evident that neither the one can be
acquired nor the other exercised.

[20] Ps. cxix. 34.--ED.

[21] Ps. cxix. 97.--ED.


The word _rational_ has been strangely abused of late times. This must
not, however, disincline us to the weighty consideration, that
thoughtfulness, and a desire to rest all our convictions on grounds of
right reasoning, are inseparable from the character of a Christian.


A reflecting mind is not a flower that grows wild, or comes up of its
own accord. The difficulty is indeed greater than many, who mistake
quick recollection for thought, are disposed to admit; but how much
less than it would be, had we not been born and bred in a Christian
and Protestant land, few of us are sufficiently aware. Truly may we,
and thankfully ought we to, exclaim with the Psalmist: _The entrance
of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the

[22] Ps. cxix. 130.--ED.


Examine the journals of our zealous missionaries, I will not say among
the Hottentots or Esquimaux, but in the highly _civilized_, though
fearfully _uncultivated_, inhabitants of ancient India. How often, and
how feelingly, do they describe the difficulty of rendering the
simplest chain of thought intelligible to the ordinary natives, the
rapid exhaustion of their whole power of attention, and with what
distressful effort it is exerted while it lasts! Yet it is among these
that the hideous practices of self-torture chiefly prevail. O, if
folly were no _easier_ than wisdom, it being often so very much more
_grievous_, how certainly might these unhappy slaves of superstition
be converted to Christianity! But, alas! to swing by hooks passed
through the back, or to walk in shoes with nails of iron pointed
upwards through the soles--all this is so much less _difficult_,
demands so much less exertion of the will than to _reflect_, and by
reflection to gain knowledge and tranquillity!


It is not true, that ignorant persons have no notion of the
_advantages_ of truth and knowledge. They confess, they see and bear
witness to these advantages in the conduct, the immunities, and the
superior powers of the possessors. Were they attainable by pilgrimages
the most toilsome, or penances the most painful, we should assuredly
have as many pilgrims and self-tormentors in the service of true
religion, as now exist under the tyranny of Papal or Brahman


In countries enlightened by the gospel, however, the most formidable
and (it is to be feared) the most frequent impediment to men's turning
the mind inward upon themselves, is that they are afraid of what they
shall find there. There is an aching hollowness in the bosom, a dark
cold speck at the heart, an obscure and boding sense of somewhat, that
must be kept _out of sight_ of the conscience; some secret lodger,
whom they can neither resolve to eject or retain.[23]


Few are so obdurate, few have sufficient strength of character, to be
able to draw forth an evil tendency or immoral practice into distinct
_consciousness_, without bringing it in the same moment before an
awaking _conscience_. But for this very reason it becomes a duty of
conscience to form the mind to a habit of distinct consciousness. An
unreflecting Christian walks in twilight among snares and pitfalls! He
entreats the heavenly Father not to lead him into temptation, and yet
places himself on the very edge of it, because he will not kindle the
torch which his Father had given into his hands, as a means of
prevention, and lest he should pray too late.

[23] The following sonnet was extracted by me from Herbert's 'Temple,'
in a work long since out of print, for the purity of the language and
the fulness of the sense. But I shall be excused, I trust, in
repeating it here for higher merits and with higher purposes, as a
forcible comment on the words in the text.

    _Graces vouchsafed in a Christian land._

    Lord! with what care hast thou begirt us round!
    Parents first season us. Then schoolmasters
    Deliver us to laws. They send us bound
    To rules of reason. Holy messengers;
    Pulpits and Sundays; sorrow dogging sin;
    Afflictions _sorted_; anguish of all sizes;
    Fine nets and stratagems to catch us in!
    Bibles laid open; millions of surprizes;
    Blessings beforehand; ties of gratefulness;
    The sound of glory ringing in our ears:
    Without, our shame; within, our consciences;
    Angels and grace; eternal hopes and fears!
    Yet all these fences, and their whole array,
    One cunning BOSOM-SIN blows quite away.


Among the various undertakings of men, can there be mentioned one more
important, can there be conceived one more sublime, than an intention
to form the human mind anew after the DIVINE IMAGE? The very
intention, if it be sincere, is a ray of its dawning.

The requisites for the execution of this high intent may be comprised
under three heads; the prudential, the moral, and the spiritual.


First, RELIGIOUS PRUDENCE.--What this is, will be best explained by
its effects and operations. PRUDENCE in the service of RELIGION
consists in the prevention or abatement of hindrances and
distractions; and consequently in avoiding, or removing, all such
circumstances as, by diverting the attention of the workman, retard
the progress and hazard the safety of the work. It is likewise (I deny
not) a part of this unworldly prudence, to place ourselves as much and
as often as it is in our power so to do, in circumstances directly
favourable to our great design; and to avail ourselves of all the
_positive_ helps and furtherances which these circumstances afford.
But neither dare we, as Christians, forget whose and under what
dominion the things are, _quæ nos circumstant_, that is, which _stand
around_ us. We are to remember, that it is the _world_ that
constitutes our outward circumstances; that in the form of the world,
which is evermore at variance with the Divine form (or idea) they are
cast and moulded; and that of the means and measures which the same
prudence requires in the forming anew of the Divine Image in the soul,
the far greater number suppose the world at enmity with our design. We
are to avoid its snares, to repel its attacks, to suspect its aids and
succours, and even when compelled to receive them as allies within our
trenches, we are to commit the outworks alone to their charge, and to
keep them at a jealous distance from the citadel. The powers of the
world are often _christened_, but seldom christianized. They are but
_proselytes of the outer gate_; or like the Saxons of old, enter the
land as auxiliaries, and remain in it as conquerors and lords.


The rules of prudence in general, like the laws of the stone tables,
are for the most part prohibitive. _Thou shalt not_ is their
characteristic formula: and it is an especial part of Christian
prudence that it should be so. Nor would it be difficult to bring
under this head, all the social obligations that arise out of the
relations of the present life, which the sensual understanding (το
φρονημα της Σαρκος, Romans viii. 6.) is of itself able to discover,
and the performance of which, under favourable circumstances, the
merest worldly self-interest, without love or faith, is sufficient to
enforce; but which Christian Prudence enlivens by a higher principle,
and renders symbolic and sacramental. (Ephesians v. 32.)


This then, under the appellation of prudential requisites, comes first
under consideration: and may be regarded as the shrine and frame-work
for the Divine image, into which the worldly human is to be
transformed. We are next to bring out the Divine Portrait itself, the
distinct features of its countenance, as a sojourner among men; its
benign aspect turned towards its fellow-pilgrims, the extended arm,
and the hand that blesseth and healeth.


The outward service (Θρησκεια[24]) of ancient religion, the rites,
ceremonies and ceremonial vestments of the old law, had morality for
their substance. They were the _letter_, of which morality was the
_spirit_; the enigma, of which morality was the _meaning_. But
morality itself is the service and ceremonial (cultus exterior,
θρησκεια) of the Christian religion. The scheme of grace and truth
that _became_[25] through Jesus Christ, the faith that _looks[26]
down into_ the perfect law of liberty, has _light for its garment:
its very robe is righteousness_.


Herein the apostle places the pre-eminence, the peculiar and
distinguishing excellence, of the Christian religion. The ritual is of
the same kind, (ὁμοουσιον) though not of the same order, with the
religion itself--not arbitrary or conventional, as types and
hieroglyphics are in relation to the things expressed by them; but
inseparable, consubstantiated (as it were), and partaking therefore of
the same life, permanence, and intrinsic worth with its spirit and

[24] See the epistle of St. James, i. 26, 27, where, in the authorized
version, the Greek word θρησκεια is falsely rendered _religion_;
whether by mistake of the translator, or from the intended sense
having become obsolete, I cannot decide. At all events, for the
English reader of our times it has the effect of an erroneous
translation. It not only obscures the connexion of the passage, and
weakens the peculiar force and sublimity of the thought, rendering it
comparatively flat and trivial, almost indeed tautological, but has
occasioned this particular verse to be perverted into a support of a
very dangerous error; and the whole epistle to be considered as a
_set-off_ against the epistles and declarations of St. Paul, instead
of (what in fact it is) a masterly comment and confirmation of the
same. I need not inform the religious reader, that James i. 27, is the
favourite text and most boasted authority of those divines who
represent the Redeemer of the world as little more than a moral
reformer, and the Christian faith as a code of ethics, differing from
the moral system of Moses and the prophets by an additional motive; or
rather, by the additional strength and clearness which the historical
fact of the resurrection has given to the same motive.

[25] The Greek word εγενετο, unites in itself the two senses of
_began to exist_ and _was made to exist_. It exemplifies the force of
the _middle voice_, in distinction from the verb reflex. In answer to
a note on John i. 2., in the Unitarian version of the New Testament, I
think it worth noticing, that the same word is used in the very same
sense by Aristophanes in that famous parody on the cosmogonies of the
Mythic poets, or the creation of the finite, as delivered, or supposed
to be delivered, in the Cabiric or Samothracian mysteries, in the
Comedy of the Birds.

    ---- γενετ Ουρανος, Ωκεανος τε
    Και Γη.

[26] James i. 25. Ο δε παρακυψας εις νομον τελειον τον της ελευθεριας.
The Greek word, _parakupsas_, signifies the incurvation or bending of
the body in the act of _looking down into_; as, for instance, in the
endeavour to see the reflected image of a star in the water at the
bottom of a well. A more happy or forcible word could not have been
chosen to express the nature and ultimate object of reflection, and to
enforce the necessity of it, in order to discover the living fountain
and spring-head of the evidence of the Christian faith in the believer
himself, and at the same time to point out the seat and region, where
alone it is to be found. _Quantum sumus, scimus._ That which we find
within ourselves, which is more than ourselves, and yet the ground of
whatever is good and permanent therein, is the substance and life of
all other knowledge.

N.B. The Familists of the sixteenth century, and similar enthusiasts
of later date, overlooked the essential point, that it was a _law_,
and a law that involved its own end (τελος), a _perfect_ law (τελειος)
or law that perfects or completes itself; and therefore, its
obligations are called, in reference to human statutes, _imperfect_
duties, i.e. incoercible from without. They overlooked that it was a
law that _portions out_ (Νομος _from_ νεμω _to allot, or make division
of_) to each man the sphere and limits within which it is to be
exercised--which as St. Peter notices of certain profound passages in
the writings of St. Paul, (2 Pet. iii. 16.)--oι αμαθεις και αστηρικτοι
στρεβλουσιν, ὡς και τας λοιπας γραφας, προς την ιδιαν αυτων απωλειαν.


Morality is the body, of which the faith in Christ is the soul--so far
indeed its earthly body, as it is adapted to its state of warfare on
earth, and the appointed form and instrument of its communion with the
present world; yet not "terrestrial," nor of the world, but a
celestial body, and capable of being transfigured from glory to glory,
in accordance with the varying circumstances and outward relations of
its moving and informing spirit.


Woe to the man, who will believe neither power, freedom, nor morality;
because he nowhere finds either entire, or unmixed with sin, thraldom
and infirmity. In the natural and intellectual realms, we distinguish
what we cannot separate; and in the moral world, we must distinguish
_in order to_ separate. Yea, in the clear distinction of good from
evil the process of separation commences.


It was customary with religious men in former times, to make a rule of
taking every morning some text, or aphorism,[27] for their occasional
meditation during the day, and thus to fill up the intervals of their
attention to business. I do not point it out for imitation, as knowing
too well, how apt these self-imposed rules are to degenerate into
superstition or hollowness; otherwise I would have recommended the
following as the first exercise.

[27] In accordance with a preceding remark, on the use of etymology in
disciplining the youthful mind to thoughtful habits, and as consistent
with the title of this work, 'Aids to Reflection,' I shall offer no
apology for the following and similar notes:

_Aphorism_, determinate position, from the Greek, _ap_, from; and
_horizein_, to bound or limit; whence our horizon.--In order to get
the full sense of a word, we should first present to our minds the
visual image that forms its primary meaning. Draw lines of different
colours round the different counties of England, and then cut out each
separately, as in the common play-maps that children take to pieces
and put together--so that each district can be contemplated apart from
the rest, as a whole in itself. This twofold act of circumscribing,
and detaching, when it is exerted by the mind on subjects of
reflection and reason, is to _aphorize_, and the result an _aphorism_.


It is a dull and obtuse mind, that must divide in order to
distinguish; but it is a still worse, that distinguishes in order to
divide. In the former, we may contemplate the source of superstition
and idolatry;[28] in the latter, of schism, heresy,[29] and a
seditious and sectarian spirit.[30]

[28] Το Νοητον διηρηκασιν εις πολλων Θεων Ιδιοτητας.--_Damasc. de
Myst. Egypt_; that is, They _divided_ the intelligible into many and
several individualities.

[29] From αἱρεσις. Though well aware of its formal and apparent
derivation from _haireo_, I am inclined to refer both words to _airo_,
as the primitive term, containing the primary visual image, and
therefore should explain _hæresis_, as a wilful raising into public
notice, an uplifting (for display) of any particular opinion differing
from the established belief of the church at large, and making it a
ground of schism, that is, division.

[30] I mean these words in their large and philosophic sense in
relation to the _spirit_, or originating temper and tendency, and not
to any one mode under which, or to any one class, in or by which it
may be displayed. A seditious spirit may (it is possible, though not
probable) exist in the council-chamber of a palace as strongly as in a
mob in Palace-Yard; and a sectarian spirit in a cathedral, no less
than in a conventicle.


Exclusive of the abstract sciences, the largest and worthiest portion
of our knowledge consists of _aphorisms_: and the greatest and best of
men is but an _aphorism_.


 On the prudential influence which the fear or foresight of the
 _consequences_ of his actions, in respect of his own loss or gain,
 may exert on a newly-converted Believer.

PRECAUTIONARY REMARK.--I meddle not with the dispute respecting
_conversion_, whether, and in what sense, necessary in all Christians.
It is sufficient for my purpose, that a very _large_ number of men,
even in Christian countries, _need_ to be converted, and that not a
few, I trust, have been. The tenet becomes fanatical and dangerous,
only when rare and extraordinary exceptions are made to be the general
rule;--when what was vouchsafed to the apostle of the Gentiles by
especial grace, and for an especial purpose, namely, a conversion[31]
begun and completed in the same moment, is demanded or expected of all
men, as a necessary sign and pledge of their election. Late
observations have shown, that under many circumstances the magnetic
needle, even after the disturbing influence has been removed, will
keep wavering, and require many days before it points aright, and
remains steady to the pole. So is it ordinarily with the soul, after
it has begun to free itself from the disturbing forces of the flesh
and the world, and to convert[32] itself towards God.

[31] Whereas Christ's other disciples had a breeding under him, St.
Paul was _born_ an apostle; not carved out, as the rest, by degrees
and in course of time, but a _fusile_ apostle, an apostle poured out
and cast in a mould. As Adam was a perfect man in an instant, so was
St. Paul a perfect Christian. The same spirit was the lightning that
melted, and the mould that received and shaped him.--Donne's
Sermons--_quoted from memory_.

[32] From the Latin, _convertere_--that is, by an act of the WILL _to
turn towards_ the true pole, _at the same time_ (for this is the force
of the prepositive _con_) that the understanding is convinced and made
aware of its existence and direction.


Awakened by the cock-crow, (a sermon, a calamity, a sick bed, or a
providential escape) the Christian pilgrim sets out in the morning
twilight, while yet the truth (the νομος τελειος ὁ της ἑλευθεριας)
is below the horizon. Certain necessary _consequences_
of his past life and his present undertaking will be _seen_ by the
refraction of its light: more will be apprehended and conjectured. The
phantasms, that had predominated during the hours of darkness, are
still busy. Though they no longer present themselves as distinct
forms, they yet remain as formative motions in the pilgrim's soul,
unconscious of its own activity and overmastered by its own
workmanship. Things take the signature of thought. The shapes of the
recent dream become a _mould_ for the objects in the distance; and
these again give an outwardness and a sensation of reality to the
shapings of the dream. The bodings inspired by the long habit of
selfishness, and self-seeking cunning, though they are now commencing
the process of their purification into that fear which is the
_beginning_ of wisdom, and which, as such, is ordained to be our guide
and safeguard, till the sun of love, the perfect law of liberty, is
fully arisen--these bodings will set the fancy at work, and haply, for
a time, transform the mists of dim and imperfect knowledge into
determinate superstitions. But in either case, whether seen clearly or
dimly, whether beholden or only imagined, the _consequences_,
contemplated in their bearings on the individual's inherent[33]
desire of happiness and dread of pain, become _motives_: and (unless
all distinction in the words be done away with, and either prudence or
virtue be reduced to a superfluous synonyme, a redundancy in all the
languages of the civilized world), these motives, and the acts and
forbearances directly proceeding from them, fall under the head of
PRUDENCE, as belonging to one or other of its four very distinct

I. It may be a prudence, that stands in opposition to a higher moral
life, and tends to preclude it, and to prevent the soul from ever
arriving at the hatred of sin for its own exceeding sinfulness (Rom.
vii. 13): and this is an EVIL PRUDENCE.

II. Or it may be a _neutral_ prudence, not incompatible with spiritual
growth: and to this we may, with especial propriety, apply the words
of our Lord, "What is not _against_ us is for us." It is therefore an
innocent, and (being such) a proper, and COMMENDABLE PRUDENCE.

III. Or it may lead and be subservient to a higher principle than
itself. The mind and conscience of the individual may be reconciled to
it, in the foreknowledge of the higher principle, and with a yearning
towards it that implies a foretaste of future freedom. The enfeebled
convalescent is reconciled to his crutches, and thankfully makes use
of them, not only because they are necessary for his immediate
support, but likewise, because they are the means and conditions of
EXERCISE; and by exercise, of establishing, _gradatim paulatim_, that
strength, flexibility, and almost spontaneous obedience of the
muscles, which the idea and cheering presentiment of health hold out
to him. He finds their _value_ in their present necessity, and their
_worth_ as they are the instruments of finally superseding it. This is
a faithful, a WISE PRUDENCE, having indeed, its birth-place in the
world, and the _wisdom of this world_ for its father; but naturalized
in a better land, and having the wisdom from above for its sponsor and
spiritual parent. To steal a dropt feather from the spicy nest of the
Phœnix, (the fond humour, I mean, of the mystic divines and
allegorizers of Holy Writ,) it is the _son of Terah from Ur of the
Chaldees_, who gives a tithe of all to the King of Righteousness,
without father, without mother, without descent, (Νομος αυτονομος),
and receives a blessing on the remainder.

IV. Lastly, there is a prudence that co-exists with morality, as
morality co-exists with the spiritual life: a prudence that is the
organ of both, as the understanding is to the reason and the will, or
as the lungs are to the heart and brain. This is A HOLY PRUDENCE, the
steward faithful and discreet, (οικονομος πιστος και φρονιμος, Luke
xii. 42), the "eldest servant" in the family of faith, _born in the
house_, and "made the ruler over his lord's household."

Let not, then, I entreat you, my purpose be misunderstood; as if, in
_distinguishing_ virtue from prudence, I wished to divide the one from
the other. True morality is hostile to that prudence only, which is
preclusive of true morality. The teacher, who _subordinates_ prudence
to virtue, cannot be supposed to _dispense_ with it; and he who
teaches the proper connexion of the one with the other, does not
depreciate the lower in any sense; while by making it a link of the
same chain with the higher, and receiving the same influence, he
raises it.

In general, Morality may be compared to the consonant, Prudence to the
vowel. The former cannot be _uttered_ (reduced to practice) but by
means of the latter.

[33] The following extract from Leighton's 'Theological Lectures,'
sect. II. may serve as a comment on this sentence:

"The human mind, however stunned and weakened by the fall, still
retains some faint idea of the good it has lost; a kind of languid
sense of its misery and indigence, with affections suitable to these
obscure notions. This at least is beyond all doubt and indisputable,
that all men wish well to themselves; nor can the mind divest itself
of this propensity, without divesting itself of its being. This is
what the schoolmen mean, when in their manner of expression they say,
that 'the will (voluntas, _not_ arbitrium) is carried towards
happiness not simply as _will_, but as _nature_."

I venture to remark that this position, if not more _certainly_ would
be more _evidently_ true, if instead of _beatitudo_, the word
_indolentia_ (that is, freedom from pain, negative happiness) had been
used. But this depends on the exact meaning attached to the term
_self_, of which more in another place. One conclusion, however,
follows inevitably from the preceding position, namely, that this
propensity can never be legitimately made the _principle_ of morality,
even because it is no part or appurtenance of the moral will; and
because the proper object of the moral principle is to limit and
control this propensity, and to determine in what it _may_ be, and in
what it _ought_ to be gratified; while it is the business of
philosophy to instruct the understanding, and the office of religion
to convince the whole man, that otherwise than as a _regulated_, and
of course therefore a _subordinate_, end, this propensity, innate and
inalienable though it be, can never be realized or fulfilled.


What the duties of MORALITY are, the apostle instructs the believer in
full, comprising them under the two heads of negative and positive;
negative, to keep himself pure from the world; and positive,
beneficence from loving-kindness, that is, love of his fellow-men (his
kind) as himself.


Last and highest, come the _spiritual_, comprising all the truths,
acts, and duties that have an especial reference to the Timeless, the
Permanent, the Eternal: to the sincere love of the True, _as_ truth;
of the Good, _as_ good: and of God as both in one. It comprehends the
whole ascent from uprightness (morality, virtue, inward rectitude) to
_godlikeness_, with all the acts, exercises, and disciplines of mind,
will, and affection, that are requisite or conducive to the great
design of our Redemption from the form of the evil one, and of our
second creation or birth in the divine image.[34]

[34] It is worthy of observation, and may furnish a fruitful subject
for future reflection, how nearly this scriptural division coincides
with the Platonic, which, _commencing_ with the prudential, or the
habit of act and purpose proceeding from enlightened self-interest,
[_qui animi imperio, corporis servitio, rerum auxilio, in proprium sui
commodum et sibi providus utitur, hunc esse prudentem statuimus_]
_ascends_ to the moral, that is, to the _purifying_ and _remedial_
virtues; and seeks its _summit_ in the imitation of the Divine nature.
In this last division, answering to that which we have called the
Spiritual, Plato includes all those inward acts and aspirations,
waitings, and watchings, which have a growth in godlikeness for their
immediate purpose, and the union of the human soul with the Supreme
Good as their ultimate object. Nor was it altogether without grounds
that several of the Fathers ventured to believe that Plato had some
dim conception of the necessity of a Divine Mediator, whether through
some indistinct echo of the patriarchal faith, or some rays of light
refracted from the Hebrew prophets through a Phoenician medium, (to
which he may possibly have referred in his phrase, θεοπαραδοτος
σοφια, the wisdom delivered from God), or by his own sense of the
mysterious contradiction in human nature between the will and the
reason, the natural appetences and the not less innate law of
conscience (_Romans_ ii. 14, 15.), we shall in vain attempt to
determine. It is not impossible that all three may have co-operated in
partially unveiling these awful truths to this plank from the wreck of
paradise thrown on the shores of idolatrous Greece, to this Divine

    Che 'n quella schiera andó più presso al segno
    Al qual aggiunge, a chi dal cielo è dato.

    _Petrarch: Del Trionfo della Fama, Cap. III. 5, 6._


It may be an additional aid to reflection, to distinguish the three
kinds severally, according to the faculty to which each corresponds,
the part of our human nature which is more particularly its organ.
Thus: the prudential corresponds to the sense and the understanding;
the moral to the heart and the conscience; the spiritual to the will
and the reason, that is, to the finite will reduced to harmony with,
and in subordination to, the reason, as a ray from that true light
which is both reason and will, universal reason, and will absolute.





If Prudence, though practically inseparable from Morality, is not to
be confounded with the Moral Principle; still less may Sensibility,
that is, a constitutional quickness of Sympathy with Pain and
Pleasure, and a keen sense of the gratifications that accompany social
intercourse, mutual endearments, and reciprocal preferences, be
mistaken, or deemed a Substitute for either. Sensibility is not even a
sure pledge of a GOOD HEART, though among the most common meanings of
that many-meaning and too commonly misapplied expression.

So far from being either Morality, or one with the Moral Principle, it
ought not even to be placed in the same rank with Prudence. For
Prudence is at least an offspring of the Understanding; but
Sensibility (the Sensibility, I mean, here spoken of), is for the
greater part a quality of the nerves, and a result of individual
bodily temperament.

Prudence is an _active_ Principle, and implies a sacrifice of Self,
though only to the same Self _projected_, as it were, to a distance.
But the very term Sensibility, marks its _passive_ nature; and in its
mere self, apart from Choice and Reflection, it proves little more
than the coincidence or contagion of pleasurable or painful
Sensations in different persons.

Alas! how many are there in this over-stimulated age, in which the
occurrence of excessive and unhealthy sensitiveness is so frequent, as
even to have reversed the current meaning of the word, _nervous_. How
many are[35] there whose sensibility prompts them to remove those
evils alone, which by hideous spectacle or clamorous outcry are
present to their senses and disturb their selfish enjoyments. Provided
the dunghill is not before their parlour window, they are contented to
know that it exists, and perhaps as the hotbed on which their own
luxuries are reared. Sensibility is not necessarily Benevolence. Nay,
by rendering us tremblingly alive to trifling misfortunes, it
frequently prevents it, and induces an effeminate Selfishness instead,

    ---- pampering the coward heart,
    With feelings all too delicate for use.
    Sweet are the Tears, that from a Howard's eye
    Drop on the cheek of one, he lifts from earth:
    And he, who works me good with unmoved face,
    Does it but half. He chills me, while he aids,
    My Benefactor, not my Brother Man.
    But even this, this _cold_ benevolence,
    Seems Worth, seems Manhood, when there rise before me,
    The sluggard Pity's vision-weaving tribe,
    Who sigh for wretchedness yet shun the wretched,
    Nursing in some delicious solitude,
    Their slothful Loves and dainty Sympathies.[36]

Lastly, where Virtue is, Sensibility is the ornament and becoming
Attire of Virtue. On certain occasions it may almost be said to
_become_[37] Virtue. But Sensibility and all the amiable qualities
may likewise become, and too often _have_ become, the panders of Vice
and the instruments of Seduction.

So must it needs be with all qualities that have their rise only in
_parts_ and _fragments_ of our nature. A man of warm passions may
sacrifice half his estate to rescue a friend from prison; for he is
naturally sympathetic, and the more social _part_ of his nature
happened to be uppermost. The same man shall afterwards exhibit the
same disregard of money in an attempt to seduce that friend's wife or

All the evil achieved by Hobbes, and the whole School of Materialists
will appear inconsiderable, if it be compared with the mischief
effected and occasioned by the sentimental Philosophy of STERNE, and
his numerous imitators. The vilest appetites and the most remorseless
inconstancy towards their objects, acquired the titles of _the Heart,
the irresistible Feelings, the too tender Sensibility;_ and if the
Frosts of Prudence, the icy chains of Human Law thawed and vanished at
the genial warmth of Human _Nature_, who _could help it_? It was an
amiable Weakness!

About this time, too, the profanation of the word Love, rose to its
height. The French Naturalists, Buffon and others, borrowed it from
the sentimental Novelists: the Swedish and English Philosophers took
the contagion; and the Muse of Science condescended to seek admission
into the Saloons of Fashion and Frivolity, _rouged_ like a harlot, and
with the harlot's wanton leer. I know not how the Annals of Guilt
could be better forced into the service of Virtue, than by such a
Comment on the present paragraph, as would be afforded by a selection
from the sentimental correspondence produced in Courts of Justice
within the last thirty years, fairly translated into the true meaning
of the words, and the actual Object and Purpose of the infamous

Do you in good earnest aim at Dignity of Character? By all the
treasures of a peaceful mind, by all the charms of an open
countenance, I conjure you, O youth! turn away from those who live in
the Twilight between Vice and Virtue. Are not Reason, Discrimination,
Law, and deliberate Choice, the distinguishing Characters of Humanity?
Can aught, then, worthy of a human Being, proceed from a Habit of
Soul, which would exclude all these and (to borrow a metaphor from
Paganism) prefer the den of Trophonius to the Temple and Oracles of
the God of Light? Can any thing _manly_, I say, proceed from those,
who for Law and Light would substitute shapeless feelings, sentiments,
impulses, which as far as they differ from the vital workings in the
brute animals, owe the difference to their former connexion with the
proper Virtues of Humanity; as dendrites derive the outlines, that
constitute their value above other clay-stones, from the casual
neighbourhood and pressure of the plants, the names of which they
assume? Remember, that Love itself in its highest earthly Bearing, as
the ground of the marriage union,[38] becomes Love by an inward FIAT
of the Will, by a completing and sealing Act of Moral Election, and
lays claim to permanence only under the form of DUTY.

[35] This paragraph is abridged from the _Watchman_, No. IV. March 25,
1796; respecting which the inquisitive Reader may consult my 'Literary
Life.'--_Author's note_ in editions 1 (1825) and 1836, since

[36] Coleridge's 'Reflections On Having Left a Place of Retirement,'
l. 48, &c. ('Sibylline Leaves,' 1797).--ED.

[37] There sometimes occurs an apparent _play_ on words, which not
only to the Moralizer, but even to the philosophical Etymologist,
appears more than a mere Play. Thus in the double sense of the word,
_become_. I have known persons so anxious to have their dress _become_
them, as to convert it at length into their proper self, and thus
actually to _become_ the dress. Such a one, (safeliest spoken of by
the _neuter_ pronoun), I consider as but a suit of _live_ finery. It
is indifferent whether we say--It _becomes_ he, or, he _becomes_ it.

[38] It might be a mean of preventing many unhappy marriages, if the
youth of both sexes had it early impressed on their minds, that
Marriage contracted between Christians is a true and perfect Symbol or
Mystery; that is, the actualizing Faith being supposed to exist in the
Receivers, it is an outward Sign co-essential with that which it
signifies, or a living Part of that, the whole of which it represents.
Marriage, therefore, in the Christian sense (Ephesians v. 22-33), as
symbolical of the union of the Soul with Christ the Mediator, and with
God through Christ, is perfectly a _sacramental_ ordinance, and not
retained by the Reformed Churches as one of THE Sacraments, for two
reasons; first, that the Sign is not _distinctive_ of the Church of
Christ, and the Ordinance not peculiar nor owing its origin to the
Gospel Dispensation; secondly, it is not of universal obligation, not
a means of Grace enjoined on all Christians. In other and plainer
words, Marriage does not contain in itself an open Profession of
Christ, and it is not a Sacrament of the _Church_, but only of certain
Individual Members of the Church. It is evident, however, that neither
of these reasons affect or diminish the _religious_ nature and
dedicative force of the marriage Vow, or detract from the solemnity in
the Apostolic Declaration: THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY.

The interest which the state has in the appropriation of one woman to
one man, and the civil obligations therefrom resulting, form an
altogether distinct consideration. When I meditate on the words of the
Apostle, confirmed and illustrated as they are, by so many harmonies
in the Spiritual Structure of our proper Humanity, (in the image of
God, male and female created he the man), and then reflect how little
claim so large a number of legal cohabitations have to the name of
Christian marriages--I feel inclined to doubt whether the plan of
celebrating marriages universally by the Civil Magistrate, in the
first instance, and leaving the _religious_ Covenant and sacramental
Pledge to the election of the parties themselves, adopted during the
Republic in England, and in our own times by the French Legislature,
was not _in fact_, whatever it might be in intention, _reverential_ to
Christianity. At all events, it was their own act and choice, if the
parties made bad worse by the profanation of a Gospel Mystery.




With respect to any final aim or end, the greater part of mankind live
at hazard. They have no certain harbour in view, nor direct their
course by any fixed star. But to him that knoweth not the port to
which he is bound, no wind can be favourable; neither can he who has
not yet determined at what mark he is to shoot, direct his arrow

It is not, however, the less true, that there is a proper object to
aim at; and if this object be meant by the term happiness, (though I
think that not the most appropriate term for a state, the perfection
of which consists in the exclusion of all _hap_ (that is, chance)), I
assert that there is such a thing as human happiness, as _summum
bonum_, or ultimate good. What this is, the Bible alone shows clearly
and certainly, and points out the way that leads to the attainment of
it. This is that which prevailed with St. Augustine to study the
Scriptures, and engaged his affection to them. "In Cicero, and Plato,
and other such writers," says he, "I meet with many things acutely
said, and things that excite a certain warmth of emotion, but in none
of them do I find these words, _Come unto me, all ye that labour, and
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest_."[39]


Felicity, _in its proper_ sense, is but another word for
fortunateness, or happiness; and I can see no advantage in the
improper use of words, when proper terms are to be found, but, on the
contrary, much mischief. For, by familiarizing the mind to _equivocal_
expressions, that is, such as may be taken in two or more different
meanings, we introduce confusion of thought, and furnish the sophist
with his best and handiest tools. For the juggle of sophistry
consists, for the greater part, in using a word in one sense in the
premise, and in another sense in the conclusion. We should accustom
ourselves to _think_, and _reason_, in precise and stedfast terms;
even when custom, or the deficiency, or the corruption of the language
will not permit the same strictness in speaking. The mathematician
finds this so necessary to the truths which he is seeking, that his
science begins with, and is founded on, the definition of his terms.
The botanist, the chemist, the anatomist, &c., feel and submit to this
necessity at all costs, even at the risk of exposing their several
pursuits to the ridicule of the many, by technical terms, hard to be
remembered, and alike quarrelsome to the ear and the tongue. In the
business of moral and religious reflection, in the acquisition of
clear and distinct conceptions of our duties, and of the relations in
which we stand to God, our neighbour, and ourselves, no such
difficulties occur. At the utmost we have only to rescue words,
already existing and familiar, from the false or vague meanings
imposed on them by carelessness, or by the clipping and debasing
misusage of the market. And surely happiness, duty, faith, truth, and
final blessedness, are matters of deeper and dearer interest for all
men, than circles to the geometrician, or the characters of plants to
the botanist, or the affinities and combining principle of the
elements of bodies to the chemist, or even than the mechanism (fearful
and wonderful though it be!) of the perishable Tabernacle of the Soul
can be to the anatomist. Among the _aids to_ reflection, place the
following maxim prominent: let distinctness in expression advance side
by side with distinction in thought. For one useless subtlety in our
elder divines and moralists, I will produce ten sophisms of
equivocation in the writings of our modern preceptors: and for one
error resulting from excess in _distinguishing_ the indifferent, I
would show ten mischievous delusions from the habit of _confounding_
the diverse. Whether you are reflecting for yourself, or reasoning
with another, make it a rule to ask yourself the precise meaning of
the word, on which the point in question appears to turn; and if it
may be (that is, by writers of authority _has been_) used in several
senses, then ask which of these the word is at present intended to
convey. By this mean, and scarcely without it, you will at length
acquire a facility in detecting the _quid pro quo_. And believe me, in
so doing you will enable yourself to disarm and expose four-fifths of
the main arguments of our most renowned irreligious philosophers,
ancient and modern. For the _quid pro quo_ is at once the rock and
quarry, on and with which the strong-holds of disbelief, materialism,
and (more pernicious still) epicurean morality are built.

[39] _Apud Ciceronem et Platonem, aliosque ejusmodi scriptores, multa
sunt acute dicta, et leniter calentia, sed in iis omnibus hoc non
invenio, Venite ad me_, &c. [Matt. xii. 28.]



If we seriously consider what religion is, we shall find the saying of
the wise king Solomon to be unexceptionably true: _Her ways are ways
of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace_.[40]

Doth religion require anything of us more than that we live _soberly,
righteously, and godly in this present world_? Now what, I pray, can
be more pleasant or peaceable than these? Temperance is always at
leisure, luxury always in a hurry: the latter weakens the body and
pollutes the soul; the former is the sanctity, purity, and sound state
of both. It is one of Epicurus's fixed maxims, "That life can never be
pleasant without virtue."


In the works of moralists, both Christian and Pagan, it is often
asserted (indeed there are few common-places of more frequent
recurrence) that the happiness even of this life consists solely, or
principally, in virtue; that virtue is the only happiness of this
life; that virtue is the truest _pleasure_, &c.

I doubt not that the meaning, which the writers intended to convey by
these and the like expressions, was true and wise. But I deem it safer
to say, that in all the outward relations of this life, in all our
outward conduct and actions, both in what we should do, and in what we
should abstain from, the dictates of virtue are the very same with
those of self-interest, tending _to_, though they do not proceed
_from_, the same point. For the outward object of virtue being the
greatest producible sum of happiness of all men, it must needs include
the object of an intelligent self-love, which is the greatest possible
happiness of one individual; for what is true of all, must be true of
each. Hence, you cannot become better (that is, more virtuous), but
you will become happier: and you cannot become worse (that is, more
vicious), without an increase of misery (or at the best a proportional
loss of enjoyment) as the consequence. If the thing were not
inconsistent with our well-being, and known to be so, it would not
have been classed as a _vice_. Thus what in an enfeebled and
disordered mind is called prudence, is the voice of nature in a
healthful state: as is proved by the known fact, that the prudential
duties, (that is, those actions which are commanded by virtue
_because_ they are prescribed by prudence), the animals fulfil by
natural instinct.

The pleasure that accompanies or depends on a healthy and vigorous
body will be the consequence and reward of a temperate life and habits
of active industry, whether this pleasure were or were not the chief
or only determining _motive_ thereto. Virtue may, possibly, add to the
pleasure a good of another kind, a higher good, perhaps, than the
worldly mind is capable of understanding, a spiritual complacency, of
which in your present sensualized state you can form no idea. It may
_add_, I say, but it cannot detract from it. Thus the reflected rays
of the sun that gave light, distinction, and endless multiformity to
the mind, afford at the same time the pleasurable sensation of
_warmth_ to the body.

If then the time has not yet come for any thing higher, act on the
maxim of seeking the most pleasure with the least pain: and, if only
you do not seek where you yourself _know_ it will not be found, this
very pleasure and this freedom from the disquietude of pain may
produce in you a state of being directly and indirectly favourable to
the germination and up-spring of a nobler seed. If it be true, that
men are miserable because they are wicked, it is likewise true, that
many men are wicked because they are miserable. Health, cheerfulness,
and easy circumstances, the ordinary consequence of Temperance and
Industry, will at least leave the field clear and open, will tend to
preserve the scales of the judgment even: while the consciousness of
possessing the esteem, respect, and sympathy of your neighbours, and
the sense of your own increasing power and influence, can scarcely
fail to give a tone of dignity to your mind, and incline you to hope
nobly of your own Being. And thus they may prepare and predispose you
to the sense and acknowledgment of a principle, differing not merely
in degree but in _kind_ from the faculties and instincts of the higher
and more intelligent species of animals, (the ant, the beaver, the
elephant), and which principle is therefore your proper humanity. And
on this account and with this view alone may certain modes of
pleasurable or _agreeable_ sensation, without confusion of terms, be
honoured with the title of refined, intellectual, ennobling pleasures.
For Pleasure (and happiness in its proper sense is but the continuity
and sum-total of the pleasure which is allotted or happens to a man,
and hence by the Greeks called ευτυχια, that is, good-hap, or more
religiously ευδαιμονια, that is, favourable providence)--pleasure, I
say, consists in the harmony between the specific excitability of a
living creature, and the exciting causes correspondent thereto.
Considered therefore exclusively in and for itself, the only question
is, _quantum_, not _quale_? _How much on the whole?_ the contrary,
that is, the painful and disagreeable having been subtracted. The
quality is a matter of _taste_: _et de gustibus non est disputandum_.
No man can judge for another.

This, I repeat, appears to me a safer language than the sentences
quoted above, (that virtue alone is happiness; that happiness consists
in virtue, &c.) sayings which I find it hard to reconcile with other
positions of still more frequent occurrence in the same divines, or
with the declaration of St. Paul: "If in this life only we have hope,
we are of all men most miserable."

At all events, I should rely far more confidently on the converse,
namely, that to be vicious is to be _miserable_. Few men are so
utterly reprobate, so imbruted by their vices, as not to have some
lucid, or at least quiet and sober, intervals; and in such a moment,
_dum desæviunt iræ_, few can stand up unshaken against the appeal to
their own experience--what have been the wages of sin? what has the
devil done for you? What sort of master have you _found_ him? Then let
us in befitting _detail_, and by a series of questions that ask no
loud, and are secure against any _false_, answer, urge home the proof
of the position, that to be vicious is to be wretched: adding the
fearful corollary, that if even in the body, which as long as life is
in it can never be _wholly_ bereaved of pleasurable sensations, vice
is found to be misery, what must it not be in the world to come?
There, where even the _crime_ is no longer possible, much less the
gratifications that once attended it--where nothing of vice remains
but its guilt and its misery--vice must be misery itself, all and
utter misery.--So best, if I err not, may the motives of prudence be
held forth, and the impulses of self-love be awakened, in alliance
with truth, and free from the danger of confounding things (the Laws
of Duty, I mean, and the Maxims of Interest) which it deeply concerns
us to keep distinct, inasmuch as this distinction and the faith
therein are essential to our moral nature, and this again the
ground-work and pre-condition of the spiritual state, in which the
Humanity strives after Godliness, and, in the name and power, and
through the prevenient and assisting grace, of the Mediator, will not
strive in vain.

The _advantages_ of a life passed in conformity with the precepts of
virtue and religion, and in how many and various respects they
recommend virtue and religion, even on grounds of prudence, form a
delightful subject of meditation, and a source of refreshing thought
to good and pious men. Nor is it strange if, transported with the
view, such persons should sometimes discourse on the charms of forms
and colours to men whose eyes are not yet _couched_; or that they
occasionally seem to invert the relations of cause and effect, and
forget that there are acts and determinations of the will and
affections, the _consequences_ of which may be plainly foreseen, and
yet cannot be made our proper and primary _motives_ for such acts and
determinations, without destroying or entirely altering the distinct
nature and character of the latter. Sophron is well informed that
wealth and extensive patronage will be the consequence of his
obtaining the love and esteem of Constantia. But if the foreknowledge
of this consequence were, and were _found out_ to be, Sophron's main
and determining motive for seeking this love and esteem; and if
Constantia were a woman that merited, or was capable of feeling,
either the one or the other; would not Sophron find (and deservedly
too) aversion and contempt in their stead? Wherein, if not in this,
differs the friendship of worldlings from true friendship? Without
kind offices and useful services, wherever the power and opportunity
occur, love would be a hollow pretence. Yet what noble mind would not
be offended, if he were thought to value the love for the sake of the
services, and not rather the services for the sake of the love?

[40] Proverbs iii. 17.--ED.


Though prudence in itself is neither virtue nor spiritual holiness,
yet without prudence, or in opposition to it, neither virtue nor
holiness can exist.


Art thou under the tyranny of sin? a slave to vicious habits? at
enmity with God, and a skulking fugitive from thy own conscience? O,
how idle the dispute, whether the listening to the dictates of
_prudence_ from prudential and self-interested motives be virtue or
merit, when the _not_ listening is guilt, misery, madness, and
despair! The best, the most _Christianlike_ pity thou canst show, is
to take pity on thy own soul. The best and most acceptable service
thou canst render, is to do justice and show mercy to _thyself_.




What the Apostles were in an extraordinary way, befitting the first
annunciation of a Religion for all Mankind, this all Teachers of Moral
Truth, who aim to prepare for its reception by calling the attention
of men to the Law in their own hearts, may, without presumption,
consider themselves to be, under ordinary gifts and circumstances;
namely, Ambassadors for the Greatest of Kings, and upon no mean
employment, the great Treaty of Peace and Reconcilement betwixt him
and Mankind.


_On the Feelings Natural to Ingenuous Minds towards those who have
first led them to Reflect._


Though Divine Truths are to be received equally from every Minister
alike, yet it must be acknowledged that there is something (we know
not what to call it) of a more acceptable reception of those which at
first were the means of bringing men to God, than of others; like the
opinion some have of physicians, whom they love.



The worth and value of Knowledge is in proportion to the worth and
value of its object. What, then, is the best knowledge?

The exactest knowledge of things, is, to know them in their causes; it
is then an excellent thing, and worthy of their endeavours who are
most desirous of knowledge, to know the best things in their highest
causes; and the happiest way of attaining to this knowledge, is, to
possess those things, and to know them in experience.



It is one main point of happiness, that he that is happy doth know and
judge himself to be so. This being the peculiar good of a reasonable
creature, it is to be enjoyed in a reasonable way. It is not as the
dull resting of a stone, or any other natural body in its natural
place; but the knowledge and consideration of it is the fruition of
it, the very relishing and tasting of its sweetness.


As in a Christian land we receive the lessons of Morality in connexion
with the Doctrines of Revealed Religion, we cannot too early free the
mind from prejudices widely spread, in part through the abuse, but far
more from ignorance, of the true meaning of doctrinal Terms, which,
however they may have been perverted to the purposes of Fanaticism,
are not only scriptural, but of too frequent occurrence in Scripture
to be overlooked or passed by in silence. The following extract,
therefore, deserves attention, as clearing the doctrine of Salvation,
in connexion with the divine Foreknowledge, from all objections on
the score of Morality, by the just and impressive view which the
Archbishop here gives of those occasional revolutionary moments, that
_Turn of the Tide_ in the mind and character of certain Individuals,
which (taking a religious course, and referred immediately to the
Author of all Good) were in his day, more generally than at present,
entitled EFFECTUAL CALLING. The theological interpretation and the
philosophic validity of this Apostolic Triad, Election, Salvation, and
Effectual Calling, (the latter being the intermediate), will be found
among the Comments on the Aphorisms of Spiritual Import. For our
present purpose it will be sufficient if only I prove, that the
Doctrines are in themselves _innocuous_, and may be both holden and
taught without any practical ill-consequences, and without detriment
to the moral frame.



Two Links of the Chain (namely, Election and Salvation) are up in
heaven in God's own hand; but this middle one (that is, Effectual
Calling) is let down to earth, into the hearts of his children, and
they laying hold on it have sure hold on the other two: for no power
can sever them. If, therefore, they can read the characters of God's
image in their own souls, those are the counterpart of the golden
characters of his love, in which their names are written in the book
of life. Their believing writes their names under the promises of the
revealed book of life (the Scriptures) and thus ascertains them, that
the same names are in the secret book of life which God hath by
himself from eternity. So that finding the stream of grace in their
hearts, though they see not the fountain whence it flows, nor the
ocean into which it returns, yet they know that it hath its source in
their eternal election, and shall empty itself into the ocean of their
eternal salvation.

If _election_, _effectual calling_, and _salvation_ be inseparably
linked together, then, by any one of them a man may lay hold upon all
the rest, and may know that his hold is sure; and this is the way
wherein we may attain and ought to seek, the comfortable assurance of
the love of God. Therefore _make your calling sure_, and by that your
_election_; for that being done, this follows of itself. We are not to
pry immediately into the decree, but to read it in the performance.
Though the mariner sees not the _pole-star_, yet the needle of the
compass which points to it, tells him which way he sails: thus the
heart that is touched with the loadstone of divine love, trembling
with godly fear, and yet still looking towards God by fixed believing,
interprets the fear by the love _in_ the fear, and tells the soul that
its course is heavenward, towards the haven of eternal rest. He that
loves may be sure he was loved first; and he that chooses God for his
delight and portion, may conclude confidently, that God has chosen him
to be one of those that shall enjoy him, and be happy in him for ever;
for that our love and electing of him is but the return and
repercussion of the beams of his love shining upon us.

Although from present unsanctification, a man cannot infer that he is
not _elected_; for the decree may, for part of a man's life, run (as
it were) underground; yet this is sure, that that estate leads to
death, and unless it be broken, will prove the black line of
reprobation. A man hath no portion amongst the children of God, nor
can read one word of comfort in all the promises that belong to them,
while he remains unholy.


In addition to the preceding, I select the following paragraphs, as
having nowhere seen the terms, Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit, and
the like, so effectually vindicated from the sneers of the Sciolist on
the one hand, and protected from the perversions of the Fanatic on the
other. In these paragraphs the Archbishop at once shatters and
precipitates the only draw-bridge between the fanatical and the
orthodox doctrine of Grace, and the Gifts of the Spirit. In Scripture
the term Spirit, as a power or property seated in the human soul,
never stands singly, but is always _specified_ by a genitive case
following; this being a Hebraism instead of the adjective which the
writer would have used if he had _thought_, as well as _written_, in
Greek. It is "the Spirit of Meekness" (a meek Spirit), or "the Spirit
of Chastity," and the like. The moral Result, the specific Form and
Character in which the Spirit _manifests_ its presence, is the only
sure pledge and token of its presence; which is to be, and which
safely may be, inferred from its practical effects, but of which an
_immediate_ knowledge or consciousness is impossible; and every
pretence to such knowledge is either hypocrisy or fanatical delusion.



If any pretend that they have the Spirit, and so turn away from the
straight rule of the Holy Scriptures, they have a spirit indeed, but
it is a fanatical spirit, the spirit of delusion and giddiness; but
the Spirit of God, that leads his children in the way of truth, and is
for that purpose sent them from Heaven to guide them thither, squares
their thoughts and ways to that rule whereof it is author, and that
word which was inspired by it, and sanctifies them to obedience. _He
that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar,
and the truth is not in him._ (1 John ii. 4.)

Now this Spirit which sanctifieth, and sanctifieth to obedience, is
within us the evidence of our election, and the earnest of our
salvation. And whoso are not sanctified and led by this Spirit, the
Apostle tells us what is their condition: _If any man have not the
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his._[41] The stones which are
appointed for that glorious temple above, are hewn, and polished, and
prepared for it here; as the stones were wrought and prepared in the
mountains, for building the temple at Jerusalem.


There are many serious and sincere Christians who have not attained to
a fulness of knowledge and insight, but are well and judiciously
employed in preparing for it. Even these may study the master-works of
our elder Divines with safety and advantage, if they will accustom
themselves to translate the theological terms into their _moral_
equivalents; saying to themselves--This may not be _all_ that is
meant, but this _is_ meant, and it is that portion of the meaning,
which belongs to _me_ in the present stage of my progress. For
example: render the words, sanctification of the Spirit, or the
sanctifying influences of the Spirit, by Purity in Life and Action
from a pure Principle.

We need only reflect on our own experience to be convinced, that the
man makes the _motive_, and not the motive the man. What is a strong
motive to one man, is no motive at all to another. If, then, the man
determines the motive, what determines the man--to a good and worthy
act, we will say, or a virtuous Course of Conduct? The intelligent
Will, or the self-determining Power? True, _in part_ it is; and
therefore the Will is pre-eminently the _spiritual_ Constituent in our
Being. But will any reflecting man admit, that his own Will is the
only and sufficient determinant of all he _is_, and all he does? Is
nothing to be attributed to the harmony of the system to which he
belongs, and to the pre-established Fitness of the Objects and Agents,
known and unknown, that surround him, as acting _on_ the will, though,
doubtless, _with_ it likewise? a process, which the co-instantaneous
yet reciprocal action of the air and the vital energy of the lungs in
breathing may help to render intelligible.

Again: in the world we see every where evidences of a Unity, which the
component parts are so far from explaining, that they necessarily
pre-suppose it as the cause and condition of their existing _as_ those
parts; or even of their existing at all. This antecedent Unity, or
Cause and Principle of each Union, it has since the time of Bacon and
Kepler been customary to call a law. This crocus, for instance: or any
other flower the reader may have in sight or choose to bring before
his fancy. That the root, stem, leaves, petals, &c. cohere to one
plant, is owing to an antecedent Power or Principle in the Seed, which
existed before a single particle of the matters that constitute the
_size_ and visibility of the crocus, had been attracted from the
surrounding soil, air, and moisture. Shall we turn to the seed? Here
too the same necessity meets us. An antecedent Unity (I speak not of
the parent plant, but of an agency antecedent in the order of
operance, yet remaining present as the conservative and reproductive
Power) must here too be supposed. Analyze the seed with the finest
tools, and let the Solar Microscope come in aid of your senses, what
do you find? Means and instruments, a wondrous Fairy-tale of Nature,
magazines of food, stores of various sorts, pipes, spiracles,
defences--a house of many chambers, and the owner and inhabitant
invisible! Reflect further on the countless millions of seeds of the
same name, each more than numerically differenced from every other:
and further yet, reflect on the requisite harmony of all surrounding
things, each of which necessitates the same process of thought, and
the coherence of all of which to a System, a World, demands its own
adequate Antecedent Unity, which must therefore of necessity be
present _to_ all and _in_ all, yet in no wise excluding or suspending
the individual Law or Principle of Union in each. Now will Reason,
will common Sense, endure the assumption, that in the material and
visible system, it is highly reasonable to believe a Universal Power,
as the cause and pre-condition of the harmony of all particular
Wholes, each of which involves the working Principle of its own
Union--that it is reasonable, I say, to believe this respecting the
Aggregate of _Objects_, which without a _Subject_ (that is, a sentient
and intelligent Existence) would be purposeless; and yet unreasonable
and even superstitious or enthusiastic to entertain a similar Belief
in relation to the System of intelligent and self-conscious Beings, to
the moral and personal World? But if in _this_ too, in the great
Community of _Persons_, it is rational to infer a One universal
Presence, a One present to all and in all, is it not most irrational
to suppose that a finite Will can exclude it?

Whenever, therefore, the man is determined (that is, impelled and
directed) to act in harmony of inter-communion, must not something be
attributed to this all-present power as acting _in_ the Will? and by
what fitter names can we call this than the LAW, as empowering; THE
WORD, as informing; and THE SPIRIT, as actuating?

What has been here said amounts (I am aware) only to a negative
conception; but this is all that is required for a mind at that period
of its growth which we are now supposing, and as long as Religion is
contemplated under the form of Morality. A _positive_ insight belongs
to a more advanced stage; for spiritual truths can only spiritually be
discerned. This we know from Revelation, and (the existence of
spiritual truths being granted) Philosophy is compelled to draw the
same conclusion. But though merely negative, it is sufficient to
render the union of Religion and Morality _conceivable_; sufficient to
satisfy an unprejudiced inquirer, that the spiritual Doctrines of the
Christian Religion are not at war with the reasoning Faculty, and that
if they do not run on the same Line (or Radius) with the
Understanding, yet neither do they cut or cross it. It is sufficient,
in short, to prove, that some distinct and consistent meaning may be
attached to the assertion of the learned and philosophic Apostle, that
"the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit"[42]--that is, with
_the Will_, as the supernatural in man and the Principle of our
Personality--of that, I mean, by which we are responsible Agents;
_Persons_, and not merely living _Things_.[43]

It will suffice to satisfy a reflecting mind, that even at the porch
and threshold of Revealed Truth there is a great and worthy sense in
which we may believe the Apostle's assurance, that not only doth "the
Spirit aid our infirmities;"[44] that is, _act on_ the Will by a
predisposing influence _from without_, as it were, though in a
spiritual manner, and without suspending or destroying its freedom
(the possibility of which is proved to us in the influences of
education, of providential occurrences, and, above all, of example)
but that in regenerate souls it may act _in_ the will; that uniting
and becoming one[45] with our will or spirit, it may make
"intercession for us;"[46] nay, in this intimate union taking upon
itself the form of our infirmities, may intercede for us "with
groanings that cannot be uttered." Nor is there any danger of
Fanaticism or Enthusiasm as the consequence of such a belief, if only
the attention be carefully and earnestly drawn to the concluding words
of the sentence (Romans viii. 26); if only the due force and _full_
import be given to the term _unutterable_ or _incommunicable_, in St.
Paul's use of it. In this, the strictest and most proper use of the
term, it signifies, that the subject, of which it is predicated, is
something which I _cannot_, which from the nature of the thing it is
impossible that I should, communicate to any human mind (even of a
person under the same conditions with myself) so as to make it _in
itself_ the object of his direct and immediate consciousness. It
cannot be the object of _my own_ direct and immediate Consciousness;
but must be _inferred_. Inferred it may be _from_ its workings; it
cannot be perceived _in_ them. And, thanks to God! in all points in
which the knowledge is of high and necessary concern to our moral and
religious welfare, from the _Effects_ it may safely be inferred by us,
from the Workings it may be assuredly known; and the Scriptures
furnish the clear and unfailing Rules for directing the inquiry, and
for drawing the conclusion.

If any reflecting mind be surprised that the aids of the Divine Spirit
should be deeper than our Consciousness can reach, it must arise from
the not having attended sufficiently to the nature and necessary
limits of human Consciousness. For the same impossibility exists as to
the first acts and movements of our own will--the farthest distance
our recollection can follow back the traces, never leads us to the
first foot-mark--the lowest depth that the light of our Consciousness
can visit even with a doubtful glimmering, is still at an unknown
distance from the ground: and so, indeed, must it be with all Truths,
and all modes of Being that can neither be counted, coloured, or
delineated. Before and After, when applied to such Subjects, are but
allegories, which the Sense or Imagination supplies to the
Understanding. The Position of the Aristotelians, _nihil in intellectu
quod non prius in sensu_, on which Mr. Locke's Essay is grounded, is
irrefragable: Locke erred only in taking half the Truth for a whole
Truth. Conception is consequent on Perception. What we cannot
_imagine_, we cannot, in the proper sense of the word, conceive.

I have already given one definition of Nature. Another, and differing
from the former in words only, is this: Whatever is representable in
the forms of Time and Space, is Nature. But whatever is comprehended
in Time and Space, is included in the Mechanism of Cause and Effect.
And conversely, whatever, by whatever means, has its principle in
itself, so far as to _originate_ its actions, cannot be contemplated
in any of the forms of Space and Time; it must, therefore, be
considered as _Spirit_ or _Spiritual_ by a mind in that stage of its
developement which is here supposed, and which we have agreed to
understand under the name of Morality, or the Moral State: for in this
stage we are concerned only with the forming of _negative_
conceptions, _negative_ convictions; and by _spiritual_ I do not
pretend to determine _what_ the Will _is_, but what it is
_not_--namely, that it is not Nature. And as no man who admits a Will
at all, (for we may safely presume that no man not meaning to speak
figuratively, would call the shifting current of a stream the WILL[47]
of the river), will suppose it _below_ Nature, we may safely add, that
it is super-natural; and this without the least pretence to any
positive Notion or Insight.

Now Morality accompanied with Convictions like these, I have ventured
to call _Religious_ Morality. Of the importance I attach to the state
of mind implied in these convictions, for its own sake, and as the
natural preparation for a yet higher state and a more substantive
knowledge, proof more than sufficient, perhaps, has been given in the
length and minuteness of this introductory Discussion, and in the
foreseen risk which I run of exposing the volume at large to the
censure which every work, or rather which every writer, must be
prepared to undergo, who, treating of subjects that cannot be seen,
touched, or in any other way made matters of outward sense, is yet
anxious both to attach to, and to convey a distinct meaning by, the
words he makes use of--the censure of being dry, abstract, and (of all
qualities most scaring and opprobrious to the ears of the present
generation) _metaphysical_; though how it is possible that a work not
_physical_, that is, employed on objects known or believed on the
evidence of the senses, should be other than _meta_physical, that is,
treating on Subjects, the evidence of which is not derived from the
senses, is a problem which critics of this order find it convenient to
leave unsolved.

The author of the present volume will, indeed, have reason to think
himself fortunate, if this be all the charge!--How many smart
quotations, which (duly cemented by personal allusions to the author's
supposed pursuits, attachments, and infirmities), would of themselves
make up "a review" of the volume, might be supplied from the works of
Butler, Swift, and Warburton. For instance: "It may not be amiss to
inform the Public, that the Compiler of the Aids to Reflection, and
Commenter on a Scotch Bishop's Platonico-Calvinistic commentary on St.
Peter, belongs to the sect of the _Æolists_, whose fruitful
imaginations lead them into certain notions, which, although in
appearance _very unaccountable, are not without their mysteries and
their meanings_; furnishing plenty of matter for such, _whose
converting Imaginations dispose them to reduce all things into TYPES;
who can make SHADOWS, no thanks to the Sun; and then mould them into
SUBSTANCES, no thanks to Philosophy: whose peculiar Talent lies in
fixing TROPES and ALLEGORIES to the LETTER, and refining what is
LITERAL into FIGURE and MYSTERY._"--_Tale of the Tub_, Sect. xi.

And would it were my lot to meet with a Critic, who, in the might of
his own Convictions, and with arms of equal point and efficiency from
his own forge, would come forth as my assailant; or who, as a friend
to my purpose, would set forth the objections to the matter and
pervading Spirit of these Aphorisms, and the accompanying
Elucidations. Were it my task to form the mind of a young man of
talent, desirous to establish his opinions and belief on solid
principles, and in the light of distinct understanding,--I would
commence his theological studies, or, at least, that most important
part of them respecting the aids which Religion promises in our
attempts to realize the ideas of Morality, by bringing together all
the passages scattered throughout the writings of Swift and Butler,
that bear on Enthusiasm, Spiritual Operations, and pretences to the
Gifts of the Spirit, with the whole train of New Lights, Raptures,
Experiences, and the like. For all that the richest Wit, in intimate
union with profound Sense and steady Observation, can supply on these
topics, is to be found in the works of these satirists; though
unhappily alloyed with much that can only tend to pollute the

Without stopping to estimate the degree of caricature in the portraits
sketched by these bold masters, and without attempting to determine in
how many of the Enthusiasts, brought forward by them in proof of the
influence of false Doctrines, a constitutional Insanity that would
probably have shown itself in some other form, would be the truer
solution, I would direct my pupil's attention to one feature common to
the whole group--the pretence, namely, of possessing, or a Belief and
Expectation grounded on other men's assurances of their possessing, an
immediate Consciousness, a sensible Experience, of the Spirit in and
during its operation on the soul. It is not enough that you grant them
a consciousness of the Gifts and Graces infused, or an assurance of
the Spiritual Origin of the same, grounded on their correspondence to
the Scripture _promises_, and their conformity with the _idea_ of the
Divine Giver. No! they all alike, it will be found, lay claim (or at
least look forward), to an inward perception of the Spirit itself and
of its operating.

Whatever must be misrepresented in order to be ridiculed, is in fact
_not_ ridiculed; but the thing substituted for it. It is a satire on
something else, coupled with a lie on the part of the satirist, who
knowing, or having the means of knowing the truth, chose to call one
thing by the name of another. The Pretensions to the Supernatural,
_pilloried_ by Butler, sent to Bedlam by Swift, and (on their
re-appearance in public) _gibbetted_ by Warburton, and _anatomized_ by
Bishop Lavington, one and all have _this_ for their essential
character, that the Spirit is made the immediate Object of Sense or
Sensation. Whether the spiritual Presence and Agency are supposed
cognizable by indescribable Feeling or unimaginable Vision by some
specific visual energy; whether seen, or heard, or touched, smelt and
tasted--for in those vast Store-houses of fanatical assertion, the
volumes of Ecclesiastical History and religious Auto-biography,
instances are not wanting even of the three latter extravagancies;--this
variety in the mode may render the several pretensions more or less
offensive to the _taste_; but with the same absurdity for the
_reason_, this being derived from a contradiction in terms common and
radical to them all alike,--the assumption of a something essentially
supersensual, that is nevertheless the object of Sense, that is, _not_

Well then!--for let me be allowed still to suppose the Reader present
to me, and that I am addressing him in the character of Companion and
Guide--the positions recommended for your examination not only do not
involve, but they exclude, this inconsistency. And for aught that
hitherto appears, we may see with complacency the arrows of satire
feathered with Wit, weighted with Sense, and discharged by a strong
arm, fly home to their mark. Our conceptions of a possible Spiritual
Communion, though they are but negative and only preparatory to a
faith in its actual existence, stand neither in the level or in the
direction of the shafts.

If it be objected, that Swift and Warburton did not choose openly to
set up the interpretations of later and more rational divines against
the decisions of their own Church, and from _prudential_
considerations did not attack the doctrine _in toto_: that is _their_
concern (I would answer), and it is more charitable to think
otherwise. But we are in the silent school of Reflection, in the
secret confessional of Thought. Should we _lie for God_, and that to
our own thoughts? They, indeed, who dare do the one, will soon be able
to do the other.--So did the Comforters of Job: and to the divines,
who resemble Job's Comforters, we will leave both attempts.

But, (it may be said), a possible Conception is not necessarily a true
one; nor even a probable one, where the Facts can be otherwise
explained. In the name of the supposed pupil I would reply--That is
the very question I am preparing myself to examine; and am now seeking
the Vantage-ground where I may best command the Facts. In my own
person, I would ask the Objector, whether he counted the Declarations
of Scripture among the Facts to be explained. But both for myself and
my pupil, and in behalf of all rational inquiry, I would demand that
the decision should not be such, in itself or in its effects, as would
prevent our becoming acquainted with the most important of these
Facts; nay, such as would, for the mind of the decider, preclude their
very existence.--_Unless ye believe_, says the prophet, _ye cannot
understand_. Suppose (what is at least possible) that the facts should
be consequent on the belief, it is clear that without the belief the
materials, on which the understanding is to exert itself, would be

The reflections that naturally arise out of this last remark, are
those that best suit the stage at which we last halted, and from which
we now recommence our progress--the state of a _Moral_ Man, who has
already welcomed certain truths of Religion, and is inquiring after
other and more special doctrines: still however as a Moralist,
desirous indeed to receive them into combination with Morality, but to
receive them as its Aid, not as its Substitute. Now, to such a man I
say; Before you reject the Opinions and Doctrines asserted and
enforced in the following extract from Leighton, and before you give
way to the Emotions of Distaste or Ridicule, which the Prejudices of
the circle in which you move, or your own familiarity with the mad
perversions of the doctrine by fanatics in all ages, have connected
with the very words, Spirit, Grace, Gifts, Operations, &c., re-examine
the arguments advanced in the first pages of this Introductory
Comment, and the simple and sober view of the doctrine, contemplated
in the first instance as a mere idea of the reason, flowing naturally
from the admission of an infinite omnipresent Mind as the Ground of
the Universe. Reflect again and again, and be sure that you
_understand_ the doctrine before you determine on rejecting it. That
no false judgments, no extravagant conceits, no practical
ill-consequences need arise out of the Belief of the Spirit, and its
possible communion with the Spiritual Principle in man, _can_ arise
out of the _right_ Belief, or are compatible with the doctrine truly
and scripturally explained, Leighton, and almost every single period
in the passage here transcribed from him, will suffice to convince

On the other hand, reflect on the consequences of rejecting it. For
surely it is not the act of a reflecting mind, nor the part of a man
of sense to disown and cast out one tenet, and yet persevere in
admitting and clinging to another that has neither sense nor purpose,
that does not _suppose_ and rest on the truth and reality of the
former! If you have resolved that all belief of a divine Comforter
present to our inmost Being and aiding our infirmities, is fond and
fanatical--if the Scriptures promising and asserting such communion
are to be explained away into the action of circumstances, and the
necessary movements of the vast machine, in one of the circulating
chains of which the human Will is a petty Link--in what better light
can Prayer appear to you, than the groans of a wounded lion in his
solitary den, or the howl of a dog with his eyes on the moon? At the
best, you can regard it only as a transient bewilderment of the Social
Instinct, as a social Habit misapplied! Unless indeed you should adopt
the theory which I remember to have read in the writings of the late
Dr. Jebb, and for some supposed beneficial re-action of praying on the
prayer's own mind, should practise it as a species of _Animal-Magnetism_
to be brought about by a wilful eclipse of the reason, and a temporary
_make-believe_ on the part of the self-magnetizer!

At all events, do not pre-judge a Doctrine, the utter rejection of
which must oppose a formidable obstacle to your acceptance of
Christianity itself, when the books, from which alone we can learn
what Christianity is and what it teaches, are so strangely written,
that in a series of the most concerning points, including (historical
facts excepted) all the _peculiar_ Tenets of the Religion, the plain
and obvious meaning of the words, that in which they were understood
by learned and simple, for at least sixteen centuries, during the far
larger part of which the language was a living language, is no
sufficient guide to their actual sense or to the writer's own meaning!
And this, too, where the literal and received Sense involves nothing
impossible, or immoral, or contrary to reason. With such a persuasion,
Deism would be a more consistent creed. But, alas! even this will fail
you. The utter rejection of all present and living communion with the
Universal Spirit impoverishes Deism itself, and renders it as
cheerless as Atheism, from which indeed it would differ only by an
obscure impersonation of what the Atheist receives unpersonified,
under the name of Fate or Nature.

[41] Romans viii. 9.--ED.

[42] Romans viii. 16.--ED.

[43] Whatever is comprised in the Chain and Mechanism of Cause and
Effect, of course _necessitated_, and having its necessity in some
other thing, antecedent or concurrent--this is said to be _Natural_;
and the Aggregate and System of all such things is NATURE. It is,
therefore, a contradiction in terms to include in this the Free-will,
of which the verbal definition is--that which _originates_ an act or
state of Being. In this sense, therefore, which is the sense of St.
Paul, and indeed of the New Testament throughout, Spiritual and
Supernatural are synonymous.

[44] Romans viii. 26.--ED.

[45] Some distant and faint _similitude_ of this, that merely as a
similitude may be innocently used to quiet the Fancy, provided it be
not imposed on the understanding as an analogous fact or as identical
in kind, is presented to us in the power of the Magnet to awaken and
strengthen the magnetic power in a bar of Iron, and (in the instance
of the compound Magnet) acting in and with the latter.

[46] Romans viii. 26.--ED.


    "The river windeth[48] at his own sweet will."

    _Wordsworth's exquisite Sonnet on Westminster-bridge at Sun-rise._

But who does not see that here the poetic charm arises from the known
and felt _impropriety_ of the expression, in the technical sense of
the word _impropriety_, among grammarians?

[48] The latest editions of Wordsworth have "glideth" for



The proper and natural Effect, and in the absence of all disturbing or
intercepting forces, the certain and sensible accompaniment of Peace,
(or Reconcilement) with God, is our own inward Peace, a calm and quiet
temper of mind. And where there is a consciousness of earnestly
desiring, and of having sincerely striven after the former, the latter
may be considered as a _Sense_ of its presence. In this case, I say,
and for a soul watchful, and under the discipline of the Gospel, the
Peace with a man's self may be the medium or organ through which the
assurance of his Peace with God is conveyed. We will not therefore
condemn this mode of speaking, though we dare not greatly recommend
it. Be it, that there is, truly and in sobriety of speech, enough of
just analogy in the subjects meant, to make this use of the words, if
less than proper, yet something more than metaphorical; still we must
be cautious not to transfer to the Object the defects or the
deficiency of the Organ, which must needs partake of the imperfections
of the imperfect beings to whom it belongs. Not without the
co-assurance of other senses and of the same sense in other men, dare
we affirm that what our eye beholds, is verily there to be beholden.
Much less may we conclude negatively, and from the inadequacy, or the
suspension, or from any other affection of sight infer the
non-existence, or departure, or changes of the thing itself. The
chameleon darkens in the shade of him who bends over it to ascertain
its colours. In like manner, but with yet greater caution, ought we to
think respecting a tranquil habit of inward life, considered as a
spiritual _sense_, as the medial Organ in and by which our Peace with
God, and the lively Working of his Grace on our Spirit, are perceived
by us. This Peace which we have with God in Christ, is inviolable; but
because the sense and persuasion of it may be interrupted, the soul
that is truly at peace with God may for a time be disquieted in
itself, through weakness of faith, or the strength of temptation, or
the darkness of desertion, losing sight of that grace, that love and
light of God's countenance, on which its tranquillity and joy depend.
_Thou didst hide thy face_, saith David, _and I was troubled_.[49] But
when these eclipses are over, the soul is revived with new
consolation, as the face of the earth is renewed and made to smile
with the return of the sun in the spring; and this ought always to
uphold Christians in the saddest times, namely, that the grace and
love of God towards them depend not on their sense, nor upon anything
in them, but is still in itself, incapable of the smallest alteration.

A holy heart that gladly entertains grace, shall find that it and
peace cannot dwell asunder; while an ungodly man may sleep to death in
the lethargy of carnal presumption and impenitency; but a true,
lively, solid peace, he cannot have. _There is no peace to the wicked,
saith my God._ Isa. lvii. 21.

[49] Psalm xxx. 7.--ED.


_Worldly Hopes._


Worldly hopes are not living, but lying hopes; they die often before
us, and we live to bury them, and see our own folly and infelicity in
trusting to them; but at the utmost, they die with us when we die, and
can accompany us no further. But the lively Hope, which is the
Christian's Portion, answers expectation to the full, and much beyond
it, and deceives no way but in that happy way of far exceeding it.

A living hope, living in death itself! The world dares say no more for
its device, than _Dum spiro spero_: but the children of God can add,
by virtue of this living hope, _Dum exspiro spero_.


_The Worldling's Fear._


It is a fearful thing when a man and all his hopes die together. Thus
saith Solomon of the wicked, Prov. xi. 7.--When he dieth, then die his
hopes; (many of them _before_, but at the utmost _then_, all of them;)
but _the righteous hath hope in his death_, Prov. xiv. 32.[50]

[50] One of the numerous proofs against those who with a strange
inconsistency hold the Old Testament to have been inspired throughout,
and yet deny that the doctrine of a future state is taught therein.


_Worldly Mirth._


_As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon
nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart_, Prov. xxv. 20.
Worldly mirth is so far from curing spiritual grief, that even worldly
grief, where it is great and takes deep root, is not allayed but
increased by it. A man who is full of inward heaviness, the more he is
encompassed about with mirth, it exasperates and enrages his grief the
more; like ineffectual weak physic, which removes not the humour, but
stirs it and makes it more unquiet. But spiritual joy is seasonable
for all estates: in prosperity, it is pertinent to crown and sanctify
all other enjoyments, with this which so far surpasses them; and in
distress, it is the only _Nepenthe_, the cordial of fainting spirits:
so, Psal. iv. 7. _He hath put joy into my heart._ This mirth makes way
for itself, which other mirth cannot do. These songs are sweetest in
the night of distress.

There is something exquisitely beautiful and touching in the first of
these similes: and the second, though less pleasing to the
imagination, has the charm of propriety, and expresses the transition
with equal force and liveliness. A grief of recent birth is a sick
infant that must have its medicine administered in its milk, and sad
thoughts are the sorrowful heart's natural food. This is a complaint
that is not to be cured by opposites, which for the most part only
reverse the symptoms while they exasperate the disease--or like a rock
in the mid-channel of a river swoln by a sudden rain-flush from the
mountains, which only detains the excess of waters from their proper
outlet, and makes them foam, roar, and eddy. The soul in her
desolation hugs the sorrow close to her, as her sole remaining
garment: and this must be drawn off so gradually, and the garment to
be put in its stead so gradually slipt on and feel so like the former,
that the sufferer shall be sensible of the change only by the
refreshment.--The true Spirit of Consolation is well content to detain
the tear in the eye, and finds a surer pledge of its success, in the
smile of Resignation that dawns through that, than in the liveliest
shows of a forced and alien exhilaration.


Plotinus thanked God, that his soul was not tied to an immortal body.



What a full Confession do we make of our dissatisfaction with the
Objects of our bodily senses, that in our attempts to express what we
conceive the Best of Beings, and the Greatest of Felicities to be, we
describe by the exact Contraries of all, that we experience here--the
one as _In_finite, _In_comprehensible, _Im_mutable, &c., the other as
_in_corruptible, _un_defiled, and that passeth _not_ away. At all
events, this Coincidence, say rather, Identity of Attributes, is
sufficient to apprize us, that to be inheritors of bliss we must
become the children of God.

This remark of Leighton's is ingenious and startling. Another, and
more fruitful, perhaps more solid inference from the fact would be,
that there is something in the human mind which makes it know (as soon
as it is sufficiently awakened to reflect on its own thoughts and
notices), that in all finite Quantity there is an Infinite, in all
measures of Time an Eternal; that the latter are the basis, the
substance, the true and abiding _reality_ of the former; and that as
we truly _are_, only as far as God is with us, so neither can we truly
_possess_ (that is, enjoy) our Being or any other real Good, but by
living in the sense of his holy presence.

A life of wickedness is a life of lies; and an evil being, or the
being of evil, the last and darkest mystery.


_The Wisest Use of the Imagination._


It is not altogether unprofitable; yea, it is great wisdom in
Christians to be arming themselves against such temptations as may
befal them hereafter, though they have not as yet met with them; to
labour to overcome them beforehand, to suppose the hardest things that
may be incident to them, and to put on the strongest resolutions they
can attain unto. Yet all that is but an imaginary effort; and
therefore there is no assurance that the victory is any more than
imaginary too, till it come to action, and then, they that have spoken
and thought very confidently, may prove but (as one said of the
Athenians) _fortes in tabula_, patient and courageous in picture or
fancy; and, notwithstanding all their arms, and dexterity in handling
them by way of exercise, may be foully defeated when they are to fight
in earnest.


_The Language of Scripture._

The Word of God speaks to men, and therefore it speaks the language of
the Children of Men. This just and pregnant thought was suggested to
Leighton by Gen. xxii. 12. The same text has led me to unfold and
expand the remark.--On moral subjects, the Scriptures speak in the
language of the affections which they excite in us; on sensible
objects, neither metaphysically, as they are known by superior
intelligences; nor theoretically, as they would be seen by us were we
placed in the sun; but as they are represented by our human senses in
our present relative position. Lastly, from no vain, or worse than
vain, ambition of seeming _to walk on the sea_ of Mystery in my way to
Truth, but in the hope of removing a difficulty that presses heavily
on the minds of many who in heart and desire are believers, and which
long pressed on my own mind, I venture to add: that on _spiritual_
things, and allusively to the mysterious union or conspiration of the
Divine with the Human in the Spirits of the Just, spoken of in Romans
viii. 27, the word of God attributes the language of the Spirit
sanctified to the Holy One, the Sanctifier.

Now the Spirit in Man (that is, the Will) knows its own State in and
by its Acts alone: even as in geometrical reasoning the Mind knows
its constructive _faculty_ in the _act_ of constructing, and
contemplates the act in the _product_ (that is, the mental figure or
diagram) which is inseparable from the act and co-instaneous.

Let the reader join these two positions: first, that the Divine Spirit
acting _in_ the Human Will is described as _one with_ the Will so
filled and actuated: secondly, that our actions are the means, by
which alone the Will becomes assured of its own state; and he will
understand, though he may not perhaps adopt my suggestion, that the
verse, in which God _speaking of himself_, says to Abraham, _Now I
know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thy
only son, from me_[51]--may be more than merely _figurative_. An
_accommodation_ I grant; but in the _thing expressed_, and not
altogether in the Expressions. In arguing with infidels, or with the
weak in faith, it is a part of religious Prudence, no less than of
religious Morality, to avoid whatever looks _like_ an evasion. To
retain the literal sense, wherever the harmony of Scripture permits,
and reason does not forbid, is ever the honester, and, nine times in
ten, the more rational and pregnant interpretation. The contrary plan
is an easy and approved way of _getting rid_ of a difficulty; but nine
times in ten a bad way of solving it. But alas! there have been too
many Commentators who are content not to understand a text themselves,
if only they can make the reader believe that they do.

Of the figures of speech in the sacred volume, that are only figures
of speech, the one of most frequent occurrence is that which describes
an effect by the name of its most usual and best known cause: the
passages, for instance, in which grief, fury, repentance, &c., are
attributed to the Deity.--But these are far enough from justifying the
(I had almost said, dishonest) fashion of metaphorical glosses, in as
well as out of the Church; and which our fashionable divines have
carried to such an extent, as in the doctrinal part of their creed, to
leave little else but metaphors. But the reader who wishes to find
this latter subject, and that of the Aphorism, treated more at large,
is referred to Mr. Southey's 'Omniana,' Vol. II. p. 7-12; and to the
Note in p. 62-67, of the author's second 'Lay-Sermon.'[52]

[51] Gen. xxii. 12.--ED.

[52] An edition of the 'Lay Sermons' is published with Bohn's edition
of Coleridge's 'Biographia Literaria.' The corresponding pages to
those referred to would be pp. 409-10. The passages in 'Omniana'
referred to are in Coleridge's own contributions to that work, and are
reprinted in his 'Remains' (1836, v. 1, pp. 321-330), under the heads
"Pelagianism" and "The Soul and its Organs of Sense."--ED.


_The Christian no Stoic._


Seek not altogether to dry up the stream of Sorrow, but to bound it,
and keep it within its banks. Religion doth not destroy the life of
nature, but adds to it a life more excellent; yea, it doth not only
permit, but requires some feeling of afflictions. Instead of patience,
there is in some men an affected pride of spirit suitable only to the
doctrine of the Stoics as it is usually taken. They strive not to feel
at all the afflictions that are on them; but where there is no feeling
at all, there can be no patience.

Of the sects of ancient philosophy the Stoic is, perhaps, the nearest
to Christianity. Yet even to this sect Christianity is fundamentally
opposite. For the Stoic attaches the highest honour (or rather,
attaches honour _solely_) to the person that acts virtuously in spite
of his feelings, or who has raised himself above the conflict by their
extinction; while Christianity instructs us to place small reliance on
a virtue that does not _begin_ by bringing the Feelings to a
conformity with the commands of the Conscience. Its especial aim, its
characteristic operation, is to moralize the affections. The Feelings,
that oppose a right act, must be wrong feelings. The _act_, indeed,
whatever the agent's _feelings_ might be, Christianity would command;
and under certain circumstances would both command and commend
it--commend it, as a healthful symptom in a sick patient; and command
it, as one of the ways and means of changing the feelings, or
displacing them by calling up the opposite.


I. The more _consciousness_ in our Thoughts and Words, and the less in
our Impulses and general Actions, the better and more healthful the
state both of head and heart. As the flowers from an orange tree in
its time of blossoming, that burgeon forth, expand, fall and are
momently replaced, such is the sequence of hourly and momently
charities in a pure and gracious soul. The modern fiction which
depictures the son of Cytherea with a bandage round his eyes, is not
without a spiritual meaning. There is a sweet and holy blindness in
Christian LOVE, even as there is a blindness of Life, yea and of
Genius too, in the moment of productive Energy.

II. Motives are symptoms of weakness, and supplements for the
deficient Energy of the living PRINCIPLE, the LAW within us. Let them
then be reserved for those momentous Acts and Duties, in which the
strongest and best balanced natures must feel themselves deficient,
and where Humility, no less than Prudence, prescribes Deliberation. We
find a similitude of this, I had almost said a remote analogy, in
organized bodies. The lowest class of animals or _protozoa_, the
_polypi_ for instance, have neither brain nor nerves. Their motive
powers are all from without. The sun, light, the warmth, the air are
their nerves and brain. As life ascends, nerves appear; but still only
as the conductors of an _external_ influence; next are seen the knots
or ganglions, as so many _foci_ of _instinctive_ agency, that
imperfectly imitate the yet wanting _centre_.--And now the promise and
token of a true Individuality are disclosed; both the reservoir of
Sensibility and the imitative power that actuates the organs of Motion
(the muscles) with the net-work of conductors, are all taken inward
and appropriated; the Spontaneous rises into the Voluntary, and
finally after various steps and a long ascent, the Material and Animal
Means and Conditions are prepared for the manifestations of a Free
Will, having its Law within itself and its motive in the Law--and thus
bound to originate its own Acts, not only without, but even against,
alien Stimulants. That in our present state we have only the Dawning
of this inward Sun (the perfect Law of Liberty) will sufficiently
limit and qualify the preceding position if only it have been allowed
to produce its twofold consequence--the excitement of Hope and the
repression of Vanity.[53]

[53] See Prof. J. H. Green's 'Vital Dynamics,' 1840.--ED.



As excessive eating or drinking both makes the body sickly and lazy,
fit for nothing but sleep, and besots the mind, as it clogs up with
crudities the way through which the spirits should pass,[54] bemiring
them, and making them move heavily, as a coach in a deep way; thus
doth all immoderate use of the world and its delights wrong the soul
in its spiritual condition, makes it sickly and feeble, full of
spiritual distempers and inactivity, benumbs the graces of the Spirit,
and fills the soul with sleepy vapours, makes it grow secure and heavy
in spiritual exercises, and obstructs the way and motion of the Spirit
of God, in the soul. Therefore, if you would be spiritual, healthful,
and vigorous, and enjoy much of the consolations of Heaven, be sparing
and sober in those of the earth, and what you abate of the one, shall
be certainly made up in the other.

[54] Technical phrases of an obsolete System will yet retain their
places, nay, acquire universal currency, and become sterling in the
language, when they at once represent the feelings, and give an
apparent solution of them by visual images easily managed by the
fancy. Such are many terms and phrases from the _Humoral_ Physiology
long exploded, but which are far more popular then any description
would be from the theory that has taken its place.




It is a most unseemly and unpleasant thing, to see a man's life full
of ups and downs, one step like a Christian, and another like a
worldling; it cannot choose but both pain himself and mar the
edification of others.

The same sentiment, only with a special application to the maxims and
measures of our Cabinet and Statesmen, has been finely expressed by a
sage Poet of the preceding generation, in lines which, no generation
will find inapplicable or superannuated.

    God and the World we worship both together,
      Draw not our Laws to Him, but His to ours;
    Untrue to both, so prosperous in neither,
      The imperfect Will brings forth but barren Flowers!
    Unwise as all distracted Interests be,
    Strangers to God, Fools in Humanity:
    Too good for great things, and too great for good,
    While still "I dare not" waits upon "I wou'd."


_The Ordinary Motive to Inconsistency._


What though the polite man count thy fashion a little odd and too
precise, it is because he knows nothing above that model of goodness
which he hath set himself, and therefore approves of nothing beyond
it: he knows not God, and therefore doth not discern and esteem what
is most like Him. When courtiers come down into the country, the
common home-bred people possibly think their habit strange; but they
care not for that, it is the fashion at court. What need, then, that
Christians should be so tender-foreheaded, as to be put out of
countenance because the world looks on holiness as a singularity? It
is the only fashion in the highest court, yea, of the King of Kings


_Superficial Reconciliations, and Self-deceit in Forgiving._


When, after variances, men are brought to an agreement, they are much
subject to this, rather to cover their remaining malices with
superficial verbal forgiveness, than to dislodge them, and free the
heart of them. This is a poor self-deceit. As the philosopher said to
him, who being ashamed that he was espied by him in a tavern in the
outer room, withdrew himself to the inner, he called after him, "That
is not the way out, the more you go that way, you will be the further
in!" So when hatreds are upon admonition not thrown out, but retire
inward to hide themselves, they grow deeper and stronger than before;
and those constrained semblances of reconcilement are but a false
healing, do but skin the wound over, and therefore it usually breaks
forth worse again.


_Of the Worth and the Duties of the Preacher._


The stream of custom and our profession bring us to the Preaching of
the Word, and we sit out our hour under the sound; but how few
consider and prize it as the great ordinance of God for the salvation
of souls, the beginner and the sustainer of the Divine life of grace
within us! And certainly, until we have these thoughts of it, and seek
to feel it thus ourselves, although we hear it most frequently, and
let slip no occasion, yea, hear it with attention and some present
delight, yet still we miss the right use of it, and turn it from its
true end, while we take it not as _that ingrafted word which is able
to save our souls_ (James i. 21).

Thus ought they who preach to speak the word; to endeavour their
utmost to accommodate it to this end, that sinners may be converted,
begotten again, and believers nourished and strengthened in their
spiritual life; to regard no lower end, but aim steadily at that mark.
Their hearts and tongues ought to be set on fire with holy zeal for
God and love to souls, kindled by the Holy Ghost, that came down on
the apostles in the shape of fiery tongues.

And those that hear, should remember this as the end of their hearing,
that they may receive spiritual life and strength by the word. For
though it seems a poor despicable business, that a frail sinful man
like yourselves should speak a few words in your hearing, yet, look
upon it as the way wherein God communicates happiness to those who
believe, and works that believing unto happiness, alters the whole
frame of the soul, and makes a new creation, as it begets it again to
the inheritance of glory. Consider it thus, which is its true notion;
and then, what can be so precious?



The difference is great in our natural life, in some persons
especially; that they who in infancy were so feeble, and wrapped up as
others in swaddling clothes, yet, afterwards come to excel in wisdom
and in the knowledge of sciences, or to be commanders of great armies,
or to be kings: but the distance is far greater and more admirable,
betwixt the small beginnings of grace, and our after perfection, that
fulness of knowledge that we look for, and that crown of immortality
which all they are born to who are born of God.

But as in the faces or actions of some children, characters and
presages of their after-greatness have appeared (as a singular beauty
in Moses's face, as they write of him, and as Cyrus was made king
among the shepherds' children with whom he was brought up, &c.) so
also, certainly, in these children of God, there be some characters
and evidences that they are born for Heaven by their new birth. That
holiness and meekness, that patience and faith which shine in the
actions and sufferings of the saints, are characters of their Father's
image, and show their high original, and foretell their glory to come;
such a glory as doth not only surpass the world's thoughts, but the
thoughts of the children of God themselves. 1 John iii. 2.


_On an Intermediate State, or State of Transition from Morality to
Spiritual Religion._

This Aphorism would, it may seem, have been placed more fitly in the
Chapter following. In placing it here, I have been determined by the
following convictions: 1. Every state, and consequently that which we
have described as the state of Religious Morality, which is not
progressive, is dead, or retrograde. 2. As a pledge of this
progression, or, at least, as the form in which the propulsive
tendency shows itself, there are certain Hopes, Aspirations,
Yearnings, that, with more or less of consciousness, rise and stir in
the Heart of true Morality as naturally as the sap in the full-formed
stem of a rose flows towards the bud, within which the flower is
maturing. 3. No one, whose own experience authorizes him to confirm
the truth of this statement, can have been conversant with the volumes
of religious biography, can have perused (for instance) the lives of
Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Wishart, Sir Thomas More, Bernard Gilpin,
Bishop Bedel, or of Egede, Swartz, and the missionaries of the frozen
world, without an occasional conviction, that these men lived under
extraordinary influences, which in each instance and in all ages of
the Christian æra bear the same characters, and both in the
accompaniments and the results evidently refer to a common origin. And
what can this be? is the question that must needs force itself on the
mind in the first moment of reflection on a phenomenon so interesting
and apparently so anomalous. The answer is as necessarily contained in
one or the other of two assumptions. These influences are either the
Product of Delusion (_insania amabilis_, and the re-action of
disordered nerves), or they argue the existence of a relation to some
real agency, distinct from what is experienced or acknowledged by the
world at large, for which as not merely _natural_ on the one hand, and
yet not assumed to be _miraculous_[55] on the other, we have no apter
name than _spiritual_. Now if neither analogy justifies nor the moral
feelings permit the former assumption, and we decide therefore in
favour of the reality of a State other and higher than the mere Moral
Man, whose Religion[56] consists in Morality, has attained under these
convictions, can the existence of a _transitional_ state appear other
than probable? or that these very convictions, when accompanied by
correspondent dispositions and stirrings of the heart, are among the
marks and indications of such a state? And thinking it not unlikely
that among the readers of this volume, there may be found some
Individuals, whose inward state, though disquieted by doubts and
oftener still perhaps by blank misgivings, may, nevertheless, betoken
the commencement of a Transition from a not irreligious Morality to a
Spiritual Religion, with a view to their interests I placed this
Aphorism under the present head.

[55] In check of fanatical pretensions, it is expedient to confine the
term _miraculous_, to cases where the _senses_ are appealed to in
proof of something that transcends, or can be a part of the Experience
derived from the senses.

[56] For let it not be forgotten, that Morality, as distinguished from
Prudence, implying (it matters not under what name, whether of Honour,
or Duty, or Conscience, still, I say, implying), and being grounded
in, an awe of the Invisible and a Confidence therein beyond (nay,
occasionally in apparent contradiction to) the inductions of outward
Experience, is essentially religious.



The most approved teachers of wisdom, in a human way, have required of
their scholars, that to the end their minds might be capable of it,
they should be purified from vice and wickedness. And it was Socrates'
custom, when any one asked him a question, seeking to be informed by
him, before he would answer them, he asked them concerning their own
qualities and course of life.


_Knowledge not the ultimate End of Religious Pursuits._


The Hearing and Reading of the Word, under which I comprise
theological studies generally, are alike defective when pursued
_without_ increase of Knowledge, and when pursued chiefly _for_
increase of Knowledge. To seek no more than a present delight, that
evanisheth with the sound of the words that die in the air, is not to
desire the Word as meat, but as music, as God tells the prophet
Ezekiel of his people, Ezek. xxxiii. 32. _And lo, thou art unto them
as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play
well upon an instrument; for they hear thy words, and they do them
not._ To desire the word for the increase of knowledge, although this
is necessary and commendable, and, being rightly qualified, is a part
of spiritual accretion, yet, take it as going no further, it is not
the true end of the Word. Nor is the venting of that knowledge in
speech and frequent discourse of the Word and the divine truths that
are in it; which, where it is governed with Christian prudence, is not
to be despised, but commended; yet, certainly, the highest knowledge,
and the most frequent and skilful speaking of the Word, severed from
the growth here mentioned, misses the true end of the Word. If any
one's head or tongue should grow apace, and all the rest stand at a
stay, it would certainly make him a monster; and they are no other,
who are knowing and discoursing Christians, and grow daily in that
respect, but not at all in holiness of heart, and life, which is the
proper growth of the children of God. Apposite to their case is
Epictetus's comparison of the sheep; they return not what they eat in
grass, but in wool.


_The sum of Church History._


In times of peace, the Church may dilate more, and build as it were
into breadth, but in times of trouble, it arises more in height; it is
then built upwards; as in cities where men are straitened, they build
usually higher than in the country.


 _Worthy to be framed and hung up in the Library of every
 Theological Student._


When there is a great deal of smoke, and no clear flame, it argues
much moisture in the matter, yet it witnesseth certainly that there is
fire there; and therefore dubious questioning is a much better
evidence, than that senseless deadness which most take for believing.
Men that know nothing in sciences, have no doubts. He never truly
believed, who was not made first sensible and convinced of unbelief.

Never be afraid to doubt, if only you have the disposition to believe,
and doubt in order that you may end in believing the Truth. I will
venture to add in my own name and from my own conviction the


He, who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth, will proceed
by loving his own Sect or Church better than Christianity, and end in
loving himself better than all.


 _The Absence of Disputes, and a general Aversion to Religious
 Controversies, no proof of True Unanimity._


The boasted peaceableness about questions of Faith too often proceeds
from a superficial temper, and not seldom from a supercilious disdain
of whatever has no marketable use or value, and from indifference to
religion itself. Toleration is a herb of spontaneous growth in the
Soil of Indifference; but the weed has none of the virtues of the
medicinal plant, reared by Humility in the Garden of Zeal. Those, who
regard religions as matters of taste, may consistently include all
religious differences in the old adage, _De gustibus non est
disputandum_. And many there be among these of Gallio's temper, who
_care for none of these things_, and who account all questions in
religion, as he did, but matter of words and names. And by this all
religions may agree together. But that were not a natural union
produced by the active heat of the spirit, but a confusion rather,
arising from the want of it; not a knitting together, but a freezing
together, as cold congregates all bodies, how heterogeneous soever,
sticks, stones, and water; but heat makes first a separation of
different things, and then unites those that are of the same nature.

Much of our common union of minds, I fear, proceeds from no other than
the afore-mentioned causes, want of knowledge, and want of affection
to religion. You that boast you live conformably to the appointments
of the Church, and that no one hears of your noise, we may thank the
ignorance of your minds for that kind of quietness.

The preceding extract is particularly entitled to our serious
reflections, as in a tenfold degree more applicable to the present
times than to the age in which it was written. We all know, that
Lovers are apt to take offence and wrangle on occasions that perhaps
are but trifles, and which assuredly would appear such to those who
regard Love itself as folly. These quarrels may, indeed, be no proof
of wisdom; but still, in the imperfect state of our nature the entire
absence of the same, and this too on far more serious provocations,
would excite a strong suspicion of a comparative indifference in the
parties who can love so coolly where they profess to love so well. I
shall believe our present religious tolerancy to proceed from the
abundance of our charity and good sense, when I see proofs that we are
equally cool and forbearing as litigants and political partizans.


 _The Influence of Worldly Views (or what are called a Man's
 Prospects in Life), the Bane of the Christian Ministry._


It is a base, poor thing for a man to seek himself; far below that
royal dignity that is here put upon Christians, and that priesthood
joined with it. Under the Law, those who were squint-eyed were
incapable of the priesthood: truly, this squinting toward our own
interest, the looking aside to that, in God's affairs especially, so
deforms the face of the soul, that it makes it altogether unworthy the
honour of this spiritual priesthood. Oh! this is a large task, an
infinite task. The several creatures bear their part in this; the sun
says somewhat, and moon and stars, yea, the lowest have some share in
it; the very plants and herbs of the field speak of God; and yet, the
very highest and best, yea all of them together, the whole concert of
Heaven and earth, cannot show forth all His praise to the full. No, it
is but a part, the smallest part of that glory, which they can reach.


_Despise none: Despair of none._


The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in
their way, but took it up; for possibly, said they, the name of God
may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in this, yet
truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men.
Trample not on any; there may be some work of grace there, that thou
knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou
treadest on; it may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to
give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not.


 _Men of Least Merit most apt to be Contemptuous, Because most
 Ignorant and most Overweening of Themselves._


Too many take the ready course to deceive themselves; for they look
with both eyes on the failings and defects of others, and scarcely
give their good qualities half an eye, while on the contrary, in
themselves, they study to the full their own advantages, and their
weaknesses and defects, (as one says), they skip over, as children do
their hard words in their lesson, that are troublesome to read; and
making this uneven parallel, what wonder if the result be a gross
mistake of themselves!


 _Vanity may strut in rags, and Humility be arrayed in purple
 and fine linen._


It is not impossible that there may be in some an affected pride in
the meanness of apparel, and in others, under either neat or rich
attire, a very humble unaffected mind: using it upon some of the
afore-mentioned engagements, or such like, and yet the heart not at
all upon it. _Magnus qui fictilibus ubitur tanquam argento, nec ille
minor qui argento tanquam fictilibus_, says Seneca: Great is he who
enjoys his earthenware as if it were plate, and not less great is the
man to whom all his plate is no more than earthenware.


_Of the Detraction among Religious Professors._


They who have attained to a self-pleasing pitch of civility or formal
religion, have usually that point of presumption with it, that they
make their own size the model and rule to examine all by. What is
below it, they condemn indeed as profane; but what is beyond it, they
account needless and affected preciseness; and therefore are as ready
as others to let fly invectives or bitter taunts against it, which are
the keen and poisoned shafts of the tongue, and a persecution that
shall be called to a strict account.

The slanders, perchance, may not be altogether forged or untrue; they
may be the implements, not the inventions, of Malice. But they do not
on this account escape the guilt of detraction. Rather, it is
characteristic of the evil spirit in question, to work by the
advantage of real faults; but these stretched and aggravated to the
true _white_ gunpowder, which the dreaming Projectors of silent
Mischiefs and insensible Poisons sought for in the Laboratories of Art
and Nature, in a World of Good; but which was to be found, in its most
destructive form, in "the World of Evil, the Tongue."


_The Remedy._


All true remedy must begin at the heart; otherwise it will be but a
mountebank cure, a false imagined conquest. The weights and wheels
are _there_, and the clock strikes according to their motion. Even he
that speaks contrary to what is within him, guilefully contrary to his
inward conviction and knowledge, yet speaks conformably to what is
within him in the temper and frame of his heart, which is double, _a
heart and a heart_, as the Psalmist hath it: Psalm xii. 2.



It is an argument of a candid ingenuous mind, to delight in the good
name and commendations of others; to pass by their defects, and take
notice of their virtues; and to speak and hear of those willingly, and
not endure either to speak or hear of the other; for in this indeed
you may be little less guilty than the evil speaker, in taking
pleasure in it, though you speak it not. He that willingly drinks in
tales and calumnies, will, from the delight he hath in evil hearing,
slide insensibly into the humour of evil speaking. It is strange how
most persons dispense with themselves in this point, and that in
scarcely any societies shall we find a hatred of this ill, but rather
some tokens of taking pleasure in it; and until a Christian sets
himself to an inward watchfulness over his heart, not suffering in it
any thought that is uncharitable, or vain self-esteem, upon the sight
of others' frailties, he will still be subject to somewhat of this, in
the tongue or ear at least. So, then, as for the evil of guile in the
tongue, a sincere heart, _truth in the inward parts_, powerfully
redresses it; therefore it is expressed, Psal. xv. 2, _That speaketh
the truth from his heart_; thence it flows. Seek much after this, to
speak nothing with God, nor men, but what is the sense of a single
unfeigned heart. O sweet truth! excellent but rare sincerity! he that
_loves that truth within_, and who is himself at once THE TRUTH and
THE LIFE, He alone can work it there! Seek it of him.

It is characteristic of the Roman dignity and sobriety, that, in the
Latin, _to favour with the_ tongue (_favere lingua_) means _to be
silent_. We say, Hold your tongue! as if it were an injunction, that
could not be carried into effect but by manual force, or the pincers
of the Forefinger and Thumb! And verily--I blush to say it--it is not
Women and Frenchmen only that would rather have their tongues bitten
than bitted, and feel their souls in a strait-waistcoat, when they are
obliged to remain silent.


_On the Passion for New and Striking Thoughts._


In conversation seek not so much either to vent thy knowledge, or to
increase it, as to know more spiritually and effectually what thou
dost know. And in this way those mean despised truths, that everyone
thinks he is sufficiently seen in, will have a new sweetness and use
in them, which thou didst not so well perceive before (for these
flowers cannot be sucked dry), and in this humble sincere way thou
shalt _grow in grace and in knowledge_ too.


 _The Radical Difference between the Good Man and the
 Vicious Man._


The godly man hates the evil he possibly by temptation hath been drawn
to do, and loves the good he is frustrated of, and, having intended,
hath not attained to do. The sinner, who hath his denomination from
sin as his course, hates the good which sometimes he is forced to do,
and loves that sin which many times he does not, either wanting
occasion and means, so that he cannot do it, or through the check of
an enlightened conscience possibly dares not do; and though so bound
up from the act, as a dog in a chain, yet the habit, the natural
inclination and desire in him, is still the same, the strength of his
affection is carried to sin. So in the weakest _sincere_ Christian,
there is that predominant sincerity and desire of holy walking,
according to which he is called a _righteous person_, the Lord is
pleased to give him that name, and account him so, being upright in
heart, though often failing.

Leighton adds, "There is a Righteousness of a higher strain." I do not
ask the reader's full assent to this position: I do not suppose him as
yet prepared to yield it. But thus much he will readily admit, that
here, _if_ any where, we are to seek the fine Line which, like stripes
of Light in Light, distinguishes, not divides, the summit of religious
Morality from Spiritual Religion.

"A Righteousness" (Leighton continues) "that is not _in_ him, but
_upon_ him. He is _clothed_ with it." This, reader! is the
controverted Doctrine, so warmly asserted and so bitterly decried
under the name of "IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS." Our learned Archbishop, you
see, adopts it; and it is on this account principally, that by many of
our leading Churchmen his orthodoxy has been more than questioned, and
his name put in the list of proscribed divines, as a Calvinist. That
Leighton attached a definite sense to the words above quoted, it would
be uncandid to doubt; and the general spirit of his writings leads me
to presume that it was compatible with the eternal distinction between
_things_ and _persons_, and therefore opposed to _modern_ Calvinism.
But what it was, I have not (I own) been able to discover. The sense,
however, in which I think he _might_ have received this doctrine, and
in which I avow myself a believer in it, I shall have an opportunity
of showing in another place. My present object is to open out the road
by the removal of prejudices, so far at least as to throw some
disturbing _doubts_ on the secure _taking-for-granted_, that the
peculiar Tenets of the Christian Faith asserted in the articles and
homilies of our National Church are in contradiction to the common
sense of mankind. And with this view, (and not in the arrogant
expectation or wish, that a mere _ipse dixit_ should be received for
argument) I here avow my conviction, that the doctrine of IMPUTED
Righteousness, rightly and scripturally interpreted, is so far from
being either _irrational_ or _immoral_, that Reason itself prescribes
the idea in order to give a _meaning_ and an ultimate object to
Morality; and that the Moral Law in the Conscience demands its
reception in order to give reality and substantive existence to the
idea presented by the Reason.



Your blessedness is not,--no, believe it, it is not where most of you
seek it, in things below you. How can that be? It must be a higher
good to make you happy.


Every rank of creatures, as it ascends in the scale of creation,
leaves death behind it or under it. The metal at its height of being
seems a mute prophecy of the coming vegetation, into a mimic semblance
of which it crystallizes. The blossom and flower, the acme of
vegetable life, divides into correspondent organs with reciprocal
functions, and by instinctive motions and approximations seems
impatient of that fixure, by which it is differenced in kind from the
flower-shaped Psyche, that flutters with free wing above it. And
wonderfully in the insect realm doth the Irritability, the proper seat
of Instinct, while yet the nascent Sensibility is subordinated
thereto--most wonderfully, I say, doth the muscular life in the
insect, and the musculo-arterial in the bird, imitate and typically
rehearse the adaptive Understanding, yea, and the moral affections and
charities, of man. Let us carry ourselves back, in spirit, to the
mysterious Week, the teeming Work-days of the Creator: as they rose in
vision before the eye of the inspired historian _of the Generations of
the Heaven and the Earth, in the days that the Lord God made the Earth
and the Heavens_.[57] And who that hath watched their ways with an
understanding heart, could, as the vision evolving, still advanced
towards him, contemplate the filial and loyal bee; the home-building,
wedded, and divorceless swallow; and above all the manifoldly
intelligent[58] ant tribes, with their Commonwealths and
Confederacies, their warriors and miners, the husbandfolk, that fold
in their tiny flocks on the honeyed leaf, and the virgin sisters, with
the holy instincts of maternal love, detached and in selfless
purity--and not say to himself, Behold the Shadow of approaching
Humanity, the Sun rising from behind, in the kindling Morn of
Creation! Thus all lower Natures find their highest Good in semblances
and seekings of that which is higher and better. All things strive to
ascend, and ascend in their striving. And shall man alone stoop? Shall
his pursuits and desires, the _reflections_ of his inward life, be
like the reflected image of a tree on the edge of a pool, that grows
downward, and seeks a mock heaven in the unstable element beneath it,
in neighbourhood with the slim water-weeds and oozy bottom-grass that
are yet better than itself and more noble, in as far as Substances
that appear as Shadows are preferable to Shadows mistaken for
Substance! No! it must be a higher good to make you happy. While you
labour for any thing below your proper Humanity, you seek a happy Life
in the region of Death. Well saith the moral poet--

        Unless above himself he can
    Erect himself, how mean a thing is man![59]

[57] Gen. ii. 4.--ED.

[58] See Hüber on Bees, and on Ants.

[59] Samuel Daniel, 1562-1619:--

        Unless above himself he can
    Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!

    _To the Countess of Cumberland_, stanza 12.--ED.



There is an imitation of men that is impious and wicked, which
consists in taking a copy of their sins. Again, there is an imitation
which though not so grossly evil, yet is poor and servile, being in
mean things, yea, sometimes descending to imitate the very
imperfections of others, as fancying some comeliness in them: as some
of Basil's scholars, who imitated his slow speaking, which he had a
little in the extreme, and could not help. But this is always
laudable, and worthy of the best minds, to be _imitators of that which
is good_, wheresoever they find it; for that stays not in any man's
person, as the ultimate pattern, but rises to the highest grace, being
man's nearest likeness to God, His image and resemblance, bearing his
stamp and superscription, and belonging peculiarly to Him, in what
hand soever it be found, as carrying the mark of no other owner than



Those who think themselves high-spirited, and will bear least, as they
speak, are often, even by that, forced to bow most, or to burst under
it; while humility and meekness escape many a burden, and many a blow,
always keeping peace within, and often without too.



Our condition is universally exposed to fears and troubles, and no man
is so stupid but he studies and projects for some fence against them,
some bulwark to break the incursion of evils, and so to bring his mind
to some ease, ridding it of the fear of them. Thus men seek safety in
the greatness, or multitude, or supposed faithfulness of friends; they
seek by any means to be strongly underset this way; to have many, and
powerful, and trust-worthy friends. But wiser men, perceiving the
unsafety and vanity of these and all external things, have cast about
for some higher course. They see a necessity of withdrawing a man from
externals, which do nothing but mock and deceive those most who trust
most to them; but they cannot tell whither to direct him. The best of
them bring him _into himself_, and think to quiet him so; but the
truth is, he finds as little to support him there; there is nothing
truly strong enough within him, to hold out against the many sorrows
and fears which still from without do assault him. So then, though it
is well done, to call off a man from outward things, as moving sands,
that he build not on them, yet, this is not enough; for his own spirit
is as unsettled a piece as is in all the world, and must have some
higher strength than its own, to fortify and fix it. This is the way
that is here taught, _Fear not their fear, but sanctify the Lord your
God in your hearts_; and if you can attain this latter, the former
will follow of itself.


_Worldly Troubles Idols._


The too ardent love or self-willed desire of power, or wealth, or
credit in the world, is (an Apostle has assured us) Idolatry. Now
among the words or synonimes for idols, in the Hebrew language, there
is one that in its primary sense signifies _troubles_ (_tegirim_),
other two that signify _terrors_ (_miphletzeth_ and _emim_). And so it
is certainly. All our idols prove so to us. They fill us with nothing
but anguish and troubles, with cares and fears, that are good for
nothing but to be fit punishments of the folly, out of which they


_On the right Treatment of Infidels._


A regardless contempt of infidel writings is usually the fittest
answer; _Spreta vilescerent_. But where the holy profession of
Christians is likely to receive either the main or the indirect blow,
and a word of defence may do any thing to ward it off, there we ought
not to spare to do it.

Christian prudence goes a great way in the regulating of this. Some
are not capable of receiving rational answers, especially in Divine
things; they were not only lost upon them, but religion dishonoured by
the contest.

Of this sort are the vulgar railers at religion, the foul-mouthed
beliers of the Christian faith and history. Impudently false and
slanderous assertions can be met only by assertions of their impudent
and slanderous falsehood: and Christians will not, must not,
condescend to this. How can mere railing be answered by them who are
forbidden to return a railing answer? Whether, or on what
provocations, such offenders may be punished or coerced on the score
of incivility, and ill-neighbourhood, and for abatement of a nuisance,
as in the case of other scolds and endangerers of the public peace,
must be trusted to the discretion of the civil magistrate. Even then,
there is danger of giving them importance, and flattering their
vanity, by attracting attention to their works, if the punishment be
slight; and if severe, of spreading far and wide their reputation as
martyrs, as the smell of a dead dog at a distance is said to change
into that of musk. Experience hitherto seems to favour the plan of
treating these _bêtes puantes_ and _enfans de diable_, as their
four-footed brethren, the skink and squash, are treated[60] by the
American woodmen, who turn their backs upon the fetid intruder, and
make appear not to see him, even at the cost of suffering him to
regale on the favourite viand of these animals, the brains of a stray
goose or crested _thraso_ of the dunghill. At all events, it is
degrading to the majesty, and injurious to the character of Religion,
to make its safety the plea for their punishment, or at all to connect
the name of Christianity with the castigation of indecencies that
properly belong to the beadle, and the perpetrators of which would
have equally deserved his lash, though the religion of their
fellow-citizens, thus assailed by them, had been that of Fo or

On the other hand, we are to answer every one that _inquires a
reason_, or an account; which supposes something receptive of it. We
ought to judge ourselves engaged to give it, be it an enemy, if he
will hear; if it gain him not, it may in part convince and cool him;
much more, should it be one who ingenuously inquires for satisfaction,
and possibly inclines to receive the truth, but has been, prejudiced
by misrepresentations of it.

[60] About the end of the same year (says Kalm), another of these
Animals (_Mephitis Americana_) crept into our cellar; but did not
exhale the smallest scent, _because it was not disturbed_. _A foolish
old woman, however, who perceived it at night, by the shining, and
thought, I suppose, that it would set the world on fire, killed it:
and at that moment its stench began to spread._

We recommend this anecdote to the consideration of sundry old women,
on this side of the Atlantic, who, though they do not wear the
appropriate garment, are worthy to sit in their committee-room, like
Bickerstaff in the Tatler, under the canopy of their grandam's


_Passion no Friend to Truth._


Truth needs not the service of passion; yea, nothing so disserves it,
as passion when set to serve it. The _Spirit of truth_ is withal the
_Spirit of meekness_. The Dove that rested on that great champion of
truth, who is The Truth itself, is from Him derived to the lovers of
truth, and they ought to seek the participation of it. Imprudence
makes some kind of Christians lose much of their labour, in speaking
for religion, and drive those further off, whom they would draw into

The confidence that attends a Christian's belief makes the believer
not fear men, to whom he answers, but still he fears his God, for whom
he answers, and whose interest is chief in those things he speaks of.
The soul that hath the deepest sense of spiritual things, and the
truest knowledge of God, is most afraid to miscarry in speaking of
Him, most tender and wary how to acquit itself when engaged to speak
of and for God.[61]

[61] To the same purpose are the two following sentences from Hilary:

_Etiam quæ_ pro _Religione dicimus, cum grandi motu et disciplina
dicere debemus_.--Hilarius de Trinit. Lib. 7.

_Non relictus est hominum eloquiis de Dei rebus alius quam Dei

The latter, however, must be taken with certain _qualifications_ and
_exceptions_; as when any two or more texts are in apparent
contradiction, and it is required to state a Truth that comprehends
and reconciles both, and which, of course, cannot be expressed in the
words of either,--for example, the filial subordination (_My Father is
greater than I_), in the equal Deity (_My Father and I are one_).


_On the Conscience_.


It is a fruitless verbal debate, whether Conscience be a Faculty or a
Habit. When all is examined, Conscience will be found to be no other
than _the mind of a man, under the notion of a particular reference to
himself_ and his own actions.


_What_ Conscience is, and that it is the ground and antecedent of
human (or _self-_) consciousness, and not any modification of the
latter, I have shown at large in a work announced for the press, and
described in the Chapter following.[62] I have selected the preceding
extract as an Exercise for Reflection; and _because_ I think that in
too closely following Thomas à Kempis, the Archbishop has strayed from
his own judgment. The definition, for instance, seems to say all, and
in fact says nothing; for if I asked, How do you define the _human
mind_? the answer must at least _contain_, if not consist of, the
words, "a mind capable of _Conscience_." For Conscience is no synonime
of Consciousness, nor any mere expression of the same as modified by
the particular Object. On the contrary, a Consciousness properly human
(that is, _Self_-consciousness), with the sense of moral
responsibility, presupposes the Conscience, as its antecedent
condition and ground. Lastly, the sentence, "It is a fruitless verbal
debate," is an assertion of the same complexion with the contemptuous
sneers, at verbal criticism by the contemporaries of Bentley. In
questions of Philosophy or Divinity, that have occupied the learned
and been the subjects of many successive controversies, for one
instance of mere logomachy I could bring ten instances of
_logodædaly_, or verbal legerdemain, which have perilously confirmed
prejudices, and withstood the advancement of truth in consequence of
the neglect of _verbal debate_, that is, strict discussion of terms.
In whatever sense, however, the term Conscience may be used, the
following Aphorism is equally true and important. It is worth
noticing, likewise, that Leighton himself in a following page (vol.
ii. p. 97), tells us that a good Conscience is the _root_ of a good
Conversation: and then quotes from St. Paul a text, Titus i. 15, in
which the Mind and the Conscience are expressly distinguished.

[62] See Aphorisms on Spiritual Religion, p. 103.--ED.


 _The Light of Knowledge a necessary accompaniment of a
 Good Conscience._


If you would have a good conscience, you must by all means have so
much light, so much knowledge of the will of God, as may regulate you,
and show you your way, may teach you how to do, and speak, and think,
as in His presence.


 _Yet the Knowledge of the Rule, though Accompanied by an endeavour
 to accommodate our conduct to this Rule, will not of itself form a
 Good Conscience._


To set the outward actions right, though with an honest intention, and
not so to regard and find out the inward disorder of the heart, whence
that in the actions flows, is but to be still putting the index of a
clock right with your finger, while it is foul, or out of order
within, which is a continual business, and does no good. Oh! but a
purified conscience, a soul renewed and refined in its temper and
affections, will make things go right without, in all the duties and
acts of our calling.


_The Depth of the Conscience._

How deeply seated the conscience is in the human soul is seen in the
effect which sudden calamities produce on guilty men, even when
unaided by any determinate notion or fears of punishment after death.
The wretched Criminal, as one rudely awakened from a long sleep,
bewildered with the new light, and half recollecting, half striving to
recollect, a fearful something, he knows not what, but which he will
recognize as soon as he hears the name, already interprets the
calamities into _judgments_, executions of a sentence passed by an
_invisible_ Judge; as if the vast pyre of the Last Judgment were
already kindled in an unknown distance, and some flashes of it,
darting forth at intervals beyond the rest, were flying and lighting
upon the face of his soul. The calamity may consist in loss of
fortune, or character, or reputation; but you hear no _regrets_ from
him. Remorse extinguishes all Regret; and Remorse is the _implicit_
Creed of the Guilty.



God hath suited every creature He hath made with a convenient good to
which it tends, and in the obtainment of which it rests and is
satisfied. Natural bodies have all their own natural place, whither,
if not hindered, they move incessantly till they be in it; and they
declare, by resting there, that they are (as I may say) where they
would be. Sensitive creatures are carried to seek a sensitive good, as
agreeable to their rank in being, and, attaining that, aim no further.
Now, in this is the excellency of Man, that he is made capable of a
communion with his Maker, and, because capable of it, is unsatisfied
without it: the soul, being cut out (so to speak) to that largeness,
cannot be filled with less. Though he is fallen from his right to that
good, and from all right desire of it, yet, not from a capacity of it,
no, nor from a necessity of it, for the answering and filling of his

Though the heart once gone from God turns continually further away
from Him, and moves not towards Him till it be renewed, yet, even in
that wandering, it retains that natural relation to God, as its
centre, that it hath no true rest elsewhere, nor can by any means find
it. It is made for Him, and is therefore still restless till it meet
with Him.

It is true, the natural man takes much pains to quiet his heart by
other things, and digests many vexations with hopes of contentment in
the end and accomplishment of some design he hath; but still the heart
misgives. Many times he attains not the thing he seeks; but if he do,
yet he never attains the satisfaction he seeks and expects in it, but
only learns from that to desire something further, and still hunts on
after a fancy, drives his own shadow before him, and never overtakes
it; and if he did, yet it is but a shadow. And so, in running from
God, besides the sad end, he carries an interwoven punishment with his
sin, the natural disquiet and vexation of his spirit, fluttering to
and fro, and _finding no rest for the sole of his foot_; the _waters_
of inconstancy and vanity _covering the whole face of the earth_.

These things are too gross and heavy. The soul, the immortal soul,
descended from heaven, must either be more happy, or remain miserable.
The Highest, the Increated Spirit, is the proper good, _the Father of
Spirits_, that pure and full good which raises the soul above itself;
whereas all other things draw it down below itself. So, then, it is
never well with the soul but when it is near unto God, yea, in its
union with Him, married to Him: mismatching itself elsewhere, it hath
never anything but shame and sorrow. _All that forsake Thee shall be
ashamed_, says the Prophet, Jer. xvii. 13; and the Psalmist, _They
that are far off from thee shall perish_, Psalm lxxiii. 27. And this
is indeed our natural miserable condition, and it is often expressed
this way, by estrangedness and distance from God.

The same sentiments are to be found in the works of Pagan philosophers
and moralists. Well then may they be made a subject of Reflection in
our days. And well may the pious deist, if such a character now
exists, reflect that Christianity alone both teaches the way, and
provides the means, of fulfilling the obscure promises of this great
Instinct for all men, which the Philosophy of boldest pretensions
confined to the sacred few.


 _A contracted Sphere, or what is called Retiring from the Business
 of the World, no Security from the Spirit of the World._


The heart may be engaged in a little business, as much, if thou watch
it not, as in many and great affairs. A man may drown in a little
brook or pool, as well as in a great river, if he be down and plunge
himself into it, and put his head under water. Some care thou must
have, that thou mayest not care. Those things that are thorns indeed,
thou must make a hedge of them, to keep out those temptations that
accompany sloth, and extreme want that waits on it; but let them be
the hedge; suffer them not to grow within the garden.


 _On Church-going, as a part of Religious Morality, when not in
 reference to a Spiritual Religion._


It is a strange folly in multitudes of us, to set ourselves no mark,
to propound no end in the hearing of the Gospel.--The merchant sails
not merely that he may sail, but for traffic, and traffics that he may
be rich. The husbandman plows not merely to keep himself busy, with no
further end, but plows that he may sow, and sows that he may reap
with advantage. And shall we do the most excellent and fruitful work
fruitlessly,--hear only to hear, and look no further? This is indeed a
great vanity, and a great misery, to lose that labour, and gain
nothing by it, which, duly used, would be of all others most
advantageous and gainful: and yet all meetings are full of this!


 _On the Hopes and Self-Satisfaction of a religious Moralist,
 independent of a Spiritual Faith--on what are they grounded?_


There have been great disputes one way or another, about the merit of
good works; but I truly think they who have laboriously engaged in
them have been very idly, though very eagerly, employed about nothing,
since the more sober of the schoolmen themselves acknowledge there can
be no such thing as meriting from the blessed God, in the human, or,
to speak more accurately, in any created nature whatsoever: nay, so
far from any possibility of merit, there can be no room for reward any
otherwise than of the sovereign pleasure and gracious kindness of God;
and the more ancient writers, when they use the word merit, mean
nothing by it but a certain _correlate_ to that reward which God both
promises and bestows of mere grace and benignity. Otherwise, in order
to constitute what is properly called merit, many things must concur,
which no man in his senses will presume to attribute to human works,
though ever so excellent; particularly, that the thing done must not
previously be matter of debt, and that it be entire, or our own act,
unassisted by foreign aid; it must also be perfectly good, and it must
bear an adequate proportion to the reward claimed in consequence of
it. If all these things do not concur, the act cannot possibly amount
to merit. Whereas I think no one will venture to assert, that any one
of these can take place in any human action whatever. But why should I
enlarge here, when one single circumstance overthrows all those
titles: the most righteous of mankind would not be able to stand, if
his works were weighed in the balance of strict justice; how much less
then could they deserve that immense glory which is now in question!
Nor is this to be denied only concerning the unbeliever and the
sinner, but concerning the righteous and pious believer, who is not
only free from all the guilt of his former impenitence and rebellion,
but endowed with the gift of the Spirit. "For the time _is come_ that
judgment must begin at the house of God: and if _it_ first _begin_ at
us, what shall the end _be_ of them that obey not the Gospel of God?
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and
the sinner appear?" 1 Peter iv. 17, 18. The Apostle's interrogation
expresses the most vehement negation, and signifies that no mortal, in
whatever degree he is placed, if he be called to the strict
examination of Divine Justice, without daily and repeated forgiveness,
could be able to keep his standing, and much less could he arise to
that glorious height. "That merit," says Bernard, "on which my hope
relies, consists in these three things; the love of adoption, the
truth of the promise, and the power of its performance." This is the
threefold cord which cannot be broken.


Often have I heard it said by advocates for the Socinian scheme--True!
we are all sinners; but even in the Old Testament God has promised
forgiveness on repentance. One of the Fathers (I forget which)
supplies the retort--True! God has promised pardon on penitence: but
has he promised penitence on sin?--He that repenteth shall be
forgiven: but where is it said, He that sinneth shall repent? But
repentance, perhaps, the repentance required in Scripture, _the
Passing into a new mind_, into a new and contrary Principle of Action,
this METANOIA,[63] is in the sinner's own power? at his own liking? He
has but to open his eyes to the sin, and the tears are close at hand
to wash it away!--Verily, the exploded tenet of _Transubstantiation_
is scarcely at greater variance with the common sense and experience
of mankind, or borders more closely on a contradiction in terms, than
this volunteer _Transmentation_, this Self-change, as the easy[64]
means of Self-salvation! But the reflections of our evangelical author
on this subject will appropriately commence the Aphorisms relating to
Spiritual Religion.

[63] Μετανοια, the New Testament word which we render by Repentance,
compounded of μετα, _trans_, and νους, _mens_, the Spirit, or
practical Reason.

[64] May I without offence be permitted to record the very appropriate
title, with which a stern Humorist _lettered_ a collection of
Unitarian Tracts?--"Salvation made easy; or, Every Man his own





 Philip saith unto him: Lord, _show_ us the Father, and it sufficeth
 us. Jesus saith unto him, He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;
 and how sayest thou then, _Show_ us the Father? Believest thou not,
 that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? And I will pray the
 Father and he shall give you another Comforter, even the _Spirit_ of
 Truth: whom the world _cannot_ receive, because it seeth him not,
 neither knoweth him. But ye know him, for he dwelleth _with_ you and
 _shall_ be _in_ you. And in that day ye shall know that I am in my
 Father, and ye in me, and I in you. John xiv. 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 20.


If there be aught _Spiritual_ in Man, the Will must be such.

_If_ there be a Will, there must be a Spirituality in Man.

I suppose both positions granted. The Reader admits the reality of the
power, agency, or mode of Being expressed in the term, Spirit; and the
actual existence of a Will. He sees clearly, that the idea of the
former is necessary to the conceivability of the latter; and that,
_vice versá_, in asserting the _fact_ of the latter he presumes and
instances the truth of the former--just as in our common and received
Systems of Natural Philosophy, the Being of imponderable Matter is
assumed to render the lode-stone intelligible, and the Fact of the
lode-stone adduced to prove the reality of imponderable Matter.

In short, I suppose the reader, whom I now invite to the third and
last division of the work, already disposed to reject for himself and
his human brethren the insidious title of "Nature's noblest _animal_,"
or to retort it as the unconscious irony of the Epicurean poet on the
animalizing tendency of his own philosophy. I suppose him convinced,
that there is more in man than can be rationally referred to the life
of Nature and the mechanism of Organization; that he has a will not
included in this mechanism; and that the Will is in an especial and
pre-eminent sense the spiritual part of our Humanity.

Unless, then, we have some distinct notion of the Will, and some
acquaintance with the prevalent errors respecting the same, an insight
into the nature of Spiritual Religion is scarcely possible; and our
reflections on the particular truths and evidences of a Spiritual
State will remain obscure, perplexed, and unsafe. To place my reader
on this requisite vantage-ground, is the purpose of the following

We have begun, as in geometry, with defining our Terms; and we
proceed, like the Geometricians, with stating our POSTULATES; the
difference being, that the postulates of Geometry _no_ man _can_ deny,
those of Moral Science are such as no _good_ man _will_ deny. For it
is _not_ in our power to disclaim our nature, as _sentient_ beings;
but it _is_ in our power to disclaim our nature as _moral_ beings.[65]
It is possible (barely possible, I admit) that a man may have remained
ignorant or unconscious of the Moral Law within him: and a man need
only persist in disobeying the Law of Conscience to _make_ it possible
for himself to deny its existence, or to reject or repel it as a
phantom of Superstition. Were it otherwise, the Creed would stand in
the same relation to Morality as the multiplication table.

This then is the distinction of Moral Philosophy--_not_ that I begin
with one or more _assumptions_: for this is common to _all_ science;
but--that I assume a something, the proof of which no man can _give_
to another, yet every man may _find_ for himself. If any man assert,
that he _can_ not find it, I am _bound_ to disbelieve him. I cannot do
otherwise without unsettling the very foundations of my own moral
nature. For I either find it as an _essential_ of the Humanity
_common_ to him and me: or I have not _found_ it at all, except as an
hypochondriast finds _glass_ legs. If, on the other hand, he _will_
not find it, he excommunicates himself. He forfeits his _personal_
rights, and becomes a _Thing_: that is, one who may rightfully be
_employed_, or _used_ as[66] means to an end, against his will, and
without regard to his interest.

All the significant objections of the Materialist and Necessitarian
are contained in the term, Morality, all the objections of the infidel
in the term, Religion. The very terms, I say, imply a something
_granted_, which the Objection supposes _not_ granted. The term
_presumes_ what the objection denies, and in denying _presumes_ the
contrary. For it is most important to observe, that the reasoners on
_both_ sides commence by taking something for granted, our assent to
which they ask or demand: that is, both set off with an Assumption in
the form of a Postulate. But the Epicurean assumes what according to
himself he neither is nor can be under any _obligation_ to assume, and
demands what he _can_ have no _right_ to demand: for _he_ denies the
reality of _all_ moral Obligation, the existence of _any_ Right. If he
use the _words_, Right and Obligation, he does it deceptively, and
means only Power and Compulsion. To overthrow the Faith in aught
higher or other than Nature and physical Necessity, is the very
purpose of his argument. He desires you only to _take for granted_,
that _all_ reality is _in_cluded in Nature, and he may then safely
defy you to ward off his conclusion--that _nothing_ is _ex_cluded!

But as he cannot morally demand, neither can he rationally expect,
your assent to this premiss: for he cannot be ignorant, that the best
and greatest of men have devoted their lives to the enforcement of the
contrary, that the vast majority of the human race in all ages and in
all nations have believed in the contrary; and there is not a language
on earth, in which he could argue, for ten minutes, in support of his
scheme, without sliding into words and phrases, that imply the
contrary. It has been said, that the Arabic has a thousand names for a
lion; but this would be a trifle compared with the number of
superfluous words and useless synonyms that would be found in an
_Index Expurgatorius_ of any European dictionary constructed on the
principles of a consistent and strictly consequential Materialism.

The _Christian_ likewise grounds _his_ philosophy on assertions; but
with the best of all _reasons_ for making them--namely, that he
_ought_ so to do. He asserts what he can neither prove, nor account
for, nor himself comprehend; but with the strongest _inducements_,
that of understanding thereby whatever else it most concerns him to
understand aright. And yet his assertions have nothing in them of
theory or hypothesis; but are in immediate reference to three ultimate
_facts_; namely, the Reality of the LAW OF CONSCIENCE; the existence
of a RESPONSIBLE WILL, as the subject of that law; and lastly, the
existence of EVIL--of Evil essentially such, not by accident of
outward circumstances, not derived from its physical consequences, nor
from any cause, out of itself. The first is a Fact of Consciousness;
the second a Fact of Reason necessarily concluded from the first; and
the third a Fact of History interpreted by both.

_Omnia exeunt in mysterium_, says a schoolman; that is, _There is
nothing, the absolute ground of which is not a Mystery_. The contrary
were indeed a contradiction in terms: for how can that, which is to
explain all things, be susceptible of an explanation? It would be to
suppose the same thing first and second at the same time.

If I rested here, I should merely have placed my Creed in direct
opposition to that of the Necessitarians, who assume (for observe
_both_ Parties begin in an _Assumption_, and cannot do otherwise) that
motives act on the Will, as bodies act on bodies; and that whether
mind and matter are essentially the same, or essentially different,
they are both alike under one and the same law of compulsory
Causation. But this is far from exhausting my intention. I mean at the
same time to oppose the disciples of SHAFTESBURY and those who,
substituting one Faith for another, have been well called the pious
Deists of the last century, in order to distinguish them from the
Infidels of the present age, who _persuade_ themselves, (for the thing
itself is not possible) that they reject all Faith. I declare my
dissent from these too, because they imposed upon themselves an _idea_
for a fact: a most sublime idea indeed, and so necessary to human
nature, that without it no virtue is conceivable: but still an idea.
In contradiction to their splendid but delusory tenets, I profess a
deep conviction that man was and is a _fallen_ creature, not by
accidents of bodily constitution, or any other cause, which _human_
wisdom in a course of ages might be supposed capable of removing; but
as diseased in his _Will_, in that Will which is the true and only
strict synonime of the word, I, or the intelligent Self. Thus at each
of these two opposite roads (the philosophy of Hobbes and that of
Shaftesbury), I have placed a directing post, informing my
fellow-travellers, that on neither of these roads can they see the
Truths to which I would direct their attention.

But the place of starting was at the meeting of _four_ roads, and one
only was the right road. I proceed, therefore, to preclude the opinion
of those likewise, who indeed agree with me as to the moral
Responsibility of man in opposition to Hobbes and the Anti-Moralists,
and that he is a fallen creature, essentially diseased, in opposition
to Shaftesbury and the misinterpreters of Plato; but who differ from
me in exaggerating the diseased _weakness_ of the Will into an
absolute privation of all Freedom, thereby making moral
responsibility, not a mystery _above_ comprehension, but a direct
contradiction, of which we do distinctly comprehend the absurdity.
Among the consequences of this doctrine, is that direful one of
swallowing up all the attributes of the Supreme Being in the one
Attribute of infinite Power, and thence deducing that things are good
and wise because they were created, and not created through Wisdom and
Goodness. Thence too the awful Attribute of _Justice_ is explained
away into a mere right of absolute _Property_; the sacred distinction
between things and persons is erased; and the selection of persons for
virtue and vice in this life, and for eternal happiness or misery in
the next, is represented as the result of a mere _Will_, acting in the
blindness and solitude of its own Infinity. The title of a work
written by the great and pious Boyle is "Of the Awe, which the human
Mind owes to the Supreme Reason." This, in the language of these
gloomy doctors, must be translated into--"The horror, which a Being
capable of eternal Pleasure or Pain is compelled to feel at the idea
of an Infinite Power, about to inflict the latter on an immense
majority of human Souls, without any power on their part either to
prevent it or the actions which are (not indeed its causes but) its
assigned _signals_, and preceding links of the same iron chain!"

Against these tenets I maintain, that a Will conceived separately from
Intelligence is a Non-entity and a mere phantasm of abstraction; and
that a Will, the state of which does in _no sense_ originate in its
own act, is an absolute contradiction. It might be an Instinct, an
Impulse, a plastic Power, and, if accompanied with consciousness, a
Desire; but a Will it _could_ not be. And this _every_ human being
_knows_ with equal _clearness_, though different minds may _reflect_
on it with different degrees of _distinctness_; for who would not
smile at the notion of a rose _willing_ to put forth its buds and
expand them into flowers? That such a phrase would be deemed a
_poetic_ licence proves the difference in the things: for all
metaphors are grounded on an apparent likeness of things essentially
different. I utterly disclaim the notion, that any _human_
Intelligence, with whatever power it might manifest itself, is _alone_
adequate to the office of restoring health to the Will: but at the
same time I deem it impious and absurd to hold, that the Creator would
have _given_ us the faculty of Reason, or that the Redeemer would in
so many varied forms of argument and persuasion have _appealed_ to it,
if it had been either totally useless or wholly impotent. Lastly, I
find all these several Truths reconciled and united in the belief,
that the imperfect human understanding can be effectually exerted only
in _subordination_ to, and in a dependent _alliance_ with, the means
and aidances supplied by the All-perfect and Supreme Reason; but that
under these conditions it is not only an admissible, but a necessary,
instrument of bettering both ourselves and others.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may now proceed to our reflections on the _Spirit_ of Religion. The
first three or four Aphorisms I have selected from the Theological
Works of Dr. Henry More, a contemporary of Archbishop Leighton, and
like him, holden in suspicion by the Calvinists of that time as a
Latitudinarian and Platonizing Divine, and who probably, like him,
would have been arraigned as a Calvinist by the Latitudinarians (I
cannot say, Platonists) of this day, had the suspicion been equally
groundless. One or two I have ventured to add from my own Reflections.
The purpose, however, is the same in all--that of declaring, in the
first place, what Spiritual Religion is _not_, what is _not_ a
Religious Spirit, and what are _not_ to be deemed influences of the
Spirit. If after these declaimers I shall without proof be charged by
any with renewing or favouring the errors of the _Familists_,
_Vanists_, _Seekers_, _Behmenists_, or by whatever other names Church
History records the poor bewildered Enthusiasts, who in the swarming
time of our Republic turned the facts of the Gospel into allegories,
and superseded the written ordinances of Christ by a pretended
Teaching and sensible Presence of the Spirit, I appeal against them to
their own consciences, as wilful slanderers. But if with proof, I have
in these Aphorisms signed and sealed my own condemnation.

"These things I could not forbear to write. For _the Light within me_,
that is, _my Reason and Conscience_, does assure me, that the Ancient
and Apostolic Faith according to the _historical_ meaning thereof, and
in the _literal_ sense of the Creed, is solid and true: and that
_Familism_[67] in its fairest form and under whatever disguise, is a
smooth tale to seduce the simple from their Allegiance to Christ."


[65] In a leaf of corrections to the text of the first edition
Coleridge directed that "prerogative as _moral_ beings" should be read
here. The correction seems to have been overlooked by Coleridge's

[66] On this principle alone is it possible to justify _capital_, or
_ignominious_ punishments (or indeed any punishment not having the
reformation of the Criminal, as _one_ of its objects). Such
punishments, like those inflicted on Suicides, must be regarded as
_posthumous_: the wilful extinction of the moral and personal life
being, for the purposes of punitive Justice, equivalent to a wilful
destruction of the natural life. If the speech of Judge Burnet to the
horse-stealer (You are not hanged for stealing a horse; but, that
horses may not be stolen) can be vindicated at all, it must be on this
principle; and not on the all-unsettling scheme of _Expedience_, which
is the anarchy of Morals.

[67] The religion of the Dutch sect called the "Family of Love,"
originated by Henry Nicholas about 1540.--ED.

[68] More's 'Mystery of Godliness.'--ED.


And here it will not be impertinent to observe, that what the eldest
Greek Philosophy entitled _the Reason_ (ΝΟΥΣ) and _Ideas_, the
philosophic Apostle names _the Spirit_ and _Truths spiritually_
discerned: while to those who in the pride of learning or in the
over-weening meanness of modern metaphysics decry the doctrine of the
Spirit in Man and its possible communion with the Holy Spirit, as
_vulgar_ enthusiasm, I submit the following sentences from a Pagan
philosopher, a nobleman and a minister of state--"Ita dico, Lucili!
SACER INTRA NOS SPIRITUS SEDET, malorum bonorumque nostrorum
observator et custos. Hic prout a nobis tractatus est, ita nos ipse
tractat. BONUS VIR SINE DEO NEMO EST." SENECA, _Epist._ xli.



Every one is _to give a reason of his faith_; but Priests and
Ministers more punctually than any, their province being to make good
every sentence of the Bible to a rational inquirer into the truth of
these Oracles. Enthusiasts find it an easy thing to heat the fancies
of unlearned and unreflecting hearers; but when a sober man would be
satisfied of the _grounds_ from whence they speak, he shall not have
one syllable or the least tittle of a pertinent answer. Only they will
talk big of THE SPIRIT, and inveigh against _Reason_ with bitter
reproaches, calling it carnal or fleshly, though it be indeed no soft
flesh, but enduring and penetrant steel, even the sword of the Spirit,
and such as pierces to the heart.



There are two very bad things in this resolving of men's Faith and
Practice into _the immediate suggestion_ of a Spirit not acting on our
understandings, or rather into the illumination of such a Spirit as
they can give no account of, such as does not enlighten their reason
or enable them to render their doctrine intelligible to others. First,
it defaces and makes useless that part of the Image of God in us,
which we call REASON; and secondly, it takes away that advantage,
which raises Christianity above all other religions, that she dare
appeal to so solid a faculty.


It is the glory of the Gospel Charter and the Christian Constitution,
that its Author and Head is the Spirit of Truth, Essential Reason as
well as Absolute and Incomprehensible Will. Like a just Monarch, he
refers even his own causes to the Judgment of his high Courts. He has
his King's Bench in the Reason, his Court of Equity in the Conscience:
_that_ the Representative of his majesty and universal justice, _this_
the nearest to the King's heart, and the dispenser of his particular
decrees. He has likewise his Court of Common Pleas in the
Understanding, his Court of Exchequer in the Prudence. The Laws are
_his_ Laws. And though by Signs and Miracles he has mercifully
condescended to interline here and there with his own hand the great
Statute-book, which he had dictated to his Amanuensis, Nature; yet has
he been graciously pleased to forbid our receiving as the _King's_
Mandates aught that is not stamped with the Great Seal of the
Conscience, and countersigned by the Reason.


 _On an Unlearned Ministry, under pretence of a Call of the Spirit,
 and inward Graces superseding Outward helps._


Tell me, Ye high-flown _Perfectionists_, ye boasters of the _Light
within_ you, could the highest perfection of your inward Light ever
show to you the history of past ages, the state of the world at
present, the knowledge of arts and tongues, without books or teachers?
How then can you understand the Providence of God, or the age, the
purpose, the fulfilment of Prophecies, or distinguish such as have
been fulfilled from those to the fulfilment of which we are to look
forward? How can you judge concerning the authenticity and
uncorruptedness of the Gospels, and the other sacred Scriptures? And
how without this knowledge can you support the truth of Christianity?
How can you either have, or give a reason for the faith which you
profess? This _Light within_, that loves darkness, and would exclude
those excellent Gifts of God to Mankind, Knowledge and Understanding,
what is it but a sullen self-sufficiency within you, engendering
contempt of superiors, pride and a spirit of division, and inducing
you to reject for yourselves and to undervalue in others the _helps
without_, which the Grace of God has provided and appointed for his
Church--nay, to make them grounds or pretexts of your dislike or
suspicion of Christ's Ministers who have fruitfully availed themselves
of the Helps afforded them?



There are wanderers, whom neither pride nor a perverse humour have led
astray; and whose condition is such, that I think few more worthy of a
man's best directions. For the more imperious sects having put such
unhandsome vizards on Christianity, and the sincere milk of the _Word_
having been every where so sophisticated by the humours and inventions
of men, it has driven these anxious melancholists to seek for _a
teacher_ that cannot deceive, the voice of the _eternal_ Word within
them; to which if they be faithful, they assure themselves it will be
faithful to them in return. Nor would this be a groundless
presumption, if they had sought this voice in the Reason and the
Conscience, with the Scripture articulating the same, instead of
giving heed to their fancy and mistaking bodily disturbances, and the
vapours resulting therefrom, for inspiration and the teaching of the



When every man is his own end, all things will come to a bad end.
Blessed were those days, when every man thought himself rich and
fortunate by good success of the public wealth and glory. We want
public souls, we want them. I speak it with compassion: there is no
sin and abuse in the world that affects my thought so much. Every man
thinks, that he is a whole Commonwealth in his private family. _Omnes
quæ sua sunt quærunt._ All seek their own.[69]


Selfishness is common to all ages and countries. In all ages
Self-seeking is the Rule, and Self-sacrifice the Exception. But if to
seek our private advantage in harmony with, and by the furtherance of,
the public prosperity, and to derive a portion of our happiness from
sympathy with the prosperity of our fellow-men--if this be Public
Spirit, it would be morose and querulous to pretend that there is any
want of it in this country and at the present time. On the contrary,
the number of "public souls" and the general readiness to contribute
to the public good, in science and in religion, in patriotism and in
philanthropy, stand prominent[70] among the characteristics of this
and the preceding generation. The habit of referring actions and
opinions to fixed laws; convictions rooted in principles; thought,
insight, system;--these, had the good Bishop lived in our times, would
have been his _desiderata_, and the theme of his complaints.--"We want
_thinking_ Souls, we _want them_."

This and the three preceding extracts will suffice as precautionary
Aphorisms. And here again, the reader may exemplify the great
advantages to be obtained from the habit of tracing the _proper_
meaning and history of words. We need only recollect the common and
idiomatic phrases in which the word "spirit" occurs in a physical or
material sense (as, fruit has lost its _spirit_ and flavour), to be
convinced that its property is to improve, enliven, actuate some other
thing, not to constitute a thing in its own name. The enthusiast may
find one exception to this where the material itself is called
_Spirit_. And when he calls to mind, how _this_ spirit acts when taken
_alone_ by the unhappy persons who in their first exultation will
boast that it is meat, drink, fire, and clothing to them, all in
one--when he reflects, that its properties are to inflame, intoxicate,
madden, with exhaustion, lethargy, and atrophy for the sequels--well
for him, if in some lucid interval he should fairly put the question
to his own mind, how far this is _analogous_ to his own case, and
whether the exception does not confirm the rule. The _Letter_ without
the Spirit killeth; but does it follow, that the Spirit is to kill the
Letter? To kill that which it is its appropriate office to enliven?

However, where the Ministry is not invaded, and the plain sense of the
Scriptures is left undisturbed, and the Believer looks for the
suggestions of the Spirit only or chiefly in applying particular
passages to his own individual case and exigences; though in this
there may be much weakness, some delusion and imminent danger of more,
I cannot but join with Henry More in avowing, that I feel knit to such
a man in the bonds of a common faith far more closely, than to those
who receive neither the Letter nor the Spirit, turning the one into
metaphor, and oriental hyperbole, in order to explain away the other
into the influence of motives suggested by their own understandings,
and realized by their own strength.

[69] Hacket's Sermons, p. 449.--ED.

[70] The very marked _positive_ as well as comparative, magnitude and
prominence of the bump, entitled BENEVOLENCE (_see Spurzheim's Map of
the Human Skull_) on the head of the late Mr. John Thurtel, has
woefully unsettled the faith of many ardent Phrenologists, and
strengthened the previous doubts of a still greater number into utter
disbelief. On MY mind this fact (for a _fact_ it is) produced the
directly contrary effect; and inclined me to suspect, for the first
time, that there may be some truth in the Spurzheimian Scheme. Whether
future Craniologists may not see cause to _new-name_ this and one or
two other of these convex gnomons, is quite a different question. At
present, and according to the present use of words, any such change
would be premature; and we must be content to say, that Mr. Thurtel's
Benevolence was insufficiently modified by the unprotrusive and
unindicated convolutes of the brain, that secrete honesty and
common-sense. The organ of Destructiveness was indirectly
_potentiated_ by the absence or imperfect development of the glands of
Reason and Conscience in this, "_unfortunate Gentleman_!"




In the selection of the extracts that form the remainder of this volume
and of the comments affixed, I had the following objects principally in
view:--first, to exhibit the true and scriptural meaning and intent of
several Articles of Faith, that are rightly classed among the Mysteries
and peculiar Doctrines of Christianity:--secondly, to show the perfect
rationality of these Doctrines, and their freedom from all just
objection when examined by their proper organs, the Reason and
Conscience of Man:--lastly, to exhibit from the works of Leighton, who
perhaps of all our learned Protestant Theologians best deserves the
title of a Spiritual Divine, an instructive and affecting picture of
the contemplations, reflections, conflicts, consolations and monitory
experiences of a philosophic and richly-gifted mind, amply stored with
all the knowledge that books and long intercourse with men of the most
discordant characters could give, under the convictions, impressions,
and habits of a Spiritual Religion.

To obviate a possible disappointment in any of my readers, who may
chance to be engaged in theological studies, it may be well to notice,
that in vindicating the peculiar tenets of our Faith, I have not
entered on the Doctrine of the Trinity, or the still profounder
Mystery of the Origin of Moral Evil--and this for the reasons
following. 1. These Doctrines are not (strictly speaking) subjects of
_Reflection_, in the proper sense of this word: and both of them
demand a power and persistency of Abstraction, and a previous
discipline in the highest forms of human thought, which it would be
unwise, if not presumptuous, to expect from any, who require "_Aids_
to Reflection," or would be likely to seek them in the present work.
2. In my intercourse with men of various ranks and ages, I have found
the far larger number of serious and inquiring persons little, if at
all, disquieted by doubts respecting Articles of Faith, that are
simply above their comprehension. It is only where the belief required
of them jars with their _moral_ feelings; where a doctrine in the
sense, in which they have been taught to receive it, appears to
contradict their clear notions of right and wrong, or to be at
variance with the divine attributes of goodness and justice; that
these men are surprised, perplexed, and alas! not seldom offended and
alienated. Such are the Doctrines of Arbitrary Election and
Reprobation; the Sentence to everlasting Torment by an eternal and
necessitating decree; vicarious Atonement, and the necessity of the
Abasement, Agony and ignominious Death of a most holy and meritorious
Person, to appease the wrath of God. Now it is more especially for
such persons, unwilling sceptics, who believing earnestly ask help for
their unbelief, that this volume was compiled, and the comments
written: and therefore to the Scripture Doctrines, _intended_ by the
above-mentioned, my principal attention has been directed.

But lastly, the whole Scheme of the Christian Faith, including _all_
the Articles of Belief common to the Greek and Latin, the Roman, and
the Protestant Churches, with the threefold proof, that it is
_ideally_, _morally_, and _historically_ true, will be found exhibited
and vindicated in a proportionally larger work, the principal labour
of my life since manhood, and which I am now preparing for the press
under the title, 'Assertion of Religion, as necessarily _involving_
Revelation; and of Christianity, as the only Revelation of permanent
and universal validity.'[71]

[71] A work left incomplete by Coleridge, and not yet given to the



Where, if not in Christ, is the Power that can persuade a Sinner to
return, that can _bring home a heart to God_?

Common mercies of God, though they have a leading faculty to
repentance, (Rom. ii. 4.) yet, the rebellious heart will not be led by
them. The judgments of God, public or personal, though they ought to
drive us to God, yet the heart, unchanged, runs the further from God.
Do we not see it by ourselves and other sinners about us? They look
not at all towards Him who smites, much less do they return; or if any
more serious thoughts of returning arise upon the surprise of an
affliction, how soon vanish they, either the stroke abating, or the
heart, by time, growing hard and senseless under it! Leave Christ out,
I say, and all other means work not this way; neither the works nor
the word of God sounding daily in his ear, _Return return_. Let the
noise of the rod speak it too, and both join together to make the cry
the louder, _yet the wicked will do wickedly_: Dan. xii. 10.


By the phrase "in Christ," I understand all the supernatural aids
vouchsafed and conditionally promised in the Christian dispensation;
and among them the Spirit of Truth, which the world cannot receive,
were it only that the knowledge of _spiritual_ Truth is of necessity
immediate and _intuitive_: and the World or Natural Man possesses no
higher intuitions than those of the pure _Sense_, which are the
subjects of _mathematical_ science. But _aids_, observe! Therefore,
not _by_ Will of man alone; but neither _without_ the Will. The
doctrine of modern Calvinism as laid down by Jonathan Edwards and the
late Dr. Williams, which represents a Will absolutely passive, clay in
the hands of a potter, destroys all Will, takes away its essence and
definition, as effectually as in saying: This circle is square--I
should deny the figure to be a circle at all. It was in strict
consistency therefore, that these writers supported the Necessitarian
scheme, and made the relation of Cause and Effect the Law of the
Universe, subjecting to its mechanism the moral World no less than the
material or physical. It follows, that all is Nature. Thus, though few
writers use the term Spirit more frequently, they in effect deny its
existence, and evacuate the term of all its proper meaning. With such
a system not the wit of man nor all the Theodicies ever framed by
human ingenuity before and since the attempt of the celebrated
Leibnitz, can reconcile the Sense of Responsibility, nor the fact of
the difference _in kind_ between REGRET AND REMORSE. The same
compulsion of consequence drove the Fathers of Modern (or Pseudo-)
Calvinism to the origination of Holiness in power, of Justice in right
of Property, and whatever other outrages on the common sense and moral
feelings of mankind they have sought to cover, under the fair name of
_Sovereign Grace_.

I will not take on me to defend sundry harsh and inconvenient
expressions in the works of Calvin. Phrases equally strong and
assertions not less rash and startling are no rarities in the writings
of Luther; for catachresis was the favourite figure of speech in that
age. But let not the opinions of either on this most fundamental
subject be confounded with the New England System, now entitled
Calvinistic. The fact is simply this. Luther considered the
pretensions to Free-will _boastful_, and better suited to the "budge
doctors of the Stoic Fur," than to the preachers of the Gospel, whose
great theme is the Redemption of the Will from Slavery; the
restoration of the Will to perfect Freedom being the _end_ and
consummation of the redemptive process, and the same with the entrance
of the Soul into Glory, that is, its union with Christ: "GLORY"
(_John_ xvii. 5.) being one of the names or tokens or symbols of the
Spiritual Messiah. Prospectively to this we are to understand the
words of our Lord. "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father,
and ye in me," John xiv. 20: the freedom of a finite will being
possible under this condition only, that it has become one with the
will of God. Now as the difference of a captive and enslaved Will,
and _no_ Will at all, such is the difference between the
_Lutheranism_ of Calvin and the Calvinism of Jonathan Edwards.



There is nothing in religion farther out of Nature's reach, and more
remote from the natural man's liking and believing, than the doctrine
of Redemption by a Saviour, and by a crucified Saviour. It is
comparatively easy to persuade men of the necessity of an amendment of
conduct; it is more difficult to make them see the necessity of
Repentance in the _Gospel_ sense, the necessity of a change in the
_principle_ of action; but to convince men of the necessity of the
Death of Christ is the most difficult of all. And yet the first is but
varnish and white-wash without the second; and the second but a barren
notion without the last. Alas! of those who admit the doctrine in
words, how large a number evade it in fact, and empty it of all its
substance and efficacy, making the effect the efficient cause, or
attributing their election to Salvation to a supposed Foresight of
their Faith and Obedience.--But it is most vain to imagine a faith in
such and such men, which being foreseen by God, determined him to
elect them for salvation: were it only that nothing at all is
_future_, or can have this imagined _futurition_, but _as_ it is
decreed, and _because_ it is decreed by God so to be.


No impartial person, competently acquainted with the history of the
Reformation, and the works of the earlier Protestant Divines, at home
and abroad, even to the close of Elizabeth's reign, will deny that the
doctrines of Calvin on Redemption and the natural state of fallen man,
are in all essential points the same as those of Luther, Zuinglius,
and the first Reformers collectively. These Doctrines have, however,
since the re-establishment of the Episcopal Church at the return of
Charles II., been as generally [72] exchanged for what is commonly
entitled Arminianism, but which, taken as a complete and explicit
Scheme of Belief, it would be both historically and theologically more
accurate to call _Grotianism_, or Christianity according to Grotius.
The change was not, we may readily believe, effected without a
struggle. In the Romish Church this latitudinarian system, patronized
by the Jesuits, was manfully resisted by Jansenius, Arnauld, and
Pascal; in our own Church by the Bishops Davenant, Sanderson, Hall,
and the Archbishops Usher and Leighton: and in the latter half of the
preceding Aphorism the reader has a _specimen_ of the _reasonings_ by
which Leighton strove to invalidate or counterpoise the _reasonings_
of the innovators.

Passages of this sort are, however, of rare occurrence in Leighton's
works. Happily for thousands, he was more usefully employed in making
his readers feel that the doctrines in question, _scripturally
treated, and taken as co-organized parts of a great organic whole_,
need no such reasonings. And better still would it have been, had he
left them altogether for those, who severally detaching the great
features of Revelation from the living context of Scripture, do by
that very act destroy their life and purpose. And then, like the eyes
of the Indian spider,[73] they become clouded microscopes, to
exaggerate and distort all the other parts and proportions.--No
offence then will be occasioned, I trust, by the frank avowal that I
have given to the preceding passage a place among the Spiritual
Aphorisms for the sake of the Comment: the following Remarks having
been the first marginal note I had pencilled on Leighton's pages, and
thus (remotely, at least) the occasion of the present work.

Leighton, I observed, throughout his inestimable work, avoids all
metaphysical views of Election, relatively to God, and confines
himself to the doctrine in its relation to Man: and in that sense too,
in which every Christian may judge of it who strives to be sincere
with his own heart. The following may, I think, be taken as a safe and
useful Rule in religious inquiries. Ideas, that derive their origin
and substance from the _Moral_ Being, and to the reception of which as
true _objectively_ (that is, as corresponding to a _reality_ out of
the human mind) we are determined by a _practical_ interest
exclusively, may not, like theoretical or speculative Positions, be
pressed onward into all their possible _logical_ consequences.[74] The
Law of Conscience, and not the Canons of discursive Reasoning, must
decide in such cases. At least, the latter have no validity, which the
single _veto_ of the former is not sufficient to nullify. The most
pious conclusion is here the most legitimate.

It is too seldom considered though most worthy of consideration, how
far even those Ideas or Theories of pure Speculation, that bear the
same name with the Objects of Religious Faith, are indeed the same.
Out of the principles necessarily presumed in all discursive thinking,
and which being, in the first place _universal_, and secondly,
antecedent to every particular exercise of the understanding, are
therefore referred to the reason, the human mind (wherever its powers
are sufficiently developed, and its attention strongly directed to
speculative or theoretical inquiries,) forms certain essences, to
which for its own purposes it gives a sort of notional _subsistence_.
Hence they are called _entia rationalia_: the conversion of which into
_entia realia_, or real objects, by aid of the imagination, has in all
times been the fruitful stock of empty theories, and mischievous
superstitions, of surreptitious premises and extravagant conclusions.
For as these substantiated notions were in many instances expressed by
the same terms, as the objects of religious Faith; as in most
instances they were applied, though deceptively, to the explanation of
real experiences; and lastly, from the gratifications, which the pride
and ambition of man received from the supposed extension of his
knowledge and insight; it was too easily forgotten or overlooked, that
the stablest and most indispensable of these notional beings were but
the necessary _forms_ of thinking, taken abstractedly: and that like
the breadthless lines, depthless surfaces, and perfect circles of
geometry, they subsist wholly and solely in and for the mind, that
contemplates them. Where the evidence of the senses fails us, and
beyond the precincts of sensible experience, there is no _reality_
attributable to any notion, but what is given to it by Revelation, or
the Law of Conscience, or the necessary interests of Morality.

Take an instance:

It is the office, and, as it were, the instinct of Reason to bring a
unity into all our conceptions and several knowledges. On this all
system depends; and without this we could reflect connectedly neither
on nature nor our own minds. Now this is possible only on the
assumption or hypothesis of a ONE as the ground and cause of the
Universe, and which in all succession and through changes is the
subject neither of Time nor Change. The ONE must be contemplated as
Eternal and Immutable.

Well! the Idea, which is the basis of Religion, commanded by the
Conscience and required by Morality, contains the same truths, or at
least truths that can be expressed in no other terms; but this idea
presents itself to our mind with additional attributes, and these too
not formed by mere Abstraction and Negation--with the attributes of
Holiness, Providence, Love, Justice, and Mercy. It comprehends,
moreover, the independent (_extra-mundane_) existence and personality
of the supreme ONE, as our Creator, Lord, and Judge.

The hypothesis of a _one_ Ground and Principle of the Universe
(necessary as an _hypothesis_; but having only a _logical_ and
_conditional_ necessity) is thus raised into the Idea of the LIVING
GOD, the supreme Object of our Faith, Love, Fear, and Adoration.
Religion and Morality do indeed constrain us to declare him Eternal
and Immutable. But if from the Eternity of the Supreme Being a
Reasoner should deduce the impossibility of a Creation; or conclude
with Aristotle, that the Creation was co-eternal; or, like the latter
Platonists, should turn Creation into _Emanation_, and make the
universe proceed from Deity, as the Sunbeams from the Solar Orb;--or
if from the divine Immutability he should infer, that all prayer and
supplication must be vain and superstitious: then however evident and
logically necessary such conclusions may appear, it is scarcely worth
our while to examine, whether they are so or not. The positions
themselves _must_ be false. For were they true, the Idea would lose
the sole ground of its _reality_. It would be no longer the Idea
intended by the Believer in _his_ premise--in the premise, with which
alone Religion and Morality are concerned. The very subject of the
discussion would be changed. It would no longer be the God in whom we
_believe_; but a stoical FATE, or the superessential ONE of Plotinus,
to whom neither Intelligence, nor Self-consciousness, nor Life, nor
even _Being_ can be attributed; nor lastly, the world itself, the
indivisible one and only substance (_substantia una et unica_) of
Spinoza, of which all _phænomena_, all particular and individual
things, lives, minds, thoughts, and actions are but modifications.

Let the believer never be alarmed by objections wholly speculative,
however plausible on speculative grounds such objections may appear,
if he can but satisfy himself, that the _result_ is repugnant to the
dictates of conscience, and irreconcilable with the interests of
morality. For to baffle the objector we have only to demand of him, by
what right and under what authority he converts a thought into a
substance, or asserts the existence of a real somewhat corresponding
to a notion not derived from the experience of his senses. It will be
of no purpose for him to answer, that it is a _legitimate_ notion. The
_notion_ may have its mould in the understanding; but its realization
must be the work of the FANCY.

A reflecting reader will easily apply these remarks to the subject of
Election, one of the stumbling stones in the ordinary conceptions of
the Christian Faith, to which the infidel points in scorn, and which
far better men pass by in silent perplexity. Yet surely, from mistaken
conceptions of the doctrine, I suppose the person, with whom I am
arguing, already so far a believer, as to have convinced himself, both
that a state of enduring bliss is attainable under certain conditions;
and that these conditions consist in his compliance with the
directions given and rules prescribed in the Christian Scriptures.
These rules he likewise admits to be such, that, by the very law and
constitution of the human mind, a full and faithful compliance with
them cannot but have _consequences_, of some sort or other. But these
_consequences_ are moreover distinctly described, enumerated, and
promised in the same Scriptures, in which the conditions are recorded;
and though some of them may be apparent to God only, yet the greater
number of them are of such a nature that they cannot exist unknown to
the individual, in and for whom they exist. As little possible is it,
that he should find these consequences in himself, and not find in
them the sure marks and the safe pledges, that he is at the time in
the right road to the Life promised under these conditions. Now I dare
assert, that no such man, however fervent his charity, and however
deep his humility may be, can peruse the records of History with a
reflecting spirit, or look round the world with an observant eye, and
not find himself compelled to admit, that _all_ men are _not_ on the
right road. He cannot help judging, that even in Christian countries,
many, a fearful many! have not their faces turned toward it.

This then is a mere matter of fact. Now comes the question. Shall the
believer, who thus hopes on the appointed _grounds_ of hope, attribute
this distinction exclusively to his own resolves and strivings? or if
not exclusively, yet primarily and principally? Shall he refer the
first movements and preparations to his own Will and Understanding,
and bottom his claim to the promises on his own comparative
excellence? If not, if no man dare take this honour to himself, to
whom shall he assign it, if not to that Being in whom the promise
originated, and on whom its fulfilment depends? If he stop here, who
shall blame him? By what argument shall his reasoning be invalidated,
that might not be urged with equal force against any essential
difference between obedient and disobedient, Christian and worldling?
that would not imply that both _sorts_ alike are, in the sight of God,
the Sons of God by adoption? If he stop here, I say, who shall drive
him from his position? For thus far he is practically concerned--this
the Conscience requires, this the highest interests of Morality
demand. It is a question of facts, of the will and the deed, to argue
against which on the abstract notions and possibilities of the
speculative reason, is as unreasonable, as an attempt to decide a
question of colours by pure Geometry, or to unsettle the classes and
specific characters of Natural History by the Doctrine of Fluxions.

But if the self-examinant will abandon this position, and exchange the
safe circle of Religion and practical Reason for the shifting
sand-wastes and _mirages_ of Speculative Theology; if instead of
seeking after the _marks_ of Election in himself he undertakes to
determine the ground and origin, the possibility and mode of election
itself _in relation to God_;--in this case, and whether he does it for
the satisfaction of curiosity, or from the ambition of answering
those, who would call God himself to account, why and by what right
certain souls were born in Africa instead of England:--or why (seeing
that it is against all reason and goodness to choose a worse, when
being omnipotent He could have created a better) God did not create
beasts men, and men angels:--or why God created any men but with
fore-knowledge of their obedience, and left any occasion for
Election?--in this case, I say, we can only regret, that the inquirer
had not been better instructed in the nature, the bounds, the true
purposes and proper objects of his intellectual faculties, and that he
had not previously asked himself, by what appropriate sense, or organ
of knowledge, he hoped to secure an insight into a Nature which was
neither an object of his senses, nor a part of his self-consciousness;
and so leave him to ward off shadowy spears with the shadow of a
shield, and to retaliate the nonsense of blasphemy with the
_abracadabra_ of presumption. He that will fly without wings must fly
in his dreams: and till he awakes, will not find out, that to fly in a
dream is but to dream of flying.

Thus then the doctrine of Election is in itself a necessary inference
from an undeniable fact--necessary at least for all who hold that the
best of men are what they are through the grace of God. In relation to
the believer it is a _hope_, which if it spring out of Christian
principles, be examined by the tests and nourished by the means
prescribed in Scripture, will become a _lively_, an _assured_ hope,
but which cannot in this life pass into _knowledge_, much less
certainty of fore-knowledge. The contrary belief does indeed make the
article of Election both tool and parcel of a mad and mischievous
fanaticism. But with what force and clearness does not the Apostle
confute, disclaim, and prohibit the pretence, treating it as a
downright contradiction in terms! See Romans viii. 24.

But though I hold the doctrine handled as Leighton handles it (that is
practically, morally, _humanly_) rational, safe, and of essential
importance, I see many[75] reasons resulting from the peculiar
circumstances, under which St. Paul preached and wrote, why a discreet
minister of the Gospel should avoid the frequent use of the _term_,
and express the _meaning_ in other words perfectly equivalent and
equally Scriptural; lest in _saying_ truth he may convey error.

Had my purpose been confined to one particular tenet, an apology might
be required for so long a Comment. But the reader will, I trust, have
already perceived, that my object has been to establish a general rule
of interpretation and vindication applicable to _all_ doctrinal
tenets, and especially to the (so called) mysteries of the Christian
Faith: to provide a _Safety-lamp_ for religious inquirers. Now this I
find in the principle, that all Revealed Truths are to be judged of by
us, as far as they are possible subjects of human conception, or
grounds of practice, or in some way connected with our moral and
spiritual interests. In order to have a reason _for_ forming a
judgment on any given article, we must be sure that we possess a
reason, by and according to which a judgment may be formed. Now in
respect of all Truths, to which a _real_ independent existence is
assigned, and which yet are not contained in, or to be imagined under,
any form of space or time, it is strictly demonstrable, that the human
reason, considered abstractly, as the source of positive _science_ and
theoretical _insight_, is _not_ such a reason. At the utmost, it has
only a _negative_ voice. In other words, nothing can be allowed as
true for the human mind, which directly contradicts this reason. But
even here, before we admit the existence of any such contradiction, we
must be careful to ascertain, that there is no equivocation in play,
that two different subjects are not confounded under one and the same
word. A striking instance of this has been adduced in the difference
between the notional ONE of the Ontologists, and the idea of the
Living God.

But if not the abstract or speculative reason, and yet a reason there
must be in order to a rational belief--then it must be the _practical_
reason of man, comprehending the Will, the Conscience, the Moral Being
with its inseparable Interests and Affections--that Reason, namely,
which is the Organ of _Wisdom_, and (as far as man is concerned) the
source of living and actual Truths.

From these premises we may further deduce, that every doctrine is to
be interpreted in reference to those, to whom it has been revealed, or
who have or have had the means of knowing or hearing the same. For
instance: the Doctrine that _there is no name under Heaven, by which a
man can be saved, but the name of Jesus_. If the word here rendered
_name_, may be understood (as it well may, and as in other texts it
must be) as meaning the Power, or originating Cause, I see no
objection on the part of the practical reason to our belief of the
declaration in its whole extent. It is true universally or not true at
all. If there be any redemptive Power not contained in the Power of
Jesus, then Jesus is not _the_ Redeemer: not the Redeemer of the
_World_, not the Jesus (_i.e._ Saviour) of man_kind_. But if with
Tertullian and Augustine we make the Text assert the condemnation and
misery of all who are not Christians by Baptism and explicit belief in
the Revelation of the New Covenant--then I say, the doctrine is true
_to all intents and purposes_. It is true, in every respect, in which
any practical, moral, or spiritual interest or end can be connected
with its truth. It is true in respect to every man who has had, or who
might have had, the Gospel preached to him. It is true and obligatory
for every Christian community and for every individual believer,
wherever the opportunity is afforded of spreading the _Light_ of the
Gospel, and making _known_ the name of the only Saviour and Redeemer.
For even though the uninformed Heathens should _not_ perish, the
_guilt_ of their perishing will attach to those who not only had no
certainty of their safety, but who are commanded to _act_ on the
supposition of the contrary. But if, on the other hand, a theological
dogmatist should attempt to persuade me, that this text was intended
to give us an historical knowledge of God's future actions and
dealings--and for the gratification of our curiosity to inform us,
that Socrates and Phocion, together with all the savages in the woods
and wilds of Africa and America, will be sent to keep company with the
devil and his angels in everlasting torments--I should remind him,
that the purpose of Scripture was to teach us our duty, not to enable
us to sit in judgment on the souls of our fellow creatures.

One other instance will, I trust, prevent all misconception of my
meaning. I am clearly convinced, that the scriptural and only true[76]
Idea of God will, in its development, be found to involve the Idea of
the Tri-unity. But I am likewise convinced, that previously to the
promulgation of the Gospel the doctrine had no claim on the faith of
mankind; though it might have been a legitimate contemplation for a
speculative philosopher, a theorem in metaphysics valid in the

I form a certain notion in my mind, and say:--This is what _I_
understand by the term, God. From books and conversation I find, that
the learned generally connect the same notion with the same word. I
then apply the rules, laid down by the masters of logic, for the
involution and evolution of terms, and prove (to as many as agree with
me in my premises) that the notion, God, involves the notion, Trinity.
I now pass out of the Schools, and enter into discourse with some
friend or neighbour, unversed in the _formal_ sciences, unused to the
process of abstraction, neither Logician nor Metaphysician; but
sensible and single-minded, _an Israelite indeed_, trusting in _the
Lord God of his Fathers, even the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of
Jacob_. If I speak of God to _him_, what will _he_ understand me to be
speaking of? What does he mean, and suppose me to mean, by the word?
An accident or product of the reasoning faculty, or an abstraction
which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms
of thinking? No. By God he understands me to mean an existing and
self-subsisting reality,[77] a real and personal Being--even the
_Person_, the I AM, who sent Moses to his forefathers in Egypt. Of the
actual existence of the divine Being he has the same historical
assurance as of theirs; confirmed indeed by the Book of Nature, as
soon and as far as that stronger and better light has taught him to
read and construe it--confirmed by it, I say, but not derived from it.
Now by what right can I require this man (and of such men the great
majority of serious believers consisted, previously to the light of
the Gospel) to receive a _notion_ of mine, wholly alien from his
habits of thinking, because it may be logically deduced from another
notion, with which he was almost as little acquainted, and not at all
concerned? Grant for a moment, that the latter (that is, the notion,
with which I first set out) as soon as it is combined with the
assurance of a corresponding Reality becomes identical with the true
and effective Idea of God! Grant, that in thus _realizing_ the notion
I am warranted by Revelation, the Law of Conscience, and the interests
and necessities of my Moral Being! Yet by what authority, by what
inducement, am I entitled to attach the same reality to a second
notion, a notion drawn from a notion? It is evident, that if I have
the same right, it must be on the same grounds. Revelation must have
assured it, my Conscience required it--or in some way or other I must
have an _interest_ in this belief. It must _concern_ me, as a moral
and responsible Being. Now these grounds were first given in the
Redemption of Mankind by Christ, the Saviour and Mediator: and by the
utter incompatibility of these offices with a mere creature. On the
doctrine of Redemption depends the _Faith_, the _Duty_, of believing
in the Divinity of our Lord. And this again is the strongest Ground
for the reality of that Idea, in which alone this Divinity can be
received without breach of the faith in the unity of the Godhead. But
such is the Idea of the Trinity. Strong as the motives are that induce
me to defer the full discussion of this great Article of the Christian
creed, I cannot withstand the request of several divines, whose
situation and extensive services entitle them to the utmost deference,
that I should so far deviate from my first intention as at least to
indicate the point on which I stand, and to prevent the misconception
of my purpose: as if I held the doctrine of the Trinity for a truth
which Men could be called on to believe by mere force of reasoning,
independently of any positive _Revelation_. In short, it had been
reported in certain circles, that I considered this doctrine as a
demonstrable part of the Religion of Nature. Now though it might be
sufficient to say, that I regard the very phrase "_Revealed_ Religion"
as a pleonasm, inasmuch as a religion not revealed is, in my judgment,
no religion at all; I have no objection to announce more particularly
and distinctly what I do and what I do not maintain on this point:
provided that in the following paragraph, with this view inserted, the
reader will look for nothing more than a plain _statement_ of my
opinions. The grounds on which they rest, and the arguments by which
they are to be vindicated, are for another place.

I hold then, it is true, that all the (so called) demonstrations of a
God either prove too little, as that from the order and apparent
purpose in Nature; or too much, namely, that the World is itself God:
or they clandestinely involve the conclusion in the premises, passing
off the mere analysis or explication of an Assertion for the Proof of
it,--a species of logical legerdemain not unlike that of the jugglers
at a fair, who putting into their mouths what seems to be a walnut,
draw out a score yards of ribbon--as in the Postulate of a First
Cause. And lastly, in all these demonstrations the demonstrators
presuppose the Idea or Conception of a God without being able to
authenticate it, that is, to give an account whence they obtained it.
For it is clear, that the proof first mentioned and the most natural
and convincing of all (the Cosmological I mean, or that from the Order
in Nature) presupposes the Ontological--that is, the proof of a God
from the necessity and necessary _Objectivity_ of the Idea. _If_ the
latter can assure us of a God as an existing Reality, the former will
go far to prove his power, wisdom, and benevolence. All this I hold.
But I also hold, that this truth, the hardest to demonstrate, is the
one which of all others least needs to be demonstrated; that though
there may be no conclusive demonstrations of a good, wise, living, and
personal God, there are so many convincing reasons for it, within and
without--a grain of sand sufficing, and a whole universe at hand to
echo the decision!--that for every mind not devoid of all reason, and
desperately conscience-proof, the Truth which it is the least possible
to prove, it is little less than impossible not to believe! only
indeed just so much short of impossible, as to leave some room for the
will and the moral election, and thereby to keep it a truth of
Religion, and the possible subject of a Commandment.[80]

On this account I do not demand of a _Deist_, that he should adopt the
doctrine of the Trinity. For he might very well be justified in
replying, that he rejected the doctrine, _not_ because it could not be
_demonstrated_, nor yet on the score of any incomprehensibilities and
seeming contradictions that might be objected to it, as knowing that
these might be, and in fact had been, urged with equal force against a
personal God under any form capable of love and veneration; _but_
because he had not the same theoretical necessity, the same interests
and instincts of reason for the one hypothesis as for the other. It is
not enough, the Deist might justly say, that there is no cogent reason
why I should _not_ believe the Trinity; you must show me some cogent
reason why I _should_.

But the case is quite different with a Christian, who accepts the
Scriptures as the Word of God, yet refuses his assent to the plainest
declarations of these Scriptures, and explains away the most express
texts into metaphor and hyperbole, _because_ the literal and obvious
interpretation is (according to _his_ notions) absurd and contrary to
reason. _He_ is bound to show, that it is so in any sense, not equally
applicable to the texts asserting the Being, Infinity, and Personality
of God the Father, the Eternal and Omnipresent ONE, who _created_ the
Heaven and the Earth. And the more is he bound to do this, and the
greater is my right to demand it of him, because the doctrine of
Redemption from sin supplies the Christian with motives and reasons
for the divinity of the Redeemer far more _concerning_ and coercive
_subjectively_, that is, in the economy of his own soul, than are all
the inducements that can influence the Deist _objectively_, that is,
in the interpretation of Nature.

Do I then utterly exclude the speculative Reason from Theology? No! It
is its office and rightful privilege to determine on the _negative_
truth of whatever we are required to believe. The Doctrine must not
_contradict_ any universal principle: for this would be a Doctrine
that contradicted itself. Or Philosophy? No. It may be and has been
the servant and pioneer of Faith by convincing the mind, that a
doctrine is cogitable, that the soul can present the _Idea_ to itself;
and that _if_ we determine to contemplate, or _think_ of, the subject
at all, so and in no other form can this be effected. So far are both
logic and philosophy to be received and trusted. But the _duty_, and
in some cases and for some persons even the _right_, of thinking on
subjects beyond the bounds of sensible experience; the grounds of the
_real_ truth; the _life_, the _substance_, the _hope_, the _love_, in
one word, the _Faith_: these are Derivatives from the practical,
moral, and spiritual Nature and Being of Man.

[72] At a period, in which Doctors Marsh and Wordsworth have, by the
Zealous on one side, being charged with Popish principles on account
of their _Anti-bibliolatry_, and the sturdy adherents of the doctrines
common to Luther and Calvin, and the literal interpreters of the
Articles and Homilies, are, (I wish I could say, altogether without
any fault of their own) regarded by the Clergy generally as virtual
Schismatics, dividers _of_, though not _from_, the Church, it is
serving the cause of charity to assist in circulating the following
instructive passage from the Life of Bishop Hackett respecting the
dispute between the Augustinians, or Luthero-Calvinistic divines and
the Grotians of his age: in which Controversy (says his biographer)
he, Hackett, "was ever very moderate."

"But having been bred under Bishop Davenant and Dr. Ward in Cambridge,
he was addicted to their sentiments. Archbishop Usher would say, that
Davenant understood those controversies better than ever any man did
since St. Augustine. But he (Bishop Hackett) used to say, that he was
_sure_ he had _three_ excellent men of his mind in this controversy:
1. _Padre Paolo_ (Father Paul) whose letter is extant in Heinsius,
_anno_ 1604: 2. _Thomas Aquinas_: 3. St. Augustine. But besides and
above them all, he believed in his Conscience that St. Paul was of the
same mind likewise. Yet at the same time he would profess, that he
disliked no Arminians, but such as revile and defame every one who is
_not so_: and he would often commend Arminius himself for his
excellent wit and parts, but only tax his want of reading and
knowledge in Antiquity. And he ever held, it was the foolishest thing
in the world to say the Arminians were _Popishly_ inclined, when so
many Dominicians and Jansenists were rigid followers of Augustine in
these points: and no less foolish to say that the _Anti-Arminians_
were Puritans or Presbyterians, when _Ward_, and _Davenant_, and
Prideaux, and Brownrig, those stout champions for Episcopacy, were
decided Anti-Arminians; while Arminius himself was ever a
Presbyterian. Therefore he greatly commended the moderation of our
Church, which extended equal Communion to both."

[73] _Aranea prodigiosa._ See Baker's Microscopic Experiments.

[74] May not this Rule be expressed more intelligibly (to a
mathematician at least) thus:--Reasoning from _finite_ to _finite_, on
a basis of truth, also, reasoning from _infinite_ to _infinite_, on a
basis of truth, will always lead to truth, as intelligibly as the
basis on which such truths respectively rest.--While, reasoning from
_finite_ to _infinite_, or from _infinite_ to _finite_, will lead to
apparent absurdity, although the basis be true: and is not _such_
apparent absurdity, another expression for "truth unintelligible by a
_finite_ mind"?

[75] For example: at the date of St. Paul's Epistles, the (Roman)
world may be resembled to a mass in the furnace in the first moment of
fusion, here a speck and there a spot of the melted metal shining pure
and brilliant amid the scum and dross. To have received the _name_ of
Christian was a privilege, a high and distinguished favour. No wonder
therefore, that in St. Paul's writings the words, elect, and election,
often, nay, most often, mean the same as _eccalumeni, ecclesia_, that
is, those who have been _called out_ of the world: and it is a
dangerous perversion of the Apostle's word to interpret it in the
sense, in which it was used by our Lord, viz. in _opposition to the
called_. (Many are _called_ but few _chosen_.) In St. Paul's sense and
at that time the believers collectively formed a small and select
number; and every Christian real or nominal, was one of the Elect. Add
too, that this ambiguity is increased by the accidental circumstance,
that the _kyriak, Ædes Dominicæ_, Lord's House, _kirk_; and
_ecclesia_, the sum total of the _eccalumeni, evocati, called out_;
are both rendered by the same word Church.

[76] Or (I may add) _any_ Idea which does not either identify the
Creator with the Creaton; or else represent the Supreme Being as a
mere impersonal Law or _ordo ordinans_, differing from the Law of
Gravitation only by its _universality_.

[77] I have elsewhere remarked on the assistance which those that
labour after distinct conceptions would receive from the
re-introduction of the terms _objective_, and _subjective_,
_objective_ and _subjective reality_, and the like, as substitutes for
_real_ and _notional_, and to the exclusion of the false antithesis
between _real_ and _ideal_. For the Student in that noblest of the
sciences, the _scire teipsum_, the advantage would be especially
great.[78] The few sentences that follow, in illustration of the terms
here advocated, will not, I trust, be a waste of the reader's time.

The celebrated Euler having demonstrated certain properties of arches,
adds: "All experience is in contradiction to this; but this is no
reason for doubting its truth." The words _sound_ paradoxical; but
mean no more than this--that the mathematical properties of figure and
space are not less certainly the properties of figure and space
because they can never be perfectly realized in wood, stone, or iron.
Now this assertion of Euler's might be expressed at once, briefly and
simply, by saying, that the properties in question were _subjectively_
true, though not objectively--or that the mathematical arch possessed
a _subjective reality_ though incapable of being realized

In like manner if I had to express my conviction, that space was not
itself a _thing_, but a _mode_ or _form_ of perceiving, or the inward
ground and condition in the percipient, in consequence of which things
are seen as outward and co-existing, I convey this at once by the
words, space is _subjective_, or space is real in and for the
_subject_ alone.

If I am asked, Why not say in and for the _mind_, which every one
would understand? I reply: we know indeed, that all minds are
Subjects; but are by no means certain, that all subjects are minds.
For a mind is a subject that knows itself, or a subject that is its
own object. The inward principle of Growth and individual Form in
every seed and plant is a _subject_, and without any exertion of
poetic privilege poets may speak of the _soul_ of the flower. But the
man would be a dreamer, who otherwise than poetically should speak of
roses and lilies as _self-conscious_ subjects. Lastly, by the
assistance of the terms, Object and Subject, thus used as
correspondent opposites, or as negative and positive in physics (for
example, negative and positive electricity) we may arrive at the
distinct import and proper use of the strangely misused word, idea.
And as the forms of logic are all borrowed from geometry
(_Ratiocinatio discursiva formas suas sive canonas recipit ab
intuitu_) I may be permitted to elucidate my present meaning. Every
line may be, and by the ancient Geometricians _was_, considered as a
point _produced_, the two extremes being its poles, while the point
itself remains in, or is at least represented by, the midpoint, the
indifference of the two poles or correlative opposites. Logically
applied, the two extremes or poles are named Thesis and Antithesis:
thus in the line


we have T = Thesis, A = Antithesis, and I = Punctum Indifferens sive
_amphotericum_, which latter is to be conceived as _both_ in as far as
it may be _either_ of the two former. Observe: not both at the same
time in the same relation; for this would be the _identity_ of T and
A, not the _indifference_:--but so, that relatively to A, I is equal
to T, and relatively to T it becomes = A. For the purposes of the
universal _Noetic_, in which we require terms of most comprehension
and least specific import, might not the Noetic Pentad be,--

                  1. Prothesis.
    2. Thesis.    4. Mesothesis.    3. Antithesis.
                  5. Synthesis.

    Thesis.       Methosesis.          Antithesis.
    Res.            Agere.           Ago, Patior.

1. Verb Substantive = Prothesis, as expressing the _identity_ or
coinherence of Act and Being.

2. Substantive = Thesis, expressing Being. 3. Verb = Antithesis,
expressing, Act. 4. Infinite = Mesothesis, as being either Substantive
or Verb, or both at once, only in different relations. 5. Participle =
Synthesis. Thus in Chemistry Sulphuretted Hydrogen is an Acid
relatively to the more powerful Alkalis, and an Alkali relatively to a
powerful Acid. Yet one other remark, and I pass to the question. In
order to render the constructions of pure Mathematics applicable to
Philosophy, the Pythagoreans, I imagine, represented the Line as
_generated_, or, as it were, radiated, by a Point not contained in the
Line but independent, and (in the language of that School)
transcendent to all production, which it caused but did not partake
in. _Facit, non patitur._ This was the _punctum invisible, et
presuppositum_: and in this way the Pythagoreans guarded against the
error of Pantheism, into which the later schools fell. The assumption
of this Point I call the logical PROTHESIS. We have now therefore four
Relations of Thought expressed: 1. Prothesis, or the Identity of T and
A, which is neither, because in it, as the transcendent of both, both
are contained and exist as one. Taken _absolutely_, this finds its
application in the Supreme Being alone, the Pythagorean TETRACTYS; the
INEFFABLE NAME, to which no Image can be attached; the Point, which
has no (real) Opposite or Counter-point. But _relatively_ taken and
inadequately, the germinal power of every seed[79] might be
generalized under the relation of Identity. 2. Thesis, or position. 3.
Antithesis, or Opposition. 4. Indifference. To which when we add the
Synthesis or Composition, in its several forms of Equilibrium, as in
quiescent Electricity; of Neutralization, as of Oxygen and Hydrogen in
water; and of Predominance, as of Hydrogen and Carbon with Hydrogen,
predominant, in pure alcohol; or of Carbon and Hydrogen, with the
comparative predominance of the Carbon, in Oil; we complete the five
most general Forms or Preconceptions of Constructive Logic.

And now for the answer to the question. What is an IDEA, if it mean
neither an Impression on the Senses, nor a definite Conception, nor an
abstract Notion? (And if it does mean either of these, the word is
superfluous: and while it remains undetermined which of these is meant
by the word, or whether it is not _which you please_, it is worse than
superfluous. See the 'Statesman's Manual,' Appendix _ad finem_.) But
supposing the word to have a meaning of its own, what does it
mean?--What is an IDEA?--In answer to this I commence with the
absolutely Real as the PROTHESIS; the _subjectively_ Real as the
THESIS; the _objectively_ Real as the ANTITHESIS: and I affirm, that
Idea is the INDIFFERENCE of the two--so namely, that if it be
conceived as in the Subject, the Idea is an Object, and possesses
Objective Truth; but if in an Object, it is then a Subject and is
necessarily thought of as exercising the powers of a Subject. Thus an
IDEA conceived as subsisting in an Object becomes a LAW; and a Law
contemplated _subjectively_ (in a mind) is an Idea.

[78] See the 'Selection from Mr. Coleridge's Literary Correspondence'
in _Blackwood's Magazine_, 1821, Letter II.--ED.

[79] See Comment on Moral and Religious Aphorism VI., p. 40.--ED.

[80] In a letter to a friend on the mathematical atheists of the
French Revolution, La Lande and others, or rather on a young man of
distinguished abilities, but an avowed and proselyting partizan of
their tenets, I concluded with these words: "The man who will believe
nothing but by force of demonstrative evidence (even though it is
strictly demonstrable that the demonstrability required would
countervene all the purposes of the truth in question, all that render
the belief of the same desirable or obligatory) is not in a state of
mind to be reasoned with on any subject. But if he further denies the
_fact_ of the Law of Conscience, and the essential difference between
right and wrong, I confess, he puzzles me. I cannot without gross
inconsistency appeal to his Conscience and Moral Sense, or I should
admonish him that, as an honest man, he ought to _advertize_ himself,
with a _Cavete omnes! Scelus sum._ And as an honest man myself, I dare
not advise him on prudential grounds to keep his opinions secret, lest
I should make myself his accomplice, and _be helping him on with a



That Religion is designed to improve the nature and faculties of man,
in order to the right governing of our actions, to the securing the
peace and progress, external and internal, of individuals and of
communities, and lastly, to the rendering us capable of a more perfect
state, entitled the kingdom of God, to which the present life is
_probationary_--this is a Truth, which all who have truth only in
view, will receive on its own evidence. If such then be the main end
of religion altogether (the improvement namely of our nature and
faculties), it is plain, that every part of religion is to be judged
by its relation to this main end. And since the Christian scheme is
religion in its most perfect and effective form, a revealed religion,
and therefore, in a _special_ sense proceeding from that Being who
made us and knows what we are, of course therefore adapted to the
needs and capabilities of human nature; nothing can be a part of this
holy faith that is not duly proportioned to this end.[81]


This Aphorism should be borne in mind, whenever a theological
_Resolve_ is proposed to us as an article of Faith. Take, for
instance, the determinations passed at the Synod of Dort, concerning
the Absolute Decrees of God in connection with his Omniscience and
Fore-knowledge. Or take the decision in the Council of Trent on the
difference between the two kinds of Transubstantiation, the one in
which both the substance and the accidents are changed, the same
matter remaining--as in the conversion of water to wine at Cana: the
other, in which the matter and the substance are changed, the
accidents remaining unaltered, as in the Eucharist--this latter being
Transubstantiation _par eminence_! Or rather take the still more
tremendous dogma, that it is indispensable to a saving faith carefully
to distinguish the one kind from the other, and to believe both, and
to believe the necessity of believing both in order to Salvation! For
each or either of these _extra-scriptural_ Articles of Faith the
preceding Aphorism supplies a safe criterion. Will the belief tend to
the improvement of any of my moral or intellectual faculties? But
before I can be convinced that a faculty will be _improved_, I must be
assured that it _exists_. On all these dark sayings, therefore, of
Dort or Trent, it is quite sufficient to ask, by what _faculty_,
_organ_, or _inlet_ of knowledge, we are to assure ourselves that the
words _mean_ any thing, or correspond to any object out of our own
mind or even in it: unless indeed the mere craving and striving to
think _on_, after all the materials for thinking have been exhausted,
can be called an _object_. When a number of trust-worthy persons
assure me, that a portion of fluid which they saw to be water, by some
change in the fluid itself or in their senses, suddenly acquired the
colour, taste, smell, and exhilarating property of wine, I perfectly
understand what they tell me, and likewise by what faculties they
might have come to the knowledge of the fact. But if any one of the
number not satisfied with my acquiescence in the fact, should insist
on my believing, that the _matter_ remained the same, the substance
and the accidents having been removed in order to make way for a
different substance with different accidents, I must entreat his
permission to wait till I can discover in myself any faculty, by which
there can be presented to me a matter distinguishable from accidents,
and a substance that is different from both. It is true, I have a
faculty of articulation; but I do not see that it can be _improved_ by
my using it for the formation of words without meaning, or at best,
for the utterance of thoughts, that mean only the act of so thinking,
or of trying so to think. But the end of Religion is the improvement
of our Nature and Faculties. _Ergo_, &c. I sum up the whole in one
great practical Maxim. The Object of _religious_ Contemplation, and of
a truly Spiritual Faith, is "THE WAYS OF GOD TO MAN." Of the Workings
of the Godhead, God himself has told us, _My Ways are not as your
Ways, nor my Thoughts as your Thoughts_.

[81] Slightly altered from Burnet's Preface to Part ii. of his
'History of the Reformation.' See pp. 26, 27, v. ii. Clarendon Press
edition, 1865.--ED.


 _The characteristic Difference between the Discipline of the
 Ancient Philosophers and the Dispensation of the Gospel._

By undeceiving, enlarging, and informing the Intellect, Philosophy
sought to purify, and to elevate the Moral Character. Of course, those
alone could receive the latter and incomparably greater benefit, who
by natural capacity and favourable contingencies of fortune were fit
recipients of the former. How small the number, we scarcely need the
evidence of history to assure us. Across the night of Paganism,
Philosophy flitted on, like the lantern-fly of the Tropics, a light to
itself, and an ornament, but alas! no more than an ornament of the
surrounding darkness.

Christianity reversed the order. By means accessible to all, by
inducements operative on all, and by convictions, the grounds and
materials of which all men might find in themselves, her first step
was to cleanse the _heart_. But the benefit did not stop here. In
preventing the rank vapours that steam up from the corrupt _heart_,
Christianity restores the _intellect_ likewise to its natural
clearness. By relieving the mind from the distractions and
importunities of the unruly passions, she improves the _quality_ of
the Understanding: while at the same time she presents for its
contemplations, objects so great and so bright as cannot but enlarge
the organ, by which they are contemplated. The fears, the hopes, the
remembrances, the anticipations, the inward and outward Experience,
the belief and the Faith, of a Christian, form of themselves a
philosophy and a Sum of Knowledge, which a life spent in the Grove of
Academus, or the "painted Porch," could not have attained or
collected. The result is contained in the fact of a wide and still

Yet I dare not say, that the effects have been proportionate to the
divine wisdom of the scheme. Too soon did the Doctors of the Church
forget that the _heart_, the _moral_ nature, was the beginning and the
end; and that truth, knowledge, and insight were comprehended in its
expansion. This was the true and first apostasy--when in council and
synod the Divine Humanities of the Gospel gave way to speculative
Systems, and Religion became a Science of Shadows under the name of
Theology, or at best a bare Skeleton of Truth, without life or
interest, alike inaccessible and unintelligible to the majority of
Christians. For these therefore there remained only rites and
ceremonies and spectacles, shows and semblances. Thus among the
learned _the substance of things hoped for_ (Heb. xi. 1.) passed off
into _Notions_; and for the unlearned the Surfaces of things
became[82] Substance. The Christian world was for centuries divided
into the Many, that did not think at all, and the Few who did nothing
but think--both alike _unreflecting_, the one from defect of the
_act_, the other from the absence of an _object_.

[82] _Virium et proprietatum, quæ non nisi de substantibus predicari
possunt, formis superstantibus attributio, est_ SUPERSTITIO.


There is small chance of Truth at the goal where there is not a
child-like Humility at the starting-post.


Humility is the safest Ground of Docility: and Docility the surest
Promise of Docibility. Where there is no working of self-love in the
heart that secures a leaning before-hand; where the great magnet of
the planet is not overwhelmed or obscured by partial masses of Iron in
close neighbourhood to the compass of the judgment, though hidden or
unnoticed; there will this great _desideratum_ be found of a
child-like Humility. Do I then say, that I am to be influenced by _no_
interest? Far from it! There is an Interest of Truth: or how could
there be a Love of Truth? And that a love of truth for its own sake,
and merely as truth, is possible, my soul bears witness to itself in
its inmost recesses. But there are other interests--those of goodness,
of beauty, of utility. It would be a sorry proof of the humility I am
extolling, were I to ask for angel's wings to overfly my own human
nature. I exclude none of these. It is enough if the _lene clinamen_,
the gentle bias, be given by no interest that concerns myself other
than as I am a man, and included in the great family of mankind; but
which does therefore especially concern me, because being a common
interest of _all_ men it must needs concern the very _essentials_ of
my being, and because these essentials, as existing in _me_, are
especially intrusted to my particular charge.

Widely different from this social and truth-attracted bias, different
both in its nature and its effects, is the interest connected with the
desire of _distinguishing_ yourself from other men, in order to be
distinguished by them. Hoc revera _est inter_ te et veritatem. This
Interest does indeed stand between thee and truth. I might add between
thee and thy own soul. It is scarcely more at variance with the love
of truth than it is unfriendly to the attainment that deserves that
name. By your own act you have appointed the Many as your judges and
appraisers: for the anxiety to be admired is a loveless passion, ever
strongest with regard to those by whom we are least known and least
cared for, loud on the hustings, gay in the ball-room, mute and sullen
at the family fireside. What you have acquired by patient thought and
cautious discrimination, demands a portion of the same effort in those
who are to receive it from you. But applause and preference are things
of barter; and if you trade in them, Experience will soon teach you
that there are easier and less unsuitable ways to win golden judgments
than by at once taxing the patience and humiliating the self-opinion
of your judges. To obtain your end, your words must be as indefinite
as their thoughts: and how vague and general these are even on objects
of sense, the few who at a mature age have seriously set about the
discipline of their faculties, and have honestly _taken stock_, best
know by recollection of their own state. To be admired you must make
your auditors believe at least that they understand what you say;
which, be assured, they never will, under such circumstances, if it be
worth understanding, or if you understand your own soul. But while
your prevailing motive is to be compared and appreciated, is it
credible, is it possible, that you should in earnest seek for a
knowledge which is and must remain a hidden light, a secret treasure?
Have you children, or have you lived among children, and do you not
know, that in all things, in food, in medicine, in all their doings
and abstainings they must believe in order to acquire a reason for
their belief? But so is it with religious truths for all men. These we
must all learn as children. The ground of the prevailing error on this
point is the ignorance, that in spiritual concernments to believe and
to understand are not diverse things, but the same thing in different
periods of its growth. Belief is the seed, received into the will, of
which the Understanding or Knowledge is the Flower, and the thing
believed is the fruit. Unless ye believe ye cannot understand: and
unless ye be humble as children, ye not only _will_ not, but ye
_can_not believe. Of such therefore is the Kingdom of Heaven. Yea,
blessed is the calamity that makes us humble: though so repugnant
thereto is our nature, in our present state, that after a while, it is
to be feared, a second and sharper calamity would be wanted to cure us
of our pride in having become so humble.

Lastly, there are among us, though fewer and less in fashion than
among our ancestors, persons who, like Shaftesbury, do not belong to
"the herd of Epicurus," yet prefer a philosophic Paganism to the
morality of the Gospel. Now it would conduce, methinks, to the
child-like humility, we have been discoursing of, if the use of the
term, Virtue, in that high, comprehensive, and _notional_ sense in
which it was used by the ancient Stoics, were abandoned, as a relic of
Paganism, to these modern Pagans: and if Christians restoring the word
to its original import, namely, Manhood or Manliness, used it
exclusively to express the quality of Fortitude; Strength of Character
in relation to the resistance opposed by Nature and the irrational
Passions to the Dictates of Reason; Energy of Will in preserving the
Line of Rectitude tense and firm against the warping forces and
treacheries of temptation. Surely, it were far less unseemly to value
ourselves on this moral strength than on strength of body, or even
strength of intellect. But we will rather value _it_ for ourselves:
and bearing in mind the old adage, _Quis custodiet ipsum
custodem?_--we will value it the more, yea, then only will we allow it
true spiritual _worth_, when we possess it as a gift of _grace_, a
boon of mercy undeserved, a fulfilment of a free _promise_ (1 Corinth.
x. 13.). What more is meant in this last paragraph, let the venerable
HOOKER say for me in the following.



What is virtue but a medicine, and vice but a wound?--Yea, we have so
often deeply wounded ourselves with medicine, that God hath been fain
to make wounds medicinable; to cure by vice where virtue hath
stricken; to suffer the just man to fall, that being raised he may be
taught what power it was which upheld him standing. I am not afraid to
affirm it boldly with St. Augustine, that men puffed up through a
proud opinion of their own sanctity and holiness receive a benefit at
the hands of God, and are assisted with his grace when with his grace
they are _not_ assisted, but permitted (and that grievously) to
transgress. Whereby, as they were through over-great liking of
themselves supplanted (_tripped up_), so the dislike of that which did
supplant them may establish them afterwards the surer. Ask the very
soul of Peter, and it shall undoubtedly itself make you this answer:
My eager protestations made in the glory of my spiritual strength I am
ashamed of. But my shame and the tears, with which my presumption and
my weakness were bewailed, recur in the songs of my thanksgiving. My
Strength had been my ruin, my Fall hath proved my stay.[83]

[83] Hooker 'On the Nature of Pride,' Works, p. 521.--ED.


The Being and Providence of One Living God, holy, gracious, merciful,
the creator and preserver of all things, and a father of the
righteous; the Moral Law in its[84] utmost height, breadth, and
purity, a State of Retribution after Death; the[85] Resurrection of
the Dead; and a Day of Judgment--all these were known and received by
the Jewish people, as established articles of the national faith, at
or before the proclaiming of Christ by the Baptist. They are the
ground-work of Christianity, and essentials in the Christian Faith,
but not its characteristic and peculiar Doctrines: except indeed as
they are confirmed, enlivened, realized and brought home to the _whole
being_ of man, head, heart, and spirit, by the truths and influences
of the Gospel.

       *       *       *       *       *

Peculiar to Christianity are:

I. The belief that a Means of Salvation has been effected and provided
for the human race by the incarnation of the Son of God in the person
of Jesus Christ; and that his life on earth, his sufferings, death,
and resurrection, are not only proofs and manifestations, but likewise
essential and effective parts of the great redemptive Act, whereby
also the Obstacle from the corruption of our Nature is rendered no
longer insurmountable.

II. The belief in the possible appropriation of this benefit by
Repentance and Faith, including the aids that render an effective
faith and repentance themselves possible.

III. The belief in the reception (by as many as _shall be heirs of
salvation_) of a living and spiritual principle, a seed of life
capable of surviving this natural life, and of existing in a divine
and immortal state.

IV. The belief in the awakening of the spirit[86] in them that truly
believe, and in the communion of the spirit, thus awakened, with the
Holy Spirit.

V. The belief in the accompanying and consequent gifts, graces,
comforts, and privileges of the Spirit, which acting primarily on the
heart and will, cannot but manifest themselves in suitable works of
love and obedience, that is, in right acts with right affections, from
right principles.

VI. Further, as Christians we are taught, that these WORKS are the
appointed signs and evidences of our FAITH; and that, under limitation
of the power, the means, and the opportunities afforded us
individually, they are the rule and measure, by which we are bound and
enabled to judge, of _what spirit we are_.

VII. All these, together with the doctrine of the Fathers
re-proclaimed in the everlasting Gospel, we receive in the full
assurance, that God beholds and will finally judge us with a merciful
consideration of our infirmities, a gracious acceptance of our sincere
though imperfect strivings, a forgiveness of our defects through the
mediation, and a completion of our deficiencies by the perfect
righteousness, of the Man Christ Jesus, even the Word that was in the
beginning with God, and who, being God, became Man for the redemption
of Mankind.


I earnestly entreat the reader to pause awhile, and to join with me in
reflecting on the preceding Aphorism. It has been my aim throughout
this work to enforce two points: 1. That MORALITY arising out of the
Reason and Conscience of Men, and PRUDENCE, which in like manner flows
out of the Understanding and the natural Wants and Desires of the
Individual, are two distinct things. 2. That Morality with Prudence as
its instrument has, considered abstractedly, not only a value but a
_worth_ in itself. Now the question is (and it is a question which
every man must answer for himself)--From what you know of yourself; of
your own heart and strength; and from what history and personal
experience have led you to conclude of mankind generally; dare you
_trust_ to it? Dare _you_ trust to it? To _it_, and to it alone? If
so, well! It is at your own risk. I judge you not. Before Him, who
cannot be mocked, you stand or fall. But if not, if you have had too
good reason to know, that your heart is deceitful and your strength
weakness: if you are disposed to exclaim with Paul--the Law indeed is
holy, just, good, spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin: for that
which I do, I allow not; and what I would, that I do not!--in this
case, there is a voice that says, _Come unto me: and I will give you
rest_. This is the Voice of Christ: and the conditions, under which
the promise was given by him, are that you believe _in_ him, and
believe his words. And he has further assured you, that _if_ you do
so, you will obey him. You are, in short, to embrace the _Christian_
Faith as your Religion--those Truths which St. Paul believed _after_
his conversion, and not those only which he believed no less
undoubtingly while he was persecuting Christ, and an enemy of the
Christian Religion. With what consistency could I offer you this
volume as Aids to Reflection, if I did not call on you to ascertain in
the first instance what these truths are? But these I could not lay
before you without first enumerating certain other points of belief,
which though truths, indispensable truths, and truths comprehended or
rather presupposed in the Christian scheme, are yet not _these_
truths. (John i. 17.)

While doing this, I was aware that the Positions, in the first
paragraph of the preceding Aphorism, to which the numerical _marks_
are affixed, will startle some of my Readers. Let the following
sentences serve for the notes corresponding to the marks:

1 _Be you holy: even as God is holy._--_What more does he require of
thee, O man! than to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the
Lord thy God?_[87] To these summary passages from Moses and the
Prophets (the first exhibiting the closed, the second the expanded,
Hand of the Moral Law) I might add the Authorities of Grotius and
other more orthodox and not less learned Divines, for the opinion that
the Lord's Prayer was a _selection_, and the famous passage [The hour
is now coming, &c., John v. 28, 29.] a _citation_ by our Lord from the
liturgy of the Jewish Church. But it will be sufficient to remind the
reader, that the apparent difference between the prominent _moral_
truths of the Old and those of the New Testament results from the
latter having been written in Greek; while the conversations recorded
by the Evangelists took place in Hebrew or Syro-Chaldaic or
Aramaic.--Hence it happened that where our Lord cited the original
text, his biographers substituted the Septuagint version, while our
English version is in _both_ instances immediate and literal--in the
Old Testament from the Hebrew Original, in the New Testament from the
freer Greek translation. The text, _I give you a new commandment_, has
no connection with the present subject.

2 There is a current mistake on this point likewise, though this
article of the Jewish Belief is not only asserted by St. Paul, but is
elsewhere spoken of as common to the Twelve Tribes. The mistake
consists in supposing the Pharisees to have been a distinct _sect_,
and in strangely over-rating the number of the Sadducees. The former
were distinguished not by holding, as matters of religious belief,
articles different from the Jewish Church at large; but by their
pretences to a more rigid orthodoxy, a more scrupulous performance.
They were, in short (if I may dare use a phrase which I dislike as
profane, and denounce as uncharitable), the _Evangelicals_ and strict
_professors_ of the day. The latter, the Sadducees, whose opinions
much more nearly resembled those of the _Stoics_ than the Epicureans
(a remark that will appear paradoxical to those only who have
abstracted their notions of the Stoic Philosophy from Epictetus, Mark
Antonine, and certain brilliant inconsistencies of Seneca), were a
handful of rich men, _Romanized_ Jews, not more numerous than infidels
among us, and holden by the People at large in at least equal
abhorrence. Their great argument was: that the belief of a future
state of rewards and punishments injured or destroyed the purity of
the Moral Law for the more enlightened classes, and weakened the
influence of the Laws of the Land for the people, the vulgar

       *       *       *       *       *

I will now suppose the reader to have thoughtfully re-perused the
paragraph containing the tenets peculiar to Christianity, and if he
have his religious principles yet to form, I should expect to overhear
a troubled murmur: How can I comprehend this? How is this to be
proved? To the first question I should answer: Christianity is not a
Theory, or a Speculation; but a _Life_;--not a _Philosophy_ of Life,
but a Life and a living Process. To the second: TRY IT. It has been
eighteen hundred years in existence: and has one individual left a
record, like the following? "I tried it; and it did not answer. I made
the experiment faithfully according to the directions; and the result
has been, a conviction of my own credulity." Have you, in your own
experience, met with any one in whose words you could place full
confidence, and who has seriously affirmed:--"I have given
Christianity a fair trial. I was aware, that its promises were made
only _conditionally_. But my heart bears me witness, that I have to
the utmost of my power complied with these conditions. Both outwardly
and in the discipline of my inward acts and affections, I have
performed the duties which it enjoins, and I have used the means,
which it prescribes. Yet my assurance of its truth has received no
increase. Its promises have not been fulfilled: and I repent me of my
delusion!" If neither your own experience nor the History of almost
two thousand years has presented a single testimony to this purport;
and if you have read and heard of many who have lived and died bearing
witness to the contrary: and if you have yourself met with some _one_,
in whom on any other point you would place unqualified trust, who has
on his own experience made report to you, that He is faithful who
promised, and what he promised He has proved Himself able to perform;
is it bigotry, if I fear that the Unbelief, which prejudges and
prevents the experiment, has its source elsewhere than in the
uncorrupted judgment; that not the strong free mind, but the enslaved
will, is the true original infidel in this instance? It would not be
the first time, that a treacherous bosom-sin had suborned the
understandings of men to bear false witness against its avowed enemy,
the right though unreceived owner of the house, who had long _warned
it out_, and waited only for its ejection to enter and take possession
of the same.

I have elsewhere in the present work explained the difference between
the Understanding and the Reason, by reason meaning exclusively the
speculative or scientific power so called, the νους or _mens_ of the
ancients. And wider still is the distinction between the Understanding
and the Spiritual Mind. But no gift of God does or can contradict any
other gift, except by misuse or misdirection. Most readily therefore
do I admit, that there can be no contrariety between Revelation and
the Understanding; unless you call the fact, that the skin, though
sensible of the warmth of the sun, can convey no notion of its figure
or its joyous light, or of the colours, which it impresses on the
clouds, a contrariety between the skin and the eye; or infer that the
cutaneous and the optic nerves _contradict_ each other.

But we have grounds to believe, that there are yet other rays or
effluences from the sun, which neither feeling nor sight can
apprehend, but which are to be inferred from the effects. And were it
even so with regard to the Spiritual Sun, how would this contradict
the Understanding or the Reason? It is a sufficient proof of the
contrary, that the mysteries in question are not _in the direction_ of
the understanding or the (speculative) reason. They do not move on the
same line or plane with them, and therefore cannot contradict them.
But besides this, in the mystery that most immediately concerns the
believer, that of the birth into a new and spiritual life, the common
sense and experience of mankind come in aid of their faith. The
analogous facts, which we know to be true, not only facilitate the
apprehension of the facts promised to us, and expressed by the same
words in conjunction with a distinctive epithet; but being confessedly
not less incomprehensible, the certain _knowledge_ of the one disposes
us to the _belief_ of the other. It removes at least all objections to
the truth of the doctrine derived from the mysteriousness of its
subject. The life, we seek after, is a mystery; but so both in itself
and in its origin is the life we have. In order to meet this question,
however, with minds duly prepared, there are two preliminary inquiries
to be decided; the first respecting the _purport_, the second
respecting the _language_ of the Gospel.

First then of the _purport_, namely, what the Gospel does _not_, and
what it _does_ profess to be. The Gospel is not a system of Theology,
nor a _syntagma_ of theoretical propositions and conclusions for the
enlargement of speculative knowledge, ethical or metaphysical. But it
is a history, a series of facts and events related or announced. These
do indeed involve, or rather I should say they at the same time _are_,
most important doctrinal Truths; but still _Facts_ and Declaration of

Secondly of the _language_. This is a wide subject. But the point, to
which I chiefly advert, is the necessity of thoroughly understanding
the distinction between _analogous_, and _metaphorical_ language.
_Analogies_ are used in aid of _Conviction_: Metaphors, as means of
_Illustration_. The language is analogous, wherever a thing, power, or
principle in a higher dignity is expressed by the same thing, power,
or principle in a lower but more known form. Such, for instance, is
the language of John iii. 6. _That which is born of the flesh, is
flesh; that which is born of the Spirit, is Spirit._ The latter half
of the verse contains the fact _asserted_; the former half the
_analogous_ fact, by which it is rendered intelligible. If any man
choose to call this _metaphorical_ or figurative, I ask him whether
with Hobbes and Bolingbroke he applies the same rule to the moral
attributes of the Deity? Whether he regards the divine Justice, for
instance, as a _metaphorical_ term, a mere figure of speech? If he
disclaims this, then I answer, neither do I regard the words, _born
again_, or _spiritual life_, as figures or metaphors. I have only to
add, that these analogies are the material, or (to speak chemically)
the _base_, of Symbols and symbolical expressions; the nature of which
is always _tau_tegorical, that is, expressing the _same_ subject but
with a _difference_, in contra-distinction from metaphors and
similitudes, that are always _alle_gorical, that is, expressing a
_different_ subject but with a resemblance.

Of _metaphorical_ language, on the other hand, let the following be
taken as instance and illustration. I am speaking, we will suppose, of
an act, which in its own nature, and as a producing and efficient
_cause_, is transcendent; but which produces sundry _effects_, each of
which is the same in kind with an effect produced by a cause well
known and of ordinary occurrence. Now when I characterize or
designate this transcendent act, in exclusive reference to these its
_effects_, by a succession of names borrowed from their ordinary
causes; not for the purpose of rendering the act itself, or the manner
of the agency, conceivable, but in order to show the nature and
magnitude of the benefits received from it, and thus to excite the due
admiration, gratitude, and love in the receivers; in this case I
should be rightly described as speaking _metaphorically_. And in this
case to confound _the similarity_, in respect of the effects
relatively to the recipients, with _an identity_ in respect of the
causes or modes of causation relatively to the transcendent act or the
Divine Agent, is a confusion of metaphor with analogy, and of
figurative with literal; and has been and continues to be a fruitful
source of superstition or enthusiasm in believers, and of objections
and prejudices to infidels and sceptics. But each of these points is
worthy of a separate consideration: and apt occasions will be found of
reverting to them severally in the following Aphorisms, or the
comments thereto attached.

[84 and 85] These reference marks are the author's own, for which,
however, he supplied no notes here; but further on, in the Comment, at
pp. 132-3, he gives them _in the text_.--ED.

[86] See Comment on Moral and Religious Aphorism VI., p. 45.--ED.

[87] Lev. xix. 2, and Micah vi. 8.--ED.



FAITH elevates the soul not only above sense and sensible things, but
above reason itself. As reason corrects the errors which sense might
occasion, so supernatural faith corrects the errors of natural reason
judging according to sense.


My remarks on this Aphorism from Leighton cannot be better introduced,
or their purport more distinctly announced, than by the following
sentence from Harrington, with no other change than was necessary to
make the words express, without aid of the context, what from the
context it is evident was the writer's meaning. "The definition and
proper character of Man--that, namely, which should contra-distinguish
him from the Animals--is to be taken from his reason rather than from
his understanding: in regard that in other creatures there may be
something of understanding, but there is nothing of reason."[88]

Sir Thomas Browne, in his _Religio Medici_, complains, that there are
not impossibilities enough in Religion for his active faith; and
adopts by choice and in free preference, such interpretations of
certain texts and declarations of Holy Writ, as place them in
irreconcilable contradiction to the demonstrations of science
and the experience of mankind, because (says he) "I love to lose
myself in a mystery, and 'tis my solitary recreation to pose my
apprehension with those involved enigmas and riddles of the Trinity and
Incarnation;"--and because he delights (as thinking it no vulgar part
of faith) to believe a thing not only above but contrary to reason,
and against the evidence of our proper senses. For the worthy knight
could answer all the objections of the devil and reason "with the odd
resolution he had learnt of Tertullian: _Certum est quia impossibile
est_. It is certainly true because it is quite impossible!" Now this I

Again, there is a scheme constructed on the principle of retaining the
social sympathies, that attend on the name of Believer, at the least
possible expenditure of Belief; a scheme of picking and choosing
Scripture texts for the support of doctrines, that had been learned
beforehand from the higher oracle of Common Sense; which, as applied
to the truths of Religion, means the popular part of the philosophy in
fashion. Of course, the scheme differs at different times and in
different individuals in the number of articles excluded; but, it may
always be recognized by this permanent character, that its object is
to draw religion down to the believer's intellect, instead of raising
his intellect up to religion. And this extreme I call MINIMIFIDIANISM.

Now if there be one preventive of both these extremes more efficacious
than another, and preliminary to all the rest, it is the being made
fully aware of the diversity of Reason and Understanding. And this is
the more expedient, because though there is no want of authorities
ancient and modern for the distinction of the faculties, and the
distinct appropriation of the terms, yet our best writers too often
confound the one with the other. Even Lord Bacon himself, who in his
_Novum Organum_ has so incomparably set forth the nature of the
difference, and the unfitness of the latter faculty for the objects of
the former, does nevertheless in sundry places use the term Reason
where he means the Understanding, and sometimes, though less
frequently, Understanding for Reason.[93] In consequence of thus
confounding the two terms, or rather of wasting both words for the
expression of one and the same faculty, he left himself no appropriate
term for the other and higher gift of Reason, and was thus under the
necessity of adopting fantastical and mystical phrases, for example,
the dry light (_lumen siccum_), the lucific vision, and the like,
meaning thereby nothing more than Reason in contra-distinction from
the Understanding. Thus too in the preceding Aphorism, by Reason
Leighton means the human Understanding, the explanation annexed to it
being (by a noticeable coincidence), word for word, the very
definition which the founder of the Critical Philosophy gives of the
Understanding--namely, "the faculty judging according to sense."

[88] See 'The Friend,' vol. i., p. 263; or p. 95 in Bohn's one vol.
edition; and 'The Statesman's Manual,' Appendix (Note C.).--ED.

[89] There is this advantage in the occasional use of a newly minted
term or title, expressing the doctrinal schemes of particular sects or
parties, that it avoids the inconvenience that presses on either side,
whether we adopt the name which the party itself has taken up by which
to express its peculiar tenets, or that by which the same party is
designated by its opponents. If we take the latter, it most often
happens that either the persons are invidiously aimed at in the
designation of the principles, or that the name implies some
consequence or occasional accompaniment of the principles denied by
the parties themselves, as applicable to them collectively. On the
other hand, convinced as I am, that current appellations are never
wholly indifferent or inert; and that, when employed to express the
characteristic belief or object of a _religious_ confederacy, they
exert on the many a great and constant, though insensible, influence;
I cannot but fear that in adopting the former I may be sacrificing the
interests of Truth beyond what the duties of courtesy can demand or
justify. I have elsewhere stated my objections to the word
_Unitarians_: as a name which in its proper sense can belong only to
the maintainers of the truth impugned by the persons, who have chosen
it as their designation. For _Unity_ or Unition, and indistinguishable
_Unicity_ or Sameness, are incompatible terms. We never speak of the
unity of attraction, or the unity of repulsion; but of the unity of
attraction _and_ repulsion in each corpuscle. Indeed, the essential
diversity of the conceptions, Unity and Sameness, was among the
elementary principles of the old logicians; and Leibnitz, in his
critique on Wissowatius, has ably exposed the sophisms grounded on the
confusion of the two terms. But in the exclusive sense, in which the
name, Unitarian, is appropriated by the sect, and in which they mean
it to be understood, it is a presumptuous boast, and an uncharitable
calumny. No one of the Churches to which they on this article of the
Christian Faith stand opposed, Greek or Latin, ever adopted the term,
Trini--or Tri-uni-tarians as their ordinary and proper name: and had
it been otherwise, yet Unity is assuredly no logical Opposite to
Tri-unity, which expressly includes it. The triple alliance is _a
fortiori_ alliance. The true designation of their characteristic
Tenet, and which would simply and inoffensively express a fact
admitted on all sides, is Psilanthropism, or the assertion of the
_mere_ humanity of Christ.[90]

I dare not hesitate to avow my regret, that any scheme of doctrines or
tenets should be the subject of penal law: though I can easily
conceive, that any scheme, however excellent in itself, may be
propagated, and however false or injurious, may be assailed, in a
manner and by means that would make the advocate or assailant justly
punishable. But then it is the _manner_, the _means_, that constitute
the _crime_. The merit or demerit of the opinions themselves depends
on their originating and determining causes, which may differ in every
different believer, and are certainly known to Him alone, who
commanded us, _Judge not, lest ye be judged_. At all events, in the
present state of the law, I do not see where we can begin, or where we
can stop, without inconsistency and consequent hardship. Judging by
all that _we_ can pretend to know or are entitled to infer, who among
us will take on himself to deny that the late Dr. Priestley was a good
and benevolent man, as sincere in his love, as he was intrepid and
indefatigable in his pursuit, of truth? Now let us construct three
parallel tables, the first containing the Articles of Belief, moral
and theological, maintained by the venerable Hooker, as the
representative of the Established Church, each article being
distinctly lined and numbered; the second the Tenets and Persuasions
of Lord Herbert, as the representative of the platonizing Deists; and
the third, those of Dr. Priestley. Let the points, in which the second
and third agree with or differ from the first, be considered as to the
comparative number modified by the comparative weight and importance
of the several points--and let any competent and upright man be
appointed the arbiter, to decide according to his best judgment,
without any reference to the truth of the opinions, which of the two
differed from the first the more widely. I say this, well aware that
it would be abundantly more prudent to leave it unsaid. But I say it
in the conviction, that the _liberality_ in the adoption of admitted
_misnomers_ in the naming of doctrinal systems, if only they have been
negatively legalized, is but an equivocal proof of liberality towards
the _persons_ who dissent from us. On the contrary, I more than
suspect that the former liberality does in too many men arise from a
latent pre-disposition to transfer their reprobation and intolerance
from the doctrines to the doctors, from the belief to the believers.
Indecency, abuse, scoffing on subjects dear and awful to a multitude
of our fellow-citizens, appeals to the vanity, appetites, and
malignant passions of ignorant and incompetent judges--these are
flagrant overt-acts, condemned by the law written in the heart of
every honest man, Jew, Turk, and Christian. These are points
respecting which the humblest honest man feels it his duty to hold
himself infallible, and dares not hesitate in giving utterance to the
verdict of his conscience, in the jury-box as fearlessly as by his
fireside. It is far otherwise with respect to matters of faith and
inward conviction: and with respect to _these_ I say--Tolerate no
Belief, that you judge false and of injurious tendency: and arraign no
Believer. The Man is more and other than his Belief: and God only
knows, how small or how large a part of him the Belief in question may
be, for good or for evil. Resist every false doctrine: and call no man
heretic. The false doctrine does not necessarily make the man a
heretic; but an evil heart can make any doctrine heretical.

Actuated by these principles, I have objected to a false and deceptive
designation in the case of one System. Persuaded that the doctrines,
enumerated in pp. 130-132, are not only _essential_ to the Christian
Religion, but those which contra-distinguish the religion as
_Christian_, I merely _repeat_ this persuasion in another form, when I
assert, that (in _my_ sense of the word, Christian) Unitarianism is
not Christianity. But do I say, that those, who call themselves
Unitarians, are not Christians? God forbid! I would not think, much
less promulgate, a judgment at once so presumptuous and so
uncharitable.[91] Let a friendly antagonist retort on _my_ scheme of
faith, in the like manner: I shall respect him all the more for his
consistency as a reasoner, and not confide the less in his kindness
towards me as his neighbour and fellow-Christian. This latter and most
endearing name I scarcely know how to withhold even from my friend,
HYMAN HURWITZ, as often as I read what every Reverer of Holy Writ and
of the English Bible ought to read, his admirable VINDICIÆ HEBRAICÆ!
It has trembled on the verge, as it were, of my lips, every time I
have conversed with that pious, learned, strong-minded, and
single-hearted Jew, an Israelite indeed, and without guile,--

    _Cujus cura, sequi naturam, legibus uti,
      Et mentem vitiis, ora negare dolis;
    Virtutes opibus, verum præponere falso
      Nil vacuum sensu dicere, nil facere._

    Post obitum vivam[92] secum, secum requiescam,
    Nec fiat melior sors mea sorte suâ!

    _From a poem of Hildebert on his Master,
    the persecuted Berengarius._

Under the same feelings I conclude this _Aid to Reflection_ by
applying the principle to another misnomer not less inappropriate and
far more influential. Of those whom I have found most reason to
respect and value, many have been members of the Church of Rome: and
certainly I did not honour those the least, who scrupled even in
common parlance to call our Church a reformed Church. A similar
scruple would not, methinks, disgrace a Protestant as to the use of
the words, Catholic or Roman Catholic; and if (tacitly at least, and
in thought) he remembered that the Romish Anti-catholic Church would
more truly express the fact.--_Romish_, to mark that the corruptions
in discipline, doctrine, and practice do, for the larger part, owe
both their origin and perpetuation to the Romish _Court_, and the
local Tribunals of the _City_ of Rome; and neither are or ever have
been _Catholic_, that is, universal, throughout the Roman _Empire_, or
even in the whole Latin or Western Church--and _Anti_-catholic,
because no other Church acts on so narrow and excommunicative a
principle, or is characterized by such a jealous spirit of monopoly.
Instead of a Catholic (universal) spirit, it may be truly described as
a spirit of Particularism counterfeiting Catholicity by a _negative_
totality and heretical self-circumscription--in the first instances
cutting off, and since then cutting herself off from, all the other
members of Christ's body. For the rest, I think as that man of true
catholic spirit and apostolic zeal, Richard Baxter, thought; and my
readers will thank me for conveying my reflections in his own words,
in the following golden passage from his Life, "faithfully published
from his own original MSS. by Matthew Silvester, 1696."

"My censures of the Papists do much differ from what they were at
first. I then thought that their errors in the _doctrines of faith_
were their most dangerous mistakes. But now I am assured that their
misexpressions and misunderstanding us, with our mistakings of them
and inconvenient expressing of our own opinions, have made the
difference in most points appear much greater than it is; and that in
some it is next to none at all. But the great and unreconcileable
differences lie in their Church Tyranny; in the usurpations of their
Hierarchy, and Priesthood, under the name of spiritual authority
exercising a temporal Lordship; in their corruptions and abasement of
God's Worship; but above all their systematic befriending of Ignorance
and Vice.

"At first I thought that Mr. Perkins well proved, that a Papist cannot
go beyond a reprobate; but now I doubt not that God hath many
sanctified ones among them, who have received the true doctrine of
Christianity so practically, that their contradictory errors prevail
not against them, to hinder their love of God and their salvation: but
that their errors are like a conquerable dose of poison, which a
healthful nature doth overcome. _And I can never believe that a man
may not be saved by that religion, which doth but bring him to the
true Love of God and to a heavenly mind and life; nor that God will
ever cast a Soul into hell, that truly loveth him._ Also at first it
would disgrace any doctrine with me, if I did but hear it called
Popery and Anti-Christian; but I have long learned to be more
impartial, and to know that Satan can use even the names of Popery and
Antichrist, to bring a truth into suspicion and discredit."--Baxter's
Life, part I. p. 131.

[90] See the second 'Lay Sermon,' Bohn's edition, pp. 406-7.--ED.

[91] See Coleridge's 'Table Talk,' April 4, 1832, On

[92] I do not answer for the corrupt Latin.

[93] See 'The Friend,' Bohn's edition, pp. 95-100, and 319-27.--ED.




On the contrary, Reason is the Power of Universal and necessary
Convictions, the Source and Substance of Truths above Sense, and
having their evidence in themselves. Its presence is always marked by
the _necessity_ of the position affirmed: this necessity being
_conditional_, when a truth of Reason is applied to Facts of
Experience, or to the rules and maxims of the Understanding; but
_absolute_, when the subject matter is itself the growth or offspring
of the Reason. Hence arises a distinction in the Reason itself,
derived from the different mode of applying it, and from the objects
to which it is directed: accordingly as we consider one and the same
gift, now as the ground of formal principles, and now as the origin of
_ideas_. Contemplated distinctively in reference to _formal_ (or
abstract) truth, it is the _speculative_ reason; but in reference to
_actual_ (or moral) truth, as the fountain of ideas, and the _light_
of the conscience, we name it the _practical_ reason. Whenever by
self-subjection to this universal light, the will of the individual,
the _particular_ will, has become a will of reason, the man is
regenerate: and reason is then the _spirit_ of the regenerated man,
whereby the person is capable of a quickening inter-communion with the
Divine Spirit. And herein consists the mystery of Redemption, that
this has been rendered possible for us. _And so it is written: the
first man Adam, was made a living soul, the last Adam a quickening
Spirit._ (1 Cor. xv. 45.) We need only compare the passages in the
writings of the Apostles Paul and John, concerning the _spirit_ and
spiritual Gifts, with those in the Proverbs and in the Wisdom of
Solomon respecting _reason_, to be convinced that the terms are
synonymous.[94] In this at once most comprehensive and most
appropriate acceptation of the word, reason is pre-eminently
spiritual, and a spirit, even _our_ spirit, through an effluence of
the same grace by which we are privileged to say Our Father!

On the other hand, the Judgments of the Understanding are binding only
in relation to the objects of our Senses, which we _reflect_ under the
forms of the Understanding. It is, as Leighton rightly defines it,
"the faculty judging according to sense." Hence we add the epithet
_human_, without tautology: and speak of the _human_ understanding, in
disjunction from that of beings higher or lower than man. But there
is, in this sense, no _human_ reason. There neither is nor can be but
one reason, one and the same: even the light that lighteth every man's
individual Understanding (_Discursus_), and thus maketh it a
reasonable understanding, _discourse of reason--one only_, yet
_manifold: it goeth through all understanding, and remaining in itself
regenerateth all other powers_. The same writer calls it likewise _an
influence from the Glory of the Almighty_, this being one of the names
of the Messiah, as the _Logos_, or co-eternal Filial Word. And most
noticeable for its coincidence is a fragment of Heraclitus, as I have
indeed already noticed elsewhere;--"To discourse rationally it behoves
us to derive strength from that which is common to all men: for all
human Understandings are nourished by the one DIVINE WORD."

Beasts, we have said, partake of understanding. If any man deny this,
there is a ready way of settling the question. Let him give a careful
perusal to Hüber's two small volumes, on bees and ants (especially the
latter), and to Kirby and Spence's Introduction to Entomology; and one
or other of two things must follow. He will either change his opinion
as irreconcilable with the facts; or he must deny the facts, which yet
I cannot suppose, inasmuch as the denial would be tantamount to the no
less extravagant than uncharitable assertion, that Hüber, and the
several eminent naturalists, French and English, Swiss, German, and
Italian, by whom Hüber's observations and experiments have been
repeated and confirmed, had all conspired to impose a series of
falsehoods and fairy-tales on the world. I see no way at least, by
which he can get out of this dilemma, but by over-leaping the admitted
rules and fences of all legitimate discussion, and either transferring
to the word, Understanding, the definition already appropriated to
Reason, or defining Understanding _in genere_ by the _specific_ and
_accessional_ perfections which the _human_ understanding derives from
its co-existence with reason and free-will in the same individual
person; in plainer words, from its being exercised by a self-conscious
and responsible creature. And, after all, the supporter of
Harrington's position would have a right to ask him, by what other
name he would designate the faculty in the instances referred to? If
it be not Understanding, what is it?

In no former part of this volume has the author felt the same anxiety
to obtain a patient attention. For he does not hesitate to avow, that
on his success in establishing the validity and importance of the
distinction between Reason and Understanding, he rests his hopes of
carrying the reader along with him through all that is to follow. Let
the student but clearly see and comprehend the diversity in the things
themselves, the expediency of a correspondent distinction and
appropriation of the _words_ will follow of itself. Turn back for a
moment to the Aphorism, and having re-perused the first paragraph of
this Comment thereon, regard the two following narratives as the
illustration. I do not say proof: for I take these from a multitude of
facts equally striking for the one only purpose of placing my
_meaning_ out of all doubt.

I. Hüber put a dozen bumble-bees under a bell-glass along with a comb
of about ten silken cocoons so unequal in height as not to be capable
of standing steadily. To remedy this two or three of the bumble-bees
got upon the comb, stretched themselves over its edge, and with their
heads downwards fixed their fore-feet on the table on which the comb
stood, and so with their hind-feet kept the comb from falling. When
these were weary, others took their places. In this constrained and
painful posture, fresh bees relieving their comrades at intervals, and
each working in its turn, did these affectionate little insects
support the comb for nearly three days: at the end of which they had
prepared sufficient wax to build pillars with. But these pillars
having accidentally got displaced, the bees had recourse again to the
same manœuvre till Hüber, pitying their hard case, &c.

II. "I shall at present describe the operations of a single ant that I
observed sufficiently long to satisfy my curiosity. One rainy day, I
observed a labourer digging the ground near the aperture which gave
entrance to the ant-hill. It placed in a heap the several fragments it
had scraped up, and formed them into small pellets, which it deposited
here and there upon the nest. It returned constantly to the same
place, and appeared to have a marked design, for it laboured with
ardour and perseverance. I remarked a slight furrow, excavated in the
ground in a straight line, representing the plan of a path or gallery.
The Labourer, the whole of whose movements fell under my immediate
observation, gave it greater depth and breadth, and cleared out its
borders: and I saw at length, in which I could not be deceived, that
it had the intention of establishing an avenue which was to lead from
one of the stories to the underground chambers. This path, which was
about two or three inches in length, and formed by a single ant, was
opened above and bordered on each side by a buttress of earth; its
concavity _en forme de gouttière_ was of the most perfect regularity,
for the architect had not left an atom too much. The work of this ant
was so well followed and understood, that I could almost to a
certainty guess its next proceeding, and the very fragment it was
about to remove. At the side of the opening where this path
terminated, was a second opening to which it was necessary to arrive
by some road. The same ant engaged in and executed alone this
undertaking. It furrowed out and opened another path, parallel to the
first, leaving between each a little wall of three or four lines in
height. Those ants who lay the foundation of a wall, chamber, or
gallery, from working separately, occasion now and then a want of
coincidence in the parts of the same or different objects. Such
examples are of no unfrequent occurrence, but they by no means
embarrass them. What follows proves that the workman, on discovering
his error, knew how to rectify it. A wall had been erected with the
view of sustaining a vaulted ceiling, still incomplete, that had been
projected from the wall of the opposite chamber. The workman who began
constructing it, had given it too little elevation to meet the
opposite partition upon which it was to rest. Had it been continued on
the original plan, it must infallibly have met the wall at about one
half of its height, and this it was necessary to avoid. This state of
things very forcibly claimed my attention, when one of the ants
arriving at the place, and visiting the works, appeared to be struck
by the difficulty which presented itself; but this it as soon
obviated, by taking down the ceiling and raising the wall upon which
it reposed. It then, in my presence, constructed a new ceiling with
the fragments of the former one."--_Hüber's Natural History of Ants_,
p. 38-41.

Now I assert, that the faculty manifested in the acts here narrated
does not differ _in kind_ from Understanding, and that it _does_ so
differ from Reason. What I conceive the former to be, physiologically
considered, will be shown hereafter. In this place I take the
understanding as it exists in _men_, and in exclusive reference to its
_intelligential_ functions; and it is in this sense of the word that I
am to prove the necessity of contra-distinguishing it from reason.

Premising then, that two or more subjects having the same essential
characters are said to fall under the same general definition, I lay
it down, as a self-evident truth,--(it is, in fact, an identical
proposition) that whatever subjects fall under one and the same
general definition are of one and the same kind: consequently, that
which does _not_ fall under this definition, must differ in kind from
each and all of those that _do_. Difference in degree does indeed
suppose sameness in kind; and difference in kind precludes distinction
from difference of degree. _Heterogenea non comparari, ergo nec
distingui, possunt._ The inattention to this rule gives rise to the
numerous sophisms comprised by Aristotle under the head of μεταβασισ
εις αλλο γενος, that is, transition into a new kind, or the falsely
applying to X what had been truly asserted of A, and might have been
true of X, had it differed from A in its degree only. The sophistry
consists in the omission to notice what not being noticed will be
supposed not to exist; and where the silence respecting the difference
in kind is tantamount to an assertion that the difference is merely in
degree. But the fraud is especially gross, where the heterogeneous
subject, thus clandestinely _slipt in_, is in its own nature
insusceptible of degree: such as, for instance, Certainty, or
Circularity, contrasted with Strength, or Magnitude.

To apply these remarks for our present purpose, we have only to
describe Understanding and Reason, each by its characteristic
qualities. The comparison will show the difference.

    UNDERSTANDING.                      REASON.

 1. Understanding is discursive.    1. Reason is fixed.

 2. The Understanding in            2. The Reason in all its decisions
 all its judgments refers to        appeals to itself, as the ground
 some other Faculty as its          and _substance_ of their truth.
 ultimate Authority.                (Hebrews vi. 13.)

 3. Understanding is the            3. Reason of Contemplation.
 Faculty of _Reflection_.           Reason indeed is much nearer to
                                    SENSE than to Understanding:
                                    for Reason (says our great
                                    HOOKER) is a direct aspect
                                    of Truth, an inward Beholding,
                                    having a similar relation to
                                    the Intelligible or Spiritual,
                                    as SENSE has to the Material
                                    or Phenomenal.

The Result is: that neither falls under the definition of the other.
They differ _in kind_: and had my object been confined to the
establishment of this fact, the preceding columns would have
superseded all further disquisition. But I have ever in view the
especial interest of my youthful readers, whose reflective _power_ is
to be cultivated, as well as their particular reflections to be called
forth and guided. Now the main chance of their _reflecting_ on
religious subjects _aright_, and of their attaining to the
_contemplation_ of spiritual truths _at all_, rests on their insight
into the _nature_ of this disparity still more than on their
conviction of its existence. I now, therefore, proceed to a brief
analysis of the Understanding, in elucidation of the definitions
already given.

The Understanding then (considered exclusively as an organ of human
intelligence,) is the faculty by which we reflect and generalize.
Take, for instance, any objects consisting of many parts, a house, or
a group of houses: and if it be contemplated, as a Whole, that is, as
many constituting a one, it forms what in the technical language of
Psychology, is called a _total impression_. Among the various
component parts of this, we direct our attention especially to such as
we recollect to have noticed in other total impressions. Then, by a
voluntary act, we withhold our attention from all the rest to reflect
exclusively on these; and these we henceforward use as _common
characters_, by virtue of which the several objects are referred to
one and the same sort.[95] Thus, the whole process may be reduced to
three acts, all depending on and supposing a previous impression on
the senses: first, the appropriation of our Attention; second, (and in
order to the continuance of the first) Abstraction, or the voluntary
withholding of the Attention; and third, Generalization. And these are
the proper Functions of the Understanding: and the power of so doing,
is what we mean, when we say we possess Understanding, or are created
with the faculty of Understanding.

[It is obvious, that the third function includes the act of comparing
one object with another. In a note (for, not to interrupt the
argument, I avail myself of this most useful contrivance,) I have
shown, that the act of comparing supposes in the comparing faculty,
certain inherent forms, that is, modes of reflecting not referable to
the objects reflected on, but pre-determined by the constitution and
(as it were) mechanism of the Understanding itself. And under some one
or other of these forms,[96] the resemblances and differences must be
subsumed in order to be conceivable, and _a fortiori_ therefore in
order to be comparable. The senses do not compare, but merely furnish
the materials for comparison. But this the reader will find explained
in the note; and will now cast his eye back to the sentence
immediately preceding this parenthesis.]

Now when a person speaking to us of any particular Object or
Appearance refers it by means of some common character to a known
class (which he does in giving it a Name), we say, that we understand
him; that is, we understand his words. The Name of a thing, in the
original sense of the word Name, (_nomen_, νουμενον, το
_intelligible_, _id quod intelligitur_) expresses that which is
_understood_ in an appearance, that which we place (or make to
_stand_) _under_ it, as the condition of its real existence, and in
proof that it is not an accident of the senses, or affection of the
individual, not a phantom or _apparition_, that is, an appearance that
is _only_ an appearance. (See Gen. ii. 19, 20, and in Psalm xx. 1, and
in many other places of the Bible, the identity of _nomen_ with
_numen_, that is, invisible power and presence, the _nomen
substantivum_ of all real objects, and the ground of their reality,
independently of the affections of sense in the percipient). In like
manner, in a connected succession of names, as the speaker passes from
the one to the other, we say that we can understand his _discourse_
(_discursio intellectûs, discursus_, his passing rapidly from one
thing to another). Thus, in all instances, it is words, names, or, if
images, yet images used as words or names, that are the only and
exclusive subjects of Understanding. In no instance do we understand a
thing in itself; but only the name to which it is referred. Sometimes
indeed, when several classes are recalled conjointly, we identify the
words with the object--though by courtesy of idiom rather than in
strict propriety of language. Thus we may say that we _understand_ a
rainbow, when recalling successively the several Names for the several
sorts of colours, we know that they are to be applied to one and the
same _phenomenon_, at once distinctly and simultaneously; but even in
common speech we should not say this of a single colour. No one would
say he understands red or blue. He _sees_ the colour, and had seen it
before in a vast number and variety of objects; and he understands the
_word_ red, as referring his fancy or memory to this his collective

If this be so, and so it most assuredly is--if the proper functions of
the Understanding be that of generalizing the notices received from
the senses in order to the construction of _names_: of referring
particular notices (that is, impressions or sensations) to their
proper names; and, _vice versâ_, names to their correspondent class or
kind of notices--then it follows of necessity, that the Understanding
is truly and accurately defined in the words of Leighton and Kant, a
"faculty judging according to sense."

Now whether in defining the speculative Reason (that is, the Reason
considered abstractedly as an _intellective_ power) we call it "the
source of necessary and universal principles, according to which the
notices of the senses are either affirmed or denied;" or describe it
as "the power by which we are enabled to draw from particular and
contingent appearances universal and necessary conclusions:"[97] it is
equally evident that the two definitions differ in their essential
characters, and consequently the subjects differ in _kind_.

The dependence of the Understanding on the representations of the
senses, and its consequent posteriority thereto, as contrasted with
the independence and antecedency of Reason, are strikingly
exemplified in the Ptolemaic System (that truly wonderful product and
highest boast of the faculty, judging according to the senses!)
compared with the Newtonian, as the offspring of a yet higher power,
arranging, correcting, and annulling the representations of the senses
according to its own inherent laws and constitutive ideas.

[94] See Wisd. of Sol. vii. 22, 23, 27.--H. N. C.

[95] Accordingly as we attend more or less to the differences, the
_sort_ becomes, of course, more or less comprehensive. Hence there
arises for the systematic naturalist, the necessity of subdividing the
sorts into orders, classes, families, &c.: all which, however, resolve
themselves for the mere logician into the conception of _genus_ and
_species_, _i.e._ the comprehending and the comprehended.

[96] Were it not so, how could the first comparison have been
possible?--It would involve the absurdity of measuring a thing by
itself. But if we think on some one thing, the length of our own foot,
or of our hand and arm from the elbow joint, it is evident that in
_order_ to do this, we must have the conception of measure. Now these
antecedent and most general conceptions are what is meant by the
constituent _forms_ of the Understanding: we call them _constituent_
because they are not _acquired_ by the Understanding, but are implied
in its constitution. As rationally might a circle be said to acquire a
centre and circumference, as the Understanding to acquire these, its
inherent _forms_, or ways of conceiving. This is what Leibnitz meant,
when to the old adage of the Peripatetics, _Nihil in intellectu quod
non prius in sensu_ (There is nothing in the Understanding not derived
from the Senses, or--There is nothing _con_ceived that was not
previously _per_ceived;) he replied--_præter intellectum ipsum_
(except the Understanding itself).

And here let me remark for once and all: whoever would _reflect_ to
any purpose--whoever is in earnest in his pursuit of Self-knowledge,
and of one of the principal means to this, an insight into the meaning
of the words he uses, and the different meanings properly or
improperly conveyed by one and the same word, accordingly as it is
used in the schools or the market, accordingly as the _kind_ or a high
_degree_ is intended (for example, heat, weight, and the like, as
employed scientifically, compared with the same word used
popularly)--whoever, I say, seriously proposes this as his object,
must so far overcome his dislike of pedantry, and his dread of being
sneered at as a pedant, as not to quarrel with an uncouth word or
phrase, till he is quite sure that some other and more familiar one
would not only have expressed the _precise_ meaning with equal
clearness, but have been as likely to draw attention to _this_ meaning
exclusively. The ordinary language of a Philosopher in conversation or
popular writings, compared with the language he uses in strict
reasoning, is as his watch compared with the chronometer in his
observatory. He sets the former by the Town-clock, or even, perhaps,
by the Dutch clock in his kitchen, not because he believes it right,
but because his neighbours and his cook _go_ by it. To afford the
reader an opportunity for exercising the forbearance here recommended,
I turn back to the phrase, "most general conceptions," and observe,
that in strict and severe propriety of language I should have said
_generalific_ or _generific_ rather than general, and concipiences or
conceptive acts rather than conceptions.

It is an old complaint, that a man of genius no sooner appears, but
the host of dunces are up in arms to repel the invading alien. This
observation would have made more converts to its truth, I suspect, had
it been worded more dispassionately, and with a less contemptuous
antithesis. For "dunces," let us substitute "the many," or the "ουτος
κοσμος" (_this world_) of the Apostle, and we shall perhaps find no
great difficulty in accounting for the fact. To arrive at the _root_,
indeed, and last ground of the problem, it would be necessary to
investigate the nature and effects of the sense of difference on the
human mind where it is not holden in check by reason and reflection.
We need not go to the savage tribes of North America, or the yet ruder
natives of the Indian Isles, to learn, how slight a degree of
difference will, in uncultivated minds, call up a sense of diversity,
and inward perplexity and contradiction, as if the strangers were, and
yet were not, of the same _kind_ with themselves. Who has not had
occasion to observe the effect which the gesticulations and nasal
tones of a Frenchman produce on our own vulgar? Here we may see the
origin and primary import of our _unkindness_. It is a sense of
_un_kind, and not the mere negation but the positive Opposite of the
sense of _kind_. Alienation, aggravated now by fear, now by contempt,
and not seldom by a mixture of both, aversion, hatred, enmity, are so
many successive shapes of its growth and metamorphosis.--In
application to the present case, it is sufficient to say, that
Pindar's remark on sweet music holds equally true of genius: as many
as are not delighted by it are disturbed, perplexed, irritated. The
beholder either recognizes it as a projected form of his own Being,
that moves before him with a Glory round its head, or recoils from it
as from a Spectre. But this speculation would lead me too far; I must
be content with having referred to it as the ultimate ground of the
fact, and pass to the more obvious and proximate causes. And as the
first, I would rank the person's _not_ understanding what yet he
expects to understand, and as if he had a right to do so. An original
mathematical work, or any other that requires peculiar and (so to say)
technical marks and symbols, will excite no uneasy feelings--not in
the mind of a competent reader, for he understands it; and not with
others, because they neither expect nor are expected to understand it.
The second place we may assign to the _mis_understanding, which is
almost sure to follow in cases where the incompetent person, finding
no outward marks (diagrams, arbitrary signs, and the like) to inform
him at first sight, that the subject is one which he does not pretend
to understand, and to be ignorant of which does not detract from his
estimation as a man of abilities generally, _will_ attach some meaning
to what he hears or reads; and as he is out of humour with the author,
it will most often be such a meaning as he can quarrel with and
exhibit in a ridiculous or offensive point of view.

But above all, the whole world almost of minds, as far as we regard
intellectual efforts, may be divided into two classes of the
Busy-indolent and Lazy-indolent. To both alike all Thinking is
painful, and all attempts to rouse them to think, whether in the
re-examination of their existing convictions, or for the reception of
new light, are irritating. "It _may_ all be very deep and clever; but
really one ought to be quite sure of it before one wrenches one's
brain to find out what it is. I take up a Book as a Companion, with
whom I can have an easy cheerful chit-chat on what we both know
beforehand, or else matters of fact. In our leisure hours we have a
right to relaxation and amusement."

Well! but in their _studious_ hours, when their bow is to be bent,
when they are _apud Musas_, or amidst the Muses? Alas! it is just the
same! The same craving for _amusement_, that is, to be away from the
Muses! for relaxation, that is, the unbending of a bow which in fact
had never been strung! There are two ways of obtaining their applause.
The first is: Enable them to reconcile in one and the same occupation
the love of Sloth and the hatred of Vacancy! Gratify indolence, and
yet save them from _ennui_--in plain English, from themselves! For,
spite of their antipathy to _dry_ reading, the keeping company with
themselves is, after all, the insufferable annoyance: and the true
secret of their dislike to a work of thought and inquiry lies in its
tendency to make them acquainted with their own permanent Being. The
other road to their favour is, to introduce to them their own thoughts
and predilections, tricked out in the _fine_ language, in which it
would gratify their vanity to express them in their own conversation,
and with which they can imagine themselves _showing off:_ and this (as
has been elsewhere remarked) is the characteristic difference between
the second-rate writers of the last two or three generations, and the
same class under Elizabeth and the Stuarts. In the latter we find the
most far-fetched and singular thoughts in the simplest and most native
language; in the former, the most obvious and common-place thoughts in
the most far-fetched and motley language. But lastly, and as the _sine
quâ non_ of their patronage, a sufficient arc must be left for the
Reader's mind to _oscillate_ in--freedom of choice,

    To make the shifting cloud be what you please,

save only where the attraction of curiosity determines the line of
motion. The attention must not be fastened down: and this every work
of genius, not simply narrative, must do before it can be justly

In former times a _popular_ work meant one that adapted the _results_
of studious meditation or scientific research to the capacity of the
people, presenting in the concrete, by instances and examples, what
had been ascertained in the abstract and by discovery of the Law.
_Now_, on the other hand, that is a popular work which gives back to
the people their own errors and prejudices, and flatters the many by
creating them, under the title of THE PUBLIC, into a supreme and
inappellable Tribunal of intellectual Excellence. P.S. In a continuous
work, the frequent insertion and length of Notes would need an
Apology: in a book like this of Aphorisms and detached Comments none
is necessary, it being understood beforehand, that the sauce and the
garnish are to occupy the greater part of the dish.

[97] Take a familiar illustration. My sight and touch convey to me a
certain impression, to which my Understanding applies its
pre-conceptions (_conceptus antecedentes et generalissimi_) of
quantity and relation, and thus refers it to the class and name of
three-cornered bodies--we will suppose it the iron of a turf-spade. It
compares the sides, and finds that any two measured as one are greater
than the third; and according to a law of the imagination, there
arises a presumption that in all other bodies of the same figure (that
is, three-cornered and equilateral) the same proportion exists. After
this, the senses have been directed successively to a number of
three-cornered bodies of _unequal_ sides--and in these too the same
proportion has been found without exception, till at length it becomes
a fact of _experience_, that in _all_ triangles hitherto seen, the two
sides together are greater than the third: and there will exist no
ground or analogy for anticipating an exception to a rule, generalized
from so vast a number of particular instances. So far and no farther
could the Understanding carry us: and as far as this "the faculty,
judging according to sense," conducts many of the _inferior_ animals,
if not in the same, yet in instances analogous and fully equivalent.

The Reason supersedes the whole process, and on the first conception
presented by the Understanding in consequence of the first sight of a
tri-angular figure, of whatever sort it might chance to be, it affirms
with an assurance incapable of future increase, with a perfect
_certainty_, that in all possible triangles any two of the inclosing
lines _will_ and _must_ be greater than the third. In short,
Understanding in its highest form of experience remains commensurate
with the experimental notices of the senses from which it is
generalized. Reason, on the other hand, either predetermines
Experience, or avails itself of a past Experience to supersede its
necessity in all future time; and affirms truths which no sense could
perceive, nor experiment verify, nor experience confirm.

Yea, this is the test and character of a truth so affirmed, that in
its own proper form it is _inconceivable_. For _to conceive_ is a
function of the Understanding, which can be exercised only on subjects
subordinate thereto. And yet to the forms of the Understanding all
truth must be reduced, that is to be fixed as an object of reflection,
and to be rendered _expressible_. And here we have a second test and
sign of a truth so affirmed, that it can come forth out of the moulds
of the Understanding only in the disguise of two contradictory
conceptions, each of which is partially true, and the conjunction of
both conceptions becomes the representative or _expression_ (the
_exponent_) of a truth _beyond_ conception and inexpressible.
Examples: Before Abraham _was_, I _am_.--God is a Circle, the centre
of which is everywhere, and circumference nowhere. The soul is all in
every part.

If this appear extravagant, it is an extravagance which no man can
indeed learn from another, but which, (were this possible,) I might
have learnt from Plato, Kepler, and Bacon; from Luther, Hooker,
Pascal, Leibnitz, and Fénélon. But in this last paragraph I have, I
see, unwittingly overstepped my purpose, according to which we were to
take Reason as a simply intellectual power. Yet even as such, and with
all the disadvantage of a technical and arbitrary Abstraction, it has
been made evident--1. that there is an _Intuition_ or _im_mediate
Beholding, accompanied by a conviction of the necessity and
universality of the truth so beholden not derived from the senses,
which intuition, when it is _construed_ by _pure_ sense, gives birth
to the Science of Mathematics, and when applied to objects
supersensuous or spiritual is the organ of Theology and
Philosophy:--and 2. that there is likewise a reflective and discursive
faculty, or _mediate_ Apprehension which, taken by itself and
uninfluenced by the former, depends on the senses for the materials,
on which it is exercised, and is contained within the sphere of the
senses. And this faculty it is, which in generalizing the notices of
the senses constitutes Sensible Experience, and gives rise to Maxims
or Rules which may become more and more _general_, but can never be
raised into universal Verities, or beget a consciousness of absolute
Certainty; though they may be sufficient to extinguish all doubt.
(Putting Revelation out of view, take our first progenitor in the 50th
or 100th year of his existence. His experience would probably have
freed him from all doubt, as the sun sank in the horizon that it would
re-appear the next morning. But compare this state of assurance with
that which the same man would have had of the 37th Proposition of
Euclid, supposing him, like Pythagoras, to have discovered the
_Demonstration_.) Now is it expedient, I ask, or conformable to the
laws and purposes of language, to call two so altogether disparate
subjects by one and the same name? Or, having two names in our
language, should we call each of the two diverse subjects by
both--that is, by either name, as caprice might dictate? If not, then,
as we have the two words, Reason and Understanding (as indeed what
language of cultivated man has not?) what should prevent us from
appropriating the former to the Power distinctive of humanity? We need
only place the derivatives from the two terms in opposition (for
example, "A and B are both rational beings; but there is no comparison
between them in point of _intelligence_;" or "She always concludes
_rationally_, though not a woman of much _understanding_") to see that
we cannot reverse the order--_i.e._ call the higher gift
Understanding, and the lower Reason. What _should_ prevent us? I
asked. Alas! that which _has_ prevented us--the _cause_ of this
confusion in the terms--is only too obvious; namely, inattention to
the momentous distinction in the _things_, and (generally) to the duty
and habit recommended in the fifth Introductory Aphorism of this
volume, (_see_ p. 2). But the cause of this, and of all its lamentable
effects and subcauses, _false doctrine_, _blindness of heart and
contempt of the word_, is best declared by the philosophic Apostle:
_they did not_ like _to retain God in their knowledge_, (Rom. i.28,)
and though they could not _extinguish the light that lighteth every
man_, and which _shone in the darkness_; yet because the darkness
could not _comprehend_ the light, they refused to bear witness of the
light, and worshipped, instead, the shaping mist, which the light had
drawn upward from _the ground_ (that is, from the mere animal nature
and instinct), and which that light alone had made visible, that is,
by superinducing on the animal instinct the principle of


In Wonder all Philosophy began: in Wonder it ends: and Admiration
fills up the interspace. But the first Wonder is the offspring of
Ignorance: the last is the parent of Adoration. The first is the
birth-throe of our knowledge: the last is its euthanasy and

_Sequelæ: or Thoughts suggested by the preceding Aphorism._

As in respect of the first wonder we are all on the same level, how
comes it that the philosophic mind should, in all ages, be the
privilege of a few? The most obvious reason is this: The wonder takes
place before the period of reflection, and (with the great mass of
mankind) long before the individual is capable of directing his
attention freely and consciously to the feeling, or even to its
exciting causes. Surprise (the form and dress which the Wonder of
Ignorance usually puts on) is worn away, if not precluded, by custom
and familiarity. So is it with the objects of the senses, and the ways
and fashions of the world around us; even as with the beat of our own
hearts, which we notice only in moments of fear and perturbation. But
with regard to the concerns of our inward being, there is yet another
cause that acts in concert with the power in custom to prevent a fair
and equal exertion of reflective thought. The great fundamental truths
and doctrines of religion, the existence and attributes of God, and
the life after death, are in Christian countries taught so early,
under such circumstances, and in such close and vital association with
whatever makes or marks _reality_ for our infant minds, that the words
ever after represent sensations, feelings, vital assurances, sense of
reality--rather than thoughts, or any distinct conception. Associated,
I had almost said _identified_, with the parental voice, look, touch,
with the living warmth and pressure of the Mother, on whose lap the
child is first made to kneel, within whose palms its little hands are
folded, and the motion of whose eyes _its_ eyes follow and
imitate--(yea, what the blue sky is to the mother, the mother's
upraised eyes and brow are to the child, the Type and Symbol of an
invisible Heaven!)--from within and without, these great First Truths,
these good and gracious Tidings, these holy and humanizing Spells, in
the preconformity to which our very humanity may be said to consist,
are so infused, that it were but a tame and inadequate expression to
say, we all take them for granted. At a later period, in youth or
early manhood, most of us, indeed, (in the higher and middle classes
at least) read or hear certain PROOFS of these truths--which we
commonly listen to, when we listen at all, with much the same feelings
as a popular Prince on his Coronation Day, in the centre of a fond and
rejoicing nation, may be supposed to hear the Champion's challenge to
all the non-existents, that deny or dispute his Rights and Royalty. In
fact, the order of Proof is most often reversed or transposed. As far,
at least as I dare judge from the goings on in my own mind, when with
keen delight I first read the works of Derham, Nieuwentiet, and
Lyonet, I should say, that the full and life-like conviction of a
gracious Creator is the Proof (at all events, performs the office and
answers all the purpose of a Proof) of the wisdom and benevolence in
the construction of the Creature.

Do I blame this? Do I wish it to be otherwise? God forbid! It is only
one of its accidental, but too frequent consequences, of which I
complain, and against which I protest. I regret nothing that tends to
make the Light become the Life of men, even as the Life in the
eternal Word is their only and single true light. But I do regret,
that in after years--when by occasion of some new dispute on some old
heresy, or any other accident, the attention has for the first time
been distinctly attracted to the super-structure raised on these
fundamental truths, or to truths of later revelation supplemental of
these and not less important--all the doubts and difficulties, that
cannot but arise where the Understanding, _the mind of the flesh_, is
made the measure of spiritual things; all the sense of strangeness and
seeming contradiction in terms; all the marvel and the mystery, that
belong equally to both, are first thought of and applied in objection
exclusively to the latter. I would disturb no man's faith in the great
articles of the (falsely so called) Religion of Nature. But before the
man rejects, and calls on other men to reject, the revelations of the
Gospel and the Religion of all Christendom, I would have him place
himself in the state and under all the privations of a Simonides, when
in the fortieth day of his meditation the sage and philosophic poet
abandoned the problem in despair. Ever and anon he seemed to have hold
of the truth; but when he asked himself what he meant by it, it
escaped from him, or resolved itself into meanings, that destroyed
each other. I would have the sceptic, while yet a sceptic only,
seriously consider whether a doctrine, of the truth of which a
Socrates could obtain no other assurance than what he derived from his
strong _wish_ that it should be true; and which Plato found a mystery
hard to discover, and when discovered, communicable only to the fewest
of men; can, consonantly with history or common sense, be classed
among the articles, the belief of which is ensured to all men by their
mere common sense? Whether, without gross outrage to fact, they can be
said to constitute a Religion of Nature, or a Natural Theology
antecedent to Revelation, or superseding its necessity? Yes! in
prevention (for there is little chance, I fear, of a _cure_) of the
pugnacious dogmatism of _partial_ reflection, I would prescribe to
every man, who feels a commencing alienation from the Catholic Faith,
and whose studies and attainments authorise him to argue on the
subject at all, a patient and thoughtful perusal of the arguments and
representations which Bayle supposes to have passed through the mind
of Simonides. Or I should be fully satisfied if I could induce these
eschewers of mystery to give a patient, manly, and impartial perusal
to the single Treatise of Pomponatius, _De Fato_.[98]

When they have fairly and satisfactorily overthrown the objections and
cleared away the difficulties urged by this sharp-witted Italian
against the doctrines which they profess to retain, then let them
commence their attack on those which they reject. As far as the
supposed irrationality of the latter is the ground of argument, I am
much deceived if, on reviewing their forces, they would not find the
ranks woefully thinned by the success of their own fire in the
preceding engagement--unless, indeed, by pure heat of controversy, and
to storm the lines of their antagonists, they can bring to life again
the arguments which they had themselves killed off in the defence of
their own positions. In vain shall we seek for any other mode of
meeting the broad facts of the scientific Epicurean, or the
requisitions and queries of the all-analysing Pyrrhonist, than by
challenging the tribunal to which they appeal, as incompetent to try
the question. In order to _non-suit_ the infidel plaintiff, we must
remove the cause from the faculty, that judges according to sense, and
whose judgments, therefore, are valid only on objects of sense, to the
Superior Courts of Conscience and intuitive Reason! _The words I speak
unto you, are Spirit_, and such only _are life_, that is, have an
inward and actual power abiding in them.

But the same truth is at once shield and bow. The shaft of Atheism
glances aside from it to strike and pierce the breast-plate of the
heretic. Well for the latter, if plucking the weapon from the wound he
recognizes an arrow from his own quiver, and abandons a cause that
connects him with such confederates! Without further rhetoric, the sum
and substance of the argument is this:--an insight into the proper
functions and subaltern rank of the Understanding may not, indeed,
disarm the Psilanthropist of his metaphorical glosses, or of his
_versions_ fresh from the forge, and with no other stamp than the
private mark of the individual manufacturer; but it will deprive him
of the only rational pretext for having recourse to tools so liable to
abuse, and of such perilous example.


Since the preceding pages were composed, and during an interim of
depression and disqualification, I heard with a delight and an
interest, that I might without hyperbole call medicinal, that the
contra-distinction of Understanding from Reason, for which during
twenty years I have been contending, _casting my bread upon the
waters_ with a perseverance, which in the existing state of the public
taste nothing but the deepest conviction of its importance could have
inspired--has been lately adopted and sanctioned by the present
distinguished Professor of Anatomy, in the Course of Lectures given by
him at the Royal College of Surgeons, on the zoological part of
Natural History; and, if I am rightly informed, in one of the eloquent
and impressive introductory Discourses.[99] In explaining the Nature
of Instinct, as deduced from the actions and tendencies of animals
successively presented to the observation of the comparative
physiologist in the ascending scale of organic life--or rather, I
should have said, in an attempt to determine that precise import of
the _term_, which is required by the facts[100]--the Professor
explained the nature of what I have elsewhere called the _adaptive
power_, that is, the faculty of adapting means to proximate ends. [N.
B. I mean here a _relative_ end--that which relatively to one thing is
an _end_, though relatively to some other it is in itself a _mean_. It
is to be regretted, that we have no single word to express those ends,
that are not _the_ end: for the distinction between those and an end
in the proper sense of the term is an important one.] The Professor, I
say, not only explained, first, the nature of the adaptive power _in
genere_, and, secondly, the distinct character of the _same_ power as
it exists _specifically_ and exclusively in the _human_ being, and
acquires the name of Understanding; but he did it in a way which gave
the whole sum and substance of my convictions, of all I had so long
wished, and so often, but with such imperfect success, attempted to
convey, free from all semblance of paradoxy, and from all occasion of
offence--_omnem offendiculi_[101] _ansam præcidens_. It is, indeed,
for the _fragmentary_ reader only that I have any scruple. In those who
have had the patience to accompany me so far on the up-hill road to manly
principles, I can have no reason to guard against that disposition to
hasty offence from anticipation of _consequences_,--that faithless and
loveless spirit of fear which plunged Galileo into a prison[102]--a
spirit most unworthy of an educated man, who ought to have learnt that
the mistakes of scientific men have never injured Christianity, while
every new truth discovered by them has either added to its evidence,
or prepared the mind for its reception.

_On Instinct in Connection with the Understanding._

It is evident, that the definition of a Genus or class is an
_adequate_ definition only of the lowest _species_ of that Genus: for
each higher species is distinguished from the lower by some additional
character, while the general definition includes only the characters
common to _all_ the species. Consequently it _describes_ the lowest
only. Now I distinguish a genus or _kind_ of Powers under the name of
Adaptive power, and give as its generic definition--the power of
selecting, and adapting means to proximate ends; and as an instance of
the lowest _species_ of this genus, I take the stomach of a
caterpillar. I ask myself, under what words I can generalize the
action of this organ; and I see, that it selects and adapts the
appropriate means (that is, the assimilable part of the vegetable
_congesta_) to the proximate end, that is, the growth or reproduction
of the insect's body. This we call VITAL POWER, or _vita propria_ of
the stomach; and this being the _lowest_ species, its definition is
the same with the definition of the _kind_.

Well! from the power of the stomach, I pass to the power exerted by
the whole animal. I trace it wandering from spot to spot, and plant to
plant, till it finds the appropriate vegetable; and again on this
chosen vegetable, I mark it seeking out and fixing on the part of the
plant, bark, leaf, or petal, suited to its nourishment: or (should the
animal have assumed the butterfly form), to the deposition of its
eggs, and the sustentation of the future _larva_. Here I see a power
of selecting and adapting means to proximate ends _according to
circumstances_: and this higher species of Adaptive Power we call

Lastly, I reflect on the facts narrated and described in the preceding
extracts from Hüber, and see a power of selecting and adapting the
proper means to the proximate ends, according to _varying_
circumstances. And what shall we call this yet higher species? We name
the former, Instinct: we must call this INSTINCTIVE INTELLIGENCE.

Here then we have three Powers of the same kind; Life, Instinct, and
instinctive Intelligence: the essential characters that define the
genus existing equally in all three. But in addition to these, I find
one other character common to the highest and lowest: namely, that the
purposes are all manifestly predetermined by the peculiar organization
of the animals; and though it may not be possible to discover any such
immediate dependency in all the actions, yet the actions being
determined by the purposes, the _result_ is equivalent: and both the
actions and the purposes are all in a necessitated reference to the
preservation and continuance of the particular animal or the progeny.
There is selection, but not _choice_: volition rather than will. The
possible _knowledge_ of a thing, or the desire to have that _thing_
representable by a distinct correspondent _thought_, does not, in the
animal, suffice to render the thing an _object_, or the ground of a
purpose. I select and adapt the proper means to the separation of a
stone from a rock, which I neither can, or desire to make use of, for
food, shelter, or ornament: because, perhaps, I wish to measure the
angles of its primary crystals, or, perhaps, for no better reason
than the apparent _difficulty_ of loosening the stone--_sit pro
ratione voluntas_--and thus make a motive out of the absence of all
motive, and a reason out of the arbitrary will to act without any

Now what is the conclusion from these premises? Evidently this: that
if I suppose the Adaptive Power in its highest _species_, or form of
Instinctive Intelligence, to co-exist with Reason, _Free_ will, and
Self-consciousness, it instantly becomes UNDERSTANDING: in other
words, that Understanding differs indeed from the noblest form of
Instinct, but not in itself or in its own essential properties, but in
consequence of its co-existence with far higher Powers of a diverse
kind in one and the same subject. INSTINCT in a rational, responsible,
and self-conscious Animal, is Understanding.

Such I apprehend to have been the Professor's view and Exposition of
Instinct--and in confirmation of its truth, I would merely request my
readers, from the numerous well-authenticated instances on record, to
recall some one of the extraordinary actions of dogs for the
preservation of their masters' lives, and even for the avenging of
their deaths. In these instances we have the third _species_ of the
Adaptive Power, in connexion with an apparently _moral_ end--with an
_end_ in the proper sense of the word. _Here_ the Adaptive Power
co-exists with a purpose apparently _voluntary_, and the action seems
neither pre-determined by the organization of the animal, nor in any
direct reference to his own preservation, or to the continuance of his
race. It is united with an imposing semblance of gratitude, fidelity,
and disinterested love. We not only _value_ the faithful brute: we
attribute _worth_ to him. This, I admit, is a problem, of which I have
no solution to offer. One of the wisest of uninspired men has not
hesitated to declare the dog a great mystery, on account of this
dawning of a _moral_ nature unaccompanied by any the least evidence of
_reason_, in whichever of the two senses we interpret the
word--whether as the _practical_ reason, that is, the power of
proposing an _ultimate_ end, the determinability of the Will by IDEAS;
or as the _sciential_ reason, that is, the faculty of concluding
universal and necessary truths from particular and contingent
appearances. But in a question respecting the possession of reason,
the absence of all truth is tantamount to a proof of the contrary. It
is, however, by no means equally clear to me, that the dog may not
possess an _analogon_ of WORDS, which I have elsewhere shown to be the
proper objects of the "faculty, judging according to sense."

But to return to my purpose: I intreat the reader to reflect on any
one fact of this kind, whether occurring in his own experience, or
selected from the numerous anecdotes of the dog preserved in the
writings of zoologists. I will then confidently appeal to him, whether
it is in his power not to consider the faculty displayed in these
actions as the same _in kind_ with the Understanding, however inferior
_in degree_.--Or should he even in these instances prefer calling it
_Instinct_, and this in _contra_-distinction from _Understanding_, I
call on him to point out the boundary between the two, the chasm or
partition-wall that divides or separates the one from the other. If he
can, he will have done what none before him have been able to do,
though many and eminent men have tried hard for it: and my recantation
shall be among the first trophies of his success. If he cannot, I must
infer that he is controlled by his dread of the _consequences_, by an
apprehension of some injury resulting to Religion or Morality from
this opinion; and I shall console myself with the hope, that in the
sequel of this work he will find proofs of the directly contrary
tendency.--Not only is this view of the Understanding, as differing in
_degree_ from Instinct and _in kind_ from Reason, innocent in its
possible influences on the religious character, but it is an
indispensable preliminary to the removal of the most formidable
obstacles to an intelligent Belief of the _peculiar_ doctrines of the
Gospel, of the _characteristic_ Articles of the Christian Faith, with
which the Advocates of the truth in Christ have to contend;--the evil
_heart_ of Unbelief alone excepted.

[98] The philosopher, whom the Inquisition would have burnt alive as
an atheist, had not Leo X. and Cardinal Bembo decided that the work
might be formidable to those semi-pagan Christians who regarded
Revelation as a mere make-weight to their boasted Religion of Nature;
but contained nothing dangerous to the Catholic Church or offensive to
a true believer. [He was born in 1462, and died in 1525.--H. N. C.]

[99] A discourse by Prof. J. H. Green. This, "On Instinct," was
afterwards printed by Prof. Green with his 'Vital Dynamics,' 1840. We
give it as so published in the Appendix to the present edition;
though, of course, the "report," apparently verbal, on which
Coleridge's remarks of 1825 are founded, may have differed somewhat
from the Professor's text as published in 1840.--ED.

[100] The word, Instinct, brings together a number of facts into one
class by the assertion of a common ground, the nature of which ground
it determines _negatively_ only--that is, the word does not explain
_what_ this common ground is; but simply indicates that there _is_
such a ground, and that it is different in kind from that in which the
responsible and consciously voluntary actions of men originate. Thus,
in its true and primary import, Instinct stands in antithesis to
Reason; and the perplexity and contradictory statements into which so
many meritorious naturalists, and popular writers on natural history
(Priscilla Wakefield, Kirby, Spence, Hüber, and even Reimarus) have
fallen on this subject, arise wholly from their taking the word in
opposition to Understanding. I notice this, because I would not lose
any opportunity of impressing on the mind of my youthful readers the
important truth that language (as the embodied and articulated Spirit
of the Race, as the growth and emanation of a People, and not the work
of any individual wit or will) is often inadequate, sometimes
deficient, but never false or delusive. We have only to master the
true origin and original import of any native and abiding word, to
find in it, if not the _solution_ of the facts expressed by it, yet a
finger-mark pointing to the road on which this solution is to be

[101] _Neque quiquam addubito, quin ea candidis omnibus faciat satis.
Quid autem facias istis qui vel ob ingenii pertinaciam sibi satisfieri
nolint, vel stupidiores sint quam ut satisfactionem intelligant? Nam
quemadmodum Simonides dixit, Thessalos hebetiores esse quam ut possint
a se decipi, ita quosdam videas stupidiores quam ut placari queant.
Adhuc non mirum est invenire quod calumnietur qui nihil aliud quærit
nisi quod calumnietur._ (Erasmi Epist. ad Dorpium.) At all events, the
paragraph passing through the medium of my own prepossessions, if any
fault be found with it, the fault probably, and the blame certainly,
belongs to the reporter.

[102] And which (I may add) in a more enlightened age, and in a
Protestant country, impelled more than one German University to
anathematize Fr. Hoffman's discovery of carbonic acid gas, and of its
effects on animal life, as hostile to religion, and tending to
atheism! Three or four students at the university of Jena, in the
attempt to raise a spirit for the discovery of a supposed hidden
treasure, were strangled or poisoned by the fumes of the charcoal they
had been burning in a close garden-house of a vineyard near Jena,
while employed in their magic fumigations and charms. One only was
restored to life: and from his account of the noises and spectres
(_in_ his ears and eyes) as he was losing his senses, it was taken for
granted that _the bad spirit_ had destroyed them. Frederic Hoffman
admitted that it was a _very bad_ spirit that had _tempted_ them, the
Spirit of Avarice and Folly; and that a very _noxious_ Spirit (gas, or
_geist_,) was the immediate cause of their death. But he contended
that this latter spirit was the _spirit_ of charcoal, which would have
produced the same effect, had the young men been chaunting psalms
instead of incantations: and acquitted the devil of all _direct_
concern in the business. The Theological Faculty took the alarm: even
physicians pretended to be horror-stricken at Hoffman's audacity. The
controversy and its appendages embittered several years of this great
and good man's life.

_Reflections Introductory to Aphorism X._

The most _momentous_ question a man can ask is, Have I a Saviour? And
yet as far as the individual querist is concerned, it is premature
and to no purpose, unless another question has been previously put and
answered, (alas! too generally put after the wounded conscience has
already given the answer!) namely, Have I any need of a Saviour? For
him who _needs_ none, (O bitter irony of the evil Spirit, whose
whispers the proud Soul takes for its own thoughts, and knows not how
the Tempter is scoffing the while!) there _is_ none, as long as he
feels no need. On the other hand, it is scarcely possible to have
answered this question in the affirmative, and not ask--first, _in
what_ the necessity consists? secondly, _whence_ it proceeded? and,
thirdly, how far the answer to this second question is or is not
contained in the answer to the first? I intreat the intelligent
reader, who has taken me as his temporary guide on the straight, but
yet, from the number of cross roads, difficult way of religious
Inquiry, to halt a moment, and consider the main points, that, in this
last division of my work, have been already offered for his
reflection. I have attempted then to fix the proper meaning of the
words, Nature and Spirit, the one being the _antithesis_ to the other:
so that the most general and _negative_ definition of Nature is,
Whatever is not Spirit; and _vice versâ_ of Spirit, That which is not
comprehended in Nature: or in the language of our elder divines, that
which transcends Nature. But nature is the term in which we comprehend
all things that are representable in the forms of time and space, and
subjected to the relations of cause and effect: and the cause of the
existence of which, therefore, is to be sought for perpetually in
something antecedent. The word itself expresses this in the strongest
manner possible: _Natura_, that which is _about to be_ born, that
which is always _becoming_. It follows, therefore, that whatever
originates its own acts, or in any sense contains in itself the cause
of its own state, must be _spiritual_, and consequently
_super-natural_: yet not on that account necessarily _miraculous_. And
such must the responsible WILL in us be, if it be at all.

A prior step had been to remove all misconceptions from the subject;
to show the reasonableness of a belief in the reality and real
influence of a universal and divine Spirit; the compatibility and
possible communion of such a Spirit with the Spiritual principle in
individuals; and the analogy offered by the most undeniable truths of
Natural Philosophy.[103]

These views of the Spirit, and of the Will as Spiritual, form the
ground-work of my scheme. Among the numerous corollaries or
appendents, the first that presented itself respects the question,
Whether there is any faculty in man by which a knowledge of spiritual
truths, or of any truths not abstracted from nature, is rendered
possible? and an Answer is attempted in the Comment on Aphorism VIII.
And here I beg leave to remark, that in this comment the only novelty,
and, if there be merit, the only merit is--that there being two very
different Meanings, and two different Words, I have here and in former
Works appropriated one meaning to one of the Words, and the other to
the other--instead of using the words indifferently and by haphazard:
a confusion, the ill effects of which in this instance are so great
and of such frequent occurrence in the works of our ablest
philosophers and divines, that I should select it before all others in
proof of Hobbes's Maxim:--that it is a short, downhill passage from
errors in words to errors in things. The difference of the Reason from
the Understanding, and the imperfection and limited sphere of the
latter, have been asserted by many both before and since Lord
Bacon;[104] but still the habit of using Reason and Understanding as
synonyms, acted as a disturbing force. Some it led into mysticism,
others it set on explaining away a clear difference _in kind_ into a
mere superiority in degree: and it partially eclipsed the truth for

In close connexion with this, and therefore forming the Comment on the
Aphorism next following, is the subject of the legitimate exercise of
the Understanding and its limitation to Objects of Sense; with the
errors both of unbelief and of misbelief, which result from its
extension beyond the sphere of possible Experience. Wherever the forms
of reasoning appropriate only to the _natural_ world are applied to
_spiritual_ realities, it may be truly said, that the more strictly
logical the reasoning is in all its _parts_, the more irrational it is
as a _whole_.

To the reader thus armed and prepared, I now venture to present the so
called mysteries of Faith, that is, the peculiar tenets and especial
constituents of Christianity, or Religion in spirit and in truth. In
right order I must have commenced with the Articles of the Trinity and
Apostacy, including the question respecting the Origin of Evil, and
the Incarnation of the WORD. And could I have followed this order,
some difficulties that now press on me would have been obviated.--But
(as has already been explained) the limits of the present volume rendered
it alike impracticable and inexpedient; for the necessity of my argument
would have called forth certain hard though most true sayings, respecting
the hollowness and tricksy sophistry of the so called "Natural Theology,"
"Religion of Nature," "Light of Nature," and the like, which a brief
exposition could not save from innocent misconceptions, much less protect
against plausible misinterpretation.--And yet both Reason and
Experience have convinced me, that in the greater number of our ALOGI,
who feed on the husks of Christianity, the disbelief of the Trinity,
the Divinity of Christ included, has its origin and support in the
assumed self-evidence of this Natural Theology, and in their ignorance
of the insurmountable difficulties which (on the same mode of
reasoning) press upon the fundamental articles of their own Remnant of
a Creed. But arguments, which would prove the falsehood of a known
truth, must themselves be false, and can prove the falsehood of no
other position in _eodem genere_.

This _hint_ I have thrown out as a _spark_ that may perhaps fall where
it will kindle. And worthily might the wisest of men make inquisition
into the three momentous points here spoken of, for the purposes of
speculative insight, and for the formation of enlarged and systematic
views of the destination of man, and the dispensation of God. But the
_practical_ Inquirer (I speak not of those who inquire for the
gratification of curiosity, and still less of those who labour as
students only to shine as disputants; but of one, who seeks the truth,
because he feels the want of it,) the practical Inquirer, I say, hath
already placed his foot on the rock, if he have satisfied himself that
whoever needs not a Redeemer is more than human. Remove for him the
difficulties and objections, that oppose or perplex his belief of a
crucified Saviour; convince him of the reality of sin, which is
impossible without a knowledge of its true nature and inevitable
consequences; and then satisfy him as to the _fact_ historically, and
as to the truth spiritually, of a redemption therefrom by Christ; do
this for him, and there is little fear that he will permit either
logical quirks or metaphysical puzzles to contravene the plain dictate
of his common sense, that the Sinless One that redeemed mankind from
sin, must have been more than man; and that He who brought Light and
Immortality into the world, could not in his own nature have been an
inheritor of Death and Darkness. It is morally impossible that a man with
these convictions should suffer the objection of Incomprehensibility
(and this on a subject of _Faith_) to overbalance the manifest
absurdity and contradiction in the notion of a mediator between God
and the human race, at the same infinite distance from God as the race
for whom he mediates.

The origin of evil, meanwhile, is a question interesting only to the
metaphysician, and in a system of moral and religious philosophy. The
man of sober mind, who seeks for truths that possess a moral and
practical interest, is content to be _certain_, first, that evil must
have had a beginning, since otherwise it must either be God, or a
co-eternal and co-equal rival of God; both impious notions, and the
latter foolish to boot:--secondly, that it could not originate in God;
for if so, it would be at once evil and not evil, or God would be at
once God (that is, infinite Goodness) and not God--both alike
impossible positions. Instead therefore of troubling himself with this
barren controversy, he more profitably turns his inquiries to _that_
evil which most concerns himself, and of which he _may_ find the

The entire Scheme of _necessary_ Faith may be reduced to two
heads;--first, the object and occasion, and, secondly, the fact and
effect,--of our redemption by Christ: and to this view does the order
of the following Comments correspond. I have begun with ORIGINAL SIN,
and proceeded in the following Aphorism to the doctrine of Redemption.
The Comments on the remaining Aphorisms are all subsidiary to these,
or written in the hope of making the minor tenets of general belief be
believed in a spirit worthy of these. They are, in short, intended to
supply a febrifuge against aguish scruples and horrors, the hectic of
the soul;--and "for servile and thrall-like fear to substitute that
adoptive and cheerful boldness, which our new alliance with God
requires of us as Christians." (_Milton._) NOT the Origin of Evil, NOT
the _Chronology_ of Sin, or the chronicles of the original Sinner; but
Sin originant, underived from without, and no passive link in the
adamantine chain of Effects, each of which is in its turn an
_instrument_ of Causation, but no one of them a Cause;--NOT with Sin
_inflicted_, which would be a Calamity;--NOT with Sin (that is, an
evil tendency) _implanted_, for which let the planter be responsible;
but I begin with _Original_ Sin. And for this purpose I have selected
the Aphorism from the ablest and most formidable antagonist of this
doctrine, Bishop JEREMY TAYLOR, and from the most eloquent work of
this most eloquent of divines.[106] Had I said, of men, Cicero would
forgive me, and Demosthenes nod assent![107]


_On Original Sin._


Is there any such thing? That is not the question. For it is a fact
acknowledged on all hands almost: and even those who will not confess
it in words, confess it in their complaints. For my part I cannot but
confess that _to be_, which I feel and groan under, and by which all
the world is miserable.

Adam turned his back on the sun, and dwelt in the dark and the shadow.
He sinned, and brought evil into his _supernatural_ endowments, and
lost the Sacrament and Instrument of Immortality, the Tree of Life in
the centre of the garden.[108] He then fell under the evils of a
sickly body, and a passionate and ignorant soul. His sin made him
sickly, his sickness made him peevish: his sin left him ignorant, his
ignorance made him foolish and unreasonable. His sin left him to his
_nature_: and by nature, whoever was to be born at all, was to be born
a child, and to do before he could understand, and to be bred under
laws to which he was always bound, but which could not always be
exacted; and he was to choose when he could not reason, and had
passions most strong when he had his understanding most weak; and the
more need he had of a curb, the less strength he had to use it! And
this being the case of all the world, what was _every_ man's evil
became _all_ men's greater evil; and though alone it was very bad, yet
when they came together it was made much worse. Like ships in a storm,
every one alone hath enough to do to outride it; but when they meet,
besides the evils of the storm, they find the intolerable calamity of
their mutual concussion; and every ship that is ready to be oppressed
with the tempest, is a worse tempest to every vessel against which it
is violently dashed. So it is in mankind. Every man hath evil enough
of his own, and it is hard for a man to live up to the rule of his own
reason and conscience. But when he hath parents and children, friends
and enemies, buyers and sellers, lawyers and clients, a family and a
neighbourhood--then it is that every man dashes against another, and
one relation requires what another denies; and when one speaks another
will contradict him; and that which is well spoken is sometimes
innocently mistaken; and that upon a good cause produces an evil
effect; and by these, and ten thousand other concurrent causes, man is
made more than most miserable.[109]


The first question we should put to ourselves, when we have to read a
passage that perplexes us in a work of authority, is; What does the
writer _mean_ by all this? And the second question should be, What
does he intend by all this? In the passage before us, Taylor's
_meaning_ is not quite clear. A sin is an evil which has its ground or
origin in the agent, and not in the compulsion of circumstances.
Circumstances are compulsory from the absence of a power to resist or
control them: and if this absence likewise be the effect of
Circumstance (that is, if it have been neither directly nor indirectly
caused by the agent himself) the evil _derives_ from the
circumstances; and therefore (in the Apostle's sense of the word, sin,
when he speaks of the exceeding sinfulness of sin) such _evil_ is not
_sin_; and the person who suffers it, or who is the compelled
instrument of its infliction on others, may feel _regret_, but cannot
feel _remorse_. So likewise of the word origin, original, or
originant. The reader cannot too early be warned that it is not
applicable, and, without abuse of language, can never be applied, to a
mere _link_ in a chain of effects, where each, indeed, stands in the
relation of a _cause_ to those that follow, but is at the same time
the _effect_ of all that precede. For in these cases a cause amounts
to little more than an antecedent. At the utmost it means only a
_conductor_ of the causative influence; and the old axiom, _causa
causæ causa causati_, applies, with a never-ending regress to each
several link, up the whole chain of nature. But this _is_ Nature: and
no _natural_ thing or act can be called originant, or be truly said
to have an _origin_[110] in any other. The moment we assume an origin
in nature, a true _beginning_, an actual first--that moment we rise
_above_ nature, and are compelled to assume a _supernatural_ power.
(Gen. i. 1.)

It will be an equal convenience to myself and to my readers, to let
it be agreed between us, that we will generalize the word
Circumstance, so as to understand by it, as often as it occurs in this
Comment, all and every thing not connected with the Will, past or
present, of a Free Agent. Even though it were the blood in the
chambers of his heart, or his own inmost sensations, we will regard
them as _circumstantial, extrinsic_, or _from without_.

In this sense of the word Original, and in the sense before given of
Sin, it is evident that the phrase, original sin, is a pleonasm, the
epithet not adding to the thought, but only enforcing it. For if it be
sin, it must be _original_; and a state or act, that has not its
origin in the will, may be calamity, deformity, disease, or mischief;
but a _sin_ it cannot be. It is not enough that the act appears
voluntary, or that it is intentional; or that it has the most hateful
passions or debasing appetite for its proximate cause and
accompaniment. All these may be found in a mad-house, where neither
law nor humanity permit us to condemn the actor of sin. The reason of
law declares the maniac not a free-agent; and the verdict follows of
course--Not guilty. Now mania, as distinguished from idiocy, frenzy,
delirium, hypochondria, and derangement (the last term used
specifically to express a suspension or disordered state of the
understanding or adaptive power) is the occultation or eclipse of
reason, as the power of ultimate ends. The maniac, it is well known,
is often found clever and inventive in the selection and adaptation of
means to _his_ ends; but his _ends_ are madness. He has lost his
reason. For though Reason, in finite Beings, is not the Will--or how
could the Will be opposed to the Reason?--yet it is the _condition_,
the _sine qua non_ of a _Free_-will.

We will now return to the extract from Jeremy Taylor on a theme of
deep interest in itself, and trebly important from its _bearings_. For
without just and distinct views respecting the Article of Original
Sin, it is impossible to understand aright any one of the peculiar
doctrines of Christianity. Now my first complaint is, that the
eloquent Bishop, while he admits the _fact_ as established beyond
controversy by universal experience, yet leaves us wholly in the dark
as to the main point, supplies us with no answer to the principal
question--why he names it Original Sin. It cannot be said, We know
what the Bishop _means_, and what matters the name? for the _nature_
of the fact, and in what light it should be regarded by us, depends on
the nature of our answer to the question, whether Original Sin is or
is not the right and proper designation. I can imagine the same
quantum of _sufferings_, and yet if I had reason to regard them as
symptoms of a commencing change, as pains of growth, the temporary
deformity and misproportions of immaturity, or (as in the final
sloughing of the caterpillar) the throes and struggles of the waxing
or evolving PSYCHE, I should think it no Stoical flight to doubt, how
far I was authorized to declare the Circumstance an _evil_ at all.
Most assuredly I would not express or describe the fact as an evil
having an origin in the sufferers themselves or as sin.

Let us, however, waive this objection. Let it be supposed that the
Bishop uses the word in a different and more comprehensive sense, and
that by sin he understands evil of all kind connected with or
resulting from _actions_--though I do not see how we can represent the
properties even of inanimate bodies (of poisonous substances for
instance) except as _acts_ resulting from the constitution of such
bodies. Or if this sense, though not unknown to the Mystic divines,
should be _too_ comprehensive and remote, we will suppose the Bishop
to comprise under the term sin, the evil accompanying or consequent on
_human_ actions and purposes:--though here too, I have a right to be
informed, for what reason and on what grounds Sin is thus limited to
_human_ agency? And truly, I should be at no loss to assign the
reason. But then this reason would instantly bring me back to my first
definition; and any other reason, than that the human agent is
endowed with Reason, and with a Will which can place itself either in
subjection or in opposition to his Reason--in other words, that man is
alone of all known animals a responsible creature--I neither know nor
can imagine.

Thus, then, the sense which Taylor--and with him the antagonists generally
of this Article as propounded by the first Reformers--attaches to the
words, Original Sin, needs only be carried on into its next
consequence, and it will be found to _imply_ the sense which I have
given--namely, that Sin is Evil having an _Origin_. But inasmuch as it
is _evil_, in God it cannot originate: and yet in some _Spirit_ (that
is, in some _supernatural_ power) it _must_. For in _Nature_ there is
no origin. Sin therefore is spiritual Evil: but the spiritual in man
is the Will. Now when we do not refer to any particular sins, but to
that state and constitution of the Will, which is the ground,
condition, and common Cause of all Sins; and when we would further
express the truth, that this corrupt _nature_ of the Will must in some
sense or other be considered as its own act, that the corruption must
have been self-originated;--in this case and for this purpose we may,
with no less propriety than force, entitle this dire spiritual evil
and source of all evil, that is absolutely such, Original Sin. I have
said, "the corrupt _nature_ of the Will." I might add, that the
admission of a _nature_ into a spiritual essence by its own act is a

Such, I repeat, would be the inevitable conclusion, _if_ Taylor's
sense of the term were carried on into its immediate consequences. But
the whole of his most eloquent Treatise makes it certain that Taylor
did not carry it on: and consequently Original Sin, according to his
conception, is a calamity which being common to all men must be
supposed to result from their common nature: in other words, the
universal Calamity of Human _Nature_.

Can we wonder, then, that a mind, a heart like Taylor's should reject,
that he should strain his faculties to explain away, the belief that
this calamity, so dire in itself, should appear to the All-merciful
God a rightful cause and motive for inflicting on the wretched
sufferers a calamity infinitely more tremendous; nay, that it should
be incompatible with Divine Justice _not_ to punish it by everlasting
torment? Or need we be surprised if he found nothing that could
reconcile his mind to such a belief, in the circumstance that the acts
now _consequent_ on this calamity and either directly or indirectly
_effects_ of the same, were, five or six thousand years ago in the
instance of a certain individual and his accomplice, _anterior_ to the
calamity, and the _Cause_ or _Occasion_ of the same;--that what in all
other men is _disease_, in these two persons was _guilt_;--that what
in us is _hereditary_, and consequently _nature_, in _them_ was
_original_, and consequently _sin_? Lastly, might it not be presumed,
that so enlightened, and at the same time so affectionate, a divine,
would even fervently disclaim and reject the pretended justifications
of God grounded on flimsy analogies drawn from the imperfections of
human ordinances and human justice-courts--some of very doubtful
character even as human institutes, and all of them just only as far
as they are necessary, and rendered necessary chiefly by the weakness
and wickedness, the limited powers and corrupt passions, of mankind?
The more confidently might this be presumed of so acute and practised
a logician, as Taylor, in addition to his other extraordinary gifts,
is known to have been, when it is demonstrable that the most current
of these justifications rests on a palpable equivocation: namely, the
gross misuse of the word right.[111] An instance will explain my
meaning. In as far as, from the known frequency of dishonest or
mischievious persons, it may have been found _necessary_, in so far
is the law _justifiable_ in giving landowners the right of proceeding
against a neighbour or fellow-citizen for even a slight trespass on
that which the law has made their property:--nay, of proceeding in
sundry instances criminally and even capitally. But surely, either
there is no religion in the world, and nothing obligatory in the
precepts of the Gospel, or there are occasions in which it would be
very _wrong_ in the proprietor to exercise the _right_, which yet it
may be highly _expedient_ that he should possess. On this ground it
is, that Religion is the sustaining opposite of Law.

That Taylor, therefore, should have striven fervently against the
Article so interpreted and so vindicated, is, (for me, at least) a
subject neither of surprise nor of complaint. It is the doctrine which
he _substitutes_, it is the weakness and inconsistency betrayed in the
defence of this substitute; it is the unfairness with which he
blackens the established Article--for to give it, as it has been
caricatured by a few Ultra-Calvinists during the fever of the (so
called) Quinquarticular controversy, was in effect to blacken it--and
then imposes another scheme, to which the same objections apply with
even increased force, a scheme which seems to differ from the former
only by adding fraud and mockery to injustice; these are the things
that excite my wonder; it is of these that I complain. For what does
the Bishop's scheme amount to?--God, he tells us, required of Adam a
perfect obedience, and made it possible by endowing him "with perfect
rectitudes and super-natural heights of grace" proportionate to the
obedience which he required. As a _consequence_ of his disobedience,
Adam lost this rectitude, this perfect sanity and proportionateness of
his intellectual, moral and corporeal state, powers and impulses; and
as the _penalty_ of his crime, he was deprived of all super-natural
aids and graces. The death, with whatever is comprised in the
Scriptural sense of the word, death, began from that moment to work in
him, and this _consequence_ he conveyed to his offspring, and through
them to all his posterity, that is, to all mankind. They were _born_
diseased in mind, body and will. For what less than disease can we
call a necessity of error and a predisposition to sin and sickness?
Taylor, indeed, _asserts_, that though perfect obedience became
incomparably more difficult, it was not, however, absolutely
_impossible_. Yet he himself admits that the contrary was _universal_;
that of the countless millions of Adam's posterity, not a single
individual ever realized, or approached to the realization of, this
possibility; and (if my memory[113] does not deceive me) Taylor
himself has elsewhere exposed--and if he has not, yet Common Sense
will do it for him--the sophistry in asserting of a whole what may be
true of the whole, but--is in fact true only, of each of its component
parts. Any one may snap a horse-hair: therefore, any one may perform
the same feat with the horse's tail. On a level floor (on the hardened
sand, for instance, of a sea-beach) I chalk two parallel straight
lines, with a width of eight inches. It is _possible_ for a man, with
a bandage over his eyes, to keep within the path for two or three
paces: therefore, it is _possible_ for him to walk blindfold for two
or three leagues without a single deviation! And this _possibility_
would suffice to acquit me of _injustice_, though I had placed
man-traps within an inch of one line, and knew that there were
pit-falls and deep wells beside the other!

This _assertion_, therefore, without adverting to its discordance
with, if not direct contradiction to, the tenth and thirteenth
Articles of our Church, I shall not, I trust, be thought to rate below
its true value, if I treat it as an _infinitesimal_ possibility that
may be safely dropped in the calculation:--and so proceed with the
argument. The consequence then of Adam's crime was, by a natural
necessity, inherited by persons who could not (the Bishop affirms) in
any sense have been accomplices in the crime or partakers in the
guilt: and yet consistently with the divine holiness, it was not
possible that the same perfect obedience should not be required of
them. Now what would the idea of equity, what would the law inscribed
by the Creator in the heart of man, seem to dictate in this case?
Surely, that the supplementary aids, the super-natural graces
correspondent to a law above nature, should be increased in proportion
to the diminished strength of the agents, and the increased resistance
to be overcome by them. But no! not only the consequence of Adam's
act, but the penalty due to his crime, was perpetuated. His
descendants were despoiled or left destitute of these aids and graces,
while the obligation to perfect obedience was continued; an obligation
too, the non-fulfilment of which brought with it death and the
unutterable woe that cleaves to an immortal soul for ever alienated
from its Creator.

Observe, that all these _results_ of Adam's fall enter into Bishop
Taylor's scheme of Original Sin equally as into that of the first
Reformers. In this respect the Bishop's doctrine is the same with that
laid down in the Articles and Homilies of the Established Church. The
only difference that has hitherto appeared, consists in the aforesaid
_mathematical_ possibility of fulfilling the whole law, which in the
Bishop's scheme is affirmed to remain still in human nature, or (as it
is elsewhere expressed) in the nature of the human Will.[114] But though
it were possible to grant this existence of a power in all men, which in
no man was ever exemplified, and where the _non_-actualization of such
power is, _a priori_, so certain, that the belief or imagination of
the contrary in any individual is expressly given us by the Holy
Spirit as a test, whereby it may be known that _the truth is not in
him_, as an infallible sign of imposture or self-delusion! Though it
were possible to grant this, which, consistently with Scripture and
the principles of reasoning which we apply in all other cases, it is
not possible to grant;--and though it were possible likewise to
overlook the glaring sophistry of concluding in relation to a series
of indeterminate length, that whoever can do any one, can therefore do
all; a conclusion, the futility of which must force itself on the
common-sense of every man who understands the proposition;--still the
question will arise--Why, and on what principle of equity, were the
unoffending sentenced to be born with so fearful a disproportion of
their powers to their duties? Why were they subjected to a law, the
fulfilment of which was all but impossible, yet the penalty on the
failure tremendous? Admit that for those who had never enjoyed a
happier lot, it was no punishment to be made to inhabit a ground which
the Creator had cursed, and to have been born with a body prone to
sickness, and a soul surrounded with temptation, and having the worst
temptation within itself in its own _temptibility_;--to have the
duties of a spirit with the wants and appetites of an animal! Yet on
such imperfect Creatures, with means so scanty and impediments so
numerous, to impose the same task-work that had been required of a
Creature with a pure and entire nature, and provided with super-natural
aids--if this be not to inflict a penalty;--yet to be placed under a
law, the difficulty of obeying which is infinite, and to have momently
to struggle with this difficulty, and to live momently in hazard of
these consequences--if this be no punishment;--words have no
correspondence with thoughts, and thoughts are but shadows of each
other, shadows that own no substance for their anti-type!

Of such an outrage on common-sense, Taylor was incapable. He himself
calls it a penalty; he admits that in effect it is a punishment: nor
does he seek to suppress the question that so naturally arises out of
this admission;--on what principle of equity were the innocent
offspring of Adam _punished_ at all? He meets it, and puts-in an
answer. He states the problem, and gives his solution--namely, that
"God on Adam's account was so exasperated with mankind, that being
angry he would still continue the punishment"! "The case" (says the
Bishop) "is this: Jonathan and Michal were Saul's children. It came to
pass, that seven of Saul's issue were to be hanged: all equally
innocent, equally culpable." [_Before I quote further, I feel myself
called on to remind the reader, that these two last words were added
by Jeremy Taylor without the least grounds in Scripture, according to
which_, (2 Samuel, xxi.) _no crime was laid to their charge, no blame
imputed to them_. _Without any pretence of culpable conduct on their
part, they were arraigned as children of Saul, and sacrificed to a
point of state-expedience. In recommencing the quotation, therefore,
the reader ought to let the sentence conclude with the words--_] "all
equally innocent. David took the five sons of Michal, for she had
left him unhandsomely. Jonathan was his friend: and therefore he
spared _his_ son, Mephibosheth. Here it was indifferent as to the
guilt of the persons" (_Bear in mind, reader, that no guilt was
attached to either of them!_) "whether David should take the sons of
Michal or of Jonathan; but it is likely that as upon the kindness that
David had to Jonathan, he spared his son; so upon the just provocation
of Michal, he made that evil fall upon them, which, it may be, they
should not have suffered, if their mother had been kind. Adam was to
God, as Michal to David."[115]

This answer, this solution proceeding too from a divine so
pre-eminently gifted, and occurring (with other passages not less
startling) in a vehement refutation of the received doctrine on the
express ground of its opposition to the clearest conceptions and best
feelings of mankind--this it is that surprises me! It is of this that
I complain! The Almighty Father _exasperated_ with those, whom the
Bishop has himself in the same treatise described as "innocent and
most unfortunate"--the two things best fitted to conciliate love and
pity! Or though they did not remain innocent, yet those whose
abandonment to a mere nature, while they were left amenable to a law
above nature, he affirms to be the irresistible cause, that they one
and all _did_ sin! And this decree illustrated and justified by its
analogy to one of the worst actions of an imperfect mortal! From such
of my readers as will give a thoughtful perusal to these works of
Taylor, I dare anticipate a concurrence with the judgment which I here
transcribe from the blank space at the end of the _Deus Justificatus_
in my own copy; and which, though twenty years[116] have elapsed since
it was written, I have never seen reason to recant or modify. "This
most eloquent Treatise may be compared to a statue of Janus, with the
one face, which we must suppose fronting the Calvinistic tenet, entire
and fresh, as from the master's hand: beaming with life and force,
witty scorn on the lip, and a brow at once bright and weighty with
satisfying reason:--the other, looking toward the "something to be put
in its place," maimed, featureless, and weather-bitten into an almost
visionary confusion and indistinctness."[117]

With these expositions I hasten to contrast the _Scriptural_ article
respecting Original Sin, or the corrupt and sinful Nature of the Human
Will, and the belief which alone is required of us, as Christians. And
here the first thing to be considered, and which will at once remove a
world of error, is; that this is no tenet first introduced or imposed
by Christianity, and which, should a man see reason to disclaim the
authority of the Gospel, would no longer have any claim on his
attention. It is no perplexity that a man may get rid of by ceasing to
be a Christian, and which has no existence for a philosophic Deist. It
is a FACT, affirmed, indeed, in the Christian Scriptures alone with
the force and frequency proportioned to its consummate importance; but
a fact acknowledged in _every_ religion that retains the least
glimmering of the patriarchal faith in a God infinite, yet
_personal_--a Fact assumed or implied as the basis of every religion,
of which any relics remain of earlier date than the last and total
apostacy of the Pagan world, when the faith in the great I AM, the
_Creator_, was extinguished in the sensual Polytheism, which is
inevitably the final result of Pantheism or the worship of nature; and
the only form under which the Pantheistic scheme--that, according to
which the world is God, and the material universe itself the one only
_absolute_ Being--can exist for a people, or become the popular creed.
Thus in the most ancient books of the Brahmins, the deep sense of this
Fact, and the doctrines grounded on obscure traditions of the promised
remedy, are seen struggling, and now gleaming, now flashing, through
the mist of Pantheism, and producing the incongruities and gross
contradictions of the Brahmin Mythology: while in the rival sect--in
that most strange _phænomenon_, the religious atheism of the
Buddhists: with whom God is only universal matter considered
abstractedly from all particular forms--the Fact is placed among the
delusions natural to man, which, together with other superstitions
grounded on a supposed _essential_ difference between right and wrong,
_the sage_ is to decompose and precipitate from the _menstruum_ of
_his_ more refined apprehensions! Thus in denying the Fact, they
virtually acknowledge it.

From the remote East turn to the mythology of Lesser Asia, to the
descendants of Javan who dwelt in the tents of Shem, and possessed the
Isles. Here again, and in the usual form of an historic solution we
find the same _Fact_, and as characteristic of the human _race_,
stated in that earliest and most venerable _mythus_ (or symbolic
parable) of Prometheus--that truly wonderful Fable, in which the
characters of the rebellious Spirit and of the Divine Friend of
Mankind (Θεος φιλανθρωπος) are united in the same person; and
thus in the most striking manner noting the forced amalgamation of the
Patriarchal tradition with the incongruous scheme of Pantheism. This
and the connected tale of Io, which is but the sequel of the
Prometheus, stand alone in the Greek Mythology, in which elsewhere
both gods and men are mere powers and products of nature. And most
noticeable it is, that soon after the promulgation and spread of the
Gospel had awakened the moral sense, and had opened the eyes even of
its wiser enemies to the necessity of providing some solution of this
great problem of the Moral World, the beautiful Parable of Cupid and
Psyche was brought forward as a _rival_ FALL OF MAN: and the fact of a
moral corruption connatural with the human race was again recognized.
In the assertion of ORIGINAL SIN the Greek Mythology rose and set.

But not only was the _fact_ acknowledged of a law in the nature of man
resisting the law of God; (and whatever is placed in active and direct
oppugnancy to the good is, _ipso facto_, positive evil;) it was
likewise an acknowledged MYSTERY, and one which by the nature of the
subject must ever remain such--a problem, of which any other solution,
than the statement of the _Fact_ itself, was demonstrably
_impossible_. That it is so, the least reflection will suffice to
convince every man, who has previously satisfied himself that he is a
responsible being. It follows necessarily from the postulate of a
responsible Will. Refuse to grant this, and I have not a word to say.
Concede this and you concede all. For this is the essential attribute
of a Will, and contained in the very _idea_, that whatever determines
the Will acquires this power from a previous determination of the Will
itself. The Will is ultimately self-determined, or it is no longer a
_Will_ under the law of perfect freedom, but a _nature_ under the
mechanism of cause and effect. And if by an act, to which it had
determined itself, it has subjected itself to the determination of
nature (in the language of St. Paul, to the law of the flesh), it
receives a nature into itself, and so far it becomes a nature: and
this is a corruption of the Will and a corrupt nature. It is also a
_Fall_ of Man, inasmuch as his Will is the condition of his
personality; the ground and condition of the attribute which
constitutes him _man_. And the ground work of _personal_ Being is a
capacity of acknowledging the Moral Law (the Law of the Spirit, the
Law of Freedom, the Divine Will) as that which should, of itself,
suffice to determine the Will to a free obedience of the law, the law
working therein by its own exceeding lawfulness.[118] This, and this
alone, is _positive_ Good; good in itself, and independent of all
relations. Whatever resists, and, as a positive force, opposes _this_
in the Will is therefore evil. But an evil in the Will is an evil
Will; and as all moral evil (that is, all evil that is evil without
reference to its contingent physical consequences) is _of_ the Will,
this evil Will must have its source in the Will. And thus we might go
back from act to act, from evil to evil, _ad infinitum_, without
advancing a step.

We call an individual a _bad_ man, not because an action is contrary
to the law, but because it has led us to conclude from it some
_Principle_ opposed to the law, some private maxim, or by-law in the
Will contrary to the universal law of right reason in the conscience,
as the _ground_ of the action. But this evil principle again must be
grounded in some other principle which has been made determinant of
the Will by the Will's own self-determination. For if not, it must
have its ground in some necessity of nature, in some instinct or
propensity imposed, not acquired, another's work not our own.
Consequently, neither act nor principle could be imputed; and
relatively to the agent, not _original_, not _sin_.

Now let the grounds on which the fact of an evil inherent in the Will
is affirmable in the instance of any one man, be supposed equally
applicable in _every_ instance, and concerning all men: so that the
fact is asserted of the individual, _not_, because he has committed
this or that crime, or because he has shown himself to be _this_ or
_that_ man, but simply because he is _a_ man. Let the evil be supposed
such as to imply the impossibility of an individual's referring to any
particular time at which it might be conceived to have commenced, or
to any period of his existence at which it was not existing. Let it be
supposed, in short, that the subject stands in no relation whatever to
time, can neither be called _in_ time nor _out of_ time; but that all
relations of time are as alien and heterogeneous in this question, as
the relations and attributes of space (north or south, round or
square, thick or thin) are to our affections and moral feelings. Let
the reader suppose this, and he will have before him the precise
import of the Scriptural _doctrine_ of Original Sin; or rather of the
Fact acknowledged in all ages, and recognized but not originating, in
the Christian Scriptures.

In addition to this it will be well to remind the inquirer, that the
stedfast conviction of the existence, personality, and moral
attributes of God, is presupposed in the acceptance of the Gospel, or
required as its indispensable preliminary. It is taken for granted as
a point which the hearer had already decided for himself, a point
finally settled and put at rest: not by the removal of all
difficulties, or by any such increase of insight as enabled him to
meet every objection of the Epicurean or the sceptic with a full and
precise answer; but because he had convinced himself that it was folly
as well as presumption in so imperfect a creature to expect it; and
because these difficulties and doubts disappeared at the beam, when
tried against the weight and convictive power of the reasons in the
other scale. It is, therefore, most unfair to attack Christianity, or
any article which the Church has declared a Christian doctrine, by
arguments, which, if valid, are valid against all religion. Is there
a disputant who scorns a mere _postulate_, as the basis of any
argument in support of the Faith; who is too high-minded _to beg_ his
ground, and will take it by a strong hand? Let him fight it out with
the Atheists, or the Manichæans; but not stoop to pick up their
arrows, and then run away to discharge them at Christianity or the

The only true way is to state the doctrine, believed as well by Saul
of Tarsus, _yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against_ the
Church of Christ, as by Paul the Apostle _fully preaching the Gospel
of Christ_. A moral Evil is an evil that has its origin in a Will. An
evil common to all must have a ground common to all. But the actual
existence of moral evil we are bound in conscience to admit; and that
there is an evil common to all is a fact; and this evil must therefore
have a common ground. Now this evil ground cannot originate in the
Divine Will: it must therefore be referred to the will of man. And
this evil ground we call Original Sin. It is a _mystery_, that is, a
fact, which we see, but cannot explain; and the doctrine a truth which
we apprehend, but can neither comprehend nor communicate. And such by
the quality of the subject (namely, a responsible _Will_) it must be,
if it be truth at all.

A sick man, whose complaint was as obscure as his sufferings were
severe and notorious, was thus addressed by a humane stranger: "My
poor Friend! I find you dangerously ill, and on this account only, and
having certain information of your being so, and that you have not
wherewithal to pay for a physician, I have come to you. Respecting
your disease, indeed, I can tell you nothing, that you are capable of
understanding, more than you know already, or can only be taught by
reflection on your own experience. But I have rendered the disease no
longer irremediable. I have brought the remedy with me: and I now
offer you the means of immediate relief, with the assurance of gradual
convalescence, and a final perfect cure; nothing more being required
on your part, but your best endeavours to follow the prescriptions I
shall leave with you. It is, indeed, too probable, from the nature of
your disease, that you will occasionally neglect or transgress them.
But even this has been calculated on in the plan of your cure, and
the remedies provided, if only you are sincere and in right earnest
with yourself, and have your _heart_ in the work. Ask me not how such
a disease can be conceived possible. Enough for the present that you
know it to be real: and I come to cure the disease not to explain it."

Now, what if the patient or some of his neighbours should charge this
good Samaritan, with having given rise to the mischievous notion of an
inexplicable disease, involving the honour of the King of the
country;--should inveigh against _him_ as the author and first
introducer of the notion, though of the numerous medical works
composed ages before _his_ arrival, and by physicians of the most
venerable authority, it was scarcely possible to open a single volume
without finding some description of the disease, or some lamentation
of its malignant and epidemic character:--and, lastly, what if certain
pretended friends of this good Samaritan, in their zeal to vindicate
him against this absurd charge, should assert that he was a perfect
stranger to this disease, and boldly deny that he had ever said or
done any thing connected with it, or that implied its existence?

In this Apologue or imaginary case, reader, you have the true bearings
of Christianity on the fact and doctrine of Original Sin. The doctrine
(that is, the confession of a known fact) Christianity has only in
common with every religion, and with every philosophy, in which the
reality of a responsible Will and the _essential_ difference between
good and evil have been recognised. _Peculiar_ to the Christian
religion are the remedy and (for all purposes but those of a merely
speculative curiosity) the solution. By the annunciation of the remedy
it affords all the solution which our _moral_ interests require; and
even in that which remains, and must remain, unfathomable, the
Christian finds a new motive to walk humbly with the Lord his God.

Should a professed Believer ask you whether that, which is the ground
of responsible action in _your_ will, could in any way be responsibly
present in the Will of Adam,--answer him in these words: "_You_, Sir!
can no more demonstrate the negative, than I can conceive the
affirmative. The corruption of my will may very warrantably be spoken
of as a _consequence_ of Adam's fall, even as my birth of Adam's
existence; as a consequence, a link in the historic chain of
instances, whereof Adam is the first. But that it is _on account_ of
Adam; or that this evil principle was, _a priori_, inserted or infused
into my Will by the will of another--which is indeed a contradiction
in terms, my Will in such case being no _Will_--_this_ is nowhere
asserted in Scripture explicitly or by implication." It belongs to the
very essence of the doctrine, that in respect of Original Sin _every_
man is the adequate representative of _all_ men. What wonder, then,
that where no inward ground of preference existed, the choice should
be determined by outward relations, and that the first _in time_
should be taken as the diagram? Even in Genesis the word, Adam, is
distinguished from a proper name by an Article before it. It is _the_
Adam, so as to express the _genus_, not the individual--or rather,
perhaps, I should say, _as well as_ the individual. But that the word
with its equivalent, _the old man_, is used symbolically and
universally by St. Paul, (1 Cor. xv. 22, 45. Eph. iv. 22. Col. iii. 9.
Rom. vi. 6.) is too evident to need any proof.

I conclude with this remark. The doctrine of Original Sin concerns all
men. But it concerns Christians _in particular_ no otherwise than by
its connexion with the doctrine of Redemption; and with the Divinity
and Divine Humanity of the Redeemer as a corollary or necessary
inference from both mysteries. BEWARE OF ARGUMENTS AGAINST
HAVE COMMENCED THERE. Something I might have added to the clearness of
the preceding views, if the limits of the work had permitted me to
clear away the several delusive and fanciful assertions respecting the
state[119] of our first parents, their wisdom, science, and angelic
faculties, assertions without the slightest ground in Scripture:--Or,
if consistently with the wants and preparatory studies of those for
whose use the volume was especially intended, I could have entered
into the momentous subject of a Spiritual Fall or Apostacy
_antecedent_ to the formation of man--a belief, the scriptural grounds
of which are few and of diverse interpretation, but which has been
almost universal in the Christian Church. Enough, however, has been
given, I trust, for the Reader to see and (as far as the subject is
capable of being understood) to understand this long controverted
Article, in the sense in which alone it is binding on his faith.
Supposing him therefore, to know the meaning of original sin, and to
have decided for himself on the fact of its actual existence, as the
antecedent ground and occasion of Christianity, we may now proceed to
Christianity itself, as the Edifice raised on this ground, that is, to
the great Constituent Article of the Faith in Christ, as the Remedy of
the Disease--The Doctrine of Redemption.

But before I proceed to this momentous doctrine let me briefly remind
the young and friendly pupil, to whom I would still be supposed to
address myself, that in the following Aphorism the word science is
used in its strict and narrowest sense. By a Science I here mean any
chain of truths which are either absolutely certain, or necessarily
true for the human mind, from the laws and constitution of the mind
itself. In neither case is our conviction derived, or capable of
receiving any addition, from outward experience, or empirical
_data_--that is, matters of fact _given_ to us through the medium of
the senses--though these _data_ may have been the occasion, or may
even be an indispensable condition, of our reflecting on the former,
and thereby becoming _conscious_ of the same. On the other hand, a
connected series of conclusions grounded on empirical _data_, in
contra-distinction from science, I beg leave (no better term
occurring) in this place and for this purpose, to denominate a scheme.

[103] It has in its consequences proved no trifling evil to the
Christian world, that Aristotle's Definitions of Nature are all
grounded on the petty and rather rhetorical than philosophical
Antithesis of Nature to Art--a conception inadequate to the demands
even of _his_ philosophy. Hence in the progress of his reasoning, he
confounds the _natura naturata_ (that is, the sum total of the facts
and phænomena of the Senses) with an hypothetical _natura naturans_, a
_Goddess_ Nature, that has no better claim to a place in any sober
system of Natural Philosophy than the Goddess _Multitudo_; yet to
which Aristotle not rarely gives the name and attributes of the
Supreme Being. The result was, that the idea of God thus identified
with this hypothetical _Nature_ becomes itself but an _hypothesis_, or
at best but a precarious inference from incommensurate premises and on
disputable principles: while in other passages, God is confounded with
(and every where, in Aristotle's _genuine_ works, _included in_) the
Universe: which most grievous error it is the great and characteristic
merit of Plato to have avoided and denounced.

[104] Take one passage among many from the posthumous Tracts (1660) of
John Smith,[105] not the least star in that bright constellation of
Cambridge men, the contemporaries of Jeremy Taylor. "While we reflect
on our idea of Reason, we know that our Souls are not it, but only
partake of it; and that we have it κατα μεθεξιν and not κατ᾽ ουσιην.
Neither can it be called a Faculty, but far rather a Light, which we
enjoy, but the Source of which is not in ourselves, nor rightly by any
individual to be denominated _mine_." This _pure_, intelligence he
then proceeds to contrast with the _Discursive_ Faculty, that is, the

[105] There is a Note on John Smith and his 'Select Discourses' in
Coleridge's 'Literary Remains,' 1838, v. iii. pp. 415-19.--ED.

[106] See Coleridge on Jeremy Taylor: 'Literary Remains,' 1838, v.
iii. pp. 295-334, &c.--ED.

[107] We have the assurance of Bishop Horsley, that the Church of
England does not demand the literal understanding of the document
contained in the second (from verse 8) and third Chapters of Genesis
as a point of faith, or regard a different interpretation as affecting
the orthodoxy of the interpreter; divines of the most unimpeachable
orthodoxy, and the most averse to the allegorizing of Scripture
history in general, having from the earliest ages of the Christian
Church adopted or permitted it in this instance. And indeed no
unprejudiced man can pretend to doubt, that if in any other work of
Eastern origin he met with Trees of Life and of Knowledge; talking and
conversable snakes:

    Inque rei signum _serpentem serpere_ jussum;

he would want no other proofs that it was an allegory he was reading,
and intended to be understood as such. Nor, if we suppose him
conversant with Oriental works of any thing like the same antiquity,
could it surprise him to find events of true history in connexion
with, or historical personages among the actors and interlocutors of,
the parable. In the temple-language of Egypt the serpent was the
symbol of the understanding in its twofold function, namely as the
faculty of _means_ to _proximate_ or _medial_, ends, analogous to the
_instinct_ of the more intelligent animals, ant, bee, beaver, and the
like, and opposed to the practical reason, as the determinant of the
_ultimate_ end; and again, it typifies the understanding as the
discursive and logical faculty possessed individually by each
individual--the λογος εν ἑκαστω, in distinction from the νους,
that is, intuitive reason, the source of ideas and ABSOLUTE Truths,
and the principle of the necessary and the universal in our
affirmations and conclusions. Without or in contra-vention to the
reason (_i.e._ _the spiritual mind_ of St. Paul, and _the light that
lighteth every man_ of St. John) this understanding (φρονημα
σαρκος, or carnal mind) becomes the _sophistic_ principle, the wily
tempter to evil by counterfeit good; the pander and advocate of the
passions and appetites; ever in league with, and always first applying
to, the _Desire_, as the inferior nature in man, the _woman_ in our
humanity; and through the DESIRE prevailing on the WILL (the
_Man_-hood, _Vir_tus) against the command of the universal reason, and
against the light of reason in the WILL itself. This essential
inherence of an intelligential principle (φως νοερον) in the Will
(αρχη φελητικη) or rather the Will itself thus considered, the
Greeks expressed by an appropriate word βουλη. This, but little
differing from Origen's interpretation or hypothesis, is supported and
confirmed by the very old tradition of the _homo androgynus_, that is,
that the original man, the individual first created, was bi-sexual: a
chimæra, of which and of many other mythological traditions the most
probable explanation is, that they were originally symbolical _glyphs_
or sculptures, and afterwards translated into _words_, yet
_literally_, that is into the common names of the several figures and
images composing the symbol, while the symbolic _meaning_ was left to
be deciphered as before, and sacred to the initiate. As to the
abstruseness and subtlety of the conceptions, this is so far from
being an objection to this oldest _gloss_ on this venerable relic of
Semitic, not impossibly ante-diluvian, philosophy, that to those who
have carried their researches farthest back into Greek, Egyptian,
Persian, and Indian antiquity, it will seem a strong confirmation. Or
if I chose to address the sceptic in the language of the day, I might
remind him, that as alchemy went before chemistry, and astrology
before astronomy, so in all countries of civilized man have
metaphysics outrun common sense. Fortunately for us that they have so!
For from all we know of the _un_metaphysical tribes of New Holland and
elsewhere, a common sense not preceded by metaphysics is no very
enviable possession. O be not cheated, my youthful reader, by this
shallow prate! The creed of true common sense is composed of the
_results_ of scientific meditation, observation, and experiment, as
far as they are _generally_ intelligible. It differs therefore in
different countries and in every different age of the same country.
The common sense of a people is the moveable _index_ of its average
judgment and information. Without metaphysics science could have had
no language, and common sense no materials.

But to return to my subject. It cannot be denied, that the Mosaic
Narrative thus interpreted gives a just and faithful exposition of the
birth and parentage and successive moments of _phænomenal_ sin
(_peccatum phænomenon; crimen primarium et commune_), that is, of sin
as it reveals itself _in time_, and is an immediate object of
consciousness. And in this sense most truly does the Apostle assert,
that in Adam we all fell. The first human sinner is the adequate
representative of all his successors. And with no less truth may it be
said, that it is the same Adam that falls in every man, and from the
same reluctance to abandon the too dear and undivorceable Eve: and the
same EVE tempted by the same serpentine and perverted understanding,
which, framed originally to be the interpreter of the reason and the
ministering angel of the Spirit, is henceforth sentenced and bound
over to the service of the Animal Nature, its needs and its cravings,
dependent on the senses for all its materials, with the World of Sense
for its appointed sphere: _Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust
shalt thou eat all the days of thy life._ I have shown elsewhere, that
as the Instinct of the mere intelligence differs in degree not in
kind, and circumstantially, not essentially, from the _vis vitæ_, or
vital power in the assimilative and digestive functions of the stomach
and other organs of nutrition, even so the Understanding, in itself
and distinct from the Reason and Conscience, differs in degree only
from the Instinct in the animal. It is still but _a beast of the
field_, though _more subtle than any beast of the field_, and
therefore in its corruption and perversion _cursed above any_--a
pregnant word! of which, if the reader wants an exposition or
paraphrase, he may find one more than two thousand years old among the
fragments of the poet Menander. (See Cumberland's Observer, No. CL.
vol. iii. p. 289, 290.) This is the _Understanding_ which in its
_every thought_ is to be brought _under obedience to Faith_; which it
can scarcely fail to be, if only it be first subjected to the Reason,
of which spiritual Faith is even the blossoming and the fructifying
process. For it is indifferent whether I say that Faith is the
interpenetration of the Reason and the Will, or that it is at once the
Assurance and the Commencement of the approaching Union between the
Reason and the _intelligible_ realities, the _living_ and
_substantial_ truths, that are even in this life its most proper

I have thus put the reader in possession of my own opinions respecting
the narrative in Gen. ii. and iii. Εστιν ουν δη, ὡς εμοιγε δοκει,
ἱερος μυθος, αληθεστατον και αρχαιτατον φιλοσοφημα, ευσεβεσι
μεν σεβασμα, συνετοις τε φωναν· ες δε το παν ἑρμηνεως χατιζει. Or
I might ask with Augustine, Why not both? Why not at once symbol and
history? or rather how should it be otherwise? Must not of necessity
the FIRST MAN be a SYMBOL of Mankind, in the fullest force of the
word, Symbol, rightly defined--that is, a sign included in the idea,
which it represents;--an actual _part_ chosen to represent the
_whole_, as a lip with a chin prominent is a symbol of man; or a
_lower_ form or species used as the representative of a higher in the
same _kind_: thus Magnetism is the Symbol of Vegetation, and of the
vegetative and reproductive power in animals; the Instinct of the
ant-tribe, or the bee, is a symbol of the human understanding. And
this definition of the word is of great practical importance, inasmuch
as the symbolical is hereby distinguished _toto genere_ from the
allegoric and metaphorical. But, perhaps, parables, allegories, and
allegorical or typical applications, are incompatible with _inspired_
Scripture! The writings of St. Paul are sufficient proof of the
contrary. Yet I readily acknowledge, that allegorical _applications_
are one thing, and allegorical _interpretation_ another: and that
where there is no ground for supposing such a sense to have entered
into the intent and purpose of the sacred penman, they are not to be
commended. So far, indeed, am I from entertaining any predilection for
them, or any favourable opinion of the Rabbinical commentators and
traditionists, from whom the fashion was derived, that in carrying it
as far as our own Church has carried it, I follow her judgment, not my
own. But in the first place, I know but one other part of the
Scriptures not universally held to be parabolical, which, not without
the sanction of great authorities, I am disposed to regard as an
Apologue or Parable, namely, the book of Jonah; the reasons for
believing the Jewish nation collectively to be therein impersonated,
seeming to me unanswerable. Secondly, as to the Chapters now in
question--that such interpretation is at least tolerated by our
Church, I have the word of one of her most zealous champions. And
lastly it is my deliberate and conscientious conviction, that the
proofs of such having been the intention of the inspired writer or
compiler of the book of Genesis, lie on the face of the narrative

[108] Rom. v. 14. Who were they, who _had_ not _sinned after the
similitude of Adam's transgression_; and over whom, notwithstanding,
_death reigned_?

[109] Slightly altered from Jeremy Taylor's 'Deus Justificatus; or a
Vindication of the Glory of the Divine Attributes in the Question of
Original Sin, Against the Presbyterian way of Understanding it.' See
Heber's edition of Taylor's works, 1822, v. ix. pp. 315-16.--ED.

[110] This sense of the word is implied even in its metaphorical or
figurative use. Thus we may say of a _river_ that it _originates_ in
such or such a _fountain_; but the water of a _canal_ is _derived_
from such or such a river. The Power which we call Nature, may be thus
defined: A Power subject to the Law of Continuity (_lex continui; nam
in naturâ non datur saltus_) which law the human understanding, by a
necessity arising out of its own constitution, can _conceive_ only
under the form of Cause and Effect. That this _form_ (or law) of Cause
and Effect is (relatively to the world _without_, or to things as they
subsist independently of our perceptions) only a form or mode of
_thinking_; that it is a law inherent in the Understanding itself
(just as the symmetry of the miscellaneous objects seen by the
kaleidoscope inheres in, or results from, the mechanism of the
kaleidoscope itself)--this becomes evident as soon as we attempt to
apply the pre-conception directly to any operation of nature. For in
this case we are forced to represent the cause as being at the same
instant the effect, and _vice versâ_ the effect as being the cause--a
relation which we seek to express by the terms Action and Re-action;
but for which the term Reciprocal Action or the law of Reciprocity
(_Wechselwirkung_) would be both more accurate and more expressive.

These are truths which can scarcely be too frequently impressed on the
mind that is in earnest in the wish to _reflect_ aright. Nature is a
line in constant and continuous evolution. Its _beginning_ is lost in
the super-natural: and _for our understanding_, therefore, it must
appear as a continuous line without beginning or end. But where there
is no discontinuity there can be no origination, and every appearance
of origination in _nature_ is but a shadow of our own casting. It is a
reflection from our own _Will_ or Spirit. Herein, indeed, the Will
consists. This is the essential character by which WILL is _opposed_ to
Nature, as _Spirit_, and raised _above_ Nature, as _self-determining_
Spirit--this namely, that it is a power of _originating_ an act or

A young friend or, as he was pleased to describe himself, _a pupil of
mine, who is beginning to learn to think_, asked me to explain by an
instance what is meant by "_originating_ an act or state." My answer
was--This morning I awoke with a dull pain, which I knew from
experience the getting up would remove; and yet by adding to the
drowsiness and by weakening or depressing the _volition (voluntas
sensorialis seu mechanica_) the very pain seemed to _hold me back_, to
fix me (as it were) to the bed. After a peevish ineffectual quarrel
with this painful disinclination, I said to myself: Let me count
twenty, and the moment I come to nineteen I will leap out of bed. So
said, and so done. Now should you ever find yourself in the same or in
a similar state, and should attend to _the goings-on_ within you, you
will learn what I mean by _originating_ an act. At the same time you
will see that it belongs _exclusively_ to the Will (_arbitrium_); that
there is nothing analogous to it in outward experiences; and that I
had, therefore, no way of explaining it but by referring you to an
_act_ of your own, and to the peculiar self-consciousness preceding
and accompanying it. As we know what Life is by _Being_, so we know
what Will is by _Acting_. That in _willing_ (replied my young friend)
we _appear_ to ourselves to constitute an actual _Beginning_ and that
this seems _unique_, and without any example in our _sensible_
experience, or in the phænomena of nature, is an undeniable _fact_.
But may it not be an illusion arising from our ignorance of the
antecedent causes? You _may_ suppose this (I rejoined):--that the soul
of every man should impose a _Lie_ on itself; and that this Lie, and
the acting on the faith of its being the most important of all truths
and the most real of all realities, should form the main
contra-distinctive character of Humanity, and the only basis of that
distinction between Things and Persons on which our whole moral and
criminal Law is grounded;--you may suppose this; I cannot, as I could
in the case of an arithmetical or geometrical proposition, render it
_impossible_ for you to suppose it. Whether you can reconcile such a
supposition with the belief of an all-wise Creator, is another
question. But, taken singly, it is doubtless in your power to suppose
this. Were it not, the belief of the contrary would be no subject of a
_command_, no part of a moral or religious _duty_. You would not,
however, suppose it _without a reason_. But all the pretexts that ever
have been or ever can be offered for this supposition, are built on
certain _notions_ of the Understanding that have been generalized from
_conceptions_; which conceptions, again, are themselves generalized or
abstracted from objects of sense. Neither the one nor the other,
therefore, have any force except in application to objects of sense
and within the sphere of sensible Experience. What but absurdity can
follow, if you decide on Spirit by the laws of Matter? if you judge
that which, if it be at all, must be _super_-sensual, by that faculty
of your mind, the very definition of which is "the faculty judging
_according_ to sense"? These then are unworthy the name of _reasons_:
they are only pretexts. But _without_ reason to contradict your own
consciousness in defiance of your own conscience, is _contrary_ to
reason. Such and such writers, you say, have made a great _sensation_.
If so, I am sorry for it; but the fact I take to be this. From a
variety of causes the more austere Sciences have fallen into
discredit, and impostors have taken advantage of the general ignorance
to give a sort of mysterious and terrific importance to a parcel of
trashy sophistry, the authors of which would not have employed
themselves more irrationally in submitting the works of Raffaelle or
Titian to canons of criticism deduced from the sense of smell. Nay,
less so. For here the objects and the organs are only disparate: while
in the other case they are absolutely diverse. I conclude this note by
reminding the reader, that my first object is to make myself
_understood_. When he is in full possession of my _meaning_, then let
him consider whether it deserves to be received as _the truth_. Had it
been my immediate purpose to make him _believe_ me as well as
_understand_ me, I should have thought it necessary to warn him that a
_finite_ Will does indeed originate an _act_, and may originate a
_state_ of being; but yet only _in_ and _for_ the Agent himself. A
finite Will _constitutes_ a true Beginning; but with regard to the
series of motions and chants by which the free act is manifested and
made _effectual_, the _finite_ Will _gives_ a beginning only by
co-incidence with that _absolute_ WILL, which is at the same time
_Infinite_ POWER! Such is the language of Religion, and of Philosophy
too in the last instance. But I express the same truth in ordinary
language when I say, that a finite Will, or the Will of a finite
free-agent, acts outwardly by confluence with the laws of nature.

[111] It may conduce to the readier comprehension of this point if I
say, that the equivoque consists in confounding the almost technical
sense of the _noun substantive_, right, (a sense most often determined
by the genitive case following, as the right of property, the right of
husbands to chastise their wives, and so forth) with the popular sense
of the _adjective_, right: though this likewise has, if not a double
sense, yet a double application;--the first, when it is used to
express the fitness of a mean to a relative end, for example, "the
_right_ way to obtain the _right_ distance at which a picture should
be examined," and the like; and the other, when it expresses a perfect
conformity and commensurateness with the immutable idea of equity, or
perfect rectitude. Hence the close connexion between the words
righteousness and _god_liness, that is, godlikeness.

I should be tempted to subjoin a few words on a predominating doctrine
closely connected with the present argument--the Paleyan principle of
GENERAL CONSEQUENCES; but the inadequacy of this Principle as a
criterion of Right and Wrong, and above all its utter unfitness as a
Moral _Guide_ have been elsewhere so fully stated ('The Friend,' vol.
ii. Essay xi.[112]), that even in again referring to the subject, I
must shelter myself under Seneca's rule, that what we cannot too
frequently think of, we cannot too often be made to recollect. It is,
however, of immediate importance to the point in discussion, that the
reader should be made to see how altogether incompatible the principle
of judging by General Consequences is with the Idea of an Eternal,
Omnipresent, and Omniscient Being;--that he should be made aware of
the absurdity of attributing _any_ form of Generalization to the
All-perfect Mind. To _generalize_ is a faculty and function of the
human understanding, and from the imperfection and limitation of the
understanding are the use and the necessity of generalizing derived.
Generalization is a Substitute for Intuition, for the power of
_intuitive_ (that is, immediate) knowledge. As a substitute, it is a
gift of inestimable value to a finite intelligence, such as _man_ in
his present state is endowed with and capable of exercising; but yet a
_substitute_ only, and an imperfect one to boot. To attribute it to
God is the grossest anthropomorphism: and grosser instances of
anthropomorphism than are to be found in the controversial writings on
Original Sin and Vicarious Satisfaction, the records of superstition
do not supply.

[112] Essay xv. p. 204, Bohn's edition.--ED.

[113] I have since this page was written, met with several passages in
the Treatise on Repentance, the Holy Living and Dying, and the Worthy
Communicant, in which the Bishop asserts without scruple the
_impossibility_ of total obedience; and on the same grounds as I have
given. [See Taylor's 'Doctrine and Practice of Repentance,' c. I. sec.
ii., "On the Possibility or Impossibility of Keeping the Precepts of
the Gospel;" Heber's ed. of the 'Works,' v. 8, p. 265.--ED.]

[114] Availing himself of the equivocal sense and (I most readily
admit) the injudicious use, of the word "free" in the--even on this
account--_faulty_ phrase, "_free only to sin_," Taylor treats the
notion of a power in the Will of determining itself to evil without an
equal power of determining itself to good, as a "_foolery_." I would
this had been the only instance in his "Deus Justificatus" of that
inconsiderate contempt so frequent in the polemic treatises of minor
divines, who will have ideas of reason, spiritual truths that can only
be spiritually discerned, translated for them into adequate
conceptions of the understanding. The great articles of Corruption and
Redemption are _propounded_ to us as spiritual mysteries; and every
interpretation, that pretends to explain them into comprehensible
notions, does by its very success furnish presumptive proof of its
failure. The acuteness and logical dexterity, with which Taylor has
brought out the falsehood or semblance of falsehood in the Calvinistic
scheme, are truly admirable. Had he next concentered his thoughts in
tranquil meditation, and asked himself: What then _is_ the truth? If a
Will _be_ at all, what must a will be?--he might, I think, have seen
that a nature in a Will implies already a _corruption_ of that Will;
that a _nature_ is as inconsistent with _freedom_ as free choice with
an incapacity of choosing aught but evil. And lastly, a free power in
a _nature_ to fulfil a law _above_ nature!--I, who love and honour
this good and great man with all the reverence that can dwell "on this
side idolatry," dare not retort on this assertion the charge of
_foolery_; but I find it a paradox as startling to my _reason_ as any
of the hard sayings of the Dort divines were to his _understanding_.

[115] Vol. ix. pp. 5, 6, Heber's edit. ['Doctrine and Practice of
Repentance,' c. vi. sec. I.--ED.]

[116] This passage appears as here in the first edition of the 'Aids,'

[117] The same, slightly different, appears in Coleridge's 'Literary
Remains,' 1838, v. iii., p. 328.--ED.

[118] If the Law worked _on_ the Will, it would be the working of an
extrinsic and alien force, and, as St. Paul profoundly argues, would
prove the Will sinful.

[119] For a specimen of these Rabbinical dotages I refer, not to the
writings of mystics and enthusiasts, but to the shrewd and witty Dr.
South, one of whose most elaborate sermons stands prominent among the
many splendid extravaganzas on this subject.


In whatever age and country it is the prevailing mind and character of
the nation to regard the present life as subordinate to a life to
come, and to mark the present state, _the World of their Senses_, by
signs, instruments, and mementos of its connexion with a future state
and a spiritual world;--where the Mysteries of Faith are brought
within the _hold_ of the people at large, not by being explained away
in the vain hope of accommodating them to the average of their
understanding, but by being made the objects of love by their
combination with events and epochs of history, with national
traditions, with the monuments and dedications of ancestral faith and
zeal, with memorial and symbolical observances, with the realizing
influences of social devotion, and above all, by early and habitual
association with Acts of the Will, _there_ Religion is. _There_,
however obscured by the hay and straw of human Will-work, the
foundation is safe. In _that_ country, and under the predominance of
such maxims the National Church is no mere State-_Institute_. It is
the State itself in its intensest federal union; yet at the same
moment the Guardian and Representative of all personal Individuality.
For the Church is the Shrine of Morality; and in Morality alone the
citizen asserts and reclaims his personal independence, his
_integrity_. Our outward acts are efficient, and most often possible,
only by coalition. As an efficient power, the agent, is but _a
fraction_ of unity: he becomes an _integer_ only in the recognition
and performance of the Moral Law. Nevertheless it is most true (and a
truth which cannot with safety be overlooked) that morality _as_
morality, has no existence for _a people_. It is either absorbed and
lost in the quicksands of prudential _calculus_, or it is taken up and
transfigured into the duties and mysteries of religion. And no wonder:
since morality (including the _personal_ being, the I AM, as its
subject) is itself a mystery, and the ground and _suppositum_ of all
other mysteries, relatively to man.


_Paley not a Moralist._

Schemes of conduct, grounded on calculations of self-interest; or on
the average consequences of actions, supposing them _general_; form a
branch of Political Economy, to which let all due honour be given.
Their utility is not here questioned. But however estimable within
their own sphere, such schemes, or any one of them in particular, may
be, they do not belong to Moral Science, to which both in kind and
purpose, they are in all cases _foreign_, and, when substituted for
it, _hostile_. Ethics, or the _Science_ of Morality, does indeed in no
wise exclude the consideration of _action_; but it contemplates the
same in its originating spiritual _source_, without reference to space
or time or sensible existence. Whatever springs out of _the perfect
law of freedom_, which exists only by its unity with the will of God,
its inherence in the Word of God, and its communion with the Spirit of
God--_that_ (according to the principles of Moral Science) is GOOD--it
is light and righteousness and very truth. Whatever seeks to separate
itself from the Divine Principle, and proceeds from a false centre in
the agent's particular will, is EVIL--a work of darkness and
contradiction. It is sin and essential falsehood. Not the outward
deed, constructive, destructive, or neutral,--not the deed as a
possible object of the senses,--is the object of Ethical Science. For
this is no compost, _collectorium_ or inventory of single duties; nor
does it seek in the multitudinous sea, in the pre-determined waves,
and tides and currents of _nature_ that freedom, which is exclusively
an attribute of _spirit_. Like all other pure sciences, whatever it
enunciates, and whatever it concludes, it enunciates and concludes
_absolutely_. Strictness is its essential character: and its first
Proposition is, _Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in
one point, he is guilty of all_. For as the Will or Spirit, the Source
and Substance of Moral Good, is one and all in every part; so must it
be the totality, the whole articulated series of single acts, taken as
unity, that can alone, in the severity of science, be recognised as
the proper counterpart and adequate representative of a good Will. Is
it in this or that limb, or not rather in the whole body, the entire
_organismus_ that the law of life reflects itself?--Much less, then,
can the law of the Spirit work in fragments.


Wherever there exists a permanent[120] learned class, having authority
and possessing the respect and confidence of the country; and wherever
the Science of Ethics is acknowledged, and taught in _this_ class as a
regular part of a learned education, to its future members generally,
but as the special study and indispensable ground-work of such as are
intended for holy orders;--_there_ the Article of Original Sin will be
an AXIOM of Faith in _all_ classes. Among the learned an undisputed
_truth_, and with the people a fact, which no man imagines it possible
to deny: and the doctrine, thus inwoven in the faith of all, and
coeval with the consciousness of each, will for each and all, possess
a reality, _subjective_ indeed, yet virtually equivalent to that which
we intuitively give to the objects of our senses.

With the learned this will be the case, because the Article is the
first--I had almost said, _spontaneous_--product of the application of
moral science to history, of which it is the interpreter. A mystery in
its own right, and by the necessity and essential character of its
subject--(for the Will, like the Life, in every act and product
pre-supposes to itself, a Past always present, a Present that evermore
resolves itself into a Past)--the doctrine of Original Sin gives to
all the other mysteries of religion a common basis, a connection of
dependency, an intelligibility of relation, and total harmony, that
supersede extrinsic proof. There is here that same proof from unity of
purpose, that same evidence of symmetry, which, in the contemplation
of a human skeleton, flashed conviction on the mind of Galen, and
kindled meditation into a hymn of praise.

Meanwhile the People, not goaded into doubt by the lessons and
examples of their teachers and superiors; not drawn away from the
fixed stars of heaven, the form and magnitude of which are the same
for the naked eye of the shepherd as for the telescope of the
sage--from the immediate truths, I mean, of Reason and Conscience to
an exercise to which they have not been trained,--of a faculty which
has been imperfectly developed,--on a subject not within the sphere of
the faculty, nor in any way amenable to its judgment;--the PEOPLE will
need no arguments to receive a doctrine confirmed by their own
experience from within and from without, and intimately blended with
the most venerable traditions common to all races, and the traces of
which linger in the latest twilight of civilization.

Among the revulsions consequent on the brute bewilderments of a
Godless revolution, a great and active zeal for the interests of
religion may be one. I dare not trust it, till I have seen what it is
that gives religion this interest, till I am satisfied that it is not
the interests of this world; necessary and laudable interests,
perhaps, but which may, I dare believe, be secured as effectually and
more suitably by the prudence of this world, and by this world's
powers and motives. At all events, I find nothing in the fashion of
the day to deter me from adding, that the reverse of the
preceding--that where religion is valued and patronized as a
supplement of law, or an aid extraordinary of police; where Moral
SCIENCE is exploded as the mystic jargon of dark ages; where a lax
System of Consequences, by which every iniquity on earth may be (and
how many _have_ been!) denounced and defended with equal plausibility,
is publicly and authoritatively taught as Moral Philosophy; where the
mysteries of religion, and truths supersensual, are either cut and
squared for the comprehension of the understanding, "the faculty
judging according to sense," or desperately torn asunder from the
reason, nay, fanatically opposed to it; lastly, where Private[121]
Interpretation is every thing and the Church nothing--_there_ the
mystery of Original Sin will be either rejected, or evaded, or
perverted into the monstrous fiction of Hereditary Sin,--guilt
inherited; in the mystery of Redemption metaphors will be obtruded for
the reality; and in the mysterious appurtenants and symbols of
Redemption (Regeneration, Grace, the Eucharist, and Spiritual
Communion) the realities will be evaporated into metaphors.

[120] A learned order must be supposed to consist of three classes.
First, those who are employed in adding to the existing sum of power
and knowledge. Second, and most numerous class, those whose office it
is to diffuse through the community at large the practical Results of
science, and that kind and degree of knowledge and cultivation, which
for all is requisite or clearly useful. Third, the formers and
instructors of the second--in schools, halls, and universities, or
through the medium of the press. The second class includes not only
the parochial clergy, and all others duly ordained to the ministerial
office; but likewise all the members of the legal and medical
professions, who have received a learned education under accredited
and responsible teachers. [See 'The Church and State,' p. 45, &c.,
third edition--H. N. C.]

[121] The author of 'The Statesman's Manual' must be the most
inconsistent of men, if he can be justly suspected of a leaning to the
Romish Church; or if it be necessary for him to repeat his fervent
Amen to the wish and prayer of our late good old King, that "every
adult in the British Empire should be able to read his Bible, and have
a Bible to read!" Nevertheless, it may not be superfluous to declare,
that in thus protesting against the _license_ of private
interpretation, I do not mean to condemn the exercise or deny the
right of individual judgment. I condemn only the pretended right of
every individual, competent and incompetent, to interpret Scripture in
a sense of his own, in opposition to the judgment of the Church,
without knowledge of the originals or of the languages, the history,
the customs, opinions, and controversies of the age and country in
which they were written; and where the interpreter judges in ignorance
or contempt of uninterrupted tradition, the unanimous consent of
Fathers and Councils, and the universal Faith of the Church in all
ages. It is not the attempt to form a judgment, which is here called
in question; but the grounds, or rather the _no-grounds_ on which the
judgment is formed and relied on.

that when Popery is rushing in on us like an inundation, the nation
will find it to be so. I say _Popery_; for this too I hold for a
delusion, that Romanism or _Roman_ Catholicism is separable from
Popery. Almost as readily could I suppose a circle without a centre.



As in great maps or pictures you will see the border decorated with
meadows, fountains, flowers, and the like, represented in it, but in
the middle you have the main design: so amongst the works of God is it
with the foreordained Redemption of Man. All his other works in the
world, all the beauty of the creatures, the succession of ages, and
the things that come to pass in them, are but as the border to this as
the mainpiece. But as a foolish unskilful beholder, not discerning
the excellency of the principal piece in such maps or pictures, gazes
only on the fair border, and goes no farther--thus do the greatest
part of us as to this great Work of God, the redemption of our
personal Being, and the re-union of the Human with the Divine, by and
through the Divine Humanity of the Incarnate Word.



It is a hard matter, yea, an impossible thing for thy human strength,
whosoever thou art (without God's assistance), at such a time when
Moses setteth on thee with the Law (see Aphorism XII.),--when the holy
Law written in thy heart accuseth and condemneth thee, forcing thee to
a comparison of thy heart therewith, and convicting thee of the
incompatibleness of thy will and nature with Heaven and holiness and
an immediate God--that then thou shouldest be able to be of such a
mind as if no Law nor sin had ever been! I say it is in a manner
impossible that a human creature, when he feeleth himself assaulted
with trials and temptations, and the conscience hath to do with God,
and the tempted man knoweth that the root of temptation is within him,
should obtain such mastery over his thoughts as then to think no
otherwise than that from everlasting nothing hath been but only and
alone Christ, altogether Grace and Deliverance!


In irrational agents, namely, the brute animals, the will is hidden or
absorbed in the law. The law is their _nature_. In the original purity
of a rational agent the uncorrupted will is identical with the law.
Nay, inasmuch as a Will perfectly identical with the Law is one with
the _divine_ Will, we may say, that in the unfallen rational agent the
Will _constitutes_ the Law.[122] But it is evident that the holy and
spiritual power and light, which by a _prolepsis_ or anticipation we
have _named_ law, is a grace, an inward perfection, and without the
commanding, binding and menacing character which belongs to a law,
acting as a master or sovereign distinct from, and existing, as it
were, externally for, the agent who is bound to obey it. Now this is
St. Paul's sense of the word; and on this he grounds his whole
reasoning. And hence too arises the obscurity and apparent paradoxy of
several texts. That the Law is a _Law_ for you; that it acts _on_ the
Will not _in_ it; that it exercises an agency _from without_, by fear
and coercion; proves the corruption of your Will, and presupposes it.
Sin in this sense came by the law: for it has its essence, as sin, in
that counter-position of the holy principle to the will, which
occasions this principle to be a LAW. Exactly (as in all other points)
consonant with the Pauline doctrine is the assertion of John, when
speaking of the re-adoption of the redeemed to be sons of God, and the
consequent resumption (I had almost said re-absorption) of the Law
into the Will (νομον τελειον τον της ελευθεριας, James i. 25.,)--he
says--_For the law was given by Moses, but Grace and Truth came by
Jesus Christ_. That by the Law St. Paul meant only the _ceremonial_
law, is a notion that could originate only in utter inattention to the
whole strain and bent of the Apostle's argument.

[122] In fewer words thus: For the brute animals, their nature is
their law;--for what other third law can be imagined, in addition to
the law of nature, and the law of reason? Therefore: in irrational
agents the law constitutes the will. In moral and rational agents the
will constitutes, or ought to constitute, the law: I speak of moral
agents, unfallen. For the personal Will comprehends the _idea_, as a
Reason, and it gives causative force to the Idea, as a _practical_
Reason. But Idea with the power of realizing the same is a Law; or
say:--the Spirit comprehends the Moral Idea, by virtue of its
rationality, and it gives to the Idea causative Power, as a Will: In
every sense therefore, it _constitutes_ the Law, supplying both the
Elements of which it consists--namely, the Idea, and the realizing



Christ's death was both voluntary and violent. There was external
violence: and that was the accompaniment, or at most the occasion, of
his death. But there was internal willingness, the spiritual Will,
the Will of the Spirit, and this was the proper cause. By this Spirit
he was restored from death: neither indeed _was it possible for him to
be holden of it; being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the
Spirit_, says St. Peter. But he is likewise declared elsewhere to have
died by that same Spirit, which here, in opposition to the violence,
is said to quicken him. Thus Hebrews ix. 14. _Through the eternal
Spirit he offered himself._ And even from Peter's words, and without
the epithet, eternal, to aid the interpretation, it is evident that
_the Spirit_, here opposed to the flesh, body or animal life, is of a
higher nature and power than the individual _soul_, which cannot of
itself return to re-inhabit or quicken the body.

If these points were niceties, and an over-refining in doctrine, is it
to be believed that the Apostles, John, Peter and Paul, with the
author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, would have laid so great stress
on them? But the true life of Christians is to eye Christ in every
step of his life--not only as their Rule but as their Strength:
looking to him as their Pattern both in doing and in suffering, and
drawing power from him for going through both: being _without him_
able for nothing. Take comfort then, thou that believest! _It is he
that lifts up the Soul from the Gates of Death_: and he hath said, _I
will raise thee up at the last day_. Thou that believest _in_ him,
believe him and take comfort. Yea, when thou art most sunk in thy sad
apprehensions, and he far off to thy thinking, then is he nearest to
raise and comfort thee: as sometimes it grows darkest immediately
before day.



Would any of you be cured of that common disease, the fear of death?
Yet this is not the right name of the disease, as a mere reference to
our armies and navies is sufficient to prove: nor can the fear of
death, either as loss of life or pain of dying, be justly held a
_common_ disease. But would you be cured of the fear and fearful
questionings connected with the approach of death? Look this way, and
you shall find more than you seek. Christ, the Word that was from the
beginning and was made flesh and dwelt among men, died. And he, who
dying conquered death in his own person, conquered Sin, and Death
which is the Wages of Sin, for thee. And of this thou mayest be
assured, if only thou believe in him, and love him. I need not add,
keep his commandments: since where Faith and Love are, Obedience in
its threefold character, as Effect, Reward, and Criterion, follows by
that moral necessity which is the highest form of freedom. The Grave
is thy bed of rest, and no longer the _cold_ bed: for thy Saviour has
warmed it, and made it fragrant.

If then it be health and comfort to the Faithful that Christ descended
into the grave, with especial confidence may we meditate on his return
from thence, _quickened by the Spirit_: this being to those who are in
him the certain pledge, yea, the effectual cause of that blessed
resurrection, for which they themselves hope. There is that union
betwixt them and their Redeemer, that they shall rise by the
communication and virtue of his rising: not simply by his _power_--for
so the _wicked_ likewise to their grief shall be raised: but _they by
his life as their life_.


_On the three Preceding Aphorisms._

To the reader, who has consented to submit his mind to my temporary
guidance, and who permits me to regard him as my pupil, or junior
fellow-student, I continue to address myself. Should he exist only in
my imagination, let the bread float on the waters! If it be the Bread
of Life, it will not have been utterly cast away.

Let us pause a moment, and review the road we have passed over since
the transit from Religious Morality to Spiritual Religion. My first
attempt was to satisfy you, that there _is_ a Spiritual principle in
Man,[123] and to expose the sophistry of the arguments in support of
the contrary. Our next step was to clear the road of all counterfeits,
by showing what is _not_ the Spirit, what is _not_ Spiritual
Religion.[124] And this was followed by an attempt to establish a
difference in kind between religious truths and the deductions of
speculative science; yet so as to prove, that the former are not only
equally rational with the latter, but that they alone appeal to reason
in the fulness and living reality of their power. This and the state
of mind requisite for the formation of right convictions respecting
spiritual truths, afterwards employed our attention. Having then
enumerated the Articles of the Christian Faith _peculiar_ to
Christianity, I entered on the great object of the present work;
namely, the removal of all valid objections to these articles on
grounds of right reason or conscience. But to render this practicable
it was necessary, first, to present each article in its true
Scriptural purity, by exposure of the caricatures of misinterpreters;
and this, again, could not be satisfactorily done till we were agreed
respecting the faculty entitled to sit in judgment on such questions.
I early foresaw, that my best chance (I will not say, of giving an
_insight_ into the surpassing worth and transcendent reasonableness of
the Christian scheme, but) of rendering the very question
intelligible, depended on my success in determining the true nature
and limits of the human UNDERSTANDING, and in evincing its _diversity_
from REASON. In pursuing this momentous subject, I was tempted in two
or three instances into disquisitions, which if not beyond the
comprehension, were yet unsuited to the taste, of the persons for whom
the work was principally intended. These, however, I have separated
from the running text, and compressed into notes. The reader will at
worst, I hope, pass them by as a leaf or two of waste paper, willingly
given by him to those for whom it may not be paper _wasted_.
Nevertheless, I cannot conceal, that the subject itself supposes, on
the part of the reader, a steadiness in _self-questioning_, a pleasure
in referring to his own inward experience for the facts asserted by
the author, which can only be expected from a person who has fairly
set his heart on arriving at clear and fixed conclusions in matters of
Faith. But where this interest is felt, nothing more than a common
capacity, with the ordinary advantages of education, is required for
the complete comprehension both of the argument and the result. Let
but one thoughtful hour be devoted to the pages 143-165. In all that
follows, the reader will find no difficulty in _understanding_ the
author's meaning, whatever he may have in _adopting_ it.

The two great moments of the Christian Religion are, Original Sin and
Redemption; _that_ the Ground, _this_ the Superstructure of our faith.
The former I have exhibited, first, according to the scheme of the
Westminster Divines and the Synod of Dort; then, according to the[125]
scheme of a contemporary Arminian divine; and lastly, in contrast
with both schemes, I have placed what I firmly believe to be the
_Scriptural_ sense of this article, and vindicated its entire
conformity with reason and experience. I now proceed to the other
momentous article--from the necessitating _Occasion_ of the Christian
Dispensation to Christianity itself. For Christianity and Redemption
are equivalent terms. And here my Comment will be comprised in a few
sentences: for I confine my views to the one object of clearing this
awful mystery from those too current misrepresentations of its nature
and import that have laid it open to scruples and objections, not to
such as shoot forth from an unbelieving heart--(against these a sick
bed will be a more effectual antidote than all the argument in the
world)--but to such scruples as have their birth-place in the reason
and moral sense. Not that it is a mystery--not that _it passeth all
understanding_;--if the doctrine be more than an hyperbolical phrase,
it must do so;--but that it is at variance with the Law revealed in
the conscience; that it contradicts our moral instincts and
intuitions--_this_ is the difficulty, which alone is worthy of an
answer. And what better way is there of correcting the misconceptions
than by laying open the source and occasion of them? What surer way of
removing the scruples and prejudices, to which these misconceptions
have given rise, than by propounding the mystery itself--namely THE
REDEMPTIVE ACT, as the transcendent _Cause_ of Salvation--in the
express and definite words, in which it was enunciated by the Redeemer

But here, in addition to the three Aphorisms preceding, I interpose a
view of redemption as appropriated by faith, coincident with
Leighton's, though for the greater part expressed in my own words.
_This_ I propose as the right view. Then follow a few sentences
transcribed from Field (an excellent divine of the reign of James I.,
of whose work on the Church it would be difficult to speak too
highly)[127] containing the questions to be solved, and which is
numbered, as an Aphorism, rather to preserve the uniformity of
appearance, than as being strictly such. Then follows the Comment: as
part and commencement of which the Reader will consider the two
paragraphs of pp. 135, 136, written for this purpose and in the
foresight of the present inquiry: and I entreat him therefore to begin
the Comment by re-perusing these.

[123] Elements of Religious Philosophy, _ante_, p. 88--ED.

[124] See _ante_, pp. 96-101.--ED.

[125] To escape the consequences of this scheme, some Arminian divines
have asserted that the penalty inflicted on Adam, and continued in his
posterity, was simply the loss of immortality, Death as the utter
extinction of personal Being: immortality being regarded by them (and
not, I think, without good reason) as a supernatural attribute, and
its loss therefore involved in the forfeiture of supernatural graces.
This theory has its golden side; and as a private opinion, is said to
have the countenance of more than one dignitary of our Church, whose
general orthodoxy is beyond impeachment. For here the _penalty_
resolves itself into the _consequence_, and this the natural and
_naturally_ inevitable consequence of Adam's crime. For Adam, indeed,
it was a _positive_ punishment: a punishment of his guilt, the justice
of which who could have dared arraign? While for the Offspring of Adam
it was simply a _not_ super-adding to their nature the privilege by
which the original man was contra-distinguished from the brute
creation--a mere negation, of which they had no more right to complain
than any other species of animals. God in this view appears only in
his attribute of mercy, as averting by supernatural interposition a
consequence naturally inevitable. This is the golden side of the
theory. But if we approach to it from the opposite direction, it first
excites a just scruple, from the countenance it seems to give to the
doctrine of Materialism. The supporters of this scheme do not, I
presume, contend, that Adam's offspring would not have been born
_men_, but have formed a new species of beasts! And if not, the notion
of a rational, and self-conscious soul, perishing utterly with the
dissolution of the organized body, seems to require, nay, almost
involves, the opinion that the soul is a quality or accident of the
body--a mere harmony resulting from organization.

But let this pass unquestioned. Whatever else the descendants of Adam
might have been without the intercession of Christ, yet (this
intercession having been effectually made) they are now endowed with
souls that are not extinguished together with the material body. Now
unless these divines teach likewise the Romish figment of Purgatory,
and to an extent in which the Church of Rome herself would denounce
the doctrine as an impious heresy: unless they hold, that a punishment
temporary and remedial is the _worst_ evil that the impenitent have to
apprehend in a future state; and that the spiritual Death declared and
foretold by Christ, _the death eternal where the worm never dies_, is
neither Death nor eternal, but a certain _quantum_ of suffering in a
state of faith, hope, and progressive amendment--unless they go these
lengths (and the divines here intended are orthodox Churchmen, men who
would not knowingly advance even a step on the road towards
them)--then I fear, that any advantage their theory might possess over
the Calvinistic scheme in the article of Original Sin, would be dearly
purchased by increased difficulties, and an ultra-Calvinistic
narrowness in the article of Redemption. I at least find it
impossible, with my present human feelings, not to imagine otherwise
than that even in heaven it would be a fearful thing to know, that in
order to my elevation to a lot infinitely more desirable than by
nature it would have been, the lot of so vast a multitude had been
rendered infinitely more calamitous; and that my felicity had been
purchased by the everlasting misery of the majority of my fellow-men,
who if no redemption had been provided, after inheriting the pains and
pleasures of earthly existence during the numbered hours, and the few
and evil--evil yet _few_--days of the years of their mortal life,
would have fallen asleep to wake no more,--would have sunk into the
dreamless sleep of the grave, and have been as the murmur and the
plaint, and the exulting swell and the sharp scream, which the unequal
gust of yesterday snatched from the strings of a wind-harp!

In another place I have ventured to question the spirit and tendency
of Taylor's work on Repentance.[126] But I ought to have added, that
to discover and keep the true medium in expounding and applying the
Efficacy of Christ's Cross and Passion, is beyond comparison the most
difficult and delicate point of practical divinity--and that which
especially needs a guidance from above.

[126] Perhaps in his "Unum Necessarium; or the Doctrine and Practice
of Repentance," part of his "Notes on Jeremy Taylor," pp. 295-325, v.
iii., of the 'Remains,' 1838.--ED.

[127] See also "Notes on Field on the Church" (1628), in Coleridge's
'Remains,' 1838, v. iii., pp. 57-92.--ED.


_Stedfast by Faith._ This is absolutely necessary for resistance to
the Evil Principle. There is no standing out without some firm ground
to stand on: and this Faith alone supplies. By Faith in the Love of
Christ the power of God becomes ours. When the soul is beleaguered by
enemies, weakness on the walls, treachery at the gates, and corruption
in the citadel, then by Faith she says--Lamb of God, slain from the
foundation of the World! thou art my strength! I look to thee for
deliverance! And thus she overcomes. The pollution (_miasma_) of sin
is precipitated by his blood, the power of sin is conquered by his
Spirit. The Apostle says not--stedfast by your own resolutions and
purposes; but--_stedfast by faith_. Nor yet stedfast in your Will, but
_stedfast in the faith_. We are not to be looking to, or brooding over
ourselves, either for accusation or for confidence, or (by a deep yet
too frequent self-delusion) to obtain the latter by making a _merit_
to ourselves of the former. But we are to look to CHRIST and _him
crucified_. The Law _that is very nigh to thee, even in thy heart_;
the Law that condemneth and hath no promise; that stoppeth the guilty
PAST in its swift flight, and maketh it disown its name; the Law will
accuse thee enough. Linger not in the Justice-court, listening to thy
indictment! Loiter not in waiting to hear the Sentence! No! Anticipate
the verdict! _Appeal to Cæsar!_ Haste to the King for a pardon!
Struggle thitherward, though in fetters; and cry aloud, and collect
the whole remaining strength of thy Will in the outcry--_I believe!
Lord! help my unbelief!_ Disclaim all right of property in thy
fetters. Say, that they belong to the _old man_, and that thou dost
but carry them to the Grave, to be buried with their owner! Fix thy
thought on what _Christ_ did, what _Christ_ suffered, what _Christ_
is--as if thou wouldst fill the hollowness of thy Soul with Christ! If
he emptied himself of glory to become sin for thy salvation, must not
thou be emptied of thy sinful Self to become Righteousness in and
through his agony and the effective merits of his Cross? [128] By what
other means, in what other form, is it _possible_ for thee to stand
in the presence of the Holy One? With _what_ mind wouldst thou come
before God, if not with the mind of Him, in whom _alone_ God loveth
the world? With good advice, perhaps, and a little assistance, thou
wouldst rather cleanse and patch up a mind of thy own, and offer it as
thy _admission-right_, thy _qualification_, to Him who _charged his
angels with folly_![129] Oh! take counsel of thy Reason! It will show
thee how impossible it is, that even a world should merit the love of
Eternal Wisdom and all sufficing Beatitude, otherwise than as it is
contained in that all-perfect Idea, in which the Supreme Spirit
contemplateth itself and the plenitude of its infinity--the
Only-Begotten before all ages! _the beloved Son, in whom the Father
is_ indeed _well pleased_!

And as the Mind, so the Body with which it is to be clothed! as the
Indweller, so the House in which it is to be the Abiding-place![130]
There is but one wedding-garment, in which we can sit down at the
marriage-feast of Heaven: and that is the Bridegroom's own gift, when
he gave himself for us that we might live in him and he in us. There
is but one robe of Righteousnes, even the Spiritual Body, formed by
the assimilative power of faith for whoever eateth the flesh of the
Son of Man and drinketh his blood. Did Christ come from Heaven, did
the Son of God leave the glory _which he had with his Father before
the world began_, only to _show_ us a way to life, to _teach_ truths,
to _tell_ us of a resurrection? Or saith he not, I _am_ the way--I
_am_ the truth--I _am_ the Resurrection and the Life?

[128] _God manifested in the flesh_ is Eternity in the form of Time. But
Eternity in relation to Time is the absolute to the conditional, or the
real to the apparent, and Redemption must partake of both;--always
perfected, for it is a _Fiat_ of the Eternal;--continuous, for it is a
process in relation to man; the former, the alone objectively, and
therefore universally, true. That Redemption in an _opus perfectum_, a
finished work, the claim to which is conferred in Baptism; that a
Christian cannot speak or think as if his Redemption by the blood, and
his Justification by the Righteousness of Christ alone, were future or
contingent events, but must both say and think, I _have been_
redeemed, I am justified; lastly, that for as many as are received
into his Church by baptism, Christ has condemned sin in the flesh, has
made it _dead in law_, that is, no longer imputable as _guilt_, has
destroyed the _objective reality_ of sin:--these are truths, which all
the Reformed Churches, Swedish, Danish, Evangelical, (or Lutheran,)
the Reformed (the Calvinistic in mid-Germany, France, and Geneva, so
called,) lastly, the Church of England, and the Church of
Scotland--nay, the best and most learned divines of the Roman Catholic
Church have united in upholding as most certain and necessary articles
of faith, and the effectual preaching of which Luther declares to be
the appropriate criterion, _stantis vel cadentis Ecclesiæ_. The Church
is standing or falling, according as this doctrine is supported, or
overlooked, or countervened. Nor has the contrary doctrine, according
to which the baptized are yet, each individually, to be called,
converted, and chosen, with all the corollaries from this assumption,
the watching for signs and sensible assurances, "the frames," and "the
states," and "the feelings," and "the sudden conversions," the
contagious fever-boils, of the (most unfitly, so called) Evangelicals,
and Arminian Methodists of the day, been in any age taught or
countenanced by any known and accredited Christian Church, or by any
body and succession of learned divines. On the other hand it has
rarely happened, that the Church has not been troubled by pharisaic
and fanatical individuals, who have sought, by working on the fears
and feelings of the weak and unsteady that celebrity, which they could
not obtain by learning and orthodoxy: and alas! so subtle is the
poison, and so malignant in its operation, that it is almost hopeless
to attempt the cure of any person, once infected, more particularly
when, as most often happens, the patient is a woman. Nor does Luther
in his numerous and admirable discourses on this point, conceal or
palliate the difficulties, which the carnal mind, that works under
many and different disguises, throws in the way to prevent the laying
firm hold of the truth. One most mischievous and very popular
mis-belief must be cleared away in the first instance--the
presumption, I mean, that whatever is not _quite_ simple, and what any
plain body can understand at the first hearing, cannot be of necessary
belief, or among the fundamental articles or essentials of Christian
faith. A docile, child-like mind, a deference to the authority of the
Churches, a presumption of the truth of doctrines that have been
received and taught as true by the whole Church in all times; reliance
on the positive declarations of the Apostle--in short, all the
convictions of the truth of a doctrine that are previous to a perfect
_insight_ into its truth, because these convictions, with the
affections and dispositions accompanying them, are the very means and
conditions of attaining to that insight--and study of, and quiet
meditation on, them, with a gradual growth of spiritual knowledge, and
earnest prayer for its increase; all these, to each and all of which
the young Christian is so repeatedly and fervently exhorted by St.
Paul, are to be superseded, because, forsooth, truths needful for all
men, must be quite simple and easy, and adapted to the capacity of
all, even of the plainest and dullest understanding! What cannot be
poured all at once on a man, can only be supererogatory drops from the
emptied shower-bath of religious instruction! But surely, the more
rational inference would be, that the faith, which is to save the
whole man, must have its roots and justifying grounds in the very
depths of our being. And he who can read the Writings of the Apostles,
John and Paul, without finding in almost every page a confirmation of
this, must have looked at them, as at the sun in an eclipse, through
blackened glasses.

[129] Job. iv. 18.--ED.

[130] St. Paul blends both forms of expression, and asserts the same
doctrine when speaking of the _celestial body_ provided for _the new
man_ in the spiritual flesh and blood, (that is, the informing power
and vivific life of the incarnate Word: for the Blood is the Life, and
the Flesh the Power)--when speaking, I say, of this _celestial body_,
as a _house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens_, yet brought
down to us, made appropriable by faith, and _ours_--he adds, _for in
this earthly house_ (that is, this mortal life, as the inward
principle or energy of our Tabernacle, or outward and sensible body)
_we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which
is from heaven: not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that
mortality might be swallowed up of life_. 2 Cor. v. 1-4.

The four last words of the first verse (_eternal in the heavens_)
compared with the conclusion of v. 2, (_which is from heaven_) present
a coincidence with John iii. 13, "And no man hath ascended up to
heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man, which
is in heaven." [Would not the coincidence be more apparent, if the
words of John had been rendered word for word, even to a disregard of
the English idiom, and with what would be servile and superstitious
fidelity in the translation of a common classic? I can see no reason
why the ουδεις, so frequent in St. John, should not be rendered
literally, _no one_; and there may be a reason why it should. I have
some doubt likewise respecting the omission of the definite articles
τον, του, τω--and a greater, as to the ὁ ων, both in this
place and in John i. 18, being _adequately_ rendered by our _which
is_. What sense some of the Greek Fathers attached to, or inferred
from, St. Paul's _in the Heavens_, the theological student (and to
theologians is this note principally addressed) may find in
Waterland's Letters to a Country Clergyman--a divine, whose judgment
and strong sound sense are as unquestionable as his learning and
orthodoxy. A clergyman in full orders, who has never read the works of
Bull and Waterland, has a duty yet to perform.]

Let it not be objected, that, forgetful of my own professed aversion
to allegorical interpretations, I have, in this note, fallen into "the
fond humour of the mystic divines, and _allegorizers_ of Holy
Writ."[131] There is, believe me, a wide difference between
_symbolical_ and _allegorical_. If I say that the flesh and blood
(_corpus noumenon_) of the Incarnate Word are power and life, I say
likewise that this mysterious power and life are _verily_ and
_actually_ the flesh and blood of Christ. _They_ are the allegorizers,
who turn the 6th chapter of the Gospel according to St. John,--_the
hard saying,--who can hear it?_--after which time many of Christ's
disciples, who had been eye-witnesses of his mighty miracles, who had
heard the sublime morality of his Sermon on the Mount, had glorified
God for the wisdom which they had heard, and had been prepared to
acknowledge, _This is indeed the Christ_,--went back and walked no
more with him!--the hard sayings, which even THE TWELVE were not yet
competent to understand farther than that they were to be spiritually
understood; and which the chief of the Apostles was content to receive
with an implicit and anticipative faith!--_they_, I repeat, are the
allegorizers who moralize these hard sayings, these high words of
mystery, into a hyperbolical metaphor _per catachresin_, which only
means a belief of the doctrine which Paul believed, an obedience to
the law, respecting which Paul _was blameless_, before the voice
called him on the road to Damascus! What every parent, every humane
preceptor, would do when a child had misunderstood a metaphor or
apologue in a literal sense, we all know. But the meek and merciful
Jesus suffered _many_ of HIS disciples to fall off from eternal life,
when, to retain them, he had only to say,--O ye simple-ones! why are
ye offended? My words, indeed, sound strange; but I mean no more than
what you have often and often heard from me before, with delight and
entire acquiescence!--_Credat Judæus! Non ego._ It is sufficient for
me to know that I have used the language of Paul and John, as it was
understood and interpreted by Justin Martyr. Tertullian, Irenæus, and
(if he does not err) by the whole Christian Church then existing.

[131] See Introductory Aphorisms, xxix., p. 19.--ED.



The _Romanists_ teach that sins committed after baptism (that is, for
the immense majority of Christians having Christian parents, all their
sins from the cradle to the grave) are not so remitted for Christ's
sake, but that we must suffer that extremity of punishment which they
deserve: and therefore either we must afflict ourselves in such sort
and degree of extremity as may answer the demerit of our sins, or be
punished by God, here or in the world to come, in such degree and sort
that his Justice may be satisfied. [_As the encysted venom, or
poison-bag, beneath the Adder's fang, so does this doctrine lie
beneath the tremendous power of the Romish Hierarchy. The demoralizing
influence of this dogma, and that it curdled the very life-blood in
the veins of Christendom, it was given to Luther beyond all men since
Paul to see, feel, and promulgate. And yet in his large Treatise on
Repentance, how near to the spirit of this doctrine--even to the very
walls and gates of Babylon--was Jeremy Taylor driven, in recoiling
from the fanatical extremes of the opposite error!_] But they that are
orthodox, teach that it is injustice to require the payment of one
debt twice. * * * It is no less absurd to say, as the Papists do, that
_our_ satisfaction is required as a condition, without which
_Christ's_ satisfaction is not applicable unto us, than to say, Peter
hath paid the debt of John, and He, to whom it was due, accepteth of
the same payment on the condition that John pay it himself also. * * *
The satisfaction of Christ is communicated and applied unto us without
suffering the punishment that sin deserveth, [_and essentially_
_involveth_,] upon the condition of our faith and repentance. [To
which I would add: Without faith there is no power of repentance:
without a commencing repentance no power to faith: and that it is in
the power of the will either to repent or to have faith in the Gospel
sense of the words, is itself a consequence of the redemption of
mankind, a free gift of the Redeemer: the guilt of its rejection, the
refusing to avail ourselves of the power, being all that we can
consider as exclusively attributable to our own act.][132]


(_Containing an Application of the Principles laid down in pp. 135,

Forgiveness of sin, the abolition of guilt, through the redemptive
power of Christ's love, and of his perfect obedience during his
voluntary assumption of humanity, is expressed, on account of the
resemblance of the consequences in both cases, by the payment of a
debt for another, which debt the payer had not himself incurred. Now
the _impropriation_ of this metaphor--(that is, the taking it
_literally_) by transferring the sameness from the consequents to the
antecedents, or inferring the identity of the causes from a
resemblance in the effects--this is the point on which I am at issue:
and the view or scheme of redemption grounded on this confusion I
believe to be altogether un-Scriptural.

Indeed, I know not in what other instance I could better exemplify the
species of sophistry noticed in p. 147, as the Aristotelean μεταβασις
εις αλλο γενος, or clandestine passing over into a diverse kind. The
purpose of a metaphor is to illustrate a something less known by a
partial identification of it with some other thing better understood,
or at least more familiar. Now the article of Redemption may be
considered in a two-fold relation--in relation to the _antecedent_,
that is, the Redeemer's act as the efficient cause and condition of
redemption; and in relation to the _consequent_, that is, the effects
in and for the Redeemed. Now it is the latter relation, in which the
subject is treated of, set forth, expanded, and enforced by St. Paul.
The mysterious act, the operative cause is _transcendent_. _Factum
est_: and beyond the information contained in the enunciation of the
_Fact_, it can be characterized only by the _consequences_. It is the
_consequences_ of the Act of Redemption, which the zealous Apostle
would bring home to the minds and affections both of Jews and
Gentiles. Now the Apostle's opponents and gainsayers were principally
of the former class. They were Jews: not only Jews unconverted, but
such as had partially received the Gospel, and who, sheltering their
national prejudices under the pretended authority of Christ's original
apostles and the Church in Jerusalem, set themselves up against Paul
as followers of Cephas. Add too, that Paul himself was _a Hebrew of
the Hebrews_; intimately versed _in the Jews' religion above many, his
equals, in his own nation, and above measure zealous of the traditions
of his fathers_. It might, therefore, have been anticipated, that his
reasoning would receive its outward forms and language, that it would
take its predominant colours, from his own _past_, and his opponents'
present, habits of thinking; and that his figures, images, analogies,
and references would be taken preferably from objects, opinions,
events, and ritual observances ever uppermost in the imaginations of
his own countrymen. And such we find them;--yet so judiciously
selected, that the prominent forms, the figures of most frequent
recurrence, are drawn from points of belief and practice, forms, laws,
rites and customs, that then prevailed through the whole Roman world,
and were common to Jew and Gentile.

Now it would be difficult if not impossible to select points better
suited to this purpose, as being equally familiar to all, and yet
having a special interest for the Jewish converts, than those are from
which the learned Apostle has drawn the four principal metaphors, by
which he illustrates the blessed _consequences_ of Christ's redemption
of mankind. These are: 1. Sin-offerings, sacrificial expiation. 2.
Reconciliation, atonement, καταλλαγη.[133] 3. Ransom from slavery,
Redemption, the buying back again, or being bought back. 4.
Satisfaction of a creditor's claims by a payment of the debt. To one
or other of these four heads all the numerous forms and exponents of
Christ's mediation in St. Paul's writings may be referred. And the
very number and variety of the words or _periphrases_ used by him to
express one and the same thing furnish the strongest presumptive
proof, that all alike were used _metaphorically_. [In the following
notation, let the small letters represent the _effects_ or
_consequences_, and the capitals the efficient _causes_ or
_antecedents_. Whether by causes we mean acts or agents, is
indifferent. Now let X signify a _transcendent_, that is, a cause
beyond our comprehension and not within the sphere of sensible
experience; and on the other hand, let A, B, C, and D represent each
some one known and familiar cause, in reference to some single and
characteristic effect: namely, A in reference to k, B to l, C to m,
and D to n. Then I say X + k l m n is in different places expressed by
A + k; B + l; C + m; D + n.--And these I should call _metaphorical_
exponents of X.]

Now John, the beloved Disciple, who leaned on the Lord's bosom, the
Evangelist κατα πνευμα, that is, according to the _Spirit_, the
inner and substantial truth of the Christian creed--John, recording
the Redeemer's own words, enunciates the fact itself, to the full
extent in which it is enunciable for the human mind, simply and
_without any metaphor_, by identifying it _in kind_ with a fact of
hourly occurrence--_expressing_ it, I say, by a familiar fact the same
_in kind_ with that intended, though of a far lower _dignity_;--by a
fact of every man's experience, _known_ to all, yet not better
_understood_ than the fact described by it. In the Redeemed it is a
re-_generation_, a _birth_, a spiritual seed impregnated and evolved,
the germinal principle of a higher and enduring life, of a _spiritual_
life--that is, a life the actuality of which is not dependent on the
material body, or limited by the circumstances and processes
indispensable to its organization and subsistence. Briefly, it is the
_differential_ of immortality, of which the assimilative power of
faith and love is the _integrant_, and the life in Christ the

But even this would be an imperfect statement, if we omitted the awful
truth, that besides that dissolution of our earthly tabernacle which
we call death, there is another death, not the mere negation of life,
but its positive opposite. And as there is a mystery of life and an
assimilation to the principle of life, even to him who is _the_ Life;
so is there a mystery of death and an assimilation to the principle of
evil; a fructifying of the corrupt seed, of which death is the
germination. Thus the regeneration to spiritual life is at the same
time a redemption from the spiritual death.

Respecting the redemptive act itself, and the Divine Agent, we know
from revelation that he _was made a quickening_ (ζωοποιουν,
_life-making_) _spirit_: and that in order to this it was necessary,
that God should be _manifested in the flesh_, that the Eternal Word,
through whom and by whom the world (κοσμος, the order, beauty, and
sustaining law of visible natures) was and is, should be made flesh,
assume our humanity personally, fulfil all righteousness, and so
suffer and so die for us as in dying to conquer death for as many as
should receive him. More than this, the mode, the possibility, we are
not competent to know. It is, as hath been already observed concerning
the primal act of apostacy, a mystery by the necessity of the
subject--a mystery, which at all events it will be time enough for us
to seek and expect to understand, when we understand the mystery of
our _natural_ life, and _its_ conjunction with mind and will and
personal identity. Even the truths that are given to us to know, we
can know only through faith in the spirit. They are spiritual things
which must be spiritually discerned. Such, however, being the means
and the effects of our Redemption, well might the fervent Apostle
associate it with whatever was eminently dear and precious to erring
and afflicted mortals, and (where no expression could be commensurate,
no single title be other than imperfect) seek from similitude of
_effect_ to describe the superlative boon by successively transferring
to it, as by a superior claim, the name of each several act and
ordinance, habitually connected in the minds of _all_ his hearers with
feelings of joy, confidence, and gratitude.

Do you rejoice when the atonement made by the priest has removed the
civil stain from your name, restored you to your privileges as a son
of Abraham, and replaced you in the respect of your brethren?--Here is
an atonement which takes away a deeper and worse stain, an eating
canker-spot in the very heart of your personal being. This, to as many
as receive it, gives the privilege to become sons of God (John i. 12);
this will admit you to the society of angels, and insure to you the
rights of brotherhood with spirits made perfect.--(Heb. xii. 22.) Here
is a sacrifice, a sin-offering for the whole world: and a High Priest,
who is indeed a Mediator, who not in type or shadow but in very truth
and in his own right stands in the place of Man to God, and of God to
Man; and who receives as a Judge what he offered as an Advocate.

Would you be grateful to one who had ransomed you from slavery under a
bitter foe, or who brought you out of captivity? Here is redemption
from a far direr slavery, the slavery of sin unto death; and he, who
gave himself for the ransom, has taken captivity captive.

Had you by your own fault alienated yourself from your best, your only
sure friend;--had you, like a prodigal, cast yourself out of your
father's house;--would you not love the good Samaritan, who should
reconcile you to your friend? Would you not prize above all price the
intercession, which had brought you back from husks, and the tending
of swine, and restored you to your father's arms, and seated you at
your father's table?

Had you involved yourself in a heavy DEBT for certain gew-gaws, for
high seasoned meats, and intoxicating drinks, and glistering apparel,
and in default of payment had made yourself over as a bondsman to a
hard creditor, who it was foreknown, would enforce the bond of
judgment to the last tittle;--with what emotions would you not receive
the glad tidings, that a stranger, or a friend whom in the days of
your wantonness you had neglected and reviled, had paid the DEBT for
you, had made SATISFACTION to your creditor? But you have incurred a
debt of Death to the EVIL NATURE! you have sold yourself over to SIN!
and relatively to _you_, and to all _your_ means and resources, the
seal on the bond is the seal of necessity! Its stamp is the _nature_
of evil. But the stranger has appeared, the forgiving friend has come,
even the Son of God from heaven: and to as many as have faith in his
name, I say--the Debt is paid for you. The Satisfaction has been made.

Now to simplify the argument and at the same time to bring the
question to the test, we will confine our attention to the figure last
mentioned, viz. the satisfaction of a debt. Passing by our modern
_Alogi_ who find nothing but metaphors in either Apostle, let us
suppose for a moment with certain divines, that our Lord's words,
recorded by John, and which in all places repeat and assert the same
analogy, are to be regarded as metaphorical; and that it is the varied
expressions of St. Paul that are to be literally interpreted:--for
example, that sin is, or involves, an infinite debt, (in the proper
and law-court sense of the word debt)--a debt owing by us to the
vindictive justice of God the Father, which can only be liquidated by
the everlasting misery of Adam and all his posterity, or by a sum of
suffering equal to this. Likewise, that God the Father by his
absolute decree, or (as some divines teach) through the necessity of
his unchangeable justice, had determined to exact the full sum; which
must, therefore, be paid either by ourselves or by some other in our
name and behalf. But besides the debt which _all_ mankind contracted
in and through Adam, as a _homo publicus_, even as a nation is bound
by the acts of its head or its plenipotentiary, every man (say these
divines) is an insolvent debtor on his own score. In this fearful
predicament the Son of God took compassion on mankind, and resolved to
pay the debt for us, and to satisfy the divine justice by a perfect
equivalent. Accordingly, by a strange yet strict _consequence_, it has
been holden by more than one of these divines, that the agonies
suffered by Christ were equal in amount to the sum total of the
torments of all mankind here and hereafter, or to the infinite debt,
which in an endless succession of instalments we should have been
paying to the divine justice, had it not been paid in full by the Son
of God incarnate!

It is easy to say--"O but I do not hold this, or _we_ do not make this
an article of our belief!" The true question is: "Do you take any
_part_ of it: and can you reject the rest without being
_inconsequent_?" Are debt, satisfaction, payment in full, creditor's
_rights_, and the like, _nomina propria_, by which the very nature of
Redemption and its occasion is expressed;--or are they, with several
others, figures of speech for the purpose of illustrating the nature
and extent of the consequences and effects of the redemptive Act, and
to excite in the receivers a due sense of the magnitude and manifold
operation of the Boon, and of the Love and gratitude due to the
Redeemer? If still you reply, the former: _then_, as your whole theory
is grounded on a notion of _justice_, I ask you--Is this justice a
_moral_ attribute? But morality commences with, and begins in, the
sacred distinction between thing and person: on this distinction all
law human and divine is grounded: consequently, the law of justice. If
you attach any meaning to the term justice, as applied to God, it must
be the same to which you refer when you affirm or deny it of any other
personal agent--save only, that in its attribution to God, you speak
of it as unmixed and perfect. For if not, what _do_ you mean? And why
do you call it by the same name? I may, therefore, with all right and
reason, put the case as between man and man. For should it be found
irreconcilable with the justice, which the light of reason, made _law_
in the conscience, dictates to _man_, how much more must it be
incongruous with the all-perfect justice of God! Whatever case I
should imagine would be felt by the reader as below the dignity of the
subject, and in some measure jarring with his feelings; and in other
respects the more familiar the case, the better suited to the present

A sum of £1,000 is owing from James to Peter, for which James has
given a bond. He is insolvent, and the bond is on the point of being
put in suit against him, to James's utter ruin. At this moment Matthew
steps in, pays Peter the thousand pounds and discharges the bond. In
this case, no man would hesitate to admit, that a complete
_satisfaction_ had been made to Peter. Matthew's £1,000 is a perfect
equivalent for the sum which James was bound to have paid, and which
Peter had lent. _It is the same thing_: and this is altogether a
question of _things_. Now instead of James's being indebted to Peter
for a sum of money, which (he having become insolvent) Matthew pays
for him, we will put the case, that James had been guilty of the
basest and most hard-hearted ingratitude to a most worthy and
affectionate mother, who had not only performed all the duties and
tender offices of a mother, but whose whole heart was bound up in this
her only child--who had foregone all the pleasures and amusements of
life in watching over his sickly childhood, had sacrificed her health
and the far greater part of her resources to rescue him from the
consequences of his follies and excesses during his youth and early
manhood; and to procure for him the means of his present rank and
affluence--all which he had repaid by neglect, desertion, and open
profligacy. Here the mother stands in the relation of the creditor:
and here too I will suppose the same generous friend to interfere, and
to perform with the greatest tenderness and constancy all those duties
of a grateful and affectionate son, which James ought to have
performed. Will this satisfy the Mother's claims on James, or entitle
him to her esteem, approbation, and blessing? Or what if Matthew, the
vicarious son, should at length address her in words to this
purpose:--"Now, I trust, you are appeased, and will be henceforward
reconciled to James. I have satisfied all your claims on him. I have
paid his debt in full: and you are too just to require the same debt
to be paid twice over. You will therefore regard him with the same
complacency, and receive him into your presence with the same love, as
if there had been no difference between him and you. For I have _made
it up_." What other reply could the swelling heart of the mother
dictate than this? "O misery! and is it possible that _you_ are in
league with my unnatural child to insult me? Must not the very
necessity of _your_ abandonment of your proper sphere form an
additional evidence of _his_ guilt? Must not the sense of your
goodness teach me more fully to comprehend, more vividly to feel, the
evil in him? Must not the contrast of your merits magnify his demerit
in his mother's eye, and at once recall and embitter the conviction of
the canker-worm in his soul?"

If indeed by the force of Matthew's example, by persuasion or by
additional and more mysterious influences, or by an inward co-agency,
compatible with the existence of a personal will, James should be led
to repent; if through admiration and love of this great goodness
gradually assimilating his mind to the mind of his benefactor, he
should in his own person become a grateful and dutiful child--_then_
doubtless the mother would be wholly satisfied! But then the case is
no longer a question of _things_, or a matter of _debt_ payable by
another. Nevertheless, the _effect_,--and the reader will remember,
that it is the _effects_ and _consequences_ of Christ's mediation, on
which St. Paul is dilating--the effect to _James_ is similar in both
cases, that is, in the case of James the debtor, and of James the
undutiful son. In both cases, James is liberated from a grievous
burthen; and in both cases he has to attribute his liberation to the
act and free grace of another. The only _difference is_, that in the
former case (namely, the payment of the debt) the beneficial act is
_singly_, and without requiring any re-action or co-agency on the part
of James, the efficient _cause_ of his liberation: while in the latter
case (namely, that of Redemption) the beneficial act is the _first_,
the indispensable _condition_, and _then_ the _coefficient_.

The professional student of theology will, perhaps, understand the
different positions asserted in the preceding argument more readily if
they are presented _synoptically_, that is, brought at once within his
view, in the form of answers to four questions, comprising the
constituent parts of the Scriptural Doctrine of Redemption. And I
trust that my lay readers of both sexes will not allow themselves to
be scared from the perusal of the following short catechism by half a
dozen Latin words, or rather words with Latin endings, that translate
themselves into English, when I dare assure them, that they will
encounter no other obstacle to their full and easy comprehension of
the contents.

_Synopsis of the Constituent Points in the Doctrine of Redemption, in
Four Questions, with Correspondent Answers._


                       {  1. _Agens Causator?_
 Who (or What) is the  {  2. _Actus Causativus?_
                       {  3. _Effectum Causatum?_
                       {  4. _Consequentia ab Effecto?_


I. The Agent and Personal Cause of the Redemption of Mankind is--the
co-eternal Word and only begotten Son of the Living God, incarnate,
tempted, agonizing (_agonistes_ αγωνιζομενος), crucified, submitting
to death, resurgent, communicant of his Spirit, ascendent, and
obtaining for his Church the Descent, and Communion of the Holy
Spirit, the Comforter.

II. The causative act is--a spiritual and transcendent Mystery, _that
passeth all understanding_.

III. The Effect caused is--the being born anew: as before in the
_flesh_ to the world, so now born in the _spirit_ to Christ.

IV. The Consequences from the Effect are--Sanctification from Sin, and
Liberation from the inherent and penal consequences of Sin in the
World to come, with all the means and processes of Sanctification by
the Word and the Spirit: these Consequents being the same for the
Sinner relatively to God and his own Soul, as the satisfaction of a
debt for a debtor relatively to his creditor; as the sacrificial
atonement made by the priest for the transgressor of the Mosaic Law;
as the reconciliation to an alienated parent for a son who had
estranged himself from his father's house and presence; and as a
redemptive ransom for a slave or captive.

Now I complain that this metaphorical _naming_ of the transcendent
causative act through the _medium_ of its proper effects from actions
and causes of familiar occurrence connected with the former by
similarity of result, has been mistaken for an intended designation of
the essential character of the causative act itself; and that thus
divines have interpreted _de omni_ what was spoken _de singulo_, and
magnified a _partial equation_ into a _total identity_.

I will merely hint, to my more _learned_ readers, and to the
professional students of theology, that the origin of this error is to
be sought for in the discussions of the Greek Fathers, and (at a later
period) of the Schoolmen, on the obscure and _abysmal_ subject of the
divine _A-seity_, and the distinction between the θελημα and the
βουλη, that is, the Absolute Will, as the universal _ground_ of
_all_ Being, and the election and purpose of God in the personal idea,
as the Father. And this view would have allowed me to express what I
believe to be the true import and scriptural idea of Redemption in
terms much more nearly resembling those used ordinarily by the
Calvinistic divines, and with a conciliative _show_ of coincidence.
But this motive was outweighed by the reflection, that I could not
rationally have expected to be understood by those to whom I most wish
to be intelligible: _et si non vis intelligi, cur vis legi?_

Not to countervene the purpose of a Synopsis, I have detached the
confirmative or explanatory remarks from the Answers to Questions II.
and III., and place them below as _scholia_. A single glance of the
eye will enable the reader to re-connect each with the sentence it is
supposed to follow.


Nevertheless, _the fact or actual truth having been assured to us by
Revelation_, it is not impossible, by stedfast meditation on the idea
and super-natural character of a personal WILL, for a mind spiritually
disciplined to satisfy itself, that the redemptive act _supposes_ (and
that our redemption is even negatively _conceivable_ only on the
supposition of) an agent who can at once act _on_ the Will as an
exciting cause, _quasi ab extra_; and _in_ the Will, as the
_condition_ of its potential, and the _ground_ of its actual, being.


Where two subjects, that stand to each other in the relation of
_antithesis_ or contradistinction, are connected by a middle term
common to _both_, the sense of this middle term is indifferently
determinable by _either_; the preferability of the one or the other in
any given case being decided by the circumstance of our more frequent
experience of, or greater familiarity with, the Term, in _this_
connexion. Thus, if I put hydrogen and oxygen gas, as opposite poles,
the term _gas_ is common to both; and it is a matter of indifference,
by which of the two bodies I ascertain the sense of the term. But if
for the conjoint purposes of connexion and contrast, I oppose
transparent crystallized alumen to opaque derb, or uncrystallized
alumen;--it may easily happen to be far more _convenient_ for me to
show the sense of the middle term, that is, alumen, by a piece of
pipe-clay than by a sapphire or ruby; especially if I should be
describing the beauty and preciousness of the latter to a peasant
woman, or in a district where a ruby was a rarity which the fewest
only had an opportunity of seeing. This is a plain rule of common
logic directed in its application by common sense.

Now let us apply this to the case in hand. The two opposites _here_
are Flesh and Spirit, _this_ in relation to _Christ_, _that_ in
relation to the _World_; and these two opposites are connected by the
middle term, _Birth_, which is of course common to both. But for the
same reason, as in the instance last mentioned, the interpretation of
the common term is to be ascertained from its known sense, in the
more familiar connexion--birth, namely, in relation to our natural
life and to the organized body, by which we belong to the present
world.--Whatever the word signifies in this connexion, the same
_essentially_ (in _kind_ though not in dignity and value) must be its
signification in the other. How else could it be (what yet in this
text it undeniably _is_), the _punctum indifferens_, or _nota
communis_, of the _thesis_, Flesh; or the World, and the _antithesis_
Spirit; or Christ? We might therefore, upon the supposition of a
writer having been speaking of river-water in distinction from
rain-water, as rationally pretend that in the latter phrase the term,
water, was to be understood metaphorically, as that the word, birth,
is a metaphor, and means only so and so, in the Gospel according to
St. John.

There is, I am aware, a numerous and powerful party in our Church, so
numerous and powerful as not seldom to be entitled _the_ Church, who
hold and publicly teach, that "Regeneration is only Baptism." Nay, the
writer of the article on the Lives of Scott and Newton in our ablest
and most respectable Review[134] is but one among many who do not
hesitate to brand the contrary opinion as heterodoxy, and schismatical
superstition. I trust, that I think as seriously as most men, of the
evil of schism; but with every disposition to pay the utmost deference
to an acknowledged majority including, it is said, a very large
proportion of the present dignitaries of our Church, I cannot but
think it a sufficient reply, that if Regeneration means Baptism,
Baptism must mean Regeneration; and this too, as Christ himself has
declared, a Regeneration in the Spirit. Now I would ask these divines
this simple question: Do they believingly suppose a spiritual
regenerative power and agency inhering in or accompanying the
sprinkling a few drops of water on an infant's face? They cannot evade
the question by saying that Baptism is a _type_ or _sign_. For this
would be to supplant their own assertion, that Regeneration means
Baptism, by the contradictory admission, that Regeneration is the
_significatum_, of which Baptism is the significant. Unless, indeed,
they would incur the absurdity of saying, that Regeneration is a type
of Regeneration, and Baptism a type of itself--or that Baptism only
means Baptism! And this indeed is the plain consequence to which they
might be driven, should they answer the above question in the

But if their answer be, "Yes! we do suppose and believe this
efficiency in the Baptismal act"--I have not another word to say.
Only, perhaps, I might be permitted to express a hope, that for
consistency's sake they would speak less slightingly of the
_insufflation_, and _extreme unction_, used in the Romish Church;
notwithstanding the not easily to be answered arguments of our
Christian Mercury, the all-eloquent Jeremy Taylor, respecting the
latter, which, "since it is used when the man is above half dead, when
he can exercise no act of understanding, it must needs be nothing; for
no rational man can think that any ceremony can make a spiritual
change without a spiritual act of him that is to be changed; nor work
by way of nature, or by charm, but morally and after the manner of
reasonable creatures."[135]

It is too obvious to require suggestion, that these words here quoted
apply with yet greater force and propriety to the point in question:
as the babe is an unconscious subject, which the dying man need not be
supposed to be. My avowed convictions respecting Regeneration with the
spiritual Baptism, as its condition and initiative (Luke iii. 16;
Matt. i. 7; Matt. iii. 11), and of which the sacramental rite, the
Baptism of John, was appointed by Christ to remain as the sign and
figure; and still more, perhaps, my belief respecting the Mystery of
the Eucharist, (concerning which I hold the same opinions as
Bucer,[136] Peter Martyr, and presumably Cranmer himself)--these
convictions and this belief will, I doubt not, be deemed by the
Orthodox _de more Grotii_, who improve the _letter_ of Arminius with
the _spirit_ of Socinus, sufficient data to bring me in guilty of
irrational and Superstitious Mysticism. But I abide by a maxim, which
I learnt at an early period of my theological studies, from Benedict
Spinoza:--Where the alternative lies between the Absurd and the
Incomprehensible, no wise man can be at a loss which of the two to
prefer. To be _called_ irrational, is a trifle; to _be_ so, and in
matters of religion, is far otherwise: and whether the irrationality
consists in men's believing (that is, in having persuaded themselves
that they believe) _against_ reason, or _without_ reason, I have been
early instructed to consider it as a sad and serious evil, pregnant
with mischiefs, political and moral. And by none of my numerous
instructors so impressively, as by that great and shining light of our
Church in the æra of our intellectual splendour, Bishop Jeremy Taylor:
from one of whose works, and that of especial authority for the safety
as well as for the importance of the principle, inasmuch as it was
written expressly _ad populum_, I will now, both for its own intrinsic
worth, and to relieve the attention, wearied, perhaps, by the length
and argumentative character of the preceding _discussion_, interpose
the following Aphorism.[137]

[132] Dr. Richard Field's "Of the Church," folio ed., Oxford, 1628, p.

[133] This word occurs but once in the New Testament, Romans v. 11,
the marginal rendering being _reconciliation_. The personal noun,
καταλλακτης, is still in use with the modern Greeks for a
money-changer, or one who takes the debased currency, so general in
countries under a despotic or other dishonest government, in exchange
for sterling coin or bullion; the purchaser paying the _catallage_,
that is, the difference. In the elder Greek writers, the verb means
_to exchange for an opposite_, as, κατακκασσετο την εχθρην τοις
στασιωταις.--He exchanged within himself enmity for friendship, (that
is, he reconciled himself) with his party;--or, as we say, _made it
up_ with them, an idiom which (with whatever loss of dignity) gives
the exact force of the word. He made _up the difference_. The Hebrew
word of very frequent occurrence in the Pentateuch, which we render by
the substantive, _atonement_, has its radical or visual image, in
_copher_, pitch. Gen. vi. 14: _Thou shalt pitch it within and without
with pitch_. Hence to unite, to fill up a breach, or leak, the word
expressing both the _act_, namely, the bringing together what had been
previously separated, and the _means_, or material, by which the
re-union is effected, as in our English verbs, _to caulk_, _to
solder_, _to poy_ or _pay_ (from _poix_, pitch), and the French
_suiver_. Thence, metaphorically, _expiation_, the _piacula_ having
the same root, and being grounded on another property or use of gums
and resins, the supposed _cleansing_ powers of their fumigation.
Numbers viii. 21: _made atonement for the Levites to cleanse
them_.--Lastly (or if we are to believe the Hebrew Lexicons,
_properly_ and most _frequently_) it means _ransom_. But if by
_proper_ the Interpreters mean _primary_ and _radical_, the assertion
does not need a confutation: all radicals belonging to one or other of
three classes. 1. Interjections, or sounds expressing sensations or
passions. 2. Imitations of sounds, as splash, roar, whiz, &c. 3. and
principally, visual images, objects of sight. But as to _frequency_,
in all the numerous (fifty, I believe,) instances of the word in the
Old Testament, I have not found one in which it can, or at least need,
be rendered by _ransom_: though beyond all doubt _ransom_ is used in
the Epistle to Timothy, as an _equivalent_ term.

[134] Review of the Memoirs of the Rev. J. Scott and Rev. J. Newton,
'Quarterly Review,' April, 1824.--ED.

[135] Dedication to Taylor's 'Holy Dying,' p. 295, Bohn's Standard
Library edition.--ED.

[136] Appendix to Strype's 'Life of Cranmer.'--ED.

[137] Slightly altered from the 'Worthy Communicant,' chap. iii. sect.
v.; p. 523, vol. xv. of Heber's edition of Jeremy Taylor's works.--ED.



Whatever is against right reason, that no faith can oblige us to
believe. For though reason is not the positive and affirmative measure
of our faith, and our faith ought to be larger than our
[_speculative_] reason, and _take_ something into her heart, that
reason can never take into her eye; yet in all our creed there can be
nothing _against_ reason. If reason justly contradicts an article, it
is not "of the household of Faith." In this there is no difficulty,
but that in practice we take care that we do not call _that_ reason,
which is not so (_see_ p. 122). For although reason is a right
judge,[138] yet it ought not to pass sentence in an inquiry of faith,
until all the information be brought in; all that is within, and all
that is without, all that is above, and all that is below; all that
concerns it in experience, and all that concerns it in act: whatsoever
is of pertinent observation and whatsoever is revealed. For else
reason may argue very well and yet conclude falsely. It may conclude
well in logic, and yet infer a false proposition in theology (p. 115).
But when our judge is fully and truly informed in all that whence she
is to make her judgment, we may safely follow her whithersoever she
invites us.

[138] Which it could not be, in respect of spiritual truths and
objects super-sensuous, if it were the same with, and merely another
name for "the faculty judging according to sense"--that is, the
Understanding, or (as Taylor most often calls it in distinction from
Reason) _Discourse_ (_discursus seu facultas discursiva vel
discursoria_). The Reason, so instructed and so actuated as Taylor
requires in the sentences immediately following, is what I have called
the Spirit. [See also note near the end of Aphorism VIII.--ED.]



He that speaks against his own reason, speaks against his own
conscience: and therefore it is certain, no man serves God with a good
conscience, who serves him against his reason.



By the eye of reason through the telescope of faith, that is,
Revelation, we may see what without this telescope we could never have
known to exist. But as one that shuts the eye hard, and with violence
curls the eye-lid, forces a fantastic fire from the crystalline
humour, and espies a light that never shines, and sees thousands of
little fires that never burn; so is he that blinds the eye of reason,
and pretends to see by an eye of faith. He makes little images of
notions, and some atoms dance before him; but he is not guided by the
light, nor instructed by the proposition, but sees like a man in his


APHORISM XXIII.--Less on my own account, than in the hope of
fore-arming my youthful friends, I add one other transcript from
Bishop Taylor, as from a writer to whose name no taint or suspicion of
Calvinistic or schismatical tenets can attach, and for the purpose of
softening the offence which, I cannot but foresee, will be taken at
the positions asserted in paragraph the first of Aphorism VII., and
the documental proofs of the same in the next pages; and this by a
formidable party composed of men ostensibly of the most dissimilar
creeds, _regular_ Church-divines, voted orthodox by a great majority
of suffrages, and the so-called Free-thinking Christians, and
Unitarian divines. It is the _former_ class alone that I wish to
conciliate: so far at least as it may be done by removing the
aggravation of _novelty_ from the offensive article. And surely the
simple re-assertion of one of "the two great things," which Bishop
Taylor could assert as a fact,--which, he took for granted, that no
Christian would think of controverting,--should at least be
controverted without bitterness by his successors in the Church. That
which was perfectly safe and orthodox in 1657, in the judgment of a
devoted Royalist and Episcopalian, ought to be at most but a venial
heterodoxy in 1825. For the rest, I am prepared to hear in
answer--what has already been so often, and with such theatrical
effect dropped, as an _extinguisher_, on my arguments--the famous
concluding period of one of the chapters in Paley's Moral and
Political Philosophy, declared by Dr. Parr to be the _finest_ prose
passage in English literature.[139] Be it so. I bow to so great an
authority. But if the learned Doctor would impose it on me as the
_truest_ as well as the finest, or expect me to admire the logic
equally with the rhetoric--αφισταμαι--I start off! As I have been
_un-English_ enough to find in Pope's tomb-epigram on Sir Isaac Newton
nothing better than a gross and wrongful falsehood, conveyed in an
enormous and irreverent hyperbole; so with regard to this passage in
question, free as it is from all faults of taste, I have yet the
hardihood to confess, that in the sense in which the words _discover_
and _prove_, are here used and intended, I am not convinced of the
truth of the principle, (that he alone discovers who proves), and I
question the correctness of the particular case, brought as instance
and confirmation. I _doubt_ the validity of the assertion as a
_general_ rule; and I _deny_ it, as applied to matters of _faith_, to
the verities of religion, in the belief of which there must always be
somewhat of moral election, "an act of the _Will_ in it as well as of
the Understanding, as much _love_ in it as discursive power. True
Christian Faith must have in it something of in-evidence, something
that must be made up by duty and by obedience."[140] But most readily
do I admit, and most fervently do I contend, that the miracles worked
by Christ, both as miracles and as fulfilments of prophecy, both as
signs and as wonders, made plain discovery, and gave unquestionable
proof, of his divine character and authority; that they were to the
whole Jewish nation true and appropriate evidences, that HE was indeed
come who had promised and declared to their forefathers, _Behold your
God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense_. _He will
come and save you._[141] I receive them as proofs, therefore, of the
truth of every word, which he taught who was himself THE WORD: and as
sure evidences of the final victory over death and of the life to
come, in that they were manifestations of HIM, who said: _I am the
resurrection and the Life!_

The obvious inference from the passage in question, if not its express
import, is: _Miracula experimenta crucis esse, quibus solis probandum
erat, homines non, pecudum instar, omnino perituros esse_. Now this
doctrine I hold to be altogether alien from the _spirit_, and without
authority in the _letter_, of Scripture. I can recall nothing in the
history of human belief, that should induce me, I find nothing in my
own moral being that enables me, to understand it. I can, however,
perfectly well understand, the readiness of _those_ divines in _hoc
Paleii dictum ore pleno jurare, qui nihil aliud in toto Evangelio
invenire posse profitentur_. The most unqualified admiration of this
superlative passage I find perfectly in character for those, who while
Socinianism and Ultra-Socinianism are spreading like the roots of an
elm, on and just below the surface, through the whole land, and _here
and there_ at least have even dipped under the garden-fence of the
Church, and blunted the edge of the labourer's spade in the gayest
_parterres_ of our Baal-hamon, who,--while heresies, to which the
framers and compilers of our Liturgy, Homilies, and Articles would
have refused the very name of Christianity, meet their eyes on the
list of religious denominations for every city and large town
throughout the kingdom--can yet congratulate themselves with Dr.
Paley, in his book on the Evidences, that _the rent has not reached
the foundation_[142]--that is, that the corruption of man's will; that
the responsibility of man in any sense in which it is not equally
predicable of dogs and horses; that the divinity of our Lord, and even
his pre-existence; that sin, and redemption through the merits of
Christ; and grace; and the especial aids of the Spirit; and the
efficacy of prayer; and the subsistency of the Holy Ghost; may all be
extruded without breach or rent in the essentials of Christian
Faith;--that a man may deny and renounce them all, and remain a
_fundamental_ Christian, notwithstanding. But there are many who
cannot keep up with Latitudinarians of such a stride; and I trust that
the majority of serious believers are in this predicament. Now for all
these it would seem more in character to be of Bishop Taylor's
opinion, that the belief in question is _presupposed_ in a convert to
the Truth in Christ--but at all events not to circulate in the great
whispering gallery of the religious public suspicions and hard
thoughts of those who, like myself, are of this opinion; who do not
dare decry the religious instincts of humanity as a baseless dream;
who hold, that to excavate the ground under the faith of all mankind,
is a very questionable method of building up our faith, as Christians;
who fear, that instead of adding to, they should detract from, the
honour of the Incarnate Word by disparaging the light of the Word,
that was in the beginning, and which lighteth _every_ man; and who,
under these convictions, can tranquilly leave it to be disputed, in
some new Dialogues in the shades, between the fathers of the Unitarian
Church on the one side, and Maimonides, Moses Mendelssohn, and Lessing
on the other, whether the famous passage in Paley does or does not
contain the three dialectic flaws, _petitio principii_, _argumentum in
circulo_, and _argumentum contra rem a premisso rem ipsam includente_.

Yes! fervently do I contend, that to satisfy the understanding, that
there is a future state, was not the _specific_ Object of the
Christian Dispensation; and that neither the belief of a future state,
nor the _rationality_ of this belief, is the _exclusive_ attribute of
the Christian religion. An _essential_, a _fundamental_, article of
_all_ religion it is, and therefore of the Christian; but otherwise
than as in connexion with the salvation of mankind from the _terrors_
of that state among the essential articles _peculiar_ to the Gospel
Creed (those, for instance, by which it is _contra_-distinguished from
the creed of a religious Jew) I do not place it. And before sentence
is passed against me, as heterodox, on this ground, let not my judges
forget, who it was that assured us, that if a man did not believe in a
state of retribution after death, previously and on other grounds,
_neither would he believe, though a man should be raised from the

Again, I am questioned as to my _proofs_ of a future state by men who
are so far, and _only_ so far, professed believers, that they admit a
God, and the existence of a Law from God: I give them: and the
questioners turn from me with a scoff or incredulous smile. Now should
others of a less scanty Creed infer the weakness of the reasons
assigned by me from their failure in convincing _these_ men; may I not
remind them, WHO it was, to whom a similar question was proposed by
men of the same class? But at all events it will be enough for my own
support to remember it; and to know that HE held such questioners, who
could not find a sufficing proof of this great all-concerning verity
in the words, _The God of Abraham_, _the God of Isaac_, _and the God
of Jacob_ unworthy of any other answer--men not to be satisfied by
_any_ proof--by any such proofs, at least, as are compatible with the
ends and purposes of all religious conviction; by any proofs, that
would not destroy the faith they were intended to confirm, and reverse
the whole character and quality of its effects and influences. But if,
notwithstanding all here offered in defence of my opinion, I must
still be adjudged heterodox and in error,--what can I say, but that
_malo cum Platone errare_, and take refuge behind the ample shield of



In order to his own glory, and for the manifestation of his goodness,
and that the accidents of this world might not overmuch trouble those
good men who suffered evil things, God was pleased to do TWO GREAT
THINGS. The one was: that he sent his Son into the world to take upon
him our nature, that every man might submit to a necessity, from which
God's own Son was not exempt, when it behoved even _Christ to suffer_,
and so to enter into glory. The other great thing was: that God did
_not only by Revelation_ and the Sermons of the Prophets _to his
Church_, but even to ALL MANKIND _competently_ teach, and
_effectively_ persuade, that the soul of man does not die; that though
things were ill here, yet to the good who usually feel most of the
evils of this life, they should end in honour and advantages. And
therefore Cicero had reason on his side to conclude, that there is a
time and place after this life, wherein the wicked shall be punished,
and the virtuous rewarded; when he considered that Orpheus and
Socrates, and many others, just men and benefactors of mankind, were
either slain or oppressed to death by evil men. _And all these
received not the promise._ But when virtue made men poor; and free
speaking of brave truths made the wise to lose their liberty; when an
excellent life hastened an opprobrious death, and the obeying Reason
and our Conscience lost us our lives, or at least all the means and
conditions of enjoying them: it was but time to look about for
_another_ state of things, where justice should rule, and virtue find
her own portion. And therefore men cast out every line, and turned
every stone, and tried every argument: _and sometimes proved it well,
and when they did not, yet they believed strongly_; _and_ THEY WERE


A fact may be truly stated, and yet the Cause or Reason assigned for
it mistaken; or inadequate; or _pars pro toto_--one only or few of
many that might or should have been adduced. The preceding Aphorism is
an instance in point. The phenomenon here brought forward by the
Bishop, as the ground and occasion of men's belief of a future
state--viz. the frequent, not to say ordinary, disproportion between
moral worth and worldly prosperity--must, indeed, at all times and in
all countries of the civilized world have led the observant and
reflecting few, the men of meditative habits and strong feelings of
natural equity, to a nicer consideration of the current belief,
whether instinctive or traditional. By forcing the Soul in upon
herself, this enigma of saint and sage, from Job, David and Solomon to
Claudian and Boetius,--this perplexing disparity of success and
desert, has, I doubt not, with such men been the occasion of a
steadier and more distinct consciousness of a _something_ in man
different _in kind_, and which not merely distinguishes but
contra-distinguishes, him from brute animals--at the same time that it
has brought into closer view an enigma of yet harder solution--the
fact, I mean, of a _contradiction_ in the human being, of which no
traces are observable elsewhere, in animated or inanimate nature. A
struggle of jarring impulses; a mysterious diversity between the
injunctions of the mind and the elections of the will; and (last not
least) the utter incommensurateness and the unsatisfying qualities of
the things around us, that yet are the only objects which our senses
discover, or our appetites require us to pursue:--hence for the finer
and more contemplative spirits the ever-strengthening suspicion, that
the two phenomena must in some way or other stand in close connexion
with each other, and that the Riddle of Fortune and Circumstance is
but a form or effluence of the Riddle of Man:--and hence again, the
persuasion, that the solution of both problems is to be sought
for--hence the presentiment, that this solution will be found--in the
_contra_-distinctive constituent of humanity, in the _something_ of
human nature which is exclusively human;--and--as the objects
discoverable by the senses, as all the bodies and substances that we
can touch, measure, and weigh, are either mere totals, the unity of
which results from the parts, and is of course only apparent; or
substances, the unity of action of which is owing to the nature or
arrangement of the partible bodies which they actuate or set in
motion, (steam for instance, in a steam-engine); as on the one hand
the conditions and known or conceivable properties of all the objects
which perish and utterly _cease_ to be, together with all the
properties which we ourselves have in common with these perishable
things, differ _in kind_ from the acts and properties peculiar to our
humanity, so that the former cannot even be conceived, cannot without
a contradiction in terms be predicated, of the proper and immediate
subject of the latter--(for who would not smile at an ounce of Truth,
or a square foot of Honour?)--and as, on the other hand, whatever
things in visible nature _have_ the character of Permanence, and
endure amid continual flux unchanged like a rainbow in a fast-flying
shower, (for example, Beauty, Order, Harmony, Finality, Law,) are all
akin to the _peculia_ of humanity, are all _congenera_ of Mind and
Will, without which indeed they would not only exist in vain, as
pictures for moles, but actually not _exist_ at all;--hence, finally,
the conclusion, that the soul of man, as the subject of Mind and Will,
must likewise possess a principle of permanence, and be destined to
endure. And were these grounds lighter than they are, yet as a small
weight will make a scale descend, where there is nothing in the
opposite scale, or _painted_ weights, which have only an illusive
relief or prominence; so in the scale of immortality slight reasons
are in effect weighty, and sufficient to determine the judgment, there
being no counter-weight, no reasons against them, and no facts in
proof of the contrary, that would not prove equally well the cessation
of the eye on the removal or diffraction of the eye-glass, and the
dissolution or incapacity of the musician on the fracture of his
instrument or its strings.

But though I agree with Taylor so far, as not to doubt that the
misallotment of worldly goods and fortunes was one principal occasion,
exciting well-disposed and spiritually-awakened natures by reflections
and reasonings, such as I have here supposed, to mature the
presentiment of immortality into full consciousness, into a principle
of action and a well-spring of strength and consolation; I cannot
concede to this circumstance any thing like the importance and
_extent_ of efficacy which he in this passage attributes to it. I am
persuaded, that as the belief of all mankind, of all[144] tribes, and
nations, and languages, in all ages, and in all states of social
union, it must be referred to far deeper grounds, common to man as
man; and that its fibres are to be traced to the _tap-root_ of
humanity. I have long entertained, and do not hesitate to avow, the
conviction, that the argument, from Universality of belief, urged by
Barrow and others in proof of the first article of the Creed, is
neither in point of _fact_--for two very different objects may be
intended, and two, or more, diverse and even contradictory conceptions
may be expressed, by the same _name_--nor in legitimacy of conclusion
as strong and unexceptionable, as the argument from the same ground
for the continuance of our personal being after death. The bull-calf
_butts_ with smooth and unarmed brow. Throughout animated nature, of
each characteristic organ and faculty there exists a pre-assurance, an
instinctive and practical anticipation; and no pre-assurance common to
a whole species does in any instance prove delusive.[145] All other
prophecies of nature have their exact fulfilment--in every other
_ingrafted word_ of promise, nature is found true to her word; and is
it in her noblest creature, that she tells her first lie?--(The
reader will, of course, understand, that I am here speaking in the
assumed character of a mere naturalist, to whom no light of revelation
had been vouchsafed; one, who

    ---- with gentle heart
    Had worshipp'd Nature in the hill and valley,
    Not knowing what he loved, but loved it all!)

Whether, however, the introductory part of the Bishop's argument is to
be received with more or less qualification, the _fact_ itself, as
stated in the concluding sentence of the Aphorism, remains unaffected,
and is beyond exception true.

If other argument and yet higher authority were required, I might
refer to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, and to the Epistle to the
Hebrews, which whether written by Paul or, as Luther conjectured, by
Apollos, is out of all doubt the work of an Apostolic man filled with
the Holy Spirit, and composed while the Temple and the glories of the
Temple worship were yet in existence. Several of the Jewish and still
Judaizing converts had begun to vacillate in their faith, and to
_stumble at the stumbling-stone_ of the contrast between the pomp and
splendour of the old Law and the simplicity and humility of the
Christian Church. To break this sensual charm, to unfascinate these
bedazzled brethren, the writer to the Hebrews institutes a comparison
between the two religions, and demonstrates the superior spiritual
grandeur, the greater intrinsic worth and dignity of the religion of
Christ. On the other hand, at Rome where the Jews formed a numerous,
powerful, and privileged class (many of them, too, by their
proselyting zeal and frequent disputations with the priests and
philosophers trained and exercised polemics) the recently-founded
Christian Church was, it appears, in greater danger from the
reasonings of the Jewish doctors and even of its own Judaizing
members, respecting the _use_ of the new revelation. Thus the object
of the Epistle to the Hebrews was to prove the _superiority_ of the
Christian Religion; the object of the Epistle to the Romans to prove
its _necessity_. Now there was one argument extremely well calculated
to stagger a faith newly transplanted and still loose at its roots,
and which, if allowed, seemed to preclude the _possibility_ of the
Christian religion, as an especial and immediate revelation from
God--on the high grounds, at least, on which the Apostle of the
Gentiles placed it, and with the exclusive rights and _superseding_
character, which _he_ claimed for it. "You admit" (said they) "the
divine origin and authority of the Law given to Moses, proclaimed with
thunders and lightnings and the voice of the Most High heard by all
the people from Mount Sinai, and introduced, enforced, and perpetuated
by a series of the most stupendous miracles. Our religion then was
given by God: and can God give a perishable imperfect religion? If not
perishable, how can it have a successor? If perfect, how can it need
to be superseded?--The entire argument is indeed comprised in the
latter attribute of our Law. We know, from an authority which you
yourselves acknowledge for divine, that our religion is perfect. _He
is the Rock, and his Work is perfect._ (Deuter. xxxii. 4.) If then the
religion revealed by God himself to our forefathers is _perfect_, what
need have we of another?"--This objection, both from its importance
and from its extreme plausibility, for the persons at least, to whom
it was addressed, required an answer in both Epistles. And
accordingly, the answer is included in the one (that to the Hebrews)
and it is the especial purpose and main subject of the other. And how
does the Apostle answer it? Suppose--and the case is not
impossible[146]--a man of sense, who had studied the evidences of
Priestley and Paley with Warburton's Divine Legation, but who should
be a perfect stranger to the Writings of St. Paul: and that I put
_this_ question to him:--"What do _you_ think, will St. Paul's answer
be?" "Nothing," he would reply, "can be more obvious. It is in vain,
the Apostle will urge, that you bring your notions of probability and
inferences from the arbitrary interpretation of a word in an absolute
rather than a relative sense, to invalidate a known _fact_. It is a
_fact_, that your Religion is (in _your_ sense of the word) _not_
perfect: for it is deficient in one of the two essential constituents
of all true religion, the belief of a future state on solid and
sufficient grounds. Had the doctrine indeed been revealed, the
stupendous miracles, which you most truly affirm to have accompanied
and attested the first promulgation of your religion, would have
supplied the requisite proof. But the doctrine was not revealed; and
your belief of a future state rests on no solid grounds. You believe
it (as far as you believe it, and as many of you as profess this
belief) without revelation, and without the only proper and sufficient
evidence of its truth. Your religion, therefore, though of divine
Origin is, (if taken in disjunction from the new revelation, which I
am commissioned to proclaim) but a _religio dimidiata_; and the main
purpose, the proper character, and the paramount object of Christ's
mission and miracles, is to supply the missing half by a clear
discovery of a future state;--and (since "he alone discovers who
proves") by proving the truth of the doctrine, now for the first time
declared with the requisite authority, by the requisite, appropriate,
and alone satisfactory _evidences_."

But _is_ this the Apostle's answer to the Jewish oppugners, and the
Judaizing false brethren, of the Church of Christ?--It is _not_ the
answer, it does not resemble the answer returned by the Apostle. It is
neither parallel nor corradial with the line of argument in either of
the two Epistles, or with any one line; but it is a _chord_ that
traverses them all, and only touches where it cuts across. In the
Epistle to the Hebrews the directly contrary position is repeatedly
_asserted_: and in the Epistle to the Romans it is every where
_supposed_. The death to which the Law sentenced all sinners (and
which even the Gentiles without the _revealed_ Law had announced to
them by their consciences, _the judgment of God having been made known
even to them_) must be the same death, from which they were saved by
the faith of the Son of God; or the Apostle's reasoning would be
senseless, his antithesis a mere equivoque, a play on a word, _quod
idem sonat, aliud vult_. Christ _redeemed mankind from the curse of
the Law_: and we all know, that it was not from temporal death, or the
penalties and afflictions of the present life, that believers have
been redeemed. The Law, of which the inspired sage of Tarsus is
speaking, from which no man can plead excuse; the Law miraculously
delivered in thunders from Mount Sinai, which was inscribed on tables
of stone for the _Jews_, and written in the hearts of _all_ men (Rom.
ii. 15.)--the Law _holy and spiritual_! what was the great point, of
which this Law, in its own name, offered no solution? the mystery,
which it left behind the veil, or in the cloudy tabernacle of types
and figurative sacrifices? Whether there was a judgment to come, and
souls to suffer the dread sentence? Or was it not far rather--what are
the means of escape; where may grace be found, and redemption? St.
Paul says, the latter. The Law brings condemnation: but the
conscience-sentenced transgressor's question, "What shall I do to be
saved? Who will intercede for me?" she dismisses as beyond the
jurisdiction of her court, and takes no cognizance thereof, save in
prophetic murmurs or mute outshadowings of mystic ordinances and
sacrificial types.--Not, therefore, _that_ there is a Life to come,
and a future state; but _what_ each individual Soul may hope for
itself therein; and on what grounds; and that this state has been
rendered an object of aspiration and fervent desire, and a source of
thanksgiving and exceeding great joy; and by whom, and through whom,
and for whom, and by what means and under what conditions--_these_ are
the _peculiar_ and _distinguishing_ fundamentals of the Christian
Faith! These are the revealed Lights and obtained Privileges of the
Christian Dispensation! Not alone the knowledge of the boon, but the
precious inestimable Boon itself, is the _Grace and Truth that came by
Jesus Christ_! I believe Moses, I believe Paul; but I believe _in_

[139] Coleridge quotes this passage in his Conclusion.--ED.

[140] J. Taylor's 'Worthy Communicant.'--H.N.C.

[141] Isaiah xxxiv. compared with Matt. x. 34, and Luke xii.

[142] Conclusion, Part III. ch. 8.--H.N.C.

[143] Sermon at the Funeral of Sir George Dalston.--H.N.C.

[144] I say, _all_: for the accounts of one or two travelling French
_philosophers_, professed atheists and partizans of infidelity,
respecting one or two African hordes, Caffres, and poor outlawed
Boschmen, hunted out of their humanity, ought not to be regarded as
exceptions. And as to Hearne's assertion respecting the non-existence
and rejection of the belief among the Copper-Indians, it is not only
hazarded on very weak and insufficient grounds, but he himself, in
another part of his work, unconsciously supplies data, from whence the
contrary may safely be concluded. Hearne, perhaps, put down his friend
Motannabbi's _Fort_-philosophy for the opinion of his tribe; and from
his high appreciation of the moral character of this murderous
gymnosophist, it might, I fear, be inferred, that Hearne himself was
not the very person one would, of all others, have chosen for the
purpose of instituting the inquiry.

[145] See Baron Field's Letters from New South Wales. The poor
natives, the lowest in the scale of humanity, evince no symptom of any
religion, or the belief of any superior power as the maker of the
world; but yet have no doubt that the spirits of their ancestors
survive in the form of porpoises, and mindful of their descendants
with imperishable affection, drive the whales ashore for them to feast

[146] The case here supposed actually occurred in my own experience in
the person of a Spanish refugee, of English parents, but from his
tenth year resident in Spain, and bred in a family of wealthy, but
ignorant and bigoted, Roman Catholics. In mature manhood he returned
to England, disgusted with the conduct of the priests and monks, which
had indeed for some years produced on his mind its so common effect
among the better-informed natives of the South of Europe--a tendency
to Deism. The results, however, of the infidel system in France, with
his opportunities of observing the effects of irreligion on the French
officers in Spain, on the one hand; and the undeniable moral and
intellectual superiority of Protestant Britain on the other; had not
been lost on him: and here he began to think for himself and resolved
to _study_ the subject. He had gone through Bishop Warburton's Divine
Legation, and Paley's Evidences; but had never read the New Testament
consecutively, and the Epistles not at all.




_In those days came John the Baptist, preaching._--It will suffice for
our present purpose, if by these[147] words we direct the attention to
the origin, or at least first Scriptural record, of BAPTISM, and to
the combinement of PREACHING therewith; their aspect each to the
other, and their concurrence to one excellent end: the Word unfolding
the Sacrament, and the Sacrament sealing the Word; the Word as a
Light, informing and clearing the sense of the Seal; and this again,
as a Seal, confirming and ratifying the truth of the Word; as you see
some significant seals, or engraven signets, have a word about them
expressing their sense.

But truly the word is a light and the sacraments have in them of the
same light illuminating them. This _sacrament_ of Baptism, the
ancients do particularly express by _light_. Yet are they both nothing
but darkness to us, till the same light shine in our hearts; for till
then we are nothing but darkness ourselves, and therefore the most
luminous things are so to us. Noonday is as midnight to a blind man.
And we see these ordinances, the word and the sacrament, without
profit or comfort for the most part, because we have not of that
Divine Light within us. And we have it not, because we ask it not.


 _Or an Aid to Reflection in the forming of a sound Judgment
 respecting the purport and purpose of the Baptismal Rite, and a just
 appreciation of its value and importance._

A born and bred Baptist, and paternally descended from the old
orthodox Non-conformists, and both in his own and in his father's
right a very dear friend of mine, had married a member of the National
Church. In consequence of an anxious wish expressed by his lady for
the baptism of their first child, he solicited me to put him in
possession of my Views respecting this controversy; though principally
as to the degree of importance which I attached to it. For as to the
point itself, his natural prepossession in favour of the persuasion in
which he was born, had been confirmed by a conscientious examination
of the arguments on both sides. As the Comment on the preceding
Aphorism, or rather as an expansion of its subject matter, I will give
the substance of the conversation: and amply shall I have been
remunerated, should it be read with the interest and satisfaction with
which it was heard. More particularly, should any of my readers find
themselves under the same or similar circumstances.

Our discussion is rendered shorter and more easy by our perfect
agreement in certain preliminary points. We both disclaim alike every
attempt to explain any thing _into_ Scripture, and every attempt to
explain any thing _out of_ Scripture. Or if we regard either with a
livelier aversion, it is the latter, as being the more fashionable and
prevalent. I mean the practice of both high and low _Grotian_ Divines
to _explain away_ positive assertions of Scripture on the pretext,
that the _literal sense_ is not agreeable to reason, that is, THEIR
_particular_ reason. And inasmuch as (in the only right sense of the
word), there is no such thing as a _particular_ reason, they must, and
in fact they _do_, mean, that the literal sense is not accordant to
their _understanding_, that is, to the _notions_ which _their_
understandings have been taught and accustomed to form in _their_
school of philosophy. Thus a Platonist who should become a Christian,
would at once, even in texts susceptible of a different
interpretation, recognize, because he would expect to find, several
doctrines which the disciple of the Epicurean or mechanic school will
not receive on the most positive declarations of the Divine Word. And
as we agree in the opinion, that the _Minimi-fidian_ party[148] err
grievously in the latter point, so I must concede to you, that too
many Pædo-baptists (_assertors of Infant Baptism_) have erred, though
less grossly, in the former. I have, I confess, no eye for these
smoke-like wreaths of inference, this ever widening spiral _ergo_ from
the narrow aperture of perhaps a single text; or rather an
interpretation forced into it by construing an idiomatic phrase in an
artless narrative with the same absoluteness, as if it had formed part
of a mathematical problem. I start back from these inverted Pyramids,
where the apex is the base. If I should inform any one that I had
called at a friend's house, but had found nobody at home, the family
having all gone to the play; and if he on the strength of this
information, should take occasion to asperse my friend's wife for
unmotherly conduct in taking an infant, six months old, to a crowded
theatre; would you allow him to press on the words "_nobody_" and
"_all_" the family, in justification of the slander? Would you not
tell him, that the words were to be interpreted by the nature of the
subject, the purpose of the speaker, and their ordinary acceptation;
and that he must, or might have known, that infants of that age would
not be admitted into the theatre? Exactly so, with regard to the
words, _he and all his household_. Had Baptism of infants at that
early period of the Gospel been a known practice, or had this been
previously demonstrated,--then indeed the argument, that in all
probability there were one or more infants or young children in so
large a family, would be no otherwise objectionable than as being
superfluous, and a sort of anticlimax in logic. But if the words are
cited as the proof, it would be a clear _petitio principii_, though
there had been nothing else against it. But when we turn back to the
Scriptures preceding the narrative, and find repentance and belief
demanded as the terms and indispensable conditions of Baptism--_then_
the case above imagined applies in its full force. Equally vain is the
pretended analogy from Circumcision, which was no Sacrament at all;
but the means and mark of national distinction. In the first instance
it was, doubtless, a privilege or mark of superior rank conferred on
the descendants of Abraham. In the Patriarchal times this rite was
confined (the first governments being Theocracies) to the priesthood,
who were set apart to that office from their birth. At a later period
this token of the _premier class_ was extended to Kings. And thus,
when it was re-ordained by Moses for the whole Jewish nation, it was
at the same time said--Ye are _all_ Priests and Kings; ye are a
consecrated People. In addition to this, or rather in aid of this,
Circumcision was intended to distinguish the Jews by some indelible
sign: and it was no less necessary, that Jewish children should be
recognizable as Jews, than Jewish adults--not to mention the greater
safety of the rite in infancy. Nor was it ever pretended that any
Grace was conferred with it, or that the rite was significant of any
inward or spiritual operation. In short, an unprejudiced and competent
reader need only peruse the first thirty-three paragraphs of the
eighteenth section of Taylor's Liberty of Prophesying; and then
compare with these the remainder of the Section added by him after the
Restoration: those, namely, in which he _attempts_ to overthrow his
own arguments. I had almost said, _affects_: for such is the
feebleness, and so palpable the sophistry of his answers, that I find
it difficult to imagine, that Taylor himself could have been satisfied
with them. The only plausible arguments apply with equal force to
Baptist and Pædo-baptist; and would prove, if they proved any thing,
that both were wrong, and the Quakers only in the right.

Now, in the first place, it is obvious, that nothing conclusive can be
drawn from the silence of the New Testament respecting a practice,
which, if we suppose it already in use, must yet, from the character
of the first converts, have been of comparatively rare occurrence; and
which from the predominant, and more concerning, objects and functions
of the Apostolic writers (1 Corinth. i. 17.) was not likely to have
been mentioned otherwise than incidentally, and very probably
therefore might not have occurred to them to mention at all. But,
secondly, admitting that the practice was introduced at a later period
than that in which the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles were
composed: I should yet be fully satisfied, that the Church exercised
herein a sound[149] discretion. On either supposition, therefore, it
is never without regret that I see a divine of our Church attempting
to erect forts on a position so evidently commanded by the strong-hold
of his antagonists. I dread the use which the Socinians may make of
their example, and the Papists of their failure. Let me not, however,
deceive you. (_The reader understands, that I suppose myself
conversing with a Baptist._) I am of opinion, that the divines on your
side are chargeable with a far more grievous mistake, that of giving a
carnal and _Judaizing_ interpretation to the various Gospel texts in
which the terms, _baptism_ and _baptize_, occur, contrary to the
express and earnest admonitions of the Apostle Paul. And this I say,
without in the least retracting my former concession, that the texts
appealed to, as commanding or authorizing Infant Baptism, are all
without exception made to bear a sense neither contained nor
deducible: and likewise that (historically considered) there exists no
sufficient _positive_ evidence, that the Baptism of infants was
instituted by the Apostles in the practice of the Apostolic age.[150]

Lastly, we both coincide in the full conviction, that it is neither
the outward ceremony of Baptism, under any form or circumstances, nor
any other ceremony, but such a faith in Christ as tends to produce a
conformity to his holy doctrines and example in heart and life, and
which faith is itself a declared mean and condition of our partaking
of his spiritual body, and of being _clothed upon_ with his
righteousness,--that properly makes us Christians, and can alone be
enjoined as an Article of Faith necessary to Salvation, so that the
denial thereof may be denounced as a damnable heresy. In the strictest
sense of essential, this alone is the essential in Christianity, that
the same spirit should be growing in us which was in the fulness of
all perfection in Christ Jesus. Whatever else is named essential is
such because, and only as far as, it is instrumental to this, or
evidently implied herein. If the Baptists hold the _visible rite_ to
be indispensable to salvation, with what terror must they not regard
every disease that befalls their children between youth and infancy!
But if they are saved by the faith of the parent, then the outward
rite is not essential to salvation, otherwise than as the omission
should arise from a spirit of disobedience: and in this case it is the
cause, not the effect, the wilful and unbaptized heart, not the
unbaptizing hand, that perils it. And surely it looks very like an
_inconsistency_ to admit the vicarious faith of the parents and the
therein implied promise, that the child shall be Christianly bred up,
and as much as in them lies prepared for the communion of saints--to
admit this, as safe and sufficient in their own instance, and yet to
denounce the same belief and practice as hazardous and unavailing in
the Church--the same, I say, essentially, and only differing from
their own by the presence of two or three Christian friends as
additional securities, and by the promise being expressed!

But you, my filial friend! have studied Christ under a better
teacher--the Spirit of Adoption, even the spirit that was in Paul, and
which still speaks to us out of his writings. You remember and admire
the saying of an old divine, that a ceremony duly instituted was a
Chain of Gold round the Neck of Faith; but if in the wish to make it
co-essential and consubstantial, you draw it closer and closer, it may
strangle the Faith it was meant to deck and designate. You are not so
unretentive a scholar as to have forgotten the _pateris et auro_ of
your Virgil: or if you were, you are not so inconsistent a reasoner,
as to translate the Hebraism, spirit and fire in one place by
spiritual fire, and yet to refuse to translate water and spirit by
spiritual water in another place: or if, as I myself think, the
different position marks a different sense, yet that the former must
be _ejusdem generis_ with the latter--the Water of Repentance,
reformation in _conduct_; and the Spirit that which purifies the
inmost _principle_ of action, as fire purges the metal substantially
and not cleansing the surface only!

But in this instance, it will be said, the ceremony, the outward and
visible sign, is a Scripture ordinance. I will not reply, that the
Romish priest says the same of the anointing of the sick with oil and
the imposition of hands. No, my answer is: that this is a very
sufficient reason for the continued observance of a ceremonial rite so
derived and sanctioned, even though its own beauty, simplicity, and
natural significancy had pleaded less strongly in its behalf. But it
is no reason why the Church should forget, that the perpetuation of a
thing does not alter the nature of the thing, and that a ceremony to
be perpetuated is to be perpetuated as a _ceremony_. It is no reason
why, knowing and experiencing even in the majority of her own members
the proneness of the human mind to[151] superstition, the Church
might not rightfully and piously adopt the measures best calculated to
check this tendency, and to correct the abuse, to which it had led in
any particular rite. But of superstitious notions respecting the
baptismal ceremony, and of abuse resulting, the instances were
flagrant and notorious. Such, for instance, was the frequent deferring
of the baptismal rite to a late period of life, and even to the
death-bed, in the belief that the mystic water would cleanse the
baptized person from all sin and (if he died immediately after the
performance of the ceremony) send him pure and spotless into the other

Nor is this all. The preventive remedy applied by the Church is
legitimated as well as additionally recommended by the following
consideration. Where a ceremony answered and was intended to answer
several purposes, which purposes at its first institution were blended
in respect of _the time_, but which afterwards, by change of
circumstances (as when, for instance, a large and ever-increasing
proportion of the members of the Church, or those who at least bore
the Christian name, were of Christian parents), were necessarily
dis-united--_then_ either the Church has no power or authority
delegated to her (which is shifting the ground of controversy)--or she
must be authorized to choose and determine, to which of the several
purposes the ceremony should be attached.--Now one of the purposes of
Baptism was--the making it _publicly manifest_, first, what
individuals were to be regarded by the _world_ (Phil. ii. 15.) as
belonging to the visible communion of Christians: inasmuch as by their
demeanour and apparent condition, the general estimation of _the city
set on a hill and not to be hid_ (Matth. v. 14.) could not but be
affected--the city that even _in the midst of a crooked and perverse
nation_ was bound not only to give no cause, but by all innocent means
to prevent every occasion, of _rebuke_. Secondly, to mark out, for the
Church itself, those that were entitled to that _especial_ dearness,
that watchful and disciplinary love and loving-kindness, which _over
and above_ the affections and duties of philanthropy and universal
charity, Christ himself had enjoined, and with an emphasis and in a
form significant of its great and especial importance,--_A New
Commandment I give unto you, that ye love_ one another. By a charity
wide as sunshine, and comprehending the whole human race, the body of
Christians was to be placed in contrast with the proverbial
misanthropy and bigotry of the Jewish Church and people: while yet
they were to be distinguished and known to all men, by the peculiar
love and affection displayed by them towards the members of their own
community; thus exhibiting the intensity of sectarian attachment, yet
by the no less notorious and exemplary practice of the duties of
universal benevolence, secured from the charge so commonly brought
against it, of being narrow and exclusive. "How _kind_ these
Christians are to the poor and afflicted, without distinction of
religion or country; but how they _love each other_!"

Now combine with this the consideration before urged--the duty, I
mean, and necessity of checking the superstitious abuse of the
baptismal rite: and I then ask, with confidence, in what way could the
Church have exercised a sound discretion more wisely, piously, or
effectively, than by fixing, from among the several ends and purposes
of Baptism, the outward ceremony to the purposes here mentioned? How
could the great body of Christians be more plainly instructed as to
the true nature of all outward ordinances? What can be conceived
better calculated to prevent the ceremony from being regarded as other
and more than a ceremony, if not the administration of the same on an
_object_, (yea, a dear and precious _object_) of spiritual duties,
though the _conscious_ subject of spiritual operations and graces only
by anticipation and in hope;--a subject unconscious as a flower of the
dew falling on it, or the early rain, and thus emblematic of the
myriads who (as in our Indian empire, and henceforward, I trust, in
Africa) are temporally and even morally benefited by the outward
existence of Christianity, though as yet ignorant of its saving truth!
And yet, on the other hand, what more reverential than the application
of this, the common initiatory rite of the East sanctioned and
appropriated by Christ--its application, I say, to the very subjects,
whom he himself commanded to be _brought_ to him--the children _in
arms_, respecting whom _Jesus was much displeased with his disciples,
who had rebuked those that brought them_! What more expressive of the
true character of that originant yet _generic_ stain, from which the
Son of God, by his mysterious incarnation and agony and death and
resurrection, and by the Baptism of the Spirit, came to cleanse the
children of Adam, than the exhibition of the outward element to
infants free from and incapable of _crime_, in whom the evil principle
was present only as _potential_ being, and whose outward semblance
represented the kingdom of Heaven? And can it--to a man, who would
hold himself deserving of _anathema maranatha_ (1 Cor. xvi. 22.) if he
did not _love the Lord Jesus_--can it be nothing to such a man, that
the introduction and commendation of a new inmate, a new spiritual
ward, to the assembled brethren in Christ (--and this, as I have shown
above, was _one_ purpose of the baptismal ceremony) does in the
baptism of an infant recall our Lord's own presentation in the Temple
on the eighth day after his birth? Add to all these considerations the
known fact of the frequent exposure and the general light regard of
infants, at the time when Infant Baptism is by the Baptists supposed
to have been first _ruled_ by the Catholic Church, not overlooking the
humane and charitable motives, that influenced Cyprian's decision in
its favour. And then make present to your imagination, and
meditatively contemplate the still continuing tendency, the
profitable, the _beautiful_ effects, of this ordinance _now_ and for
so many centuries back, on the great mass of the population throughout
Christendom--the softening, elevating exercise of faith and the
conquest over the senses, while in the form of a helpless crying babe
the presence, and the unutterable worth and value, of an immortal
being made capable of everlasting bliss are solemnly proclaimed and
carried home to the mind and heart of the hearers and beholders! Nor
will you forget the probable influence on the future education of the
child, the opportunity of instructing and impressing the friends,
relatives, and parents in their best and most docile mood. These are,
indeed, the _mollia tempora fandi_.

It is true, that by an unforeseen accident, and through the propensity
of all zealots to caricature partial truth into total falsehood--it is
too true, that a tree the very contrary in quality of that shown to
Moses (Exod. xv. 25.) was afterwards _cast into the sweet waters from
this fountain_, and made them like _the waters of Marah_, too bitter
to be drunk. I allude to the Pelagian controversy, the perversion of
the article of Original Sin by Augustine, and the frightful
conclusions which this _durus pater infantum_ drew from the article
thus perverted. It is not, however, to the predecessors of this
African, whoever they were that authorized Pædo-baptism, and at
whatever period it first became general--it is not to the Church at
the time being, that these consequences are justly imputable. She had
done her best to preclude every superstition, by allowing in urgent
cases any and every adult, man and woman, to administer the ceremonial
part, the outward rite, of baptism: but reserving to the highest
functionary of the Church (even to the exclusion of the co-presbyters)
the more proper and spiritual purpose, namely, the declaration of
repentance and belief, the free Choice of Christ, as his Lord, and the
open profession of the Christian title by an individual in his own
name and by his own deliberate act. _This_ office of religion, the
essentially moral and spiritual nature of which could not be mistaken,
this most _solemn_ office the Bishop alone was to perform.

Thus--as soon as the _purposes_ of the ceremonial rite were by change
of circumstances divided, that is, took place at different periods of
the believer's life--to the _outward_ purposes, where the effect was
to be produced on the consciousness of others, the Church continued to
affix the _outward rite_; while to the substantial and spiritual
purpose, where the effect was to be produced on the individual's own
mind, she gave its beseeming dignity by an ordinance not figurative,
but standing in the direct cause and relation of _means_ to the _end_.

In fine, there are two great purposes to be answered, each having its
own subordinate purposes, and desirable consequences. The Church
answers both, the Baptists one only. If, nevertheless, you would still
prefer the union of the Baptismal rite with the Confirmation, and that
the Presentation of Infants to the assembled Church had formed a
separate institution, avowedly prospective--I answer: first, that such
for a long time and to a late period was my own judgment. But even
then it seemed to me a point, as to which an indifference would be
less inconsistent in a lover of truth, than a zeal to separation in a
professed lover of peace. And secondly, I would revert to the history
of the Reformation, and the calamitous accident of the Peasants' War:
when the poor ignorant multitude, driven frantic by the intolerable
oppressions of their feudal lords, rehearsed all the outrages that
were acted in our own times by the Parisian populace headed by Danton,
Marat, and Robespierre; and on the same outrageous principles, and in
assertion of the same RIGHTS OF BRUTES to the subversion of all the
DUTIES OF MEN. In our times, most fortunately for the interest of
religion and morality, or of their prudential substitutes at least,
the name of Jacobin was every where associated with that of Atheist
and Infidel. Or rather, Jacobinism and Infidelity were the two heads
of the Revolutionary Geryon--connatural misgrowths of the same
monster-trunk. In the German Convulsion, on the contrary, by a mere
but most unfortunate _accident_, the same code of _Caliban_
jurisprudence, the same sensual and murderous excesses, were connected
with the name of Anabaptist. The abolition of magistracy, community of
goods, the right of plunder, polygamy, and whatever else was fanatical
were comprised in the word, Anabaptism. It is not to be imagined, that
the Fathers of the Reformation could, without a miraculous influence,
have taken up the question of Infant Baptism with the requisite
calmness and freedom of spirit. It is not to be wished, that they
should have entered on the discussion. Nay, I will go farther. Unless
the abolition of Infant Baptism can be shown to be involved in some
fundamental article of faith, unless the practice could be proved
fatal or imminently perilous to salvation, the Reformers would not
have been justified in exposing the yet tender and struggling cause of
Protestantism to such certain and violent prejudices as this
innovation would have excited. Nothing less than the whole substance
and efficacy of the Gospel faith was the prize, which they had
wrestled for and won; but won from enemies still in the field, and on
the watch to retake, at all costs, the sacred treasure, and consign it
once again to darkness and oblivion. If there be a _time for all
things_, this was not the time for an innovation, that would and must
have been followed by the triumph of the enemies of Scriptural
Christianity, and the alienation of the governments, that had espoused
and protected it.

Remember, I say this on the supposition of the question's not being
what you do not pretend it to be, an essential of the Faith, by which
we are saved. But should it likewise be conceded, that it is a
_disputable_ point--and that in point of fact it is and has been
disputed by divines, whom no pious Christian of any denomination will
deny to have been faithful and eminent servants of Christ; should it,
I say, be likewise conceded that the question of Infant Baptism is a
point, on which two Christians, who perhaps differ on this point only,
may differ without giving just ground for impeaching the piety or
competence of either--in this case I am obliged to infer, that the
person who _at any time_ can regard this difference as _singly_
warranting a separation from a religious Community, must think of
schism under another point of view, than that in which I have been
taught to contemplate it by St. Paul in his Epistles to the

Let me add a few words on a diversity of doctrine closely connected
with this: the opinions of Doctors Mant and D'Oyly as opposed to those
of the (so called) Evangelical clergy. "The Church of England" (says
Wall)[152] "does not require assent and consent" to either opinion
"in order to _lay_ communion." But I will suppose the person a
_minister_: but minister of a Church which has expressly disclaimed
all pretence to infallibility; a Church which in the construction of
its Liturgy and Articles is known to have worded certain passages for
the purpose of rendering them subscribable by both A and Z--that is,
the opposite parties as to the points in controversy. I suppose this
person's convictions those of Z, and that out of five passages there
are three, the more natural and obvious sense of which is in his
favour; and two of which, though not absolutely _precluding_ a
different sense, yet the more probable interpretation is in favour of
A, that is, of those who do not consider the Baptism of an Infant as
_prospective_, but hold it to be an _opus operans et in præsenti_.
Then I say, that if such a person regards these two sentences or
single passages as obliging or warranting him to abandon the flock
entrusted to his charge, and either to join such, as are the avowed
Enemies of the Church on the double ground of its particular
Constitution and of its being an Establishment, or to set up a
separate Church for himself--I cannot avoid the conclusion, that
either his conscience is morbidly sensitive in one speck to the
exhaustion of the sensibility in a far larger portion; or that he must
have discovered some mode, beyond the reach of my conjectural powers,
of interpreting the Scriptures enumerated in the following excerpt
from the popular tract before cited, in which the writer expresses an
opinion, to which I assent with my whole heart: namely,

"That all Christians in the world that hold the same fundamentals
ought to make one Church, though differing in lesser opinions; and
that the sin, the mischief, and danger to the souls of men, that
divide into those many sects and parties among us, does (for the most
of them) consist not so much in the opinions themselves, as in their
dividing and separating for them. And in support of this tenet, I will
refer you to some plain places of Scripture, which if you please now
to peruse, I will be silent the while. See what our Saviour himself
says, John x. 16. John xvii. 11. And what the primitive Christians
practised, Acts ii. 46, and iv. 32. And what St. Paul says, 1 Cor. i.
10, 11, 12, and 2, 3, 4; also the whole 12th chapter: Eph. ii. 18, &c.
to the end. Where the Jewish and Gentile Christians are showed to be
_one body, one household, one temple fitly framed together_: and yet
these were of different opinions in several matters.--Likewise chap.
iii. 6, iv. 1-13. Phil. ii. 1, 2, where he uses the most solemn
adjurations to this purpose. But I would more especially recommend to
you the reading of Gal. v. 20, 21. Phil. iii. 15, 16, the 14th chapter
to the Romans, and part of the 15th, to verse 7, and also Rom. xv. 17.

"Are not these passages plain, full, and earnest? Do you find any of
the controverted points to be determined by Scripture in words nigh so
plain or pathetic?"

 _Marginal Note written (in 1816) by the Author in his own copy of
 Wall's work._

 This and the two following pages are excellent. If I addressed the
 ministers recently seceded, I would first prove from Scripture and
 Reason the justness of their doctrines concerning Baptism and
 Conversion. 2. I would show, that even in respect of the Prayer-book,
 Homilies, &c. of the Church of England, taken as a whole, their
 opponents were comparatively as ill off as themselves, if not worse.
 3. That the few mistakes or inconvenient phrases of the Baptismal
 Service did not impose on the conscience the necessity of resigning
 the pastoral office. 4. That even if they did, this would by no means
 justify schism from Lay-membership: or else there could be no schism
 except from an immaculate and infallible Church. Now, as our Articles
 have declared that no Church is or ever was such, it would follow
 that there is no such sin as that of Schism--that is, that St. Paul
 wrote falsely or idly. 5. That the escape through the channel of
 Dissent is from the frying-pan to the fire--or, to use a less worn
 and vulgar simile, the escape of a leech from a glass-jar of water
 into the naked and open air. But never, never, would I in one breath
 allow my Church to be fallible, and in the next contend for her
 absolute freedom from all error--never confine inspiration and
 perfect truth to the Scriptures, and then scold for the perfect truth
 of each and every word in the Prayer-book. Enough for me, if in my
 heart of hearts, free from all fear of man and all lust of
 preferment, I believe (as I do) the Church of England to be the
 _most_ Apostolic Church; that its doctrines and ceremonies contain
 nothing dangerous to Righteousness or Salvation; and that the
 imperfections in its Liturgy are spots indeed, but spots on the sun,
 which impede neither its light nor its heat, so as to prevent the
 good seed from growing in a good soil and producing fruits of

 * * * The author had written and intended to insert a similar
 exposition on the Eucharist. But as the leading view has been given
 in the Comment on Redemption, its length induces him to defer it,
 together with the Articles on Faith and the philosophy of Prayer, to
 a small supplementary volume.[155]

[147] By certain Biblical philologists of the Teutonic school (men
distinguished by learning, but still more characteristically by
hardihood in conjecture, and who suppose the Gospels to have undergone
several successive _revisions and enlargements_ by, or under the
authority of, the sacred historians) these words are contended to have
been, in the first delivery, the common commencement of all the
Gospels κατα σαρκα (that is, _according to the flesh_), in
distinction from St. John's or the Gospel κατα πνευμα (that is,
_according to the Spirit_).

[148] See Comment to Aphorism VIII., par. 3.--ED.

[149] That every the least _permissible_ form and ordinance, which at
different times it might be expedient for the Church to enact, are
pre-enacted in the New Testament; and that whatever is not to be found
_there_, ought to be allowed _no where_--this has been _asserted_. But
that it has been _proved_, or that the tenet is not to be placed among
the _revulsionary_ results of the Scripture-slighting Will-worship of
the Romish Church; it will be more sincere to say, I disbelieve, than
that I doubt. It was chiefly, if not exclusively, in reference to the
extravagances built on this tenet, that the great Selden ventured to
declare, that the words, _Scrutamini Scripturas_, had set the world in
an uproar.

Extremes _appear_ to generate each other; but if we look steadily,
there will most often be found some common error, that produces both
as its positive and negative poles. Thus superstitions go _by pairs_,
like the two Hungarian sisters, always quarrelling and _inveterately
averse_, but yet joined at the trunk.

[150] More than this I do not consider as necessary for the argument.
And as to Robinson's assertions in his History of Baptism, that infant
Baptism did not commence till the time of Cyprian, who condemning it
as a general practice, allowed it in particular cases by a
dispensation of charity; and that it did not actually become the
ordinary rule of the Church, till Augustine in the fever of his
Anti-Pelagian dispute had introduced the Calvinistic interpretation of
Original Sin, and the dire state of Infants dying unbaptized--I am so
far from acceding to them, that I reject the whole statement as rash,
and not only unwarranted by the authorities he cites, but unanswerably
confuted by Baxter, Wall, and many other learned Pædo-baptists before
and since the publication of his work. I confine myself to the
assertion--not that Infant Baptism was _not_; but--that there exist no
sufficient proofs that it _was_ the practice of the Apostolic age.

[151] Let me be permitted to repeat and apply the _note_ in a former
page. Superstition may be defined as _super_stantium (_cujusmodi sunt
ceremoniæ et signa externa quæ, nisi in significando nihili sunt et
pæne nihil_) _sub_stantiatio.

[152] Conference between Two Men that had Doubts about Infant Baptism.
By W. Wall, Author of the History of Infant Baptism, and Vicar of
Shoreham in Kent. A very sensible little tract, and written in an
excellent spirit: but it failed, I confess, in satisfying my mind as
to the existence of any decisive proofs or documents of Infant Baptism
having been an Apostolic usage, or specially intended in any part of
the New Testament: though deducible _generally_ from many passages,
and in perfect accordance with the _spirit_ of the whole.

A mighty wrestler in the cause of Spiritual Religion and _Gospel_
morality, in whom more than in any other contemporary I seem to see
the spirit of Luther revived, expressed to me his doubts whether we
have a right to deny that an infant is capable of a spiritual
influence. To such a man I could not feel justified in returning an
answer _ex tempore_, or without having first submitted my convictions
to a fresh revisal. I owe him, however, a deliberate answer; and take
this opportunity of discharging the debt.

The objection supposes and assumes the very point which is denied, or
at least disputed--namely, that Infant Baptism is specially injoined
in the Scriptures. If an express passage to this purport _had_ existed
in the New Testament--the other passages, which evidently imply a
spiritual operation under the condition of a preceding spiritual act
on the part of the person baptized, remaining as now--_then_ indeed,
as the only way of removing the apparent contradiction, it _might_ be
allowable to call on the Anti-pædobaptist to prove the negative--namely,
that an infant a week old is not a subject capable or susceptible of
spiritual agency. And, _vice versa_, should it be made known to us, that
infants are not without reflection and self-consciousness--_then_,
doubtless, we should be entitled to infer that they were capable of a
spiritual operation, and consequently of that which is signified in
the baptismal rite administered to adults. But what does this prove
for those, who (as D. D. Mant and D'Oyly) not only cannot show, but
who do not themselves profess to believe, the self-consciousness of a
new-born babe, but who rest the defence of Infant Baptism on the
_assertion_, that God was pleased to affix the performance of this
rite to his offer of Salvation, as the indispensable, though
arbitrary, condition of the infant's salvability?--As Kings in former
ages, when they conferred lands in perpetuity, would sometimes, as the
condition of the tenure, exact from the beneficiary a hawk, or some
trifling ceremony, as the putting on or off of their sandals, or
whatever else royal caprice or the whim of the moment might suggest.
But _you_, honoured IRVING, are as little disposed, as myself, to
favour _such_ doctrine!

    Friend, pure of heart and fervent! we have learnt
    A different lore! We may not thus profane
    The Idea and Name of Him whose absolute Will
    _Is_ Reason--Truth Supreme!--Essential Order![153]

[153] For a further opinion upon Edward Irving see note at pp. 153-4
of the 1839 edition of Coleridge's 'Church and State.'--ED.

[154] Here the editor of the 1843 edition was able to give two pages
of additional matter by the author, tending, as Coleridge said, to the
"clearing up" of "the chapter on Baptism," and the proving "the
substantial accordance of my scheme with that of our Church." The
addition is from Coleridge's MS. Note-books, and bears date May 8,

[155] This note appeared in the early editions only. The
"supplementary volume" was never published, though the "Essay on
Faith," at p. 425, v. 4, of Coleridge's "Remains" (1838), and "Notes
on the Book of Common Prayer" (p. 5, v. 3, the same), may be the parts
here mentioned as written to appear in it. We republish these two
fragments at the end of the present volume, pp. 341 and 350.--ED.


I am not so ignorant of the temper and tendency of the age in which I
live, as either to be unprepared for the _sort_ of remarks which the
literal interpretation of the Evangelist will call forth, or to
attempt an answer to them. Visionary ravings, obsolete whimsies,
transcendental trash, and the like, I leave to pass at the price
current among those who are willing to receive abusive phrases as
substitutes for argument. Should any suborner of anonymous criticism
have engaged some literary bravo or buffoon beforehand, to vilify this
work, as in former instances, I would give a friendly hint to the
operative critic that he may compile an excellent article for the
occasion, and with very little trouble, out of Warburton's tract on
Grace and the Spirit, and the Preface to the same. There is, however,
one objection which will so often be heard from men, whose talents and
reputed moderation must give a weight to their words, that I owe it
both to my own character and to the interests of my readers, not to
leave it unnoticed. The charge will probably be worded in this
way:--There is nothing new in all this! (_as if novelty were any merit
in questions of Revealed Religion!_) It is _Mysticism_, all taken out
of William Law, after he had lost his senses, poor man! in brooding
over the visions of a delirious German cobbler, Jacob Behmen.

Of poor Jacob Behmen I have delivered my sentiments at large in
another work. Those who have condescended to look into his writings
must know, that his characteristic errors are; first, the mistaking
the accidents and peculiarities of his own over-wrought mind for
realities and modes of thinking common to all minds: and secondly, the
confusion of nature, that is, the active powers communicated to
matter, with God the Creator. And if the same persons have done more
than merely looked into the present volume, they must have seen, that
to eradicate, and, if possible, to preclude both the one and the
other stands prominent among its avowed objects.[156]

Of William Law's works I am acquainted with the "Serious Call;" and
besides this I remember to have read a small tract on Prayer, if I
mistake not, as I easily may, it being at least six-and-twenty
years[157] since I saw it. He may in this or in other tracts have
quoted the same passages from the fourth Gospel as I have done. But
surely this affords no presumption that my conclusions are the same
with his; still less, that they are drawn from the same premisses: and
least of all, that they were adopted from his writings. Whether Law
has used the phrase, assimilation by faith, I know not; but I know
that I should expose myself to a just charge of an idle parade of my
reading, if I recapitulated the tenth part of the authors, ancient,
and modern, Romish and Reformed, from Law to Clemens Alexandrinus and
Irenæus, in whose works the same phrase occurs in the same sense. And
after all, on such a subject how worse than childish is the whole

Is the fourth Gospel authentic? And is the interpretation I have
given, true or false? These are the only questions which a wise man
would put, or a Christian be anxious to answer. I not only believe it
to be the true sense of the texts; but I assert that it is the only
true, rational, and even _tolerable_ sense. And this position alone I
conceive myself interested in defending. I have studied with an open
and fearless spirit the attempts of sundry learned critics of the
Continent, to invalidate the authenticity of this Gospel, before and
since Eichhorn's Vindication. The result has been a clearer assurance
and (as far as this was possible) a yet deeper conviction of the
genuineness of _all_ the writings, which the Church has attributed to
this Apostle. That those, who have formed an opposite conclusion,
should object to the use of expressions which they had ranked among
the most obvious marks of spuriousness, follows as a matter of course.
But that men, who with a clear and cloudless assent receive the sixth
chapter of this Gospel as a faithful, nay, _inspired_ record of an
actual discourse, should take offence at the repetition of words which
the Redeemer himself, in the perfect foreknowledge that they would
confirm the disbelieving, alienate the unsteadfast, and transcend the
present capacity even of his own Elect, had chosen as the _most_
appropriate; and which, after the most decisive proofs, that they
_were_ misinterpreted by the greater number of his hearers, and not
understood by any, he nevertheless repeated with stronger emphasis and
_without comment_ as the _only_ appropriate symbols of the great truth
he was declaring, and to realize which εγενετο σαρξ;[158]--that in
their own discourses these men should hang back from all express
reference to these words, as if they were afraid or ashamed of them,
though the earliest recorded ceremonies and liturgical forms of the
primitive Church are absolutely inexplicable, except in connexion with
this discourse, and with the _mysterious_ and _spiritual_, not
allegorical and merely ethical, import of the same; and though this
import is solemnly and in the most unequivocal terms asserted and
taught by their own Church, even in her Catechism, or compendium of
doctrines necessary for all her members;--_this_ I may, perhaps,
_understand_; but _this_ I am not able to vindicate or excuse.

There is, however, one opprobrious phrase which it may be profitable
for my younger readers that I should explain, namely, Mysticism. And
for this purpose I will quote a sentence or two from a Dialogue which,
had my prescribed limits permitted, I should have attached to the
present work; but which with an Essay on the Church, as instituted by
Christ, and as an establishment of the State, and a series of letters
on the right and the superstitious use and estimation of the Bible,
will appear in a small volume by themselves, should the reception
given to the present volume encourage or permit the publication.[159]


_Antinöus._--"What do you call Mysticism? And do you use the word in a
good or a bad sense?"

_Nöus._--"In the latter only; as far, at least, as we are now
concerned with it. When a man refers to _inward feelings_ and
_experiences_, of which mankind at large are not conscious, as
evidences of the truth of any opinion--such a man I call a Mystic: and
the grounding of any theory or belief on accidents and anomalies of
individual sensations or fancies, and the use of peculiar terms
invented, or perverted from their ordinary significations, for the
purpose of expressing these _idiosyncrasies_ and pretended facts of
interior consciousness, I name Mysticism. Where the error consists
simply in the Mystic's attaching to these anomalies of his individual
temperament the character of _reality_, and in receiving them as
permanent truths, having a subsistence in the Divine Mind, though
revealed to himself alone; but entertains this persuasion without
demanding or expecting the same faith in his neighbours--I should
regard it as a species of enthusiasm, always indeed to be deprecated,
but yet capable of co-existing with many excellent qualities both of
head and heart. But when the Mystic by ambition or still meaner
passions, or (as sometimes is the case) by an uneasy and self-doubting
state of mind which seeks confirmation in outward sympathy, is led to
impose his faith, as a duty, on mankind generally: and when with such
views he asserts that the same experiences would be vouchsafed, the
same truths revealed, to _every man_ but for his secret wickedness and
unholy will--such a Mystic is a Fanatic, and in certain states of the
public mind a dangerous member of society. And most so in those ages
and countries in which Fanatics of elder standing are allowed to
persecute the fresh competitor. For under these predicaments,
Mysticism, though originating in the singularities of an individual
nature, and therefore essentially anomalous, is nevertheless highly
_contagious_. It is apt to collect a swarm and cluster _circum fana_,
around the new _fane_: and therefore merits the name of Fanaticism, or
as the Germans say, _Schwärmerey_, that is, _swarm-making_."

       *       *       *       *       *

We will return to the harmless species--the enthusiastic Mystics;--a
species that may again be subdivided into two ranks. And it will not
be other than germane to the subject, if I endeavour to describe them
in a sort of allegory, or parable. Let us imagine a poor pilgrim
benighted in a wilderness or desert, and pursuing his way in the
starless dark with a lantern in his hand. Chance or his happy genius
leads him to an Oasis or natural Garden, such as in the creations of
my youthful fancy I supposed Enos[160] the Child of Cain to have
found. And here, hungry and thirsty, the way-wearied man rests at a
fountain; and the taper of his lantern throws its light on an
over-shadowing tree, a boss of snow-white blossoms, through which the
green and growing fruits peeped, and the ripe golden fruitage glowed.
Deep, vivid, and faithful are the impressions, which the lovely
Imagery comprised within the scanty circle of light, makes and leaves
on his memory! But scarcely has he eaten of the fruits and drunk of
the fountain, ere scared by the roar and howl from the desart he
hurries forward: and as he passes with hasty steps through grove and
glade, shadows and imperfect beholdings and vivid fragments of things
distinctly seen blend with the past and present shapings of his brain.
Fancy modifies sight. His dreams transfer their forms to real objects;
and these lend a substance and an _outness_ to his dreams. Apparitions
greet him; and when at a distance from this enchanted land, and on a
different track, the dawn of day discloses to him a caravan, a troop
of his fellow-men, his memory, which is itself half fancy, is
interpolated afresh by every attempt to recall, connect, and _piece
out_ his recollections. His narration is received as a madman's tale.
He shrinks from the rude laugh and contemptuous sneer, and retires
into himself. Yet the craving for sympathy, strong in proportion to
the intensity of his convictions, impels him to unbosom himself to
abstract auditors; and the poor Quietist becomes a Penman, and, all
too poorly stocked for the writer's trade, he borrows his phrases and
figures from the only writings to which he has had access, the sacred
books of his religion. And thus I shadow out the enthusiast Mystic of
the first sort; at the head of which stands the illuminated Teutonic
theosopher and shoemaker, honest Jacob Behmen, born near Gorlitz, in
Upper Lusatia, in the 17th of our Elizabeth's reign, and who died in
the 22nd of her successor's.

To delineate a Mystic of the second and higher order, we need only
endow our pilgrim with equal gifts of nature, but these developed and
displayed by all the aids and arts of education and favourable
fortune. _He_ is on his way to the Mecca of his ancestral and national
faith, with a well-guarded and numerous procession of merchants and
fellow-pilgrims, on the established track. At the close of day the
caravan has halted: the full moon rises on the desert: and he strays
forth alone, out of sight but to no unsafe distance; and chance leads
_him_ too, to the same oasis or Islet of Verdure on the Sea of Sand.
He wanders at leisure in its maze of beauty and sweetness, and thrids
his way through the odorous and flowering thickets into open spots of
greenery, and discovers statues and memorial characters, grottos, and
refreshing caves. But the moonshine, the imaginative poesy of nature,
spreads its soft shadowy charm over all, conceals distances, and
magnifies heights, and modifies relations: and fills up vacuities with
its own whiteness, counterfeiting substance; and where the dense
shadows lie, makes solidity imitate hollowness; and gives to all
objects a tender visionary hue and softening. Interpret the moonlight
and the shadows as the peculiar genius and sensibility of the
individual's own spirit: and here you have the other sort: a Mystic,
an Enthusiast of a nobler breed--a Fenelon. But the residentiary, or
the frequent visitor of the favoured spot, who has scanned its
beauties by steady day-light, and mastered its true proportions and
lineaments, he will discover that both pilgrims have indeed been
there. _He_ will know, that the delightful dream, which the latter
tells, is a dream of truth; and that even in the bewildered tale of
the former there is truth mingled with the dream.

But the Source, the Spring-head, of the Charges which I anticipate,
lies deep. Materialism, conscious and avowed Materialism, is in ill
repute: and a confessed Materialist therefore a rare character. But if
the faith be ascertained by the fruits: if the predominant, though
most often unsuspected, persuasion is to be learnt from the
influences, under which the thoughts and affections of the man move
and take their direction; I must reverse the position. ONLY NOT ALL
ARE MATERIALISTS. Except a few individuals, and those for the most
part of a single sect: every one, who calls himself a Christian, holds
himself to have a soul as well as a body. He distinguishes mind from
matter, the _subject_ of his consciousness from the _objects_ of the
same. The former is his mind: and he says, it is immaterial. But
though _subject_ and _substance_ are words of kindred roots, nay,
little less than equivalent terms, yet nevertheless it is exclusively
to sensible _objects_, to bodies, to modifications of matter, that he
habitually attaches the attributes of reality, of substance. Real and
tangible, substantial and material, are synonyms for him. He never
indeed asks himself, what he means by Mind? But if he did, and tasked
himself to return an honest answer--as to what, at least, he had
hitherto meant by it--he would find, that he had described it by
negatives, as the opposite of bodies, for example, as a somewhat
opposed to solidity, to visibility, and the like, as if you could
abstract the capacity of a vessel, and conceive of it as a somewhat by
itself, and then give to the emptiness the properties of containing,
holding, being entered, and so forth. In short, though the proposition
would perhaps be angrily denied in words, yet _in fact_ he thinks of
his _mind_, as a _property_, or _accident_ of a something else, that
he calls a _soul_ or _spirit_: though the very same difficulties must
recur, the moment he should attempt to establish the difference. For
either this soul or spirit is nothing but a thinner body, a finer mass
of matter: or the attribute of self-subsistency vanishes from the soul
on the same grounds, on which it is refused to the mind.

I am persuaded, however, that the dogmatism of the Corpuscular School,
though it still exerts an influence on men's notions and phrases, has
received a mortal blow from the increasingly _dynamic_ spirit of the
physical sciences now highest in public estimation. And it may safely
be predicted that the results will extend beyond the intention of
those, who are gradually effecting this revolution. It is not
chemistry alone that will be indebted to the genius of Davy, Oersted,
and their compeers: and not as the founder of physiology and
philosophic anatomy alone, will mankind love and revere the name of
John Hunter. These men have not only _taught_, they have compelled us
to admit, that the immediate objects of our _senses_, or rather the
grounds of the visibility and tangibility of all objects of sense,
bear the same _relation_ and similar proportion to the _intelligible_
object--that is, to the object which we actually _mean_ when we say,
"It is such or such a thing," or "I have seen this or that,"--as the
paper, ink, and differently combined straight and curved lines of an
edition of Homer bear to what we understand by the words Iliad and
Odyssey. Nay, nothing would be more easy than so to construct the
paper, ink, painted capitals, and the like, of a printed disquisition
on the eye, or the muscles and cellular texture (the flesh) of the
human body, as to bring together every one of the sensible and
ponderable _stuffs_ or elements, that are _sensuously_ perceived in
the eye itself, or in the flesh itself. Carbon and nitrogen, oxygen
and hydrogen, sulphur, phosphorus, and one or two metals and metallic
bases, constitute the whole. It cannot be these, therefore, that we
mean by an _eye_, by our _body_. But perhaps it may be a particular
_combination_ of these? But here comes a question: In this term do you
or do you not include the _principle_, the _operating cause_, of the
combination? If _not_, then detach this eye from the body. Look
steadily at it--as it might lie on the marble slab of a dissecting
room. Say it were the eye of a murderer, a Bellingham: or the eye of a
murdered patriot, a Sidney!--Behold it, handle it, with its various
accompaniments or constituent parts, of tendon, ligament, membrane,
blood-vessel, gland, humours; its nerves of sense, of sensation, and
of motion. Alas! all these names like that of the organ itself, are so
many Anachronisms, figures of speech to express that which has been:
as when the Guide points with his finger to a heap of stones, and
tells the traveller, "That is Babylon, or Persepolis."--Is this cold
jelly _the light of the body_? Is this the _Micranthropos_ in the
marvellous microcosm? Is this what you _mean_ when you well define the
eye as the telescope and the mirror of the soul, the seat and agent of
an almost magical power?

Pursue the same inquisition with every other part of the body, whether
integral or simply ingredient; and let a Berzelius or a Hatchett be
your interpreter, and demonstrate to you what it is that in each
actually meets your senses. And when you have heard the scanty
catalogue, ask yourself if _these_ are indeed the living _flesh_, the
_blood_ of life? Or not far rather--I speak of what, as a man of
common sense, you really _do_, not what, as a philosopher, you _ought_
to believe--is it not, I say, far rather the distinct and
individualized agency that by the given combinations utters and
bespeaks its presence? Justly and with strictest propriety of
language may I say, _speaks_. It is to the coarseness of our senses,
or rather to the defect and limitation of our percipient faculty, that
the _visible_ object appears the same even for a moment. The
characters, which I am now shaping on this paper, abide. Not only the
forms remain the same, but the particles of the colouring stuff are
fixed, and, for an indefinite period at least, remain the same. But
the particles that constitute the _size_, the visibility of an organic
structure[162] are in perpetual flux. They are to the combining and
constitutive power as the pulses of air to the voice of a discourser;
or of one who sings a roundelay. The same words may be repeated; but
in each second of time the articulated air hath passed away, and each
act of articulation appropriates and gives momentary form to a new and
other portion. As the column of blue smoke from a cottage chimney in
the breathless summer noon, or the steadfast-seeming cloud on the
edge-point of a hill in the driving air-current, which momently
condensed and recomposed is the common phantom of a thousand
successors;--such is the flesh, which our _bodily_ eyes transmit to
us; which our palates taste; which our hands touch.

But perhaps the material particles possess this combining power by
inherent reciprocal attractions, repulsions, and elective affinities;
and are themselves the joint artists of their own combinations? I will
not reply, though well I might, that this would be to solve one
problem by another, and merely to shift the mystery. It will be
sufficient to remind the thoughtful querist, that ever herein consists
the essential difference, the contra-distinction, of an organ from a
machine; that not only the characteristic shape is evolved from the
invisible central power, but the material mass itself is acquired by
assimilation. The germinal power of the plant transmutes the fixed air
and the elementary base of water into grass or leaves; and on these
the organific principle in the ox or the elephant exercises an alchemy
still more stupendous. As the unseen agency weaves its magic eddies,
the foliage becomes indifferently the bone and its marrow, the pulpy
brain, or the solid ivory. That what you see _is_ blood, _is_ flesh,
is itself the work, or shall I say, the translucence, of the invisible
Energy, which soon surrenders or abandons them to inferior powers (for
there is no pause nor chasm in the activities of Nature), which repeat
a similar metamorphosis according to _their_ kind;--these are not
fancies, conjectures, or even hypotheses, but _facts_; to deny which
is impossible, not to reflect on which is ignominious. And we need
only reflect on them with a calm and silent spirit to learn the utter
emptiness and unmeaningness of the vaunted Mechanico-corpuscular
Philosophy, with both its twins, Materialism on the one hand, and
Idealism, rightlier named _Subjective Idolism_, on the other: the one
obtruding on us a World of Spectres and Apparitions; the other a mazy

Let the Mechanic or Corpuscular Scheme, which in its absoluteness and
strict consistency was first introduced by Des Cartes, be judged by
the results. By its fruits shall it be known.

In order to submit the various phenomena of moving bodies to
geometrical construction, we are under the necessity of abstracting
from corporeal substance all its _positive_ properties, and obliged to
consider bodies as differing from equal portions of space[163] only by
figure and mobility. And as a _fiction of science_, it would be
difficult to overvalue this invention. It possesses the same merits in
relation to Geometry that the atomic theory has in relation to
algebraic calculus. But in contempt of common sense, and in direct
opposition to the express declarations of the inspired historian
(_Genesis i._) and to the tone and spirit of the Scriptures
throughout, Des Cartes propounded it as _truth of fact_: and instead
of a World _created_ and filled with productive forces by the Almighty
_Fiat_, left a lifeless Machine whirled about by the dust of its own
Grinding: as if Death could come from the living Fountain of Life;
Nothingness and Phantom from the Plenitude of Reality! the
Absoluteness of Creative Will!

Holy! Holy! Holy! let me be deemed mad by all men, if such be thy
ordinance: but, O! from _such_ madness save and preserve me, my God!

When, however, after a short interval, the genius of Kepler, expanded
and organized in the soul of Newton, and there (if I may hazard so
bold an expression) refining itself into an almost celestial
clearness, had expelled the Cartesian _vortices_;[164] then the
necessity of an active power, of positive forces present in the
material universe, forced itself on the conviction. For as a Law
without a Law-giver is a mere abstraction; so a _Law_ without an Agent
to realize it, a _Constitution_ without an abiding Executive, is, in
fact, not a Law but _an Idea_. In the profound emblem of the great
tragic poet, it is the powerless Prometheus fixed on a barren Rock.
And what was the result? How was this necessity provided for? God
himself--my hand trembles as I write! Rather, then, let me employ the
word, which the religious feeling, in its perplexity suggested as the
substitute--the _Deity itself_ was declared to be the real agent, the
actual gravitating power! The law and the law-giver were identified.
God (says Dr. Priestley) not only does, but _is_ every thing. _Jupiter
est quodcunque vides._ And thus a system, which commenced by excluding
all life and immanent activity from the visible universe and
evacuating the natural world of all nature, ended by substituting the
Deity, and reducing the Creator to a mere anima mundi: a scheme that
has no advantage over Spinosism but its inconsistency, which does
indeed make it suit a certain Order of intellects, who, like the
_pleuronectæ_ (or flat fish) in ichthyology which have both eyes on
the same side, never see but half of a subject at one time, and
forgetting the one before they get to the other are sure not to detect
any inconsistency between them.

And what has been the consequence? An increasing unwillingness to
contemplate the Supreme Being in his _personal_ attributes: and thence
a distaste to all the peculiar doctrines of the Christian Faith, the
Trinity, the Incarnation of the Son of God, and Redemption. The young
and ardent, ever too apt to mistake the inward triumph in the
detection of error for a positive love of truth, are among the first
and most frequent victims to this epidemic _fastidium_. Alas! even the
sincerest seekers after light are not safe from the contagion. Some
have I known, constitutionally religious--I speak feelingly; for I
speak of that which for a brief period was my own state--who under
this unhealthful influence have been so estranged from the heavenly
_Father_, the _Living_ God, as even to shrink from the personal
pronouns as applied to the Deity. But many do I know, and yearly meet
with, in whom a false and sickly _taste_ co-operates with the
prevailing fashion: many, who find the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, far too _real_, too substantial; who feel it more in harmony
with their indefinite sensations

    To worship Nature in the hill and valley,
    Not knowing what they love:--

and (to use the language, but not the sense or purpose of the great
poet of our age) would fain substitute for the Jehovah of their Bible

                            A sense sublime
    Of something far more deeply interfused,
    Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
    And the round ocean and the living air;
    A motion and a spirit, that impels
    All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
    And rolls through all things!


And this from having been educated to understand the Divine
Omnipresence in any sense rather than the alone safe and legitimate
one, the presence of all things to God!

Be it, however, that the number of such men is _comparatively_ small!
And be it (as in fact it often _is_) but a brief stage, a transitional
state, in the process of intellectual Growth! Yet among a numerous and
increasing class of the higher and middle ranks, there is an inward
withdrawing from the Life and Personal Being of God, a turning of the
thoughts exclusively to the so-called physical attributes, to the
Omnipresence in the counterfeit form of ubiquity, to the Immensity,
the Infinity, the Immutability;--the attributes of space with a notion
of Power as their _substratum_, a FATE, in short, not a Moral Creator
and Governor! Let intelligence be imagined, and wherein does the
conception of God differ essentially from that of Gravitation
(conceived as the cause of Gravity) in the understanding of those, who
represent the Deity not only as a necessary but as a _necessitated_
Being; those, for whom justice is but a scheme of general laws; and
holiness, and the divine hatred of sin, yea and sin itself, are words
without meaning or accommodations to a rude and barbarous race? Hence,
I more than fear, the prevailing taste for books of Natural Theology,
Physico-Theology, Demonstrations of God from Nature, Evidences of
Christianity, and the like. _Evidences_ of Christianity! I am weary of
the word. Make a man feel the _want_ of it; rouse him, if you can, to
the self-knowledge of his _need_ only the express declaration of
Christ himself: _No man cometh to me, unless the Father leadeth him_.
Whatever more is desirable--I speak now with reference to Christians
generally, and not to professed students of theology--may, in my
judgment, be far more safely and profitably taught, without
controversy or the supposition of infidel antagonists, in the form of
Ecclesiastical history.

The last fruit of the mechanico-corpuscular philosophy, say rather of
the mode and direction of feeling and thinking produced by it on the
educated class of society; or that result, which as more immediately
connected with my present theme I have reserved for the last--is the
habit of attaching all our conceptions and feelings, and of applying
all the words and phrases expressing reality, to the objects of the
senses: more accurately speaking, to the images and sensations by
which their presence is made known to us. Now I do not hesitate to
assert, that it was one of the great purposes of Christianity, and
included in the process of our Redemption, to rouse and emancipate the
soul from this debasing slavery to the outward senses, to awaken the
mind to the true _criteria_ of reality, namely, Permanence, Power,
Will manifested in Act, and Truth operating as Life. _My words_, said
Christ, _are spirit_: and they (that is, the spiritual powers
expressed by them) _are truth_; that is, _very_ Being. For this end
our Lord, who came from heaven to _take captivity captive_, chose the
words and names, that designate the familiar yet most important
objects of sense, the nearest and most concerning things and incidents
of corporeal nature:--Water, Flesh, Blood, Birth, Bread! But he used
them in senses, that could not without absurdity be supposed to
respect the mere _phænomena_, water, flesh, and the like, in
senses that by no possibility could apply to the colour, figure,
specific mode of touch or taste produced on ourselves, and by which we
are made aware of the presence of the things, and _understand_
them--_res, quæ sub apparitionibus istis statuendæ sunt_. And this
awful recalling of the drowsed soul from the dreams and phantom world
of sensuality to _actual_ reality,--how has it been evaded! These
words, that were Spirit! these Mysteries, which even the Apostles must
wait for the Paraclete, in order to comprehend,--these spiritual
things which can only be _spiritually_ discerned,--were mere
metaphors, figures of speech, oriental hyperboles! "All this means
_only_ Morality!" Ah! how far nearer to the truth would these men have
been, had they said that Morality means all this!

The effect, however, has been most injurious to the best interests of
our Universities, to our incomparably constituted Church, and even to
our national character. The few who have read my two Lay Sermons are
no strangers to my opinions on this head; and in my Treatise on the
Church and Churches, I shall, if Providence vouchsafe, submit them to
the Public, with their grounds and historic evidences in a more
systematic form.

I have, I am aware, in this present work furnished occasion for a
charge of having expressed myself with slight and irreverence of
celebrated Names, especially of the late Dr. Paley. O, if I were fond
and ambitious of literary honour, of public applause, how well content
should I be to excite but one third of the admiration which, in my
inmost being, I feel for the head and heart of Paley! And how gladly
would I surrender all hope of contemporary praise, could I even
approach to the incomparable grace, propriety, and persuasive facility
of his writings! But on this very account I believe myself bound in
conscience to throw the whole force of my intellect in the way of this
triumphal car, on which the tutelary genius of modern Idolatry is
borne, even at the risk of being crushed under the wheels! I have at
this moment before my eyes the eighteenth of his Posthumous
Discourses: the amount of which is briefly this,--that all the words
and passages in the New Testament which express and contain the
_peculiar_ doctrines of Christianity, the paramount objects of the
Christian Revelation, all those which speak so strongly of the value,
benefit, and efficacy, of the death of Christ, assuredly mean
_something_; but _what_ they mean, nobody, it seems can tell! But
doubtless we shall discover it, and be convinced that there is a
substantial sense belonging to these words--in a future state! Is
there an enigma, or an absurdity, in the Koran or the Vedas which
might not be defended on the same pretence? A similar impression, I
confess, was left on my mind by Dr. Magee's statement or exposition
(_ad normam Grotianam_) of the doctrine of Redemption; and deeply did
it disappoint the high expectations, sadly did it chill the fervid
sympathy, which his introductory chapter, his manly and masterly
disquisition on the sacrificial rites of Paganism, had raised in my

And yet I cannot read the pages of Paley, here referred to, aloud,
without the liveliest sense, how plausible and popular they will sound
to the great majority of readers. Thousands of sober, and in their way
pious, Christians, will echo the words, together with Magee's kindred
interpretation of the death of Christ, and adopt the doctrine for
their _Make-faith_; and why? It is feeble. And whatever is feeble is
always plausible: for it favours mental indolence. It is feeble: and
feebleness, in the disguise of confessing and condescending strength,
is always popular. It flatters the reader by removing the apprehended
distance between him and the superior author; and it flatters him
still more by enabling him to transfer to himself, and to appropriate,
this superiority; and thus to make his very weakness the mark and
evidence of his strength. Ay, quoth the _rational_ Christian--or with
a sighing, self-soothing sound between an Ay and an Ah!--_I_ am
content to think, with the great Dr. Paley, and the learned Archbishop
of Dublin----

Man of Sense! Dr. Paley _was_ a great man, and Dr. Magee _is_ a
learned and exemplary prelate; but YOU do not _think_ at all!

With regard to the convictions avowed and enforced in my own Work, I
will continue my address to the man of sense in the words of an old
philosopher:--Tu vero crassis auribus et obstinato corde respuis quæ
forsitan vere perhibeantur. Minus hercule calles, pravissimis
opinionibus _ea putari mendacia, quæ vel auditu nova, vel visu rudia,
vel certe supra captum cogitationis (extemporaneæ tuæ) ardua
videantur_: quæ si paulo accuratius exploraris, non modo compertu
evidentia, sed etiam factu facilia, senties.[165]

       *       *       *       *       *

In compliance with the suggestion of a judicious friend, the
celebrated conclusion of the fourth Book of Paley's Moral and
Political Philosophy, referred to in p. 230 of this volume, is here
transprinted for the convenience of the reader:--

"Had Jesus Christ delivered no other declaration than the
following--'The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the grave
shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good,
unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the
resurrection of damnation:'--he had pronounced a message of
inestimable importance, and well worthy of that splendid apparatus of
prophecy and miracles with which his mission was introduced and
attested: a message in which the wisest of mankind would rejoice to
find an answer to their doubts, and rest to their inquiries.--It is
idle to say, that a future state had been discovered already:--it had
been discovered as the Copernican system was;--it was one guess among
many. He alone discovers, who proves; and no man can prove this point,
but the teacher who testifies by miracles that his doctrine comes from

Pædianus says of Virgil,--_Usque adeo expers invidiæ, ut siquid
erudite dictum inspiceret alterius, non minus gauderet ac si suum
esset_. My own heart assures me, that this is less than the truth:
that Virgil would have read a beautiful passage in the work of another
with a higher and purer delight than in a work of his own, because
free from the apprehension of his judgment being warped by self-love,
and without that repressive modesty akin to shame, which in a delicate
mind holds in check a man's own secret thoughts and feelings, when
they respect himself. The cordial admiration with which I peruse the
preceding passage, as _a master-piece of composition_, would, could I
convey it, serve as a measure of the vital importance I attach to the
convictions which impelled me to animadvert on the same passage as

[156] See Preliminary to Aphorisms on Spiritual Religion, &c.--ED.

[157] So in first edition, 1825.--ED.

[158] Of which our _he was made flesh_, is an inadequate
translation.--The Church of England in this as in other doctrinal
points, has preserved the golden mean between the superstitious
reverence of the Romanists, and the avowed contempt of the Sectarians,
for the writings of the Fathers, and the authority and unimpeached
traditions of the Church during the first three or four centuries. And
how, consistently with this honourable characteristic of our Church, a
minister of the same could, on the Sacramentary scheme now in fashion,
return even a plausible answer to Arnauld's great work on
Transubstantiation (not without reason the boast of the Romish
Church), exceeds my powers of conjecture.

[159] These were the afterwards published 'On the Church and State,
according to the Idea of Each,' 1830, and 'Confessions of an Inquiring
Spirit,' 1840. The latter we republish in the present volume; see p.

[160] Will the reader forgive me if I attempt at once to illustrate
and relieve the subject by annexing the first stanza of the poem
composed in the same year in which I wrote the Ancient Mariner and the
first book of Christabel?

    "Encinctur'd with a twine of leaves,
    That leafy twine his only dress!
    A lovely boy was plucking fruits
    In a moonlight wilderness.[161]
    The moon was bright, the air was free,
    And fruits and flowers together grew
    On many a shrub and many a tree:
    And all put on a gentle hue,
    Hanging in the shadowy air
    Like a picture rich and rare.
    It was a climate where, they say,
    The night is more belov'd than day.
    But who that beauteous boy beguil'd,
    That beauteous boy to linger here?
    Alone, by night, a little child,
    In place so silent and so wild--
    Has he no friend, no loving mother near?"


[161] "By moonlight, in a wilderness."--'Poetical Works,' edit.

[162] See p. 40.--ED.

[163] Such is the conception of body in Des Cartes' own system, _body_
is every where confounded with _matter_, and might in the Cartesian
sense be defined, Space or Extension, with the attribute of
Visibility. As Des Cartes at the same time zealously asserted the
existence of intelligential beings, the reality and independent
Self-subsidence of the soul, Berkeleyanism or Spinosism was the
immediate and necessary consequence. Assume a _plurality_ of
self-subsisting souls, and we have Berkeleyanism; assume one only
(_unam et unicam substantiam_), and you have Spinosism, that is, the
assertion of one infinite self-subsistent, with the two attributes of
thinking and appearing. _Cogitatio infinita sine centro, et omniformis
apparitio._ How far the Newtonian _vis inertiæ_ (interpreted any
otherwise than as an arbitrary term = x y z, to represent the unknown
but necessary supplement or integration of the Cartesian notion of
body) has patched up the flaw, I leave for more competent judges to
decide. But should any one of my Readers feel an interest in the
speculative principles of Natural Philosophy, and should be master of
the German language, I warmly recommend for his perusal the earliest
known publication of the great founder of the Critical Philosophy
(written in the twenty-second year of his age!), on the then eager
controversy between the Leibnitzian and the French and English
Mathematicians, respecting the living forces--_Gedanken von der wahren
Schätzung der lebendigen Kräfte_: 1747--in which Kant demonstrates the
_right reasoning_ to be with the latter; but the Truth of _Fact_, the
evidence of _Experience_, with the former; and gives the explanation,
namely: Body, or Corporeal Nature, is something else and more than
geometrical extension, even with the addition of a _vis inertiæ_. And
Leibnitz, with the Bernouillis, erred in the attempt to demonstrate
geometrically a problem not susceptible of geometrical construction.--The
tract, with the succeeding _Himmels-system_, may with propriety be
placed, after the _Principia_ of Newton, among the striking instances
of early Genius; and as the first product of the Dynamic Philosophy in
the Physical Sciences, from the time, at least, of Giordano Bruno,
whom the idolaters burnt for an Atheist, at Rome, in the year 1600.
See the 'Friend,' pp. 151-55. [Or pp. 69, 70, Bohn's edition.--ED.]

[164] For Newton's own doubtfully suggested ether, or _most_ subtle
fluid, as the ground and immediate Agent in the phenomena of universal
gravitation, was either not adopted or soon abandoned by his
disciples; not only as introducing, against his own canons of right
reasoning, an _ens imaginarium_ into physical science, a suf_fiction_
in the place of a legitimate sup_position_; but because the substance
(assuming it to exist) must itself form part of the problem, it was
meant to solve. Meantime Leibnitz's pre-established harmony, which
originated in Spinosa, found no acceptance; and, lastly, the notion of
a corpuscular substance, with properties _put_ into it, like a
pincushion hidden by the pins, could pass with the unthinking only for
any thing more than a confession of ignorance, or technical terms
expressing a hiatus of scientific insight.

[165] _Apul. Metam._ 1.--H. N. C.


SEE P. 143.

The Position to be proved is the _difference in kind_ of the
Understanding from the Reason.

The Axiom, on which the Proof rests, is: Subjects, which require
essentially different General Definitions, differ _in kind_ and not
merely _in degree_. For difference _in degree_ forms the ground of
_specific_ definitions, but not of _generic_ or general.

Now Reason is considered either in relation to the Will and Moral
Being, when it is termed the[167] Practical Reason = A: or relatively,
to the intellective and Sciential Faculties, when it is termed
Theoretic or Speculative Reason = _a_. In order therefore to be
compared with the Reason; the Understanding must in like manner be
distinguished into the Understanding as a Principle of _Action_, in
which relation I call it the Adaptive Power, or the faculty of
selecting and adapting Means and Medial of proximate ends = B: and the
Understanding, as a mode and faculty of thought, when it is called
Reflection = _b_. Accordingly, I give the General Definitions of
these four: that is, I describe each severally by its _essential
characters_: and I find, that the definition of A differs _toto
genere_ from that of B, and the definition of _a_ from that of _b_.

Now subjects that require essentially different definitions do
themselves differ in kind. But Understanding and Reason require
essentially different definitions. Therefore Understanding and Reason
differ in kind.

[166] This summary did not appear in the first edition.--ED.

[167] N. B. The Practical Reason alone _is_ Reason in the full and
substantive sense. It is reason in its own sphere of _perfect
freedom_; as the source of _IDEAS_, which Ideas, in their conversion
to the responsible Will, become Ultimate Ends. On the other hand,
Theoretic Reason, as the ground of the Universal and Absolute in all
logical _conclusion_ is rather the _Light_ of Reason in the
_Understanding_, and known to be such by its contrast with the
contingency and particularity which characterize all the proper and
indigenous growths of the Understanding.




[This is the discourse an early report of which was the foundation of
Coleridge's remarks upon instinct, &c., which appear at pp. 160-164.
It was first added as an Appendix to the "Aids to Reflection," in the
edition of 1843; being extracted from an Appendix to Professor Green's
"Vital Dynamics"[168] 1840, where it appears at pp. 88-96. It was
then given without the Professor's introductory words, which we now

The following remarks on the import of instinct are those to which
Coleridge refers in the "Aids to Reflection" (p. 177, last
edition[169]) as in accordance with his view of the understanding,
differing in degree from instinct, and in kind from reason; and
whatever merit they possess must have been derived from his
instructive conversation. They are here inserted in the hope that they
may interest the reader in connexion both with the passages of the
preceding discourse, and with the writings of Coleridge on this
important subject.

What is Instinct? As I am not quite of Bonnet's opinion "that
philosophers will in vain torment themselves to define instinct, until
they have spent some time in the head of the animal without actually
being that animal," I shall endeavour to explain the use of the term.
I shall not think it necessary to controvert the opinions which have
been offered on this subject, whether the ancient doctrine of
Descartes, who supposed that animals were mere machines; or the modern
one of Lamarck, who attributes instincts to habits impressed upon the
organs of animals, by the constant efflux of the nervous fluid to
these organs, to which it has been determined in their efforts to
perform certain actions, to which their necessities have given birth.
And it will be here premature to offer any refutation of the opinions
of those who contend for the identity of this faculty with reason, and
maintain that all the actions of animals are the result of invention
and experience;--an opinion maintained with considerable plausibility
by Dr. Darwin.

Perhaps the most ready and certain mode of coming to a conclusion in
this intricate enquiry will be by the apparently circuitous route of
determining first, what we do not mean by the word. Now we certainly
do not mean, in the use of the term, any act of the vital power in the
production or maintenance of an organ: nobody thinks of saying that
the teeth grow by instinct, or that when the muscles are increased in
vigour and size in consequence of exercise, it is from such a cause or
principle. Neither do we attribute instinct to the direct functions of
the organs in providing for the continuance and sustentation of the
whole co-organized body. No one talks of the liver secreting bile, or
of the heart acting for the propulsion of the blood, by instinct.
Some, indeed, have maintained that breathing, even voiding the
excrement and urine, are instinctive operations; but surely these, as
well as the former, are automatic, or at least are the necessary
result of the organization of the parts in and by which the actions
are produced. These instances seem to be, if I may so say, below
instinct. But again, we do not attribute instinct to any actions
preceded by a will conscious of its whole purpose, calculating its
effects, and predetermining its consequences, nor to any exercise of
the intellectual powers, of which the whole scope, aim, and end are
intellectual. In other terms, no man, who values his words, will talk
of the instinct of a Howard, or of the instinctive operations of a
Newton or Leibnitz, in those sublime efforts, which ennoble and cast a
lustre, not less on the individuals than on the whole human race.

To what kind or mode of action shall we then look for the legitimate
application of the term? In answer to this query, we may, I think,
without fear of the consequences, put the following cases as
exemplifying and justifying the use of the term Instinct in an
appropriate sense. First: when there appears an action, not included
either in the mere functions of life, acting within the sphere of its
own organismus; nor yet an action attributable to the intelligent will
or reason; yet, at the same time, not referable to any particular
organ,--we then declare the presence of an Instinct. We might
illustrate this in the instance of a bull-calf butting before he has
horns, in which the action can have no reference to its internal
economy, to the presence of a particular organ, or to an intelligent
will. Secondly, likewise (if it be not indeed included in the first),
we attribute Instinct where the organ is present; if only the act is
equally anterior to all possible experience on the part of the
individual agent, as for instance, when the beaver employs its tail
for the construction of its dwelling; the tailor-bird its bill for the
formation of its pensile habitation; the spider its spinning organ for
fabricating its artfully woven nets, or the viper its poison fang for
its defence. And lastly, generally, where there is an act of the whole
body as one animal, not referable to a will conscious of its purpose,
nor to its mechanism, nor to a habit derived from experience, nor
previous frequent use. Here with most satisfaction, and without doubt
of the propriety of the word, we declare an Instinct; as examples of
which, we may adduce the migratory habits of birds; the social
instincts of the bees, the construction of their habitations, composed
of cells formed with geometrical precision, adapted in capacity to
different orders of the society, and forming storehouses for
containing a supply of provisions;--not to mention similar instances
in wasps, ants, termites; and the endless contrivances for protecting
the future progeny.

But if it be admitted that we have rightly stated the application of
the term, what, we may ask, is contained in the examples adduced, or
what inferences are we to make as to the nature of Instinct itself, as
a source and principle of action? We shall, perhaps, best aid
ourselves in the enquiry by an example, and let us take a very
familiar one of a caterpillar taking its food. The caterpillar seeks
at once the plant which furnishes the appropriate aliment, and this
even as soon as it creeps from the ovum; and the food being taken into
the stomach, the nutritious part is separated from the innutritious,
and is disposed of for the support of the animal. The question then
is, what is contained in this instance of instinct? In the first place
what does the vital power in the stomach do, if we generalize the
account of the process, or express it in its most general terms?
Manifestly it selects and applies appropriate means to an immediate
end, prescribed by the constitution;--first, of the particular organ,
and then of the whole body or organismus. This we have admitted is not
instinct. But what does the caterpillar do? Does it not also select
and apply appropriate means to an immediate end, prescribed by its
particular organization and constitution? But there is something more;
it does this according to circumstances;--and this we call Instinct.
But may there not be still something more involved? What shall we say
of Hüber's humble-bees? A dozen of these were put under a bell glass
along with a comb of about ten silken cocoons, so unequal in height as
not to be capable of standing steadily. To remedy this, two or three
of the humble-bees got upon the comb, stretched themselves over its
edge, and with their heads downwards, fixed their forefeet on the
table on which the comb stood, and so with their hindfeet kept the
comb from falling. When these were weary others took their places. In
this constrained and painful posture, fresh bees relieving their
comrades at intervals, and each working in its turn, did these
affectionate little insects support the comb for nearly three days;
at the end of which time they had prepared sufficient wax to build
pillars with it. And what is still further curious, the first pillars
having got displaced, the bees had again recourse to the same
manœuvre. What then is involved in this case? Evidently the same
selection and appropriation of means to an immediate end as before;
but observe! according to varying circumstances.

And here we are puzzled;--for this becomes Understanding. At least no
naturalist, however predetermined to contrast and oppose Instinct to
Understanding, but ends at last in facts in which he himself can make
out no difference. But are we hence to conclude that the instinct is
the same, and identical with the human understanding? Certainly
not;--though the difference is not in the essential of the definition,
but in an addition to, or modification of, that which is essentially
the same in both. In such cases, namely, as that which we have last
adduced, in which instinct assumes the semblance of understanding, the
act indicative of instinct is not clearly prescribed by the
constitution or laws of the animal's peculiar organization, but arises
out of the constitution and previous circumstances of the animal, and
those habits, wants, and that predetermined sphere of action and
operation which belong to the race, and beyond the limits of which it
does not pass. If this be the case, I may venture to assert that I
have determined an appropriate sense for instinct:----namely, that it
is a Power of selecting and applying appropriate means to an immediate
end, according to circumstances, and the changes of circumstances,
these being variable and varying; but yet so as to be referable to the
general habits, arising out of the constitution and previous
circumstances of the animal considered not as an individual, but as a

We may here, perhaps, most fitly explain the error of those who
contend for the identity of Reason and Instinct, and believe that the
actions of animals are the result of invention and experience. They
have, no doubt, been deceived, in their investigation of Instinct, by
an efficient cause simulating a final cause; and the defect in their
reasoning has arisen in consequence of observing in the instinctive
operations of animals the adaptation of means to a relative end, from
the assumption of a deliberate purpose. To this freedom or choice in
action and purpose, instinct, in any appropriate sense of the word,
cannot apply, and to justify and explain its introduction, we must
have recourse to other and higher faculties than any manifested in the
operations of instinct. It is evident, namely, in turning our
attention to the distinguishing character of human actions, that there
is, as in the inferior animals, a selection and appropriation of means
to ends--but it is (not only according to circumstances, not only
according to varying circumstances, but it is) according to varying
Purposes. But this is an attribute of the intelligent will, and no
longer even mere understanding.

And here let me observe that the difficulty and delicacy of this
investigation are greatly increased by our not considering the
understanding (even our own) in itself, and as it would be were it not
accompanied with, and modified by, the co-operation of the will, the
moral feeling, and that faculty, perhaps best distinguished by the
name of Reason, of determining that which is universal and necessary,
of fixing laws and principles whether speculative or practical, and of
contemplating a final purpose or end. This intelligent will,--having a
self-conscious purpose, under the guidance and light of the reason, by
which its acts are made to bear as a whole upon some end in and for
itself, and to which the understanding is subservient as an organ or
the faculty of selecting and appropriating the means--seems best to
account for that progressiveness of the human race, which so evidently
marks an insurmountable distinction and impassable barrier between man
and the inferior animals; but which would be inexplicable were there
no other difference than in the degree of their intellectual

Man doubtless has his instincts, even in common with the inferior
animals, and many of these are the germs of some of the best feelings
of his nature. What, amongst many, might I present as a better
illustration, or more beautiful instance, than the _storgè_ or
maternal instinct? But man's instincts are elevated and ennobled by
the moral ends and purposes of his being. He is not destined to be the
slave of blind impulses, a vessel purposeless, unmeant. He is
constituted by his moral and intelligent will, to be the first freed
being, the master-work and the end of nature; but this freedom and
high office can only co-exist with fealty and devotion to the service
of truth and virtue. And though we may even be permitted to use the
term Instinct, in order to designate those high impulses, which in the
minority of man's rational being, shape his acts unconsciously to
ultimate ends, and which in constituting the very character and
impress of the humanity reveal the guidance of Providence; yet the
convenience of the phrase, and the want of any other distinctive
appellation for an influence _de supra_, working unconsciously in and
on the whole human race, should not induce us to forget that the term
instinct is only strictly applicable to the Adaptive Power, as the
faculty, even in its highest proper form, of selecting and adapting
appropriate means to proximate ends according to varying
circumstances,--a faculty which however, only differs from human
understanding in consequence of the latter being enlightened by
reason,--and that the principles which actuate man as ultimate ends,
and are designed for his conscious possession and guidance, are best
and most properly named Ideas.

[168] 'Vital Dynamics: The Hunterian Oration before the Royal College
of Surgeons in London, 14th February, 1840; by Joseph Henry Green,
F.R.S., Late Professor of Anatomy to the College: Professor of Anatomy
to the Royal Academy: One of the Surgeons to St. Thomas's Hospital.'
8vo. William Pickering, 1840.--ED.

[169] This must have been the 4th edition, 1839, the latest corrected
by the author, and that which supplies our text in the main.
Coleridge's reference is at pp. 166-170 of the present edition.--ED.


(_Letters on the Inspiration of the Scriptures._)



The following Letters on the Inspiration of the Scriptures were left
by Mr. Coleridge in MS. at his death. The Reader will find in them a
key to most of the Biblical criticism scattered throughout the
Author's own writings, and an affectionate, pious, and, as the Editor
humbly believes, a profoundly wise attempt to place the study of the
Written Word on its only sure foundation,--a deep sense of God's
holiness and truth, and a consequent reverence for that Light--the
image of Himself--which He has kindled in every one of his rational

LINCOLN'S INN, _September 22, 1840_.

Being persuaded of nothing more than of this, that whether it be
matter of speculation or of practice, no untruth can possibly avail
the patron and defender long, and that things most truly are likewise
most behovefully spoken.--_Hooker._

Any thing will be pretended rather than admit the necessity of
internal evidence, or acknowledge, among the external proofs, the
convictions and experiences of Believers, though they should be common
to all the faithful in every age of the Church. But in all
superstition there is a heart of unbelief; and, _vice versâ_, where a
man's belief is but a superficial acquiescence, credulity is the
natural result and accompaniment, if only he be not required to sink
into the depths of his being, where the sensual man can no longer draw
breath.--[COLERIDGE'S _Literary Remains_.]

Faith subsists in the _synthesis_ of the Reason and the individual
Will. By virtue of the latter, therefore, it must be an energy, and,
inasmuch as it relates to the whole moral man, it must be exerted in
each and all of his constituents or incidents, faculties and
tendencies:--it must be a total, not a partial--a continuous, not a
desultory or occasional--energy. And by virtue of the former, that is,
Reason, Faith must be a Light, a form of knowing, a beholding of
Truth. In the incomparable words of the Evangelist, therefore,--_Faith
must be a Light originating in the Logos, or the substantial Reason,
which is co-eternal and one with the Holy Will, and which Light is at
the same time the Life of men._ Now, as _Life_ is here the sum or
collective of all moral and spiritual acts, in suffering, doing, and
being, so is Faith the source and the sum, the energy and the
principle of the fidelity of Man to God, by the subordination of his
human Will, in all provinces of his nature, to his Reason, as the sum
of spiritual Truth, representing and manifesting the Will
Divine.--[COLERIDGE'S _Essay on Faith: Literary Remains_, vol. iv.
page 437. We reprint the entire essay at the end of the present
volume. See p. 339.--ED.]


                       Christ, the Word.

 _Thesis_          _Mesothesis_,     _Antithesis_
                       or the Indifference,

 The Scriptures.         The Holy Spirit.           The Church.

                         The Preacher.[170]

The Scriptures, the Spirit, and the Church, are co-ordinate; the
indispensable conditions and the working causes of the perpetuity, and
continued renascence and spiritual life of Christ still militant. The
Eternal Word, Christ from everlasting, is the _Prothesis_, or
identity;--the Scriptures and the Church are the two poles, or
_Thesis_ and _Antithesis_; and the Preacher in direct line under the
Spirit, but likewise the point of junction of the Written Word and the
Church, is the _Synthesis_.

This is God's Hand in the World.

[170] Coleridge gives this same "Pentad" in his "Notes on Donne,"
"Literary Remains," v. iii. pp. 92-153.--ED.

Seven Letters to a Friend concerning the bounds between the right, and
the superstitious, use and estimation of the Sacred Canon; in which
the Writer submissively discloses his own private judgment on the
following Questions:--

I. Is it necessary, or expedient, to insist on the belief of the
divine origin and authority of all, and every part of the Canonical
Books as the Condition, or first principle, of Christian Faith?--

II. Or, may not the due appreciation of the Scriptures collectively be
more safely relied on as the result and consequence of the belief in
Christ; the gradual increase--in respect of particular passages--of
our spiritual discernment of their truth and authority supplying a
test and measure of our own growth and progress as individual
believers, without the servile fear that prevents or overclouds the
free honour which cometh from love? 1 John iv. 18.




I employed the compelled and most unwelcome leisure of severe
indisposition in reading _The Confessions of a fair Saint_ in Mr.
Carlyle's recent translation of the _Wilhelm Meister_, which might, I
think, have been better rendered literally _The Confessions of a
Beautiful Soul_.[171] This, acting in conjunction with the concluding
sentences of your Letter, threw my thoughts inward on my own religious
experience, and gave the immediate occasion to the following
Confessions of one, who is neither fair nor saintly, but who--groaning
under a deep sense of infirmity and manifold imperfection--feels the
want, the necessity, of religious support;--who cannot afford to lose
any the smallest buttress, but who not only loves Truth even for
itself, and when it reveals itself aloof from all interest, but who
loves it with an indescribable awe, which too often withdraws the
genial sap of his activity from the columnar trunk, the sheltering
leaves, the bright and fragrant flower, and the foodful or medicinal
fruitage, to the deep root, ramifying in obscurity and labyrinthine

    In darkness there to house unknown,
    Far underground,
    Pierc'd by no sound
    Save such as live in Fancy's ear alone.
    That listens for the uptorn mandrake's parting groan!

I should, perhaps, be a happier--at all events a more useful--man if
my mind were otherwise constituted. But so it is: and even with regard
to Christianity itself, like certain plants, I creep towards the
light, even though it draw me away from the more nourishing warmth.
Yea, I should do so, even if the light had made its way through a rent
in the wall of the Temple. Glad, indeed, and grateful am I, that not
in the Temple itself, but only in one or two of the side chapels--not
essential to the edifice, and probably not coeval with it--have I
found the light absent, and that the rent in the wall has but admitted
the free light of the Temple itself.

I shall best communicate the state of my faith by taking the creed,
or system of _credenda_, common to all the Fathers of the
Reformation--overlooking, as non-essential, the differences between
the several Reformed Churches--according to the five main classes or
sections into which the aggregate distributes itself to my
apprehension. I have then only to state the effect produced on my mind
by each, of these, or the _quantum_ of recipiency and coincidence in
myself relatively thereto, in order to complete my Confession of

I. The Absolute; the innominable Αυτοπατωρ et _Causa Sui_, in whose
transcendant I AM, as the Ground, _is_ whatever _verily_ is:--the
Triune God, by whose Word and Spirit, as the transcendant Cause,
_exists_ whatever _substantially_ exists:--God Almighty--Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost, undivided, unconfounded, co-eternal. This class I
designate by the word, Στασις.

II. The Eternal Possibilities; the actuality of which hath not its
origin in God: _Chaos spirituale:_--Αποστασις.

III. The Creation and Formation of the heaven and earth by the Redemptive
Word:--The Apostasy of Man:--The Redemption of Man:--the Incarnation of
the Word in the Son of Man:--the Crucifixion and Resurrection
of the Son of Man:--the Descent of the Comforter:--Repentance
(μετανοια):--Regeneration:--Faith:--Prayer:--Grace: Communion
with the Spirit: Conflict: Self-abasement: Assurance through the
righteousness of Christ: Spiritual Growth: Love: Discipline:
Perseverance: Hope in death:--Μεταστασις--Αναστασις.

IV. But these offers, gifts, and graces are not for one, or for a
few. They are offered to all. Even when the Gospel is preached to a
single individual, it is offered to him as to one of a great
Household. Not only Man, but, says St. Paul, the whole Creation is
included in the consequences of the Fall--της αποστασεως--; so also
in those of the Change at the Redemption--της μεταστασεως, και της
αναστασεως. We too shall be raised _in the Body_. Christianity is
fact no less than truth. It is spiritual, yet so as to be historical;
and between these two poles there must likewise be a midpoint, in
which the historical and spiritual meet. Christianity must have its
history--a history of itself, and likewise the history of its
introduction, its spread, and its outward-becoming; and, as the
midpoint above-mentioned, a portion of these facts must be miraculous,
that is, _phænomena_ in nature that are beyond nature. Furthermore,
the history of all historical nations must in some sense be its
history;--in other words, all history must be providential, and this a
providence, a preparation, and a looking forward to Christ.

Here, then, we have four out of the five classes. And in all these the
sky of my belief is serene, unclouded by a doubt. Would to God that my
faith, that faith which works on the whole man, confirming and
conforming, were but in just proportion to my belief, to the full
acquiescence of my intellect, and the deep consent of my conscience!
The very difficulties argue the truth of the whole scheme and system
for my understanding, since I see plainly that so must the truth
appear, if it be the truth.

V. But there is a Book, of two parts,--each part consisting of several
books. The first part--(I speak in the character of an uninterested
critic or philologist)--contains the reliques of the literature of the
Hebrew people, while the Hebrew was still the living language. The
second part comprises the writings, and, with one or two
inconsiderable and doubtful exceptions, all the writings of the
followers of Christ within the space of ninety years from the date of
the Resurrection. I do not myself think that any of these writings
were composed as late as A.D. 120; but I wish to preclude all dispute.
This Book I resume, as read, and yet unread,--read and familiar to my
mind in all parts, but which is yet to be perused as a whole;--or
rather, a work, _cujus particulas et sententiolas omnes et singulas
recogniturus sum_, but the component integers of which, and their
conspiration, I have yet to study. I take up this work with the
purpose to read it for the first time as I should read any other
work,--as far at least as I can or dare. For I neither can, nor dare,
throw off a strong and awful prepossession in its favour--certain as I
am that a large part of the light and life, in and by which I see,
love, and embrace the truths and the strengths co-organized into a
living body of faith and knowledge in the four preceding classes, has
been directly or indirectly derived to me from this sacred
volume,--and unable to determine what I do not owe to its influences.
But even on this account, and because it has these inalienable claims
on my reverence and gratitude, I will not leave it in the power of
unbelievers to say, that the Bible is for me only what the Koran is
for the deaf Turk, and the Vedas for the feeble and acquiescent
Hindoo. No; I will retire _up into the mountain_, and hold secret
commune with my Bible above the contagious blastments of prejudice,
and the fog-blight of selfish superstition. _For fear hath torment._
And what though _my_ reason be to the power and splendour of the
Scriptures but as the reflected and secondary shine of the moon
compared with the solar radiance:--yet the sun endures the occasional
co-presence of the unsteady orb, and leaving it visible seems to
sanction the comparison. There is a Light higher than all, even _the
Word that was in the beginning_;--the Light, of which light itself is
but the _shechinah_ and cloudy tabernacle;--the Word that is light for
every man, and life for as many as give heed to it. If between this
Word and the written Letter I shall any where seem to myself to find a
discrepance, I will not conclude that such there actually is; nor on
the other hand will I fall under the condemnation of them that would
_lie for God_, but seek as I may, be thankful for what I have--and

With such purposes, with such feelings, have I perused the books of
the Old and New Testaments,--each book as a whole, and also as an
integral part. And need I say that I have met every where more or less
copious sources of truth, and power, and purifying impulses;--that I
have found words for my inmost thoughts, songs for my joy, utterances
for my hidden griefs, and pleadings for my shame and my feebleness? In
short whatever _finds_ me, bears witness for itself that it has
proceeded from a Holy Spirit, even from the same Spirit, _which
remaining in itself, yet regenerateth all other powers, and in all
ages entering into holy souls maketh them friends of God, and
prophets_. (Wisd. vii.) And here, perhaps, I might have been content
to rest, if I had not learned that, as a Christian, I cannot,--must
not--stand alone; or if I had not known that more than this was holden
and required by the Fathers of the Reformation, and by the Churches
collectively, since the Council of Nice at latest;--the only
exceptions being that doubtful one of the corrupt Romish Church
implied, though not avowed, in its equalization of the Apocryphal
Books with those of the Hebrew Canon,[172] and the irrelevant one of
the few and obscure Sects who acknowledge no historical Christianity.
This somewhat more, in which Jerome, Augustine, Luther, and Hooker,
were of one and the same judgment, and less than which not one of them
would have tolerated--would it fall within the scope of my present
doubts and objections? I hope it would not. Let only their general
expressions be interpreted by their treatment of the Scriptures in
detail, and I dare confidently trust that it would not. For I can no
more reconcile the Doctrine which startles my belief with the practice
and particular declarations of these great men, than with the
convictions of my own understanding and conscience. At all events--and
I cannot too early or too earnestly guard against any misapprehension
of my meaning and purpose--let it be distinctly understood that my
arguments and objections apply exclusively to the following Doctrine
or Dogma. To the opinions which individual divines have advanced in
lieu of this doctrine, my only objection, as far as I object, is--that
I do not understand them. The precise enunciation of this doctrine I
defer to the commencement of the next Letter. Farewell.

[171] _Bekenntnisse einer schönen Seele_.--H. N. C.

[172] _Si quis--(Esdræ primum et secundum, Tobiam, Judith, Esther,
&c.)--pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, ... anathema sit._ Conc.
Trid. Decr. Sess. IV.--H. N. C.



In my last Letter I said that in the Bible there is more that _finds_
me than I have experienced in all other books put together; that the
words of the Bible find me at greater depths of my being; and that
whatever finds me brings with it an irresistible evidence of its
having proceeded from the Holy Spirit. But the Doctrine in question
requires me to believe, that not only what finds me, but that all that
exists in the sacred volume, and which I am bound to find therein,
was--not alone inspired by, that is, composed by, men under the
actuating influence of the Holy Spirit, but likewise--dictated by an
Infallible Intelligence;--that the writers, each and all, were
divinely informed as well as inspired. Now here all evasion, all
excuse, is cut off. An Infallible Intelligence extends to all things,
physical no less than spiritual. It may convey the truth in any one of
the three possible languages,--that of Sense, as objects appear to the
beholder on this earth; or that of Science, which supposes the
beholder placed in the centre;--or that of Philosophy, which resolves
both into a supersensual reality. But whichever be chosen--and it is
obvious that the incompatibility exists only between the first and
second, both of them being indifferent and of equal value to the
third--it must be employed consistently; for an Infallible
Intelligence must intend to be intelligible, and not to deceive. And,
moreover, whichever of these three languages be chosen, it must be
translatable into Truth. For this is the very essence of the Doctrine,
that one and the same Intelligence is speaking in the unity of a
Person; which unity is no more broken by the diversity of the pipes
through which it makes itself audible, than is a tune by the different
instruments on which it is played by a consummate musician, equally
perfect in all. One instrument may be more capacious than another, but
as far as its compass extends, and in what it sounds forth, it will be
true to the conception of the master. I can conceive no softening here
which would not nullify the Doctrine, and convert it to a cloud for
each man's fancy to shift and shape at will. And this Doctrine, I
confess, plants the vineyard of the Word with thorns for me, and
places snares in its pathways. These may be delusions of an evil
spirit; but ere I so harshly question the seeming angel of light--my
reason, I mean, and moral sense in conjunction with my clearest
knowledge--I must inquire on what authority this Doctrine rests. And
what other authority dares a truly catholic Christian admit as
coercive in the final decision, but the declarations of the Book
itself,--though I should not, without struggles and a trembling
reluctance, gainsay even a universal tradition?

I return to the Book. With a full persuasion of soul respecting all
the articles of the Christian Faith, as contained in the first four
Classes, I receive willingly also the truth of the history, namely,
that the Word of the Lord did come to Samuel, to Isaiah, to
others;--and that the words which gave utterance to the same are
faithfully recorded. But though the origin of the words, even as of
the miraculous acts, be supernatural--yet the former once uttered--the
latter once having taken their place among the _phænomena_ of the
senses, the faithful recording of the same does not of itself imply,
or seem to require, any supernatural working, other than as all truth
and goodness are such. In the books of Moses, and once or twice in the
prophecy of Jeremiah, I find it indeed asserted that not only the
words were given, but the recording of the same enjoined by the
special command of God, and doubtless executed under the special
guidance of the Divine Spirit. As to all such passages, therefore,
there can be no dispute; and all others in which the words are by the
sacred historian declared to have been the Word of the Lord
supernaturally communicated, I receive as such with a degree of
confidence proportioned to the confidence required of me by the writer
himself, and to the claims he himself makes on my belief.

Let us, therefore, remove all such passages, and take each Book by
itself; and I repeat that I believe the writer in whatever he himself
relates of his own authority, and of its origin. But I cannot find any
such claim, as the Doctrine in question supposes, made by these
writers, explicitly or by implication. On the contrary, they refer to
other documents, and in all points express themselves as sober minded
and veracious writers under ordinary circumstances are known to do.
But, perhaps, they bear testimony, the successor to his
predecessor?--Or some one of the number has left it on record, that by
especial inspiration _he_ was commanded to declare the plenary
inspiration of all the rest?--The passages, which can without violence
be appealed to as substantiating the latter position, are so few, and
these so incidental,[173]--the conclusion drawn from them involving
likewise so obviously a _petitio principii_, namely, the supernatural
dictation, word by word, of the book in which the question is found;
(for until this is established, the utmost that such a text can prove,
is the current belief of the writer's age and country concerning the
character of the books, then called the Scriptures;)--that it cannot
but seem strange, and assuredly is against all analogy of Gospel
Revelation, that such a Doctrine--which, if true, must be an article
of faith, and a most important, yea, essential article of
faith,--should be left thus faintly, thus obscurely, and, if I may so
say, _obitaneously_, declared and enjoined. The time of the formation
and closing of the Canon unknown;--the selectors and compilers
unknown, or recorded by known fabulists;--and (more perplexing still,)
the belief of the Jewish Church--the belief, I mean, common to the
Jews of Palestine and their more cultivated brethren in Alexandria, (no
reprehension of which is to be found in the New Testament)--concerning
the nature and import of the θεοπνευστια attributed to the precious
remains of their Temple Library;--these circumstances are such,
especially the last, as in effect to evacuate the Tenet, of which I am
speaking, of the only meaning in which it practically means any thing
at all, tangible, steadfast, or obligatory. In infallibility there are
no degrees. The power of the High and Holy One is one and the same,
whether the sphere, which it fills, be larger or smaller;--the area
traversed by a comet, or the oracle of the house, the holy place
beneath the wings of the Cherubim;--the Pentateuch of the Legislator,
who drew near to the thick darkness where God was, and who spake in
the cloud whence the thunderings and lightnings came, and whom God
answered by a voice;--or but a Letter of thirteen verses from the
affectionate _Elder to the elect lady and her children, whom he loved
in the truth_. But at no period was this the judgment of the Jewish
Church respecting all the canonical books. To Moses alone--to Moses in
the recording no less than in the receiving of the Law--and to all and
every part of the five books, called the Books of Moses, the Jewish
Doctors of the generation before, and coeval with, the Apostles
assigned that unmodified and absolute _theopneusty_, which our
divines, in words at least, attribute to the Canon collectively. In
fact it was from the Jewish Rabbis,--who, in opposition to the
Christian scheme, contended for a perfection in the Revelation by
Moses, which neither required nor endured any addition, and who
strained their fancies in expressing the transcendency of the books of
Moses in aid of their opinion,--that the founders of the Doctrine
borrowed their notions and phrases respecting the Bible throughout.
Remove the metaphorical drapery from the doctrine of the Cabbalists,
and it will be found to contain the only intelligible and consistent
idea of that plenary inspiration, which later divines extend to all
the canonical books; as thus:--"The Pentateuch is but _one Word_, even
the Word of God; and the letters and articulate sounds, by which this
Word is communicated to our human apprehensions, are likewise divinely

Now, for 'Pentateuch' substitute 'Old and New Testament,' and then I
say that this is the doctrine which I reject as superstitious and
unscriptural. And yet as long as the conceptions of the Revealing Word
and the Inspiring Spirit are identified and confounded, I assert that
whatever says less than this, says little more than nothing. For how
can absolute infallibility be blended with fallibility? Where is the
infallible criterion? How can infallible truth be infallibly conveyed
in defective and fallible expressions? The Jewish teachers confined
this miraculous character to the Pentateuch. Between the Mosaic and
the Prophetic inspiration they asserted such a difference as amounts
to a diversity; and between both the one and the other, and the
remaining books comprised under the title of _Hagiographa_, the
interval was still wider, and the inferiority in kind, and not only in
degree, was unequivocally expressed. If we take into account the
habit, universal with the Hebrew Doctors, of referring all excellent
or extraordinary things to the great First Cause, without mention of
the proximate and instrumental causes,--a striking illustration of
which may be obtained by comparing the narratives of the same event in
the Psalms and in the Historical Books; and if we further reflect that
the distinction of the Providential and the Miraculous did not enter
into their forms of thinking,--at all events not into their mode of
conveying their thoughts,--the language of the Jews respecting the
_Hagiographa_ will be found to differ little, if at all, from that of
religious persons among ourselves, when speaking of an author
abounding in gifts, stirred up by the Holy Spirit, writing under the
influence of special grace, and the like.

But it forms no part of my present purpose to discuss the point
historically, or to speculate on the formation of either Canon.
Rather, such inquiries are altogether alien from the great object of
my pursuits and studies, which is, to convince myself and others, that
the Bible and Christianity are their own sufficient evidence. But it
concerns both my character and my peace of mind to satisfy
unprejudiced judges, that if my present convictions should in all
other respects be found consistent with the faith and feelings of a
Christian,--and if in many and those important points they tend to
secure that faith and to deepen those feelings--the words of the
Apostle,[174] rightly interpreted, do not require their condemnation.
Enough, if what has been stated above respecting the general doctrine
of the Hebrew Masters, under whom the Apostle was bred, shall remove
any misconceptions that might prevent the right interpretation of his
words. Farewell.

[173] With only one seeming exception, the texts in question refer to
the Old Testament alone. That exception is 2 Peter iii. 16. The word
λοιπας (γραφας) is, perhaps, not necessarily so to be interpreted;
and this very text formed one of the objections to the Apostolic
antiquity of the Epistle itself.

[174] 2 Tim. iii. 16.



Having in the former two Letters defined the doctrine which I reject,
I am now to communicate the views that I would propose to substitute
in its place.

Before, however, I attempt to lay down on the theological chart the
road-place, to which my bark has drifted, and to mark the spot and
circumscribe the space, within which I swing at anchor, let me, first,
thank you for, and then attempt to answer, the objections,--or at
least the questions,--which you have urged upon me.

"The present Bible is the Canon, to which Christ and the Apostles


"And in terms which a Christian must tremble to tamper with?"

Yea. The expressions are as direct as strong; and a true believer will
neither attempt to divert nor dilute their strength.

"The doctrine which is considered as the orthodox view seems the
obvious and most natural interpretation of the text in question?"

Yea, and Nay. To those whose minds are prepossessed by the Doctrine
itself,--who from earliest childhood have always meant this doctrine
by the very word, Bible,--the doctrine being but its exposition and
paraphrase--Yea. In such minds the words of our Lord and the
declarations of St. Paul can awaken no other sense. To those on the
other hand, who find the doctrine senseless and self-confuting, and
who take up the Bible as they do other books, and apply to it the same
rules of interpretation,--Nay.

And, lastly, he who, like myself, recognizes in neither of the two
the state of his own mind,--who cannot rest in the former, and feels,
or fears, a presumptuous spirit in the negative dogmatism of
the latter,--he has his answer to seek. But so far I dare hazard a
reply to the question,--In what other sense can the words be
interpreted?--beseeching you, however, to take what I am about to
offer but as an attempt to delineate an arc of oscillation,--that the
eulogy of St. Paul is in no wise contravened by the opinion, to which
I incline, who fully believe the Old Testament collectively, both in
the composition and in its preservation, a great and precious gift of
Providence;--who find in it all that the Apostle describes, and who
more than believe that all which the Apostle spoke of was of divine
inspiration, and a blessing intended for as many as are in communion
with the Spirit through all ages. And I freely confess that my whole
heart would turn away with an angry impatience from the cold and
captious mortal, who, the moment I had been pouring out the love and
gladness of my soul,--while book after book, Law, and Truth, and
Example, Oracle and lovely Hymn, and choral Song of ten thousand
thousands, and accepted Prayers of Saints and Prophets, sent back, as
it were, from Heaven, like doves, to be let loose again with a new
freight of spiritual joys and griefs and necessities, were passing
across my memory,--at the first pause of my voice, and whilst my
countenance was still speaking--should ask me, whether I was thinking
of the Book of Esther, or meant particularly to include the first six
chapters of Daniel, or verses 6-20 of the 109th Psalm, or the last
verse of the 137th Psalm? Would any conclusion of this sort be drawn
in any other analogous case? In the course of my Lectures on Dramatic
Poetry, I, in half a score instances, referred my auditors to the
precious volume before me--Shakspeare--and spoke enthusiastically,
both in general and with detail of particular beauties, of the plays
of Shakspeare, as in all their kinds, and in relation to the purposes
of the writer, excellent. Would it have been fair, or according to the
common usage and understanding of men, to have inferred an intention
on my part to decide the question respecting Titus Andronicus, or the
larger portion of the three parts of Henry VI.? Would not every genial
mind understand by Shakspeare that unity or total impression
comprising, and resulting from, the thousandfold several and
particular emotions of delight, admiration, gratitude excited by his
works? But if it be answered, "Aye! but we must not interpret St. Paul
as we may and should interpret any other honest and intelligent writer
or speaker,"--then, I say, this is the very _petitio principii_ of
which I complain.

Still less do the words of our Lord[175] apply against my view. Have I
not declared--do I not begin by declaring--that whatever is referred
by the sacred Penman to a direct communication from God, and wherever
it is recorded that the Subject of the history had asserted himself to
have received this or that command, this or that information or
assurance, from a superhuman Intelligence, or where the writer in his
own person, and in the character of an historian, relates that the
_Word of the Lord came_ unto priest, prophet, chieftain, or other
individual--have I not declared that I receive the same with full
belief, and admit its inappellable authority? Who more convinced than
I am--who more anxious to impress that conviction on the minds of
others--that the Law and the Prophets speak throughout of Christ? That
all the intermediate applications and realizations of the words are
but types and repetitions--translations, as it were, from the language
of letters and articulate sounds into the language of events and
symbolical persons?

And here again let me recur to the aid of analogy. Suppose a Life of
Sir Thomas More by his son-in-law, or a Life of Lord Bacon by his
chaplain; that a part of the records of the Court of Chancery
belonging to these periods were lost; that in Roper's or in Bawley's
biographical work there were preserved a series of _dicta_ and
judgments attributed to these illustrious Chancellors, many and
important specimens of their table discourses, with large extracts
from works written by them, and from some that are no longer extant.
Let it be supposed, too, that there are no grounds, internal or
external, to doubt either the moral, intellectual, or circumstantial
competence of the biographers. Suppose, moreover, that wherever the
opportunity existed of collating their documents and quotations with
the records and works still preserved, the former were found
substantially correct and faithful, the few differences in no wise
altering or disturbing the spirit and purpose of the paragraphs in
which they were found, and that of what was not collatable, and to
which no test _ab extra_ could be applied, the far larger part bore
witness in itself of the same spirit and origin; and that not only by
its characteristic features, but by its surpassing excellence, it
rendered the chances of its having had any other author than the
giant-mind, to whom the biographer ascribes it, small indeed! Now,
from the nature and objects of my pursuits, I have, we will suppose,
frequent occasion to refer to one or other of these works; for
example, to Bawley's _Dicta et Facta Francisci de Verulam_. At one
time I might refer to the work in some such words as,--"Remember what
Francis of Verulam said or judged;" or,--"If you believe not me, yet
believe Lord Bacon." At another time I might take the running title of
the volume, and at another, the name of the biographer;--"Turn to your
Rawley! _He_ will set you right;" or,--"_There_ you will find a depth,
which no research will ever exhaust;" or whatever other strong
expression my sense of Bacon's greatness and of the intrinsic worth
and the value of the proofs and specimens of that greatness, contained
and preserved in that volume, would excite and justify. But let my
expressions be as vivid and unqualified as the most sanguine
temperament ever inspired, would any man of sense conclude from them
that I meant--and meant to make others believe--that not only each and
all of these anecdotes, adages, decisions, extracts, incidents had
been dictated, word by word, by Lord Bacon; and that all Rawley's own
observations and inferences, all the connectives and disjunctives, all
the recollections of time, place, and circumstance, together with the
order and succession of the narrative, were in like manner dictated
and revised by the spirit of the deceased Chancellor? The answer will
be--must be;--No man in his senses! "No man in his senses--in _this_
instance; but in that of the Bible it is quite otherwise;--for (I take
it as an admitted point that) it _is_ quite otherwise!"

And here I renounce any advantage I might obtain for my argument by
restricting the application of our Lord's and the Apostle's words to
the Hebrew Canon. I admit the justice--I have long felt the full
force--of the remark''"We have all that the occasion allowed." And if
the same awful authority does not apply so directly to the Evangelical
and Apostolical writings as to the Hebrew Canon, yet the analogy of
faith justifies the transfer. If the doctrine be less decisively
Scriptural in its application to the New Testament or the Christian
Canon, the temptation to doubt it is likewise less. So at least we are
led to infer; since in point of fact it is the apparent or imagined
contrast, the diversity of spirit which sundry individuals have
believed themselves to find in the Old Testament and in the Gospel,
that has given occasion to the doubt;--and, in the heart of thousands
who yield a faith of acquiescence to the contrary, and find rest in
their humility,--supplies fuel to a fearful wish that it were
permitted to make a distinction.

But, lastly, you object, that--even granting that no coercive,
positive, reasons for the belief--no direct and not inferred
assertions,--of the plenary inspiration of the Old and New Testament,
in the generally received import of the term, could be adduced,
yet,--in behalf of a doctrine so catholic, and during so long a
succession of ages affirmed and acted on by Jew and Christian, Greek,
Romish, and Protestant, you need no other answer than;--"Tell me,
first, why it should not be received! Why should I not believe the
Scriptures throughout dictated, in word and thought, by an infallible
Intelligence?"--I admit the fairness of the retort; and eagerly and
earnestly do I answer: For every reason that makes me prize and revere
these Scriptures;--prize them, love them, revere them, beyond all
other books! _Why_ should I not? Because the Doctrine in question
petrifies at once the whole body of Holy Writ with, all its harmonies
and symmetrical gradations,--the flexile and the rigid,--the
supporting hard and the clothing soft,--the blood _which is the
life_,--the intelligencing nerves, and the rudely woven, but soft and
springy, cellular substance, in which all are imbedded and lightly
bound together. This breathing organism, this glorious _panharmonicon_,
which I had seen stand on its feet as a man, and with a man's voice
given to it, the Doctrine in question turns at once into a colossal
Memnon's head, a hollow passage for a voice, a voice that mocks the
voices of many men, and speaks in their names, and yet is but one
voice, and the same;--and no man uttered it, and never in a human
heart was it conceived. _Why_ should I not?--Because the Doctrine
evacuates of all sense and efficacy the sure and constant tradition,
that all the several books bound up together in our precious family
Bible were composed in different and widely distant ages, under the
greatest diversity of circumstances, and degrees of light and
information, and yet that the composers, whether as uttering or as
recording what was uttered and what was done, were all actuated by a
pure and holy Spirit, one and the same--(for is there any spirit pure
and holy, and yet not proceeding from God--and yet not proceeding in
and with the Holy Spirit?)--one Spirit, working diversly,[176] now
awakening strength, and now glorifying itself in weakness, now giving
power and direction to knowledge, and now taking away the sting from
error! Ere the summer and the months of ripening had arrived for the
heart of the race; while the whole sap of the tree was crude, and each
and every fruit lived in the harsh and bitter principle; even then
this Spirit withdrew its chosen ministers from the false and
guilt-making centre of Self. It converted the wrath into a form and an
organ of love, and on the passing storm-cloud impressed the fair
rainbow of promise to all generations. Put the lust of Self in the
forked lightning, and would it not be a Spirit of Moloch? But God
maketh the lightnings his ministers, fire and hail, vapours and stormy
winds fulfilling his word.

_Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord; curse ye bitterly the
inhabitants thereof_--sang Deborah. Was it that she called to mind any
personal wrongs--rapine or insult--that she or the house of Lapidoth
had received from Jabin or Sisera? No; she had dwelt under her palm
tree in the depth of the mountain. But she was a _mother in Israel_;
and with a mother's heart, and with the vehemency of a mother's and a
patriot's love, she had shot the light of love from her eyes, and
poured the blessings of love from her lips, on the people that had
_jeoparded their lives unto the death_ against the oppressors; and the
bitterness, awakened and borne aloft by the same love, she
precipitated in curses on the selfish and coward recreants who _came
not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord, against the
mighty_. As long as I have the image of Deborah before my eyes, and
while I throw myself back into the age, country, circumstances, of
this Hebrew Bonduca in the not yet tamed chaos of the spiritual
creation;--as long as I contemplate the impassioned, high-souled,
heroic woman in all the prominence and individuality of will and
character,--I feel as if I were among the first ferments of the great
affections--the proplastic waves of the microcosmic chaos, swelling up
against--and yet towards--the outspread wings of the Dove that lies
brooding on the troubled waters. So long all is well,--all replete
with instruction and example. In the fierce and inordinate I am made
to know and be grateful for the clearer and purer radiance which
shines on a Christian's paths, neither blunted by the preparatory
veil, nor crimsoned in its struggle through the all-enwrapping mist of
the world's ignorance: whilst in the self-oblivion of these heroes of
the Old Testament, their elevation above all low and individual
interests,--above all, in the entire and vehement devotion of their
total being to the service of their divine Master, I find a lesson of
humility, a ground of humiliation, and a shaming, yet rousing, example
of faith and fealty. But let me once be persuaded that all these
heart-awakening utterances of human hearts--of men of like faculties
and passions with myself, mourning, rejoicing, suffering,
triumphing--are but as a _Divina Commedia_ of a superhuman--O bear
with me, if I say--Ventriloquist;--that the royal Harper, to whom I
have so often submitted myself as a _many-stringed instrument_ for his
fire-tipt fingers to traverse, while every several nerve of emotion,
passion, thought, that thrids the flesh-and-blood of our common
humanity, responded to the touch,--that this _sweet Psalmist of
Israel_ was himself as mere an instrument as his harp, an _automaton_
poet, mourner, and supplicant;--all is gone,--all sympathy, at least,
and all example. I listen in awe and fear, but likewise in perplexity
and confusion of spirit.

Yet one other instance, and let this be the crucial test of the
Doctrine. Say that the Book of Job throughout was dictated by an
infallible Intelligence. Then re-peruse the book, and still, as you
proceed, try to apply the tenet: try if you can even attach any sense
or semblance of meaning to the speeches which you are reading. What!
were the hollow truisms, the unsufficing half-truths, the false
assumptions and malignant insinuations of the supercilious bigots, who
corruptly defended the truth:--were the impressive facts, the piercing
outcries, the pathetic appeals, and the close and powerful reasoning
with which the poor sufferer--smarting at once from his wounds, and
from the oil of vitriol which the orthodox _liars for God_ were
dropping into them--impatiently, but uprightly and holily,
controverted this truth, while in will and in spirit he clung to
it;--were both dictated by an infallible Intelligence?--Alas! if I may
judge from the manner in which both indiscriminately, are recited,
quoted, appealed to, preached upon, by the _routiniers_ of desk and
pulpit, I cannot doubt that they think so,--or rather, without
thinking, take for granted that so they are to think;--the more
readily, perhaps, because the so thinking supersedes the necessity of
all after-thought.


[175] John v. 39.

[176] I use the adverb _diversly_ from the adjective _divers_ in order
to distinguish the Scriptural and Pauline sense of the word--the sense
in which I here use it--from the logical usage of the term
_diversely_, from _diverse_, that is, different in kind,
heterogeneous. The same Spirit may act and impel diversly, but, being
a good Spirit, it cannot act diversely.



You reply to the conclusion of my Letter: "What have we to do with
_routiniers_? _Quid mihi cum homunculis putata putide reputantibus?_
Let nothings count for nothing, and the dead bury the dead! Who but
such ever understood the Tenet in this sense?"--

In what sense then, I rejoin, do others understand it? If, with
exception of the passages already excepted, namely, the recorded words
of God--concerning which no Christian can have doubt or scruple,--the
Tenet in this sense be inapplicable to the Scripture, destructive of
its noblest purposes, and contradictory to its own express
declarations,--again and again I ask:--What am I to substitute? What
other sense is conceivable that does not destroy the doctrine which it
professes to interpret--that does not convert it into its own
negative? As if a geometrician should name a sugar loaf an ellipse,
adding--"By which term I here mean a cone;"--and then justify the
misnomer on the pretext that the ellipse is among the conic sections!
And yet--notwithstanding the repugnancy of the Doctrine, in its
unqualified sense, to Scripture, Reason, and Common Sense
theoretically, while to all practical uses it is intractable,
unmalleable, and altogether unprofitable--notwithstanding its
irrationality, and in the face of your expostulation, grounded on the
palpableness of its irrationality,--I must still avow my belief that,
however flittingly and unsteadily, as through a mist, it _is_ the
Doctrine which the generality of our popular divines receive as
orthodox, and this the sense which they attach to the words.

For on what other ground can I account for the whimsical
_subintelligiturs_ of our numerous harmonists,--for the curiously
inferred facts, the inventive circumstantial detail, the complemental
and supplemental history which, in the utter silence of all historians
and absence of all historical documents, they bring to light by mere
force of logic?--And all to do away some half score apparent
discrepancies in the chronicles and memoirs of the Old and New
Testaments;--discrepancies so analogous to what is found in all other
narratives of the same story by several narrators,--so analogous to
what is found in all other known and trusted histories by contemporary
historians, when they are collated with each other (nay, not seldom
when either historian is compared with himself), as to form in the
eyes of all competent judges a characteristic mark of the genuineness,
independency, and (if I may apply the word to a book,) the
veraciousness of each several document; a mark the absence of which
would warrant a suspicion of collusion, invention, or at best of
servile transcription;--discrepancies so trifling in circumstance and
import, that, although in some instances it is highly probable, and in
all instances, perhaps, possible that they are only apparent and
reconcilable, no wise man would care a straw whether they were real or
apparent, reconciled or left in harmless and friendly variance. What,
I ask, could have induced learned and intelligent divines to adopt or
sanction subterfuges, which, neutralizing the ordinary _criteria_ of
full or defective evidence in historical documents, would, taken as a
general rule, render all collation and cross-examination of written
records ineffective, and obliterate the main character by which
authentic histories are distinguished from those traditional tales,
which each successive reporter enlarges and fashions to his own fancy
and purpose, and every different edition, of which more or less
contradicts the other? Allow me to create chasms _ad libitum_, and _ad
libitum_ to fill them up with imagined facts and incidents, and I
would almost undertake to harmonise Falstaff's account of the rogues
in buckram into a coherent and consistent narrative. What, I say,
could have tempted grave and pious men thus to disturb the foundation
of the Temple, in order to repair a petty breach or rat-hole in the
wall, or fasten a loose stone or two in the outer court, if not an
assumed necessity arising out of the peculiar character of Bible

The substance of the syllogism, by which their procedure was justified
to their own minds, can be no other than this. That, without which two
assertions--both of which _must_ be alike true and correct--would
contradict each other, and consequently be, one or both, false or
incorrect, must itself be true. But every word and syllable existing
in the original text of the Canonical Books, from the _Cherethi_ and
_Phelethi_[177] of David to the name in the copy of a family register,
the site of a town, or the course of a river, were dictated to the
sacred _amanuensis_ by an infallible Intelligence. Here there can be
neither more or less. Important or unimportant gives no ground of
difference; and the number of the writers as little. The secretaries
may have been many,--the historian was one and the same, and he
infallible. This is the _minor_ of the syllogism; and if it could be
proved, the conclusion would be at least plausible; and there would be
but one objection to the procedure, namely, its uselessness. For if it
have been proved already, what need of proving it over again, and by
means--the removal, namely, of apparent contradictions--which the
infallible Author did not think good to employ? But if it have not
been proved, what becomes of the argument which derives its whole
force and legitimacy from the assumption?

In fact, it is clear that the harmonists and their admirers held and
understood the Doctrine literally. And must not that divine likewise
have so understood it, who, in answer to a question concerning the
transcendant blessedness of Jael, and the righteousness of the act, in
which she inhospitably, treacherously, perfidiously, murdered sleep,
the confiding sleep, closed the controversy by observing that he
wanted no better morality than that of the Bible, and no other proof
of an action's being praiseworthy than that the Bible had declared it
worthy to be praised?--an observation, as applied in this instance, so
slanderous to the morality and moral spirit of the Bible as to be
inexplicable, except as a consequence of the Doctrine in dispute.--But
let a man be once fully persuaded that there is no difference between
the two positions--"The Bible contains the religion revealed by
God"--and "Whatever is contained in the Bible is religion, and was
revealed by God,"--and that whatever can be said of the Bible,
collectively taken, may and must be said of each and every sentence of
the Bible, taken for and by itself,--and I no longer wonder at these
paradoxes. I only object to the inconsistency of those who profess the
same belief, and yet affect to look down with a contemptuous or
compassionate smile on John Wesley for rejecting the Copernican system
as incompatible therewith; or who exclaim "Wonderful!" when they hear
that Sir Matthew Hale sent a crazy old woman to the gallows in honour
of the Witch of Endor.[178] In the latter instance it might, I admit,
have been an erroneous (though even at this day the all but
universally received) interpretation of the word, which we have
rendered by _witch_;--but I challenge these divines and their
adherents to establish the compatibility of a belief in the modern
astronomy and natural philosophy with their and Wesley's doctrine
respecting the inspired Scriptures, without reducing the Doctrine
itself to a plaything of wax;--or rather to a half-inflated bladder,
which, when the contents are rarefied in the heat of rhetorical
generalities, swells out round, and without a crease or wrinkle; but
bring it into the cool temperature of particulars, and you may press,
and as it were except, what part you like--so it be but one part at a
time--between your thumb and finger.

Now, I pray you, which is the more honest, nay, which the more
reverential, proceeding,--to play at fast and loose in this way; or to
say at once, "See here in these several writings one and the same Holy
Spirit, now sanctifying a chosen vessel, and fitting it for the
reception of heavenly truths proceeding immediately from the mouth of
God, and elsewhere working in frail and fallible men like ourselves,
and like ourselves instructed by God's word and laws"?--The first
Christian martyr had the form and features of an ordinary man, nor are
we taught to believe that these features were miraculously
transfigured into superhuman symmetry; but _he being filled with the
Holy Ghost, they that looked steadfastly on him, saw his face as it
had been the face of an angel_. Even so has it ever been, and so it
ever will be, with all who with humble hearts and a rightly disposed
spirit scan the Sacred Volume. And they who read it with _an evil
heart of unbelief_, and an alien spirit--what boots for them the
assertion that every sentence was miraculously communicated to the
nominal author by God himself? Will it not rather present additional
temptations to the unhappy scoffers, and furnish them with a pretext
of self-justification?

When, in my third Letter, I first echoed the question, "Why should I
not?"--the answers came crowding on my mind. I am well content,
however, to have merely suggested the main points, in proof of the
positive harm which, both historically and spiritually, our religion
sustains from this Doctrine. Of minor importance, yet not to be
overlooked, are the forced and fantastic interpretations, the
arbitrary allegories and mystic expansions of proper names, to which
this indiscriminate Bibliolatry furnished fuel, spark, and wind. A
still greater evil, and less attributable to the visionary humour and
weak judgment of the individual expositors, is the literal rendering
of Scripture in passages, which the number and variety of images
employed in different places, to express one and the same verity,
plainly mark out for figurative. And, lastly, add to all these the
strange--in all other writings unexampled--practice of bringing
together into logical dependency detached sentences from books
composed at the distance of centuries, nay, sometimes a _millennium_,
from each other, under different dispensations, and for different
objects. Accommodations of elder Scriptural phrases--that favourite
ornament and garnish of Jewish eloquence--incidental allusions to
popular notions, traditions, apologues--(for example, the dispute
between the Devil and the Archangel Michael about the body of Moses.
_Jude_ 9),--fancies and anachronisms imported from the synagogue of
Alexandria into Palestine by, or together with, the Septuagint
Version, and applied as mere _argumenta ad homines_--(for example, the
delivery of the Law by the disposition of Angels, _Acts_ vii. 53, Gal.
iii. 19, Heb. ii. 2)--these, detached from their context, and,
contrary to the intention of the sacred writer, first raised into
independent _theses_, and then brought together to produce or sanction
some new _credendum_, for which neither separately could have
furnished a pretence! By this strange mosaic, Scripture texts have
been worked up into passable likenesses of Purgatory, Popery, the
Inquisition, and other monstrous abuses. But would you have a
Protestant instance of the superstitious use of Scripture arising out
of this dogma? Passing by the Cabbala of the Hutchinsonian School as
the dotage of a few weak-minded individuals, I refer you to Bishop
Hacket's Sermons on the Incarnation. And if you have read the same
author's Life of Archbishop Williams, and have seen and felt (as every
reader of this latter work must see and feel,) his talent, learning,
acuteness, and robust good sense, you will have no difficulty in
determining the quality and character of a dogma, which could engraft
such fruits on such a tree.[179]

It will perhaps appear a paradox, if, after all these reasons, I
should avow that they weigh less in my mind against the Doctrine, than
the motives usually assigned for maintaining and enjoining it. Such,
for instance, are the arguments drawn from the anticipated loss and
damage that would result from its abandonment; as that it would
deprive the Christian world of its only infallible arbiter in
questions of Faith and Duty, suppress the only common and inappellable
tribunal; that the Bible is the only religious bond of union and
ground of unity among Protestants, and the like. For the confutation
of this whole reasoning it might be sufficient to ask:--Has it
produced these effects? Would not the contrary statement be nearer to
the fact? What did the Churches of the first four centuries hold on
this point? To what did they attribute the rise and multiplication of
heresies? Can any learned and candid Protestant affirm that there
existed and exists no ground for the charges of Bossuet and other
eminent Romish divines? It is no easy matter to know how to handle a
party maxim, so framed that, with the exception of a single word, it
expresses an important truth, but which by means of that word is made
to convey a most dangerous error.

The Bible is the appointed conservatory, an indispensable criterion,
and a continual source and support of true Belief. But that the Bible
is the sole source; that it not only contains, but constitutes, the
Christian Religion; that it is, in short, a Creed, consisting wholly
of articles of Faith; that consequently we need no rule, help, or
guide, spiritual or historical, to teach us what parts are and what
are not articles of Faith--all being such,--and the difference between
the Bible and the Creed being this, that the clauses of the latter are
all unconditionally necessary to salvation, but those of the former
conditionally so, that is, as soon as the words are known to exist in
any one of the canonical Books; and that, under this limitation, the
belief is of the same necessity in both, and not at all affected by
the greater or lesser importance of the matter to be believed;--this
scheme differs widely from the preceding, though its adherents often
make use of the same words in expressing their belief. And this latter
scheme, I assert, was brought into currency by and in favour of those
by whom the operation of grace, the aids of the Spirit, the necessity
of regeneration, the corruption of our nature, in short, all the
peculiar and spiritual mysteries of the Gospel were explained and
diluted away.

And how have these men treated this very Bible?--I, who indeed prize
and reverence this sacred library, as of all outward means and
conservatives of Christian faith and practice the surest and the most
reflective of the inward Word;--I, who hold that the Bible contains
the religion of Christians, but who dare not say that whatever is
contained in the Bible is the Christian religion, and who shrink from
all question respecting the comparative worth and efficacy of the
written Word as weighed against the preaching of the Gospel, the
discipline of the Churches, the continued succession of the Ministry,
and the communion of Saints, lest by comparing I should seem to detach
them;--I tremble at the processes, which the Grotian divines without
scruple carry on in their treatment of the sacred Writers, as soon as
any texts declaring the peculiar tenets of our Faith are cited against
them,--even tenets and mysteries which the believer at his baptism
receives as the title-writ and bosom-roll of his adoption; and which,
according to my scheme, every Christian born in Church-membership
ought to bring with him to the study of the sacred Scriptures as the
master-key of interpretation. Whatever the doctrine of infallible
dictation may be in itself, in _their_ hands it is to the last degree
nugatory, and to be paralleled only by the Romish tenet of
Infallibility,--in the existence of which all agree, but where, and in
whom, it exists _stat adhuc sub lite_. Every sentence found in a
canonical Book, rightly interpreted, contains the _dictum_ of an
infallible Mind;--but what the right interpretation is,--or whether
the very words now extant are corrupt or genuine--must be determined
by the industry and understanding of fallible, and alas! more or less
prejudiced theologians.

And yet I am told that this Doctrine must not be resisted or called in
question, because of its fitness to preserve unity of faith, and for
the prevention of schism and sectarian byways!--Let the man who holds
this language trace the history of Protestantism, and the growth of
sectarian divisions, ending with Dr. Hawker's _ultra_-Calvinistic
Tracts, and Mr. Belsham's New Version of the Testament. And then let
him tell me that for the prevention of an evil which already exists,
and which the boasted preventive itself might rather seem to have
occasioned, I must submit to be silenced by the first learned infidel,
who throws in my face the blessing of Deborah, or the cursings of
David, or the Grecisms and heavier difficulties in the biographical
chapters of the Book of Daniel, or the hydrography and natural
philosophy of the Patriarchal ages.--I must forego the means of
silencing, and the prospect of convincing, an alienated brother,
because I must not thus answer:--"My Brother! What has all this to do
with the truth and the worth of Christianity? If you reject _à priori_
all communion with the Holy Spirit, there is indeed a chasm between
us, over which we cannot even make our voices intelligible to each
other. But if--though but with the faith of a Seneca or an
Antonine--you admit the co-operation of a divine Spirit in souls
desirous of good, even as the breath of heaven works variously in each
several plant according to its kind, character, period of growth, and
circumstance of soil, clime, and aspect;--on what ground can you
assume that its presence is incompatible with all imperfection in the
subject,--even with such imperfection as is the natural accompaniment
of the unripe season? If you call your gardener or husbandman to
account for the plants or crops he is raising, would you not regard
the special purpose in each, and judge of each by that which it was
tending to? Thorns are not flowers, nor is the husk serviceable. But
it was not for its thorns, but for its sweet and medicinal flowers
that the rose was cultivated; and he who cannot separate the husk from
the grain, wants the power because sloth or malice has prevented the
will. I demand for the Bible only the justice which you grant to other
books of grave authority, and to other proved and acknowledged
benefactors of mankind. Will you deny a spirit of wisdom in Lord
Bacon, because in particular facts he did not possess perfect science,
or an entire immunity from the positive errors which result from
imperfect insight? A Davy will not so judge his great predecessor. For
he recognizes the spirit that is now working in himself, and which
under similar defects of light and obstacles of error had been his
guide and guardian in the morning twilight of his own genius. Must not
the kindly warmth awaken and vivify the seed, in order that the stem
may spring up and rejoice in the light? As the genial warmth to the
informing light, even so is the predisposing Spirit to the revealing

If I should reason thus--but why do I say _if_?--I have reasoned thus
with more than one serious and well-disposed Sceptic; and what was the
answer?--"_You_ speak rationally, but seem to forget the subject. I
have frequently attended meetings of the British and Foreign Bible
Society, where I have heard speakers of every denomination, Calvinist
and Arminian, Quaker and Methodist, Dissenting Ministers and
Clergymen, nay, dignitaries of the Established Church,--and still
have I heard the same doctrine,--that the Bible was not to be regarded
or reasoned about in the way that other good books are or may
be;--that the Bible was different in kind, and stood by itself. By
some indeed this doctrine was rather implied than expressed,but yet
evidently implied. But by far the greater number of the speakers it
was asserted in the strongest and most unqualified words that
language could supply. What is more, their principal arguments were
grounded on the position, that the Bible throughout was dictated by
Omniscience, and therefore in all its parts infallibly true and
obligatory, and that the men, whose names are prefixed to the several
books or chapters, were in fact but as different pens in the hand of
one and the same Writer, and the words the words of God himself;--and
that on this account all notes and comments were superfluous, nay,
presumptuous,--a profane mixing of human with divine, the notions of
fallible creatures with the oracles of Infallibility,--as if God's
meaning could be so clearly or fitly expressed in man's as in God's
own words! But how often you yourself must have heard the same
language from the pulpit!--"

What could I reply to this?--I could neither deny the fact, nor evade
the conclusion,--namely, that such is at present the popular belief.
Yes--I at length rejoined--I have heard this language from the pulpit,
and more than once from men who in any other place would explain it
away into something so very different from the literal sense of their
words as closely to resemble the contrary. And this, indeed, is the
peculiar character of the doctrine, that you cannot diminish or
qualify but you reverse it. I have heard this language from men, who
knew as well as myself that the best and most orthodox divines have in
effect disclaimed the doctrine, inasmuch as they confess it cannot be
extended to the words of the sacred Writers, or the particular
import,--that therefore the Doctrine does not mean all that the usual
wording of it expresses, though what it does mean, and why they
continue to sanction this hyperbolical wording, I have sought to learn
from them in vain. But let a thousand orators blazon it at public
meetings, and let as many pulpits echo it, surely it behoves you to
inquire whether you cannot be a Christian on your own faith; and it
cannot but be beneath a wise man to be an Infidel on the score of what
other men think fit to include in their Christianity!

Now suppose--and, believe me, the supposition will vary little from
the fact--that in consequence of these views the Sceptic's mind had
gradually opened to the reception of all the truths enumerated in my
first Letter. Suppose that the Scriptures themselves from this time
had continued to rise in his esteem and affection--the better
understood, the more dear; as in the countenance of one, whom through
a cloud of prejudices we have at least learned to love and value above
all others, new beauties dawn on us from day to day, till at length we
wonder how we could at any time have thought it other than most
beautiful. Studying the sacred volume in the light and in the freedom
of a faith already secured, at every fresh meeting my Sceptic friend
has to tell me of some new passage, formerly viewed by him as a dry
stick on a rotten branch, which has _budded_ and, like the rod of
Aaron, _brought forth buds and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds_.
Let these results, I say, be supposed,--and shall I still be told that
my friend is nevertheless an alien in the household of Faith?
Scrupulously orthodox as I know you to be, will you tell me that I
ought to have left this Sceptic as I found him, rather than attempt
his conversion by such means; or that I was deceiving him, when I said
to him:--

"Friend! The truth revealed through Christ has its evidence in itself,
and the proof of its divine authority in its fitness to our nature and
needs;--the clearness and cogency of this proof being proportionate to
the degree of self-knowledge in each individual hearer. Christianity
has likewise its historical evidences, and these as strong as is
compatible with the nature of history, and with the aims and objects
of a religious dispensation. And to all these Christianity itself, as
an existing Power in the world, and Christendom as an existing Fact,
with the no less evident fact of a progressive expansion, give a force
of moral demonstration that almost supersedes particular testimony.
These proofs and evidences would remain unshaken, even though the sum
of our religion were to be drawn from the theologians of each
successive century, on the principle of receiving that only as divine
which should be found in all,--_quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab
omnibus_. Be only, my Friend! as orthodox a believer as you would have
abundant reason to be, though from some accident of birth, country, or
education, the precious boon of the Bible, with its additional
evidence, had up to this moment been concealed from you;--and then
read its contents with only the same piety which you freely accord on
other occasions to the writings of men, considered the best and wisest
of their several ages! What you find therein coincident with your
pre-established convictions, you will of course recognize as the
Revealed Word, while, as you read the recorded workings of the Word
and the Spirit in the minds, lives, and hearts of spiritual men, the
influence of the same Spirit on your own being, and the conflicts of
grace and infirmity in your own soul, will enable you to discern and
to know in and by what spirit they spake and acted,--as far at least
as shall be needful for you, and in the times of your need.

"Thenceforward, therefore, your doubts will be confined to such parts
or passages of the received Canon, as seem to you irreconcilable with
known truths, and at variance with the tests given in the Scriptures
themselves, and as shall continue so to appear after you have examined
each in reference to the circumstances of the Writer or Speaker, the
dispensation under which he lived, the purpose of the particular
passage, and the intent and object of the Scriptures at large.
Respecting these, decide for yourself: and fear not for the result. I
venture to tell it you beforehand. The result will be, a confidence in
the judgment and fidelity of the compilers of the Canon increased by
the apparent exceptions. For they will be found neither more nor
greater than may well be supposed requisite, on the one hand, to
prevent us from sinking into a habit of slothful, undiscriminating
acquiescence, and on the other to provide a check against those
presumptuous fanatics, who would rend the _Urim and Thummim from the
breastplate of judgment_, and frame oracles by private divination from
each letter of each disjointed gem, uninterpreted by the Priest, and
deserted by the Spirit, which shines in the parts only as it pervades
and irradiates the whole."

Such is the language in which I have addressed a halting
friend,--halting, yet with his face toward the right path. If I have
erred, enable me to see my error. Correct, me, or confirm me.

[177] 2 Sam. xx. 23; 1 Chron. xviii. 17.--H. N. C.

[178] He sent two; nor does it appear that the poor creatures were at
all crazy. Rose Cullender and Amy Duny, widows, of Lowestoft, Suffolk,
were tried for witchcraft, on the 10th of March, 1665, at Bury St.
Edmunds. Sir M. Hale told the jury, "that he would not repeat the
evidence unto them, lest by so doing he should wrong the evidence on
the one side or on the other. Only this [he] acquainted them, that
they had two things to enquire after: first, whether or no these
children were bewitched; secondly, whether the prisoners at the bar
were guilty of it. _That there were such creatures as witches, he
made no doubt at all. For, first, the Scriptures had affirmed so much.
Secondly, the wisdom of all nations had provided laws against such
persons, which is an argument of their confidence of such a crime._
And such hath been the judgment of this kingdom, as appears by that
Act of Parliament, which hath provided punishments proportionable to
the quality of the offence. And desired them strictly to observe their
evidence; and desired the great God of heaven to direct their hearts
in the weighty thing they had in hand. For to condemn the innocent,
and to let the guilty go free were both an abomination to the Lord."
They were found guilty on thirteen indictments. The bewitched got well
of all their pains "within less than half an hour" after the
conviction (so "Mr. Pacy did affirm"--Mr. Pacy being the father of one
of the bewitched); "only Susan Chandler felt a pain like pricking of
pins in her stomach.... The Judge and all the Court were fully
satisfied with the verdict, and thereupon gave judgment against the
witches that they should be hanged. They were much urged to confess,
but would not.... They were executed on Monday, the 17th of March
following, but they confessed nothing."--_State Trials_, vi. p.
700.--H. N. C.

[179] "Did not the life of Archbishop Williams prove otherwise, I
should have inferred from these Sermons that Hacket from his first
boyhood had been used to make themes, epigrams, copies of verses, and
the like on all the Sunday feasts and festivals of the Church; had
found abundant nourishment for this humour of points, quirks, and
quiddities, in the study of the Fathers and glossers; and remained a
_junior soph_ all his life long." ... "Let any competent judge read
Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams, and then these Sermons, and so
measure the stultifying, nugifying effect of a blind and uncritical
study of the Fathers, and the exclusive prepossession in favour of
their authority in the minds of many of our Church dignitaries in the
reign of Charles I."--_Lit. Remains_, III. pp. 175 and 183, [_Notes on
the Life of Bishop Hacket._]--H. N. C.--[See also the 'Aids,' ante,
pp. 99 and 107.--ED.]


Yes! my dear Friend, it is my conviction that in all ordinary cases
the knowledge and belief of the Christian Religion should precede the
study of the Hebrew Canon. Indeed, with regard to both Testaments, I
consider oral and catechismal instruction as the preparative provided
by Christ himself in the establishment of a visible Church. And to
make the Bible, apart from the truths, doctrines, and spiritual
experiences contained therein, the subject of a special article of
faith, I hold an unnecessary and useless abstraction, which in too
many instances has the effect of substituting a barren acquiescence in
the letter for the lively _faith that cometh by hearing_; even as the
hearing is productive of this faith, because it is the word of God
that is heard and preached. (Rom. x. 8, 17.) And here I mean the
written word preserved in the armoury of the Church to be the sword of
faith _out of the mouth_ of the preacher, as Christ's ambassador and
representative (Rev. i. 16), and out of the heart of the believer,
from generation to generation. Who shall dare dissolve or loosen this
holy bond, this divine reciprocality, of Faith and Scripture? Who
shall dare enjoin aught else as an object of saving faith, beside the
truths that appertain to salvation? The imposers take on themselves a
heavy responsibility, however defensible the opinion itself, as an
opinion, may be. For by imposing it, they counteract their own
purposes. They antedate questions, and thus in all cases aggravate the
difficulty of answering them satisfactorily. And not seldom they
create difficulties that might never have occurred. But, worst of all,
they convert things trifling or indifferent into mischievous pretexts
for the wanton, fearful, difficulties for the weak, and formidable
objections for the inquiring. For what man _fearing God_ dares think
any the least point indifferent, which he is required to receive as
God's own immediate word miraculously infused, miraculously recorded,
and by a succession of miracles preserved unblended and without
change?--Through all the pages of a large and multifold volume, at
each successive period, at every sentence, must the question
recur:--"Dare I believe--do I in my heart believe--these words to have
been dictated by an infallible reason, and the immediate utterance of
Almighty God?"--No! It is due to Christian charity that a question so
awful should not be put unnecessarily, and should not be put out of
time. The necessity I deny. And out of time the question must be put,
if after enumerating the several articles of the Catholic Faith I am
bound to add:--"and further you are to believe with equal faith, as
having the same immediate and miraculous derivation from God, whatever
else you shall hereafter read in any of the sixty-six books collected
in the Old and New Testaments."

I would never say this. Yet let me not be misjudged as if I treated
the Scriptures as a matter of indifference. I would not say this: but
where I saw a desire to believe, and a beginning love of Christ, I
would there say:--"There are likewise sacred Writings, which, taken in
connection with the institution and perpetuity of a visible Church,
all believers revere as the most precious boon of God, next to
Christianity itself, and attribute both their communication and
preservation to an especial Providence. In them you will find all the
revealed truths, which have been set forth and offered to you, clearly
and circumstantially recorded; and, in addition to these, examples of
obedience and disobedience both in states and individuals, the lives
and actions of men eminent under each dispensation, their sentiments,
maxims, hymns, and prayers,--their affections, emotions, and
conflicts;--in all which you will recognize the influence of the Holy
Spirit, with a conviction increasing with the growth of your own faith
and spiritual experience."




In my last two Letters I have given the state of the argument, as it
would stand between a Christian thinking as I do, and a serious
well-disposed Deist. I will now endeavour to state the argument, as
between the former and the advocates for the popular belief,--such of
them, I mean, as are competent to deliver a dispassionate judgment in
the cause. And again, more particularly, I mean the learned and
reflecting part of them, who are influenced to the retention of the
prevailing dogma by the supposed consequences of a different view,
and, especially, by their dread of conceding to all alike, simple and
learned, the privilege of picking and choosing the Scriptures that are
to be received as binding on their consciences. Between these persons
and myself the controversy[180] may be reduced to a single question:--

Is it safer for the Individual, and more conducive to the interests of
the Church of Christ, in its twofold character of pastoral and
militant, to conclude thus:--The Bible is the Word of God, and
therefore, true, holy, and in all parts unquestionable;--or thus,--The
Bible, considered in reference to its declared ends and purposes, is
true and holy, and for all who seek truth with humble spirits an
unquestionable guide, and therefore it is the Word of God?

In every generation, and wherever the light of Revelation has shone,
men of all ranks, conditions, and states of mind have found in this
Volume a correspondent for every movement toward the Better felt in
their own hearts. The needy soul has found supply, the feeble a help,
the sorrowful a comfort; yea, be the recipiency the least that can
consist with moral life, there is an answering grace ready to enter.
The Bible has been found a spiritual World,--spiritual, and yet at the
same time outward and common to all. You in one place, I in another,
all men somewhere or at some time, meet with an assurance that the
hopes and fears, the thoughts and yearnings that proceed from, or tend
to, a right spirit in us, are not dreams or fleeting singularities, no
voices heard in sleep, or spectres which the eye suffers but not
perceives. As if on some dark night a pilgrim, suddenly beholding a
bright star moving before him, should stop in fear and perplexity. But
lo! traveller after traveller passes by him, and each, being
questioned whither he is going, makes answer, "I am following yon
guiding Star!" The pilgrim quickens his own steps, and presses onward
in confidence. More confident still will he be, if by the way side he
should find, here and there, ancient monuments, each with its votive
lamp, and on each the name of some former pilgrim, and a record that
there he had first seen or begun to follow the benignant Star!

No otherwise is it with the varied contents of the Sacred Volume. The
hungry have found food, the thirsty a living spring, the feeble a
staff, and the victorious warfarer songs of welcome and strains of
music; and as long as each man asks on account of his wants, and asks
what he wants, no man will discover aught amiss or deficient in the
vast and many-chambered storehouse. But if instead of this, an idler
or a scoffer should wander through the rooms, peering and peeping, and
either detects, or fancies he has detected, here a rusted sword or
pointless shaft, there a tool of rude construction, and superseded by
later improvements (and preserved, perhaps, to make us more grateful
for them);--which of two things will a sober-minded man,--who from his
childhood upward had been fed, clothed, armed, and furnished with the
means of instruction from this very magazine,--think the fitter
plan?--Will he insist that the rust is not rust, or that it is a rust
_sui generis_, intentionally formed on the steel for some mysterious
virtue in it, and that the staff and astrolabe of a shepherd-astronomer
are identical with, or equivalent to, the quadrant and telescope of
Newton or Herschel?--Or will he not rather give the curious inquisitor
joy of his mighty discoveries, and the credit of them for his

Or lastly, put the matter thus. For more than a thousand years the
Bible, collectively taken, has gone hand in hand with civilization,
science, law,--in short, with the moral and intellectual cultivation
of the species, always supporting, and often leading the way. Its very
presence, as a believed Book, has rendered the nations emphatically a
chosen race, and this too in exact proportion as it is more or less
generally known and studied. Of those nations, which in the highest
degree enjoy its influences, it is not too much to affirm, that the
differences public and private, physical, moral and intellectual, are
only less than what might be expected from a diversity in species.
Good and holy men, and the best and wisest of mankind, the kingly
spirits of history, enthroned in the hearts of mighty nations, have
borne witness to its influences, have declared it to be beyond compare
the most perfect instrument, the only adequate organ, of
Humanity;--the organ and instrument of all the gifts, powers, and
tendencies, by which the individual is privileged to rise above
himself--to leave behind, and lose his dividual phantom self, in order
to find his true Self in that Distinctness where no division can
be,--in the Eternal I AM, the Ever-living WORD, of whom all the elect
from the archangel before the throne to the poor wrestler with the
Spirit _until the breaking of day_ are but the fainter and still
fainter echoes. And are all these testimonies and lights of experience
to lose their value and efficiency, because I feel no warrant of
history, or Holy Writ, or of my own heart for denying, that in the
framework and outward case of this instrument a few parts may be
discovered of less costly materials and of meaner workmanship? Is it
not a fact that the Books of the New Testament were tried by their
consonance with the rule, and according to the analogy, of Faith? Does
not the universally admitted canon--that each part of Scripture must
be interpreted by the spirit of the whole--lead to the same practical
conclusion as that for which I am now contending; namely, that it is
the spirit of the Bible, and not the detached words and sentences,
that is infallible and absolute?--Practical, I say, and spiritual
too;--and what knowledge not practical or spiritual are we entitled to
seek in our Bibles? Is the grace of God so confined,--are the
evidences of the present and actuating Spirit so dim and
doubtful,--that to be assured of the same we must first take for
granted that all the life and co-agency of our humanity is
miraculously suspended?

Whatever is spiritual, is _eo nomine_ supernatural; but must it be
always and of necessity miraculous? Miracles could open the eyes of
the body; and he that was born blind beheld his Redeemer. But
miracles, even those of the Redeemer himself, could not open the eyes
of the self-blinded, of the Sadducean sensualist or the self-righteous
Pharisee;--while to have said, _I saw thee under the fig tree_,
sufficed to make a Nathanael believe.

To assert and to demand miracles without necessity was the vice of the
unbelieving Jews of old; and from the Rabbis and Talmudists the
infection has spread. And would I could say that the symptoms of the
disease are confined to the Churches of the Apostasy! But all the
miracles, which the legends of Monk or Rabbi contain, can scarcely be
put in competition, on the score of complication, inexplicableness,
the absence of all intelligible use or purpose, and of circuitous
self-frustration, with those that must be assumed by the maintainers
of this doctrine, in order to give effect to the series of miracles,
by which all the nominal composers of the Hebrew nation before the
time of Ezra, of whom there are any remains, were successively
transformed into _automaton_ compositors,--so that the original text
should be in sentiment, image, word, syntax, and composition an exact
impression of the divine copy! In common consistency the theologians,
who impose this belief on their fellow Christians, ought to insist
equally on the superhuman origin and authority of the Masora, and to
use more respectful terms, than has been their wont of late, in
speaking of the false Aristeas's legend concerning the Septuagint. And
why the miracle should stop at the Greek Version, and not include the
Vulgate, I can discover no ground in reason. Or if it be an objection
to the latter, that this belief is actually enjoined by the Papal
Church, yet the number of Christians who read the Lutheran, the
Genevan, or our own authorized, Bible, and are ignorant of the dead
languages, greatly exceeds the number of those who have access to the
Septuagint. Why refuse the writ of consecration to these, or to the
one at least appointed by the assertors' own Church? I find much more
consistency in the opposition made under pretext of this doctrine to
the proposals and publications of Kennicot, Mill, Bentley, and
Archbishop Newcome.

But I am weary of discussing a tenet, which the generality of divines
and the leaders of the Religious Public have ceased to defend, and yet
continue to assert or imply. The tendency manifested in this conduct,
the spirit of this and the preceding century, on which, not indeed the
tenet itself, but the obstinate adherence to it against the clearest
light of reason and experience, is grounded,--this it is which,
according to my conviction, gives the venom to the error, and
justifies the attempt to substitute a juster view. As long as it was
the common and effective belief of all the Reformed Churches, (and by
none was it more sedulously or more emphatically enjoined than by the
great Reformers of our Church), that by the good Spirit were the
spirits tried, and that the light, which beams forth from the written
Word, was its own evidence for the children of light;--as long as
Christians considered their Bible as a plenteous entertainment, where
every guest, duly called and attired, found the food needful and
fitting for him, and where each--instead of troubling himself about
the covers not within his reach--beholding all around him glad and
satisfied, praised the banquet and thankfully glorified the Master of
the feast,--so long did the Tenet--that the Scriptures were written
under the special impulse of the Holy Ghost remain safe and
profitable. Nay, in the sense, and with the feelings, in which it was
asserted, it was a truth--a truth to which every spiritual believer
now and in all times will bear witness by virtue of his own
experience. And if in the overflow of love and gratitude they
confounded the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, working alike
in weakness and in strength, in the morning mists and in the clearness
of the full day;--if they confounded this communion and co-agency of
divine grace, attributable to the Scripture generally, with those
express, and expressly recorded, communications and messages of the
Most High, which form so large and prominent a portion of the same
Scriptures;--if, in short, they did not always duly distinguish the
inspiration, the imbreathment, of the predisposing and assisting
SPIRIT from the revelation of the informing WORD,--it was at worst a
harmless hyperbole. It was holden by all, that if the power of the
Spirit from without furnished the text, the grace of the same Spirit
from within must supply the comment.

In the sacred Volume they saw and reverenced the bounden wheat-sheaf
that _stood upright_ and had _obeisance_ from all the other
sheaves--(the writings, I mean, of the Fathers and Doctors of the
Church)--sheaves depreciated indeed, more or less, with tares,

            and furrow-weeds,
    Darnel and many an idle flower that grew
    Mid the sustaining corn;

yet sheaves of the same harvest, the sheaves of brethren! Nor did it
occur to them, that, in yielding the more full and absolute honour to
the sheaf of the highly favoured of their Father, they should be
supposed to attribute the same worth and quality to the straw-bands
which held it together. The bread of life was there. And this in an
especial sense was _bread from heaven_; for no where had the same been
found wild; no soil or climate dared claim it for its natural growth.
In simplicity of heart they received the Bible as the precious gift of
God, providential alike in origin, preservation, and distribution,
without asking the nice question, whether all and every part were
likewise miraculous. The distinction between the providential and the
miraculous, between the divine Will working with the agency of natural
causes, and the same Will supplying their place by a special
_fiat_--this distinction has, I doubt not, many uses in speculative
divinity. But its weightiest practical application is shown, when it
is employed to free the souls of the unwary and weak in faith from the
nets and snares, the insidious queries and captious objections, of the
Infidel by calming the flutter of their spirits. They must be
quieted, before we can commence the means necessary for their
disentanglement. And in no way can this be better effected than when
the frightened captives are made to see in how many points the
disentangling itself is a work of expedience rather than of
necessity;--so easily and at so little loss might the web be cut or
brushed away!

First, let their attention be fixed on the history of Christianity as
learnt from universal tradition, and the writers of each successive
generation. Draw their minds to the fact of the progressive and still
continuing fulfilment of the assurance of a few fishermen, that both
their own religion, though of divine origin, and the religion of their
conquerors, which included or recognized all other religions of the
known world, should be superseded by the faith in a man recently and
ignominiously executed. Then induce them to meditate on the universals
of Christian Faith,--on Christianity, taken as the sum of belief
common to Greek and Latin, to Romanist and Protestant. Show them that
this and only this is the _ordo traditionis, quam tradiderunt Apostoli
iis quibus committebant ecclesias_, and which we should have been
bound to follow, says Irenæus, _si neque Apostoli quidem Scripturas
reliquissent_. This is that _regula fidei_, that _sacramentum symboli
memoriæ mandatum_, of which St. Augustine says;--_noveritis hoc esse
Fidei Catholicæ fundamentum super quod edificium surrexit Ecclesiæ_.
This is the _norma Catholici et Ecclesiastici sensus_, determined and
explicated, but not augmented, by the Nicene Fathers, as Waterland has
irrefragably shown;--a norm or model of Faith grounded on the solemn
affirmations of the Bishops collected from all parts of the Roman
Empire, that this was the essential and unalterable Gospel received by
them from their predecessors in all the churches as the παραδοσισ
εκκλησιαστικη, _cui_, says Irenæus, _assentiunt multæ gentes eorum
qui in Christum credunt sine charta et atramento, scriptam habentes
per Spiritum in cordibus suis salutem, et veterum traditionem
diligenter custodientes_. Let the attention of such as have been
shaken by the assaults of Infidelity be thus directed, and then tell
me wherein a spiritual physician would be blameworthy, if he carried
on the cure by addressing his patient in this manner:--

"All men of learning, even learned unbelievers, admit that the greater
part of the objections, urged in the popular works of Infidelity, to
this or that verse or chapter of the Bible, prove only the ignorance
or dishonesty of the objectors. But let it be supposed for a moment
that a few remain hitherto unanswered,--nay, that to your judgment and
feelings they appear unanswerable. What follows? That the Apostles'
and Nicene Creed is not credible, the Ten Commandments not to be
obeyed, the clauses of the Lord's Prayer not to be desired, or the
Sermon on the Mount not to be practised?--See how the logic would
look. David cruelly tortured the inhabitants of Rabbah (_2 Sam._ xii.
31; 1 Chron. xx. 3), and in several of the Psalms he invokes the
bitterest curses on his enemies; therefore it is not to be believed
that _the love of God toward us was manifested in sending his only
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him_ (1 John
iv. 9). Or: Abijah is said to have collected an army of 400,000 men,
and Jeroboam to have met him with an army of 800,000, each army
consisting of chosen men (2 Chron. xiii. 3), and making together a
host of 1,200,000, and Abijah to have slain 500,000 out of the
800,000: therefore, the words which admonish us that _if God so loved
us, we ought also to love one another_ (1 John iv. 11), even our
enemies, yea, _to bless them that curse_ us, and to _do good to them
that hate_ us (Matt. v. 44), cannot proceed from the Holy Spirit. Or:
The first six chapters of the Book of Daniel contain several words and
phrases irreconcilable with the commonly received dates, and those
chapters and the Book of Esther have a traditional and legendary
character unlike that of the other historical books of the Old
Testament; therefore, those other books, by contrast with which the
former appear suspicious, and the historical document, 1 Cor. xv. 1-8,
are not to be credited!"

We assuredly believe that the Bible contains all truths necessary to
salvation, and that therein is preserved the undoubted Word of God. We
assert likewise that, besides these express oracles and immediate
revelations, there are Scriptures which to the soul and conscience of
every Christian man bear irresistible evidence of the Divine Spirit
assisting and actuating the authors; and that both these and the
former are such as to render it morally impossible that any passage of
the small inconsiderable portion, not included in one or other of
these, can supply either ground or occasion of any error in faith,
practice, or affection, except to those who wickedly and wilfully seek
a pretext for their unbelief. And if in that small portion of the
Bible which stands in no necessary connection with the known and
especial ends and purposes of the Scriptures, there should be a few
apparent errors resulting from the state of knowledge then
existing--errors which the best and holiest men might entertain
uninjured, and which without a miracle those men must have
entertained; if I find no such miraculous prevention asserted, and see
no reason for supposing it--may I not, to ease the scruples of a
perplexed inquirer, venture to say to him: "Be it so. What then? The
absolute infallibility even of the inspired writers in matters
altogether incidental and foreign to the objects and purposes of their
inspiration is no part of my Creed; and even if a professed divine
should follow the doctrine of the Jewish Church so far as not to
attribute to the _Hagiographa_, in every word and sentence, the same
height and fulness of inspiration as to the Law and the Prophets, I
feel no warrant to brand him as a heretic for an opinion, the
admission of which disarms the Infidel without endangering a single
article of the Catholic Faith."--If to an unlearned but earnest and
thoughtful neighbour, I give the advice;--"Use the Old Testament to
express the affections excited, and to confirm the faith and morals
taught you, in the New, and leave all the rest to the students and
professors of theology and Church history! You profess only to be a
Christian:"--am I misleading my brother in Christ?

This I believe by my own dear experience,--that the more tranquilly an
inquirer takes up the Bible as he would any other body of ancient
writings, the livelier and steadier will be his impressions of its
superiority to all other books, till at length all other books and all
other knowledge will be valuable in his eyes in proportion as they
help him to a better understanding of his Bible. Difficulty after
difficulty has been overcome from the time that I began to study the
Scriptures with free and unboding spirit, under the conviction that
my faith in the Incarnate Word and his Gospel was secure, whatever the
result might be;--the difficulties that still remain being so few and
insignificant in my own estimation, that I have less personal interest
in the question than many of those who will most dogmatically condemn
me for presuming to make a question of it.

So much for scholars--for men of like education and pursuits as
myself. With respect to Christians generally, I object to the
consequence drawn from the Doctrine rather than to the Doctrine
itself;--a consequence not only deducible from the premises, but
actually and imperiously deduced; according to which every man that
can but read is to sit down to the consecutive and connected perusal
of the Bible under the expectation and assurance that the whole is
within his comprehension, and that, unaided by note or comment,
catechism or liturgical preparation, he is to find out for himself
what he is bound to believe and practise, and that whatever he
conscientiously understands by what he reads, is to be _his_ religion.
For he has found it in his Bible, and the Bible is the Religion of

Would I then withhold the Bible from the Cottager and the
Artisan?--Heaven forfend! The fairest flower that ever clomb up a
cottage window is not so fair a sight to my eyes, as the Bible
gleaming through the lower panes. Let it but be read as by such men it
used to be read; when they came to it as to a ground covered with
manna, even the bread which the Lord had given for his people to eat;
where he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered
little had no lack. They gathered every man according to his eating.
They came to it as to a treasure-house of Scriptures; each visitant
taking what was precious and leaving as precious for others;--Yea,
more, says our worthy old Church-historian, Fuller, where "the same
man at several times may in his apprehension prefer several Scriptures
as best, formerly most affected with one place, for the present more
delighted with another, and afterwards, conceiving comfort therein not
so clear, choose other places as more pregnant and pertinent to his
purpose. Thus God orders it, that divers men, (and perhaps the same
man at divers times) make use of all his gifts, gleaning and
gathering comfort, as it is scattered through the whole field of the


[180] It is remarkable that both parties might appeal to the same text
of St. Paul,--πασα γραφη θεοπνευστος και ωφελιμος προς
διδασκαλιαν, κ τ. λ. (2 Tim. iii. 16), which favours the one or the
other opinion accordingly as the words are construed; and which,
again, is the more probable construction, depends in great measure on
the preference given to one or other of two different readings, the
one having and the other omitting the conjunction copulative και.

[The English version is:--_All Scripture is given by inspiration of
God, and is profitable, &c._ And in this rendering of the original the
English is countenanced by the established Version of the Dutch
Reformed Church:--_Alle de Schrift is van Godt ingegeven, ende is
nuttigh, &c._ And by Diodati:--_Tutta la Scrittura è divinamente
inspirata, e utile, &c._ And by Martin:--_Toute l'Ecriture est
divinement inspirée, et profitable, &c._ And by Beza:--_Tota Scriptura
divinitus est inspirata, et utilis, &c._

The other rendering is supported by the Vulgate:--_Omnis Scriptura,
divinitus inspirata, utilis est ad, &c._ By Luther:--_Denn alle
Schrift von Gott eingegeben, ist nütse zur, &c._ And by
Calmet:--_Toute l'Ecriture, qui est inspirée de Dieu, est utile, &c._
And by the common Spanish translation:--_Toda Escritura, divinamente
inspirada, es util para enseñar, &c._ This is also the rendering of
the Syriac (Pesch.) and two Arabic Versions, and is followed by
Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and most of the Fathers. See the note
in Griesbach. Tertullian represents the sense thus:--_Legimus, Omnem
Scripturam, ædificationi habilem, divinitus inspirari._ De Habit. Mul.
c. iii. Origen has it several times, Θεοπνευστος ουσα, ωφελιμος
εστι, and once as in the received text.--H. N. C.]


You are now, my dear Friend, in possession of my whole mind on this
point,--one thing only excepted which has weighed with me more than
all the rest, and which I have therefore reserved for my concluding
Letter. This is the impelling principle, or way of thinking, which I
have in most instances noticed in the assertors of what I have
ventured to call Bibliolatry, and which I believe to be the main
ground of its prevalence at this time, and among men whose religious
views are any thing rather than enthusiastic. And I here take occasion
to declare, that my conviction of the danger and injury of this
principle was and is my chief motive for bringing the Doctrine itself
into question;--the main error of which consists in the confounding of
two distinct conceptions, revelation by the Eternal Word, and
actuation of the Holy Spirit. The former indeed is not always or
necessarily united with the latter--the prophecy of Balaam is an
instance of the contrary,--but yet being ordinarily, and only not
always, so united, the term, Inspiration, has acquired a double sense.

First, the term is used in the sense of Information miraculously
communicated by voice or vision; and secondly, where without any
sensible addition or infusion, the writer or speaker uses and applies
his existing gifts of power and knowledge under the predisposing,
aiding, and directing actuation of God's Holy Spirit. Now--between the
first sense, that is, inspired revelation, and the highest degree of
that grace and communion with the Spirit, which the Church under all
circumstances, and every regenerate member of the Church of Christ, is
permitted to hope, and instructed to pray, for--there is a positive
difference of kind,--a chasm, the pretended overleaping of which
constitutes imposture, or betrays insanity. Of the first kind are the
Law and the Prophets, no jot or tittle of which can pass unfulfilled,
and the substance and last interpretation of which passes not away;
for they wrote of Christ, and shadowed out the everlasting Gospel.
But with regard to the second, neither the holy writers--the so called
_Hagiographi_--themselves, nor any fair interpretations of Scripture,
assert any such absolute diversity, or enjoin the belief of any
greater difference of degree, than the experience of the Christian
World, grounded on, and growing with, the comparison of these
Scriptures with other works holden in honour by the Churches, has
established. And _this_ difference I admit; and doubt not that it has
in every generation been rendered evident to as many as read these
Scriptures under the gracious influence of the spirit in which they
were written.

But alas! this is not sufficient; this cannot but be vague and
unsufficing to those, with whom the Christian religion is wholly
objective, to the exclusion of all its correspondent subjective. It
must appear vague, I say, to those whose Christianity, as matter of
belief, is wholly external, and, like the objects of sense, common to
all alike;--altogether historical, an _opus operatum_,--its existing
and present operancy in no respect differing from any other fact of
history, and not at all modified by the supernatural principle in
which it had its origin in time. Divines of this persuasion are
actually, though without their own knowledge, in a state not
dissimilar to that, into which the Latin Church sank deeper and deeper
from the sixth to the fourteenth century; during which time religion
was likewise merely objective and superstitious,--a letter proudly
emblazoned and illuminated, but yet a dead letter that was to be read
by its own outward glories without the light of the Spirit in the mind
of the believer. The consequence was too glaring not to be
anticipated, and, if possible, prevented. Without that spirit in each
true believer, whereby we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of
error in all things appertaining to salvation, the consequence must
be--So many men, so many minds!--And what was the antidote which the
Priests and Rabbis of this purely objective Faith opposed to this
peril?--Why, an objective, outward Infallibility; concerning which,
however, the differences were scarcely less or fewer than those which
it was to heal;--an Infallibility, which, taken literally and
unqualified, became the source of perplexity to the well-disposed, of
unbelief to the wavering, and of scoff and triumph to the common
enemy;--and which was, therefore, to be qualified and limited, and
then it meant so much and so little, that to men of plain
understandings and single hearts it meant nothing at all. It resided
here. No! there. No! but in a third subject. Nay! neither here, nor
there, nor in the third, but in all three conjointly!

But even this failed to satisfy; and what was the final resource,--the
doctrine of those who would not be called a Protestant Church, but in
which doctrine the Fathers of Protestantism in England would have
found little other fault, than that it might be affirmed as truly of
the decisions of any other Bishop as of the Bishop of Rome? The final
resource was to restore what ought never to have been removed--the
correspondent subjective, that is, the assent and confirmation of the
Spirit promised to all true believers, as proved and manifested in the
reception of such decision by the Church Universal in all its rightful

I comprise and conclude the sum of my conviction in this one sentence.
Revealed Religion (and I know of no religion not revealed) is in its
highest contemplation the unity, that is, the identity or
co-inherence, of Subjective and Objective. It is in itself, and
irrelatively, at once inward Life and Truth, and outward Fact and
Luminary. But as all Power manifests itself in the harmony of
correspondent Opposites, each supposing and supporting the other,--so
has religion its objective, or historic and ecclesiastical pole, and
its subjective, or spiritual and individual pole. In the miracles, and
miraculous parts of religion--both in the first communication of divine
truths, and in the promulgation of the truths thus communicated--we
have the union of the two, that is, the subjective and supernatural
displayed objectively--outwardly and phenomenally--_as_ subjective and

Lastly, in the Scriptures, as far as they are not included in the
above as miracles, and in the mind of the believing and regenerate
Reader and Meditater, there is proved to us the reciprocity, or
reciprocation, of the Spirit as subjective and objective, which in
conformity with the Scheme proposed by me, in aid of distinct
conception and easy recollection, I have named the Indifference.[181]
What I mean by this, a familiar acquaintance with the more popular
parts of Luther's Works, especially his Commentaries, and the
delightful volume of his Table Talk, would interpret for me better
than I can do for myself. But I do my best, when I say that no
Christian probationer, who is earnestly working out his salvation, and
experiences the conflict of the spirit with the evil and the infirmity
within him and around him, can find his own state brought before him
and, as it were, antedated, in writings reverend even for their
antiquity and enduring permanence, and far more, and more abundantly,
consecrated by the reverence, love, and grateful testimonies of good
men through the long succession of ages, in every generation, and
under all states of minds and circumstances of fortune,--that no man,
I say, can recognize his own inward experiences in such Writings, and
not find an objectiveness, a confirming and assuring outwardness, and
all the main characters of reality, reflected therefrom on the spirit,
working in himself and in his own thoughts, emotions, and
aspirations--warring against sin, and the motions of sin. The
unsubstantial, insulated Self passes away as a stream; but these are
the shadows and reflections of the Rock of Ages, and of the Tree of
Life that starts forth from its side.

On the other hand, as much of reality, as much of objective truth, as
the Scriptures communicate to the subjective experiences of the
Believer, so much of present life, of living and effective import, do
these experiences give to the letter of these Scriptures. In the one
_the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit_, that we have
received the _spirit of adoption_; in the other our spirit bears
witness to the power of the Word, that it is indeed the Spirit that
proceedeth from God. If in the holy men thus actuated all
imperfection of knowledge, all participation in the mistakes and
limits of their several ages had been excluded, how could these
Writings be or become the history and example, the echo and more
lustrous image of the work and warfare of the sanctifying Principle in
us?--If after all this, and in spite of all this, some captious
litigator should lay hold of a text here or there--St. Paul's _cloak
left at Troas with Carpus_, or a verse from the Canticles, and ask:
"Of what spiritual use is this?"--the answer is ready:--It proves to
us that nothing can be so trifling as not to supply an evil heart with
a pretext for unbelief.

Archbishop Leighton has observed that the Church has its extensive and
intensive states, and that they seldom fall together. Certain it is,
that since kings have been her nursing fathers, and queens her nursing
mothers, our theologians seem to act in the spirit of fear rather than
in that of faith; and too often instead of inquiring after the Truth
in the confidence, that whatever is truth must be fruitful of good to
all who _are in Him that is true_, they seek with vain precautions _to
guard against the possible inferences_ which perverse and distempered
minds may pretend, whose whole Christianity,--do what we will--is and
will remain nothing but a Pretence.

You have now my entire mind on this momentous Question, the grounds on
which it rests, and the motives which induce me to make it known; and
I now conclude by repeating my request--Correct me, or confirm me.


[181] "The Papacy elevated the Church to the virtual exclusion or
suppression of the Scriptures; the modern Church of England, since
Chillingworth, has so raised up the Scriptures as to annul the Church;
both alike have quenched the Holy Spirit, as the _mesothesis_ [or
indifference] of the two, and substituted an alien compound for the
genuine Preacher, who should be the _synthesis_ of the Scriptures and
the Church, and the sensible voice of the Holy Spirit."--_Lit. Rem._
v. iii. p. 93, [_Notes on Donne._]--H. N. C. See also p. 288,

[182] Mr. H. N. Coleridge had the following note on Coleridge's liking
for proselytizing, in the first edition of the 'Table Talk', 1835,
under the date April 14, 1830:--"Mr. C. once told me that he had for a
long time been amusing himself with a clandestine attempt upon the
faith of three or four persons, whom he was in the habit of seeing
occasionally. I think he was undermining, at the time he mentioned
this to me, a Jew, a Swedenborgian, a Roman Catholic, and a New
Jerusalemite, or whatsoever other name the members of that somewhat
small, but very respectable, church, planted in the neighbourhood of
Lincoln's Inn Fields, delight to be known. He said he had made most
way with the disciple of Swedenborg, who might be considered as a
convert, that he had perplexed the Jew, and had put the Roman Catholic
into a bad humour; but that upon the New Jerusalemite he had made no
more impression than if he had been arguing with the man in the moon."
This note was suppressed by the after-coming editors, Sarah and
Derwent Coleridge.--ED.






[The following 'Essay on Faith' and 'Notes on the Book of Common
Prayer' are reprinted from the 'Literary Remains,' edited by Henry
Nelson Coleridge, and published in 1838-9 as possibly being portions
of the uncompleted "Supplementary volume" to 'Aids to Reflection'
spoken of by S. T. Coleridge in the latter work: see p. 257 _ante_.
They are otherwise fairly supplementary of the two works which
constitute the bulk of the present volume.

The beautiful 'Nightly Prayer' is added (also from the 'Literary
Remains') as a suitable conclusion to a volume so much devoted to
setting forth the author's faith in, and views concerning, Religion,
the Bible, and Christianity.

In the latter connexion, too, the dates appended by the author
(apparently) to the 'Notes on the Book of Common Prayer,' _in two
places_, pp. 352, 358, and to the 'Nightly Prayer,' p. 359, have
considerable biographical interest.--ED.]


Faith may be defined as fidelity to our own being--so far as such
being is not and cannot become an object of the senses; and hence, by
clear inference or implication, to being generally, as far as the same
is not the object of the senses: and again to whatever is affirmed or
understood as the condition, or concomitant, or consequence of the
same. This will be best explained by an instance or example. That I am
conscious of something within me peremptorily commanding me to do unto
others as I would they should do unto me;--in other words, a
categorical (that is, primary and unconditional) imperative;--that the
maxim (_regula maxima_, or supreme rule) of my actions, both inward
and outward, should be such as I could, without any contradiction
arising therefrom, will to be the law of all moral and rational
beings;--this, I say, is a fact of which I am no less conscious
(though in a different way), nor less assured, than I am of any
appearance presented by my outward senses. Nor is this all; but in the
very act of being conscious of this in my own nature, I know that it
is a fact of which all men either are or ought to be conscious;--a
fact, the ignorance of which constitutes either the non-personality of
the ignorant, or the guilt, in which latter case the ignorance is
equivalent to knowledge wilfully darkened. I know that I possess this
knowledge as a man, and not as Samuel Taylor Coleridge; hence, knowing
that consciousness of this fact is the root of all other
consciousness, and the only practical contradistinction of man from
the brutes, we name it the conscience; by the natural absence or
presumed presence of which, the law, both divine and human, determines
whether X Y Z be a thing or a person:--the conscience being that which
never to have had places the objects in the same order of things as
the brutes, for example, idiots; and to have lost which implies either
insanity or apostasy. Well, this we have affirmed is a fact of which
every honest man is as fully assured as of his seeing, hearing, or
smelling. But though the former assurance does not differ from the
latter in the degree, it is altogether diverse in the kind; the senses
being morally passive, while the conscience is essentially connected
with the will, though not always, nor, indeed, in any case, except
after frequent attempts and aversions of will, dependent on the
choice. Thence we call the presentations of the senses impressions,
those of the conscience commands or dictates. In the senses we find
our receptivity, and as far as our personal being is concerned, we are
passive;--but in the fact of the conscience we are not only agents,
but it is by this alone that we know ourselves to be such; nay, that
our very passiveness in this latter is an act of passiveness, and that
we are patient (_patientes_)--not, as in the other case, _simply_

The result is, the consciousness of responsibility; and the proof is
afforded by the inward experience of the diversity between regret and

If I have sound ears, and my companion speaks to me with a due
proportion of voice, I may persuade him that I did not hear, but
cannot deceive myself. But when my conscience speaks to me, I can, by
repeated efforts, render myself finally insensible; to which add this
other difference, namely, that to make myself deaf is one and the same
thing with making my conscience dumb, till at length I became
unconscious of my conscience. Frequent are the instances in which it
is suspended, and, as it were, drowned in the inundation of the
appetites, passions, and imaginations, to which I have resigned
myself, making use of my will in order to abandon my free-will; and
there are not, I fear, examples wanting of the conscience being
utterly destroyed, or of the passage of wickedness into madness;--that
species of madness, namely, in which the reason is lost. For so long
as the reason continues, so long must the conscience exist, either as
a good conscience or as a bad conscience.

It appears then, that even the very first step, that the initiation of
the process, the becoming conscious of a conscience, partakes of the
nature of an act. It is an act in and by which we take upon ourselves
an allegiance, and consequently the obligation of fealty; and this
fealty or fidelity implying the power of being unfaithful, it is the
first and fundamental sense of Faith. It is likewise the commencement
of experience, and the result of all other experience. In other words,
conscience, in this its simplest form, must be supposed in order to
consciousness, that is, to human consciousness. Brutes may be, and
are, scious, but those beings only, who have an I, _scire possunt hoc
vel illud una cum seipsis_; that is, _conscire vel scire aliquid
mecum_, or to know a thing in relation to myself, and in the act of
knowing myself as acted upon by that something.

Now the third person could never have been distinguished from the
first but by means of the second. There can be no He without a
previous Thou. Much less could an I exist for us, except as it exists
during the suspension of the will, as in dreams; and the nature of
brutes may be best understood by considering them as somnambulists.
This is a deep meditation, though the position is capable of the
strictest proof,--namely, that there can be no I without a Thou, and
that a Thou is only possible by an equation in which I is taken as
equal to Thou, and yet not the same. And this, again, is only possible
by putting them in opposition as correspondent opposites, or
correlatives. In order to this, a something must be affirmed in the
one, which is rejected in the other, and this something is the will. I
do not will to consider myself as equal to myself, for in the very act
of constructing myself _I_, I take it as the same, and therefore as
incapable of comparison, that is, of any application of the will. If
then, I _minus_ the will be the _thesis_;[183] Thou _plus_ will must
be the _antithesis_, but the equation of Thou with I, by means of a
free act, negativing the sameness in order to establish the equality,
is the true definition of conscience. But as without a Thou there can
be no You, so without a You no They, These, or Those; and as all these
conjointly form the materials and subjects of consciousness, and the
conditions of experience, it is evident that conscience is the root of
all consciousness,--_à fortiori_, the precondition of all
experience,--and that the conscience cannot have been in its first
revelation deduced from experience.

Soon, however, experience comes into play. We learn that there are
other impulses beside the dictates of conscience; that there are
powers within us and without us ready to usurp the throne of
conscience, and busy in tempting us to transfer our allegiance. We
learn that there are many things contrary to conscience, and therefore
to be rejected and utterly excluded, and many that can coexist with
its supremacy only by being subjugated, as beasts of burthen; and
others, again, as, for instance, the social tendernesses and
affections, and the faculties and excitations of the intellect, which
must be at least subordinated. The preservation of our loyalty and
fealty under these trials, and against these rivals, constitutes the
second sense of Faith; and we shall need but one more point of view to
complete its full import. This is the consideration of what is
presupposed in the human conscience. The answer is ready. As in the
equation of the correlative I and Thou, one of the twin constituents
is to be taken as _plus_ will, the other as _minus_ will, so is it
here: and it is obvious that the reason or _super_-individual of each
man, whereby he is a man, is the factor we are to take as _minus_
will; and that the individual will or personalizing principle of free
agency (arbitrement is Milton's word) is the factor marked _plus_
will;--and, again, that as the identity or coinherence of the absolute
will and the reason, is the peculiar character of God; so is the
_synthesis_ of the individual will and the common reason, by the
subordination of the former to the latter, the only possible likeness
or image of the _prothesis_, or identity, and therefore the required
proper character of man. Conscience, then, is a witness respecting the
identity of the will and the reason effected by the self-subordination
of the will, or self, to the reason, as equal to, or representing, the
will of God. But the personal will is a factor in other moral
_syntheses_; for example, appetite _plus_ personal will = sensuality;
lust of power, _plus_ personal will, = ambition, and so on, equally as
in the _synthesis_, on which the conscience is grounded. Not this,
therefore, but the other _synthesis_, must supply the specific
character of the conscience; and we must enter into an analysis of
reason. Such as the nature and objects of the reason are, such must be
the functions and objects of the conscience. And the former we shall
best learn by recapitulating those constituents of the total man which
are either contrary to, or disparate from, the reason.

I. Reason, and the proper objects of reason, are wholly alien from
sensation. Reason is supersensual, and its antagonist is appetite, and
the objects of appetite the lust of the flesh.

II. Reason and its objects do not appertain to the world of the
senses, inward or outward; that is, they partake not of sense or
fancy. Reason is super-sensuous, and here its antagonist is the lust
of the eye.

III. Reason and its objects are not things of reflection, association,
discursion, discourse in the old sense of the word as opposed to
intuition; "discursive or intuitive," as Milton has it. Reason does
not indeed necessarily exclude the finite, either in time or in space,
but it includes them _eminenter_. Thus the prime mover of the material
universe is affirmed to contain all motion as its cause, but not to
be, or to suffer, motion in itself.

Reason is not the faculty of the finite. But here I must premise the
following. The faculty of the finite is that which reduces the
confused impressions of sense to their essential forms,--quantity,
quality, relation, and in these action and reaction, cause and
effect, and the like; thus raises the materials furnished by the
senses and sensations into objects of reflection, and so makes
experience possible. Without it, man's representative powers would be
a delirium, a chaos, a scudding cloudage of shapes; and it is
therefore most appropriately called the understanding, or
substantiative faculty. Our elder metaphysicians, down to Hobbes
inclusively, called this likewise discourse, _discursus_, _discursio_,
from its mode of action as not staying at any one object, but running,
as it were, to and fro to abstract, generalize, and classify. Now when
this faculty is employed in the service of the pure reason, it brings
out the necessary and universal truths contained in the infinite into
distinct contemplation by the pure act of the sensuous imagination,
that is, in the production of the forms of space and time abstracted
from all corporeity, and likewise of the inherent forms of the
understanding itself abstractedly from the consideration of
particulars, as in the case of geometry, numeral mathematics,
universal logic, and pure metaphysics. The discursive faculty then
becomes what our Shakespeare, with happy precision, calls "discourse
of reason."

We will now take up our reasoning again from the words "motion in

It is evident, then, that the reason as the irradiative power, and the
representative of the infinite, judges the understanding as the
faculty of the finite, and cannot without error be judged by it. When
this is attempted, or when the understanding in its _synthesis_ with
the personal will, usurps the supremacy of the reason, or affects to
supersede the reason, it is then what St. Paul calls the mind of the
flesh (φρονημα σαρκος), or the wisdom of this world. The result is,
that the reason is super-finite; and in this relation, its antagonist
is the insubordinate understanding, or mind of the flesh.

IV. Reason, as one with the absolute will (_In the beginning was the
Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God_), and
therefore for man the certain representative of the will of God, is
above the will of man as an individual will. We have seen in III. that
it stands in antagonism to all mere particulars; but here it stands in
antagonism to all mere individual interests as so many selves, to the
personal will as seeking its objects in the manifestation of itself
for itself--_sit pro ratione voluntas_;--whether this be realized with
adjuncts, as in the lust of the flesh, and in the lust of the eye; or
without adjuncts, as in the thirst and pride of power, despotism,
egoistic ambition. The fourth antagonist, then, of reason, is the lust
of the will.

Corollary. Unlike a million of tigers, a million of men is very
different from a million times one man. Each man in a numerous society
is not only coexistent with, but virtually organized into, the
multitude of which he is an integral part. His _idem_ is modified by
the _alter_. And there arise impulses and objects from this
_synthesis_ of the _alter et idem_, myself and my neighbour. This,
again, is strictly analogous to what takes places in the vital
organization of the individual man. The cerebral system of the nerves
has its correspondent _antithesis_ in the abdominal system: but hence
arises a _synthesis_ of the two in the pectoral system as the
intermediate, and, like a drawbridge, at once conductor and boundary.
In the latter, as objectized by the former, arise the emotions,
affections, and, in one word, the passions, as distinguished from the
cognitions and appetites. Now, the reason has been shown to be
super-individual, generally, and therefore not less so when the form
of an individualization subsists in the _alter_, than when it is
confined to the _idem_; not less when the emotions have their
conscious or believed object in another, than when their subject is
the individual personal self. For though these emotions, affections,
attachments, and the like, are the prepared ladder by which the lower
nature is taken up into, and made to partake of, the highest room,--as
we are taught to give a feeling of reality to the higher _per medium
commune_ with the lower, and thus gradually to see the reality of the
higher (namely, the objects of reason), and finally to know that the
latter are indeed, and pre-eminently real, as if you love your earthly
parents whom you see, by these means you will learn to love your
Heavenly Father who is invisible;--yet this holds good only so far as
the reason is the president, and its objects the ultimate aim; and
cases may arise in which the Christ as the Logos, or Redemptive
Reason, declares, _He that loves father or mother more than me, is
not worthy of me_; nay, he that can permit his emotions to rise to an
equality with the universal reason, is in enmity with that reason.
Here, then, reason appears as the love of God; and its antagonist is
the attachment to individuals wherever it exists in diminution of, or
in competition with, the love which is reason.

In these five paragraphs I have enumerated and explained the several
powers or forces belonging or incidental to human nature, which in all
matters of reason the man is bound either to subjugate or subordinate
to reason. The application to Faith follows of its own accord. The
first or most indefinite sense of faith is fidelity: then fidelity
under previous contract or particular moral obligation. In this sense
faith is fealty to a rightful superior: faith is the duty of a
faithful subject to a rightful governor. Then it is allegiance in
active service; fidelity to the liege lord under circumstances, and
amid the temptations of usurpation, rebellion, and intestine discord.
Next we seek for that rightful superior on our duties to whom all our
duties to all other superiors, on our faithfulness to whom all our
bounden relations to all other objects of fidelity, are founded. We
must inquire after that duty in which all others find their several
degrees and dignities, and from which they derive their obligative
force. We are to find a superior, whose rights, including our duties,
are presented to the mind in the very idea of that Supreme Being,
whose sovereign prerogatives are predicates implied in the subjects,
as the essential properties of a circle are co-assumed in the first
assumption of a circle, consequently underived, unconditional, and as
rationally unsusceptible, so probably prohibitive, of all further
question. In this sense, then, faith is fidelity, fealty, allegiance
of the moral nature to God, in opposition to all usurpation, and in
resistance to all temptation to the placing any other claim above or
equal with our fidelity to God.

The will of God is the last ground and final aim of all our duties,
and to that the whole man is to be harmonized by subordination,
subjugation, or suppression alike in commission and omission. But the
will of God, which is one with the supreme intelligence, is revealed
to man through the conscience. But the conscience, which consists in
an inappellable bearing-witness to the truth and reality of our
reason, may legitimately be construed with the term reason, so far as
the conscience is prescriptive; while as approving or condemning, it
is the consciousness of the subordination or insubordination, the
harmony or discord, of the personal will of man to and with the
representative of the will of God. This brings me to the last and
fullest sense of Faith, that is, the obedience of the individual will
to the reason, in the lust of the flesh as opposed to the
supersensual; in the lust of the eye as opposed to the supersensuous;
in the pride of the understanding as opposed to the infinite; in the
φρονημα σαρκος in contrariety to the spiritual truth; in the lust
of the personal will as opposed to the absolute and universal; and in
the love of the creature, as far as it is opposed to the love which is
one with the reason, namely, the love of God.

Thus, then, to conclude. Faith subsists in the _synthesis_ of the
Reason and the individual Will. By virtue of the latter, therefore, it
must be an energy, and, inasmuch as it relates to the whole moral man,
it must be exerted in each and all of his constituents or incidents,
faculties and tendencies;--it must be a total, not a partial--a
continuous, not a desultory or occasional--energy. And by virtue of
the former, that is, Reason, Faith must be a Light, a form of knowing,
a beholding of Truth. In the incomparable words of the Evangelist,
therefore,--_Faith must be a Light originating in the Logos, or the
substantial Reason, which is co-eternal and one with the Holy Will,
and which Light is at the same time the Life of men._ Now, as _Life_
is here the sum or collective of all moral and spiritual acts, in
suffering, doing, and being, so is Faith the source and the sum, the
energy and the principle of the fidelity of Man to God, by the
subordination of his human Will, in all provinces of his nature, to
his Reason, as the sum of spiritual Truth, representing and
manifesting the Will Divine.

[183] There are four kinds of _Theses_, Θεσεις, puttings or

                        1. _Prothesis._
  2. _Thesis._                            3. _Antithesis._
                        4. _Synthesis._

A and B are said to be thesis and antithesis, when if A be the
_thesis_, B is the _antithesis_ to A, and if B be made the _thesis_,
then A becomes the _antithesis_. Thus making me the _thesis_, you are
thou to me, but making you the _thesis_, I become thou to you.
_Synthesis_ is a putting together of the two, so that a third
something is generated. Thus the _synthesis_ of hydrogen and oxygen is
water, a third something, neither hydrogen nor oxygen. But the blade
of a knife and its handle when put together do not form a _synthesis_,
but still remain a blade and a handle. And as a _synthesis_ is a unity
that results from the union of two things, so a _prothesis_ is a
primary unity that gives itself forth into two things.



A man may pray night and day, and yet deceive himself; but no man can
be assured of his sincerity, who does not pray. Prayer is faith
passing into act; a union of the will and the intellect realizing in
an intellectual act. It is the whole man that prays. Less than this is
wishing, or lip-work; a charm or a mummery. _Pray always_, says the
Apostle;--that is, have the habit of prayer, turning your thoughts
into acts by connecting them with the idea of the redeeming God, and
even so reconverting your actions into thoughts.


The best preparation for taking this sacrament, better than any or all
of the books or tracts composed for this end, is, to read over and
over again, and often on your knees--at all events with a kneeling and
praying heart--the Gospel according to St. John, till your mind is
familiarized to the contemplation of Christ, the Redeemer and Mediator
of mankind, yea, of every creature, as the living and self-subsisting
Word, the very truth of all true being, and the very being of all
enduring truth; the reality, which is the substance and unity of all
reality; _the light which lighteth every man_, so that what we call
reason, is itself a light from that light, _lumen a luce_, as the
Latin more distinctly expresses this fact. But it is not merely light,
but therein is life; and it is the life of Christ, the co-eternal Son
of God, that is the only true life-giving light of men. We are
assured, and we believe, that Christ is God; God manifested in the
flesh. As God, he must be present entire in every creature;--(for how
can God, or indeed any spirit, exist in parts?)--but he is said to
dwell in the regenerate, to come to them who receive him by faith in
his name, that is, in his power and influence; for this is the meaning
of the word "name" in Scripture when applied to God or his Christ.
Where true belief exists, Christ is not only present with or among
us;--for so he is in every man, even the most wicked;--but to us and
for us. _That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh
into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him,
and the world knew him not. But as many as received him, to them gave
he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in his
name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor
of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us._ John i. 9-14. Again--_We will come unto him, and make our
abode with him._ John xiv. 23. As truly and as really as your soul
resides constitutively in your living body, personally, and
substantially does Christ dwell in every regenerate man.

After this course of study, you may then take up and peruse sentence
by sentence the communion service, the best of all comments on the
Scriptures appertaining to this mystery. And this is the preparation
which will prove, with God's grace, the surest preventive of, or
antidote against, the freezing poison, the lethargizing hemlock, of
the doctrine of the Sacramentaries, according to whom the Eucharist is
a mere practical metaphor, in which things are employed instead of
articulated sounds for the exclusive purpose of recalling to our minds
the historical fact of our Lord's crucifixion; in short--(the
profaneness is with them, not with me)--just the same as when
Protestants drink a glass of wine to the glorious memory of William
III.! True it is, that the remembrance is one end of the sacrament;
but it is, _Do this in remembrance of me_,--of all that Christ was and
is, hath done and is still doing for fallen mankind, and, of course,
of his crucifixion inclusively, but not of his crucifixion alone. 14
December, 1827.


 First, then, that we may come to this heavenly feast holy, and
 adorned with the wedding garment, Matt. xxii. 11, we must search our
 hearts, and examine our consciences, not only till we see our sins,
 but until we hate them.

But what if a man, seeing his sin, earnestly desire to hate it? Shall
he not at the altar offer up at once his desire, and the yet lingering
sin, and seek for strength? Is not this sacrament medicine as well as
food? Is it an end only, and not likewise the means? Is it merely the
triumphal feast; or is it not even more truly a blessed refreshment
for and during the conflict?

 This confession of sins must not be in general terms only, that we
 are sinners with the rest of mankind, but it must be a special
 declaration to God of all our most heinous sins in thought, word, and

Luther was of a different judgment. He would have us feel and groan
under our sinfulness and utter incapability of redeeming ourselves
from the bondage, rather than hazard the pollution of our imaginations
by a recapitulation and renewing of sins and their images in detail.
Do not, he says, stand picking the flaws out one by one, but plunge
into the river, and drown them!--I venture to be of Luther's doctrine.


In the first Exhortation, before the words "meritorious Cross and
Passion," I should propose to insert "his assumption of humanity, his
incarnation, and". Likewise, a little lower down, after the word
"sustenance," I would insert "as". For not in that sacrament
exclusively, but in all the acts of assimilative faith, of which the
Eucharist is a solemn, eminent, and representative instance, an
instance and the symbol, Christ is our spiritual food and sustenance.


Marriage, simply as marriage, is not the means "for the procreation of
children," but for the humanization of the offspring procreated.
Therefore, in the Declaration at the beginning, after the words,
"procreation of children," I would insert, "and as the means of
securing to the children procreated enduring care, and that they may
be", &c.


Third rubric at the end.

 But if a man, either by reason of extremity of sickness, &c.

I think this rubric, in what I conceive to be its true meaning, a
precious doctrine, as fully acquitting our church of all Romish
superstition, respecting the nature of the Eucharist, in relation to
the whole scheme of man's redemption. But the latter part of it--"he
doth eat and drink the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ profitably
to his soul's health, although he do not receive the sacrament with
his mouth"--seems to me very incautiously expressed, and scarcely to
be reconciled with the Church's own definition of a sacrament in
general. For in such a case, where is "the outward and visible sign of
the inward and spiritual grace given"?[184]


Epistle.--1 Cor. xv. 1.

_Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you._

Why should the obsolete, though faithful, Saxon translation of
ευαγγελον be retained? Why not "good tidings"? Why thus change a
most appropriate and intelligible designation of the matter into a
mere conventional name of a particular book?


---- _how that Christ died for our sins._

But the meaning of ὑπερ των ἁμαρτιων ἡμων is, that
Christ died through the sins, and for the sinners. He
died through our sins, and we live through his righteousness.

Gospel.--Luke xviii. 14.

_This man went down to his house justified rather than the other_.

Not simply justified, observe; but justified rather than the other, η
εκεινος,--that is less remote from salvation.



 ---- that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
 may of thee be plenteously rewarded.

Rather--"that with that enlarged capacity, which without thee we
cannot acquire, there may likewise be an increase of the gift, which
from thee alone we can wholly receive."


 V. 2. _Out of the mouth of very babes and sucklings hast thou
 ordained strength, because of thine enemies; that thou mightest still
 the enemy and the avenger._

To the dispensations of the twilight dawn, to the first messengers of
the redeeming word, the yet lisping utterers of light and life, a
strength and power were given _because of the enemies_, greater and
of more immediate influence, than to the seers and proclaimers of a
clearer day:--even as the first re-appearing crescent of the eclipsed
moon shines for men with a keener brilliance than the following larger
segments, previously to its total emersion.

Ib. v. 5.

 _Thou madest him lower than the angels, to crown him with glory and

Power + idea = angel.

Idea - power = man, or Prometheus.


 V. 34. _Ascribe ye the power to God over Israel: his worship and
 strength is in the clouds_.

The "clouds", in the symbolical language of the Scriptures, mean the
events and course of things, seemingly effects of human will or
chance, but overruled by Providence.


This psalm admits no other interpretation but of Christ, as the
Jehovah incarnate. In any other sense it would be a specimen of more
than Persian or Moghul hyperbole and bombast, of which there is no
other instance in Scripture, and which no Christian would dare to
attribute to an inspired writer. We know, too, that the elder Jewish
Church ranked it among the Messianic Psalms. N.B. The Word in St. John
and the Name of the Most High in the Psalms are equivalent terms.

 V. 1. _Give the king thy judgments, O God; and thy righteousness
 unto the king's son._

God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, the only begotten,
the Son of God and God, King of Kings, and the Son of the King of


 V. 2. _O think upon thy congregation, whom thou hast purchased and
 redeemed of old._

The Lamb sacrificed from the beginning of the world, the God-Man, the
Judge, the self-promised Redeemer to Adam in the garden!

 V. 15. _Thou smotest the heads of the Leviathan in pieces; and
 gavest him to be meat for the people in the wilderness._

Does this allude to any real tradition?[185] The Psalm appears to have
been composed shortly before the captivity of Judah.

PS. LXXXII. VV. 6-7.

The reference which our Lord made to these mysterious verses, gives
them an especial interest. The first apostasy, the fall of the angels,
is, perhaps, intimated.


I would fain understand this Psalm; but first I must collate it word
by word with the original Hebrew. It seems clearly Messianic.


Vv. 10-12. _Dost thou show wonders among the dead, or shall the dead
rise up again and praise thee? &c._

Compare Ezekiel, xxxvii.


I think the Bible version might with advantage be substituted for
this, which in some parts is scarcely intelligible.

 V. 6--_the waters stand in the hills._

No; _stood above the mountains_. The reference is to the Deluge.


 V. 3. _Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord._

If even to seek the Lord be joy, what will it be to find him? Seek me,
O Lord, that I may be found by thee!


V. 2. _The Lord shall send the rod of thy power out of Sion_; (saying)
_Rule, &c._

V. 3. Understand--"Thy people shall offer themselves willingly in the
day of conflict in holy clothing, in their best array, in their best
arms and accoutrements. As the dew from the womb of the morning, in
number and brightness like dew-drops; so shall be thy youth, or the
youth of thee, the young volunteer warriors."

V. 5. "He shall shake," concuss, _concutiet reges die iræ suæ_.

V. 6. For "smite in sunder, or wound the heads;" some word answering
to the Latin _conquassare_.

V. 7. For "therefore," translate "then shall he lift up his head
again;" that is, as a man languid and sinking from thirst and fatigue
after refreshment.

N.B.--I see no poetic discrepancy between vv. 1 and 5.


To be interpreted of Christ's Church.


 V. 5. _As the rivers in the south._

Does this allude to the periodical rains?[186]

As a transparency on some night of public rejoicing, seen by common
day, with the lamps from within removed--even such would the Psalms be
to me uninterpreted by the Gospel. O honoured Mr. Hurwitz![187] Could
I but make you feel what grandeur, what magnificence, what an
everlasting significance and import Christianity gives to every fact
of your national history--to every page of your sacred records!


XX. It is mournful to think how many recent writers have criminated
our Church in consequence of their ignorance and inadvertence in not
knowing, or not noticing, the contra-distinction here meant between
power and authority. Rites and ceremonies the Church may ordain _jure
proprio_: on matters of faith her judgment is to be received with
reverence, and not gainsayed but after repeated inquiries, and on
weighty grounds.

 XXXVII. It is lawful for Christian men, at the commandment of the
 magistrate, to wear weapons, and to serve in wars.

This is a very good instance of an unseemly matter neatly wrapped up.
The good men recoiled from the plain words--"It is lawful for
Christian men at the command of a king to slaughter as many Christians
as they can"!

Well! I could most sincerely subscribe to all these articles.
September, 1831.

[184] "Should it occur to any one that the doctrine blamed in the text
is but in accordance with that of the Church of England, in her rubric
concerning spiritual communion, annexed to the Office for Communion of
the Sick, he may consider, whether that rubric, explained (as, if
possible, it must be) in consistency with the definition of a
sacrament in the Catechism, can be meant for any but rare and
extraordinary cases; cases as strong in regard of the Eucharist, as
that of martyrdom, or the premature death of a well-disposed
catechumen, in regard of Baptism." Keble's Preface to Hooker, p. 85,
n. 70.--H. N. C. [It should be mentioned that "the doctrine blamed in
the text," which Keble comments upon, is not the doctrine blamed in
Coleridge's text, above,--or, rather, the "text" alluded to is not the
text above. The text alluded to by Keble is that with which he was
then dealing, viz., the text of Hooker. Keble's edition of Hooker's
works was published in 1836, two years before Coleridge's "Literary
Remains" were first published.--ED.]

[185] According to Bishop Home, the allusion is to the destruction of
Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea.--H. N. C.

[186] See Horne in loc. note.--H. N. C.

[187] See p. 140, _ante_. In addition to the 'Vindiciae Hebraicae,'
there alluded to, Mr. Hyman Hurwitz was the author of 'Elements of the
Hebrew Language,' which reached a fourth edition in 1848, and other
works. He was Professor of Hebrew at the University of London, and
master of the Hebrew Academy at Highgate. Our author's intimacy with
him is indicated by the fact that on Hurwitz publishing his 'Dirge
Chaunted in the Great Synagogue, St. James's Place, Aldgate, on the
Day of the Funeral of the Princess Charlotte,' 1817, Coleridge added a
translation in English. The translation appears in late editions of
Coleridge's poems with the title 'Israel's Lament,' &c. The following
also testifies to the friendship, and likewise to Coleridge's
proficiency in Hebrew. In Hurwitz's preface to his collection of
'Hebrew Tales,' 1826, he says:--"Excepting the three moral tales
originally published in that valuable work, 'The Friend,' ['Whoso Hath
Found a Virtuous Wife,' &c., 'The Lord Helpeth Man and Beast,' and
'Conversation of a Philosopher with a Rabbi:' see Standard Library
edition, 1866, pp. 246-8], so admirably translated by my friend Mr. S.
T. Coleridge, and which are by his kind permission inserted in this
collection," &c., &c. See also H. N. Coleridge's note to the 'Table
Talk' of April 14, 1830.--ED.


Almighty God, by thy eternal Word my Creator Redeemer and Preserver!
who hast in thy free communicative goodness glorified me with the
capability of knowing thee, the one only absolute Good, the eternal I
Am, as the author of my being, and of desiring and seeking thee as its
ultimate end;--who, when I fell from thee into the mystery of the
false and evil will, didst not abandon me, poor self-lost creature,
but in thy condescending mercy didst provide an access and a return to
thyself, even to thee the Holy One, in thine only begotten Son, the
way and the truth from everlasting, and who took on himself humanity,
yea, became flesh, even the man Christ Jesus, that for man he might be
the life and the resurrection!--O Giver of all good gifts, who art
thyself the one only absolute Good, from whom I have received whatever
good I have, whatever capability of good there is in me, and from thee
good alone,--from myself and my own corrupted will all evil and the
consequents of evil,--with inward prostration of will, mind, and
affections I adore thy infinite majesty; I aspire to love thy
transcendant goodness!--In a deep sense of my unworthiness, and my
unfitness to present myself before thee, of eyes too pure to behold
iniquity, and whose light, the beatitude of spirits conformed to thy
will, is a consuming fire to all vanity and corruption;--but in the
name of the Lord Jesus, of the dear Son of thy love, in whose perfect
obedience thou deignest to behold as many as have received the seed of
Christ into the body of this death;--I offer this, my bounden nightly
sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, in humble trust, that the
fragrance of my Saviour's righteousness may remove from it the taint
of my mortal corruption. Thy mercies have followed me through all the
hours and moments of my life; and now I lift up my heart in awe and
thankfulness for the preservation of my life through the past day, for
the alleviation of my bodily sufferings and languors, for the manifold
comforts which thou hast reserved for me, yea, in thy fatherly
compassion hast rescued from the wreck of my own sins or sinful
infirmities;--for the kind and affectionate friends thou hast raised
up for me, especially for those of this household, for the mother and
mistress of this family, whose love to me hath been great and
faithful, and for the dear friend, the supporter and sharer of my
studies and researches; but, above all, for the heavenly Friend, the
crucified Saviour, the glorified Mediator, Christ Jesus, and for the
heavenly Comforter, source of all abiding comforts, thy Holy Spirit! O
grant me the aid of thy Spirit, that I may with a deeper faith, a more
enkindled love, bless thee, who through thy Son hast privileged me to
call thee Abba, Father! O, thou, who has revealed thyself in thy holy
word as a God that hearest prayer; before whose infinitude all
differences cease of great and small; who like a tender parent
foreknowest all our wants, yet listeneth well-pleased to the humble
petitions of thy children; who hast not alone permitted, but taught
us, to call on thee in all our needs,--earnestly I implore the
continuance of thy free mercy, of thy protecting providence, through
the coming night. Thou hearest every prayer offered to thee
believingly with a penitent and sincere heart. For thou in withholding
grantest, healest in inflicting the wound, yea, turnest all to good
for as many as truly seek thee through Christ, the Mediator! Thy will
be done! But if it be according to thy wise and righteous ordinances,
O shield me this night from the assaults of disease, grant me
refreshment of sleep unvexed by evil and distempered dreams; and if
the purpose and aspiration of my heart be upright before thee who
alone knowest the heart of man, O in thy mercy vouchsafe me yet in
this my decay of life an interval of ease and strength; if so (thy
grace disposing and assisting) I may make compensation to thy church
for the unused talents them hast entrusted to me, for the neglected
opportunities, which thy loving-kindness had provided. O let me be
found a labourer in the vineyard, though of the late hour, when the
Lord and Heir of the vintage, Christ Jesus, calleth for his servant.

_Our Father, &c._

To thee, great omnipresent Spirit, whose mercy is over all thy works,
who now beholdest me, who hearest me, who hast framed my heart to seek
and to trust in thee, in the name of my Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus,
I humbly commit and commend my body, soul, and spirit.

Glory be to thee, O God!


At p. 140, line 23 of the foot-note, for p. 123, 124, _read_ pp.


 Absolute Will, the, 224, 225.

 Absurd, the, xxxii, 227.

 Act, originating an, 176-7.

 Adam, the word, in Genesis, and as used by St. Paul, 194.

 ---- and his posterity, God's anger against, 186.

 ---- possible Spiritual Fall antecedent to him, 195.

 ---- and Eve, assertions respecting their state, 194.

 Adam's Fall, 172.

 ---- sin, its penalty, death, 183.

 Admiration, love of, 127.

 Æolists, the, 45.

 'Aids to Reflection,' the author's aims in the work, ix, xi, xiii, xv,
     xix, xxiii, lxvi, 102, 103, 205.
   Republication of it in America, xii, xxvii.
   Importance of the work, xxvi, xl.
   Doctrines propounded in it, xxvii.
   Its orthodoxy, xxi, lvi.
   Objections to it answered, lxviii.
   Criticism of it anticipated, 45, 258.
   Its origin, xx, 108.
   Its first edition, ix, xv, xix.
   Dr. Marsh's essay on it, xii, xxiii.
   Break in the work through the author's illness, 160.
   Its plan, 204.
   The notes to it, 152, 205.
   Purposed supplement to it, 257.
   See also under Reason and Understanding, the Will, &c.

 Alcohol, 100.

 Allegory and Symbol in Scripture Interpretation, 212.

 _Alogi_, the modern, 219.

 Altar, Companion to the, 352.

 America, Dr. Jas. Marsh, a disciple of Coleridge there, xii.

 Amusements, the care for, and the neglect of study, 151.

 Anabaptism, 253.

 Analogy in the New Testament, 136.

 _Anathema Maranatha_, 251.

 Anatomy, Comparative, xx.

 Ancient wisdom, the treasures of, lxxiii;
   Coleridge no contemner of them, _ib_., lxxiv.

 Animal development in the _polypi_, &c., 58.

 ---- life typical of the understanding and the moral affections, 74.

 Antinoüs and Noüs, their Dialogue on Mystics and Mysticism, 261.

 Antithesis, 225.

 Ants and bees, intelligence of, Hüber, &c., on, 145-147.

 Aphorisms, 15.

 Apocrypha, the, 295.

 Apostasy, 342.

 ---- possible, antecedent to Adam, 195.

 Apostolic Church, the, 257.

 Arbitrement, the word, 344.

 Argument and Belief, 234.

 Aristotle and Locke, 44.

 ---- and Plato, ideas of God, 167.
   Their philosophy and that of Bacon, lxvii.

 Arminianism, or Grotianism, 107.

 Arminius, Bp. Hacket on, 107.

 Arnauld's work on Transubstantiation, 260.

 Art, Nature and, 167.

 Arts, trades, &c., and thinking, xix.

 Articles of the Church of England, 358.
   They show the Church as not infallible, 257.
   Locke's philosophy opposed to them, xii.

 Aseity, the divine, 224.

 Astronomy, modern, and the Bible, 312.

 Atheists, the, of the French Revolution, 121.

 Atonement, 215, 216.

 ---- vicarious, 103.

 Attention, thought and, 3.

 Augustine and Original Sin and Infant Baptism, 247, 252.
   On Faith and Understanding, xviii.

 Augustinians, the, 107.

 Authority and power, distinction between, 358.

 Author, an, and his readers, xv, xviii.
   The worth of an author, xvi.

 Author's, an, view of his own work, 275.

 Autobiography, religious, 49.

 Bacon, Lord, 317, 304.

 ---- his philosophy that of the divines of the Reformation, and
   opposed to that of Locke, lxiv, lxvii,
   while agreeing with that of Coleridge, lxvii.

 ---- his philosophy and that of Plato and Aristotle, lxvii.

 ---- on Reason and the Understanding, lxvii, 143.

 Baptism, on, 242, 243, _et sq._, 250.
   Baxter on, 247.
   Differences on no ground for schism, 254, 257.
   D'Oyly and Mant and the Evangelicals on, 254.
   Edward Irving on, 254-5.
   Coleridge's answer to Irving, _ib._
   Robinson's History of, 246.
   Wall on, 247, 254.
   Superstitions respecting, 249.

 ---- of infants, origin of, 246, 251.
   Argument for, 250.

 ---- and Preaching, 242.

 ---- and Redemption, 209.

 ---- and Regeneration, 136.

 ---- not Regeneration, 226.

 Baptism, See also Anabaptism.

 Baptist, conversation with a, on infant and adult baptism, 243, _et sq._

 Basil and his scholars, 75.

 Baxter, on Baptism, 247.

 ---- his "censures of the Papists," quoted, 141.

 ---- and Howe, religious teaching of their times, liii.

 Beasts, understanding in, 144.

 Bee, the, 74.

 Bees and ants, intelligence of, Hüber, &c., on, 145-147, 281.

 ---- and instinct, 281.

 Behmen, Jacob, 258, 263.

 Behmenists, &c., 94.

 Belief, xxxvi, 66, 122, 127.

 ---- ground of, xxxi, xxxii.

 Belief, the, of children, 128.

 ---- of the absurd, impossible, xxxii.

 ---- and argument, 234.

 ---- and superstition, 287.

 ---- and truth, 293.

 Belsham's version of the Testament, 316.

 Berkleyanism, 268.

 Bernard, St., xxv.

 Bernouillis, 269.

 Bible, the, 293, 296.
   Its divine origin, 289.
   A source of true belief, but not itself a creed, 315.
   George III. on, 200.
   Historical discrepancies in, 309.
   Inspiration of, 52.
   Reading it, 65.
   See also under New Testament, Psalms, Scripture, Inspiration, &c.

 ---- the, and Christian Faith, 289.

 Biblical criticism, Coleridge's, 285, 289.

 Bibliolatry, and mis-interpretation of the Bible, 107, 313.

 Birth, the word as used by Christ, 272.

 Blood, the word as used by Christ, 27.

 Bonnet's view of instinct, 279.

 Book-making, 152.

 Books for the indolent, 151.

 Books, popular, _ib._

 Bosom-sin, 10.

 Bread, the word as used by Christ, 272.

 Breath, the enlivening, 4.

 Brown's Philosophy, xxxix, xlix.

 Browne, Sir T., and his strong faith, 137.

 Brutes and man, 2, 341, 343;
   Paley, Fleming, and others on, lx.

 ---- and the will, 201.

 Bruno, Giordano, 269.

 Bucer, 227.

 Buffon, 24.

 Bull and Waterland, their works, 211-12.

 Burnet, extract from, 123.

 Butler, S., 45.

 Cabbala, the, of the Hutchinsonians, 314.

 Cabbalists, the, 299.

 Calling, effectual, doctrine of, 37.

 Calumny, 70.

 Calvin, the works of, 105.

 Calvinism, modern, 73, 104.
   That of Jonathan Edwards, 105.
   That of New England, 105.

 Calvinists, the, of Leighton's day, 94.

 Capital punishment, 90.

 Carbonic-acid gas, Hoffman's discovery of, 162.

 Carlyle's translation of 'Wilhelm Meister,' 291.

 Cartesian and Newtonian philosophies, the, 268.

 Catholic, and Roman Catholic, the terms, 141.

 Cause, an Omnipresent, 40.

 ---- and effect, xlviii, 42, 44, 175.

 Cephas, and the Jews who followed him, 215.

 Ceremonies, 12, 13.

 Ceremony and Faith, 248.

 Cherubim, 7.

 Children, the belief of, 128.

 ---- Jesus and the, 250.

 Christ, 234, 350, 360.
   His agony and death, 103.
   His Cross and Passion, 207.
   His _hard sayings_, 212.
   His _New commandment_, 249.
   His death, 202.

 Christ, the Christian's pattern, 203.

 ---- contemplation of, 350.

 ---- faith in, 208.

 ---- present in every creature, 351.

 ---- the Redeemer of "every creature," 350.

 ---- the Word, 288.

 ---- and His Apostles, 212.

 ---- and the children, 250.

 ---- Paul and Moses, 241.

 ---- Redemption by, 106.

 "Christ, In," the phrase, 104.

 Christ's aids to the sinner, 104.

 ---- use of the words, water, flesh, blood, birth, and bread, 272.

 Christian, the, no Stoic, 57.

 ---- Dispensation, the, xviii;
   and the Law of Moses, 240.

 Christian Faith, xvi, xviii, 232.
   A vindication of its whole scheme promised by the author, 103.

 ---- Faith and the Bible, 289.

 ---- love, 58.

 ---- ministry, the, 35, 68, 96.

 ---- Philosophy, 91.

 ---- Religion, the, 123.

 _Christian Spectator_, 1829, Controversy there on the Origin of Sin, liv.

 Christians, early, and the Jews, 215.

 ---- and war, 358.

 ---- should be united in one Church (extract from Wall), 256.

 Christianity, 272.
   Arguments against, 194.
   Is a vanity without a Church, 200.
   Coleridge's views on, xxx.
   The essentials of, 247.
   The "Evidences of," 134, 272, 319.
   The doctrines peculiar to, 11, 73, 130.
   The knowledge required by, 5, 7.
   Not to be preferred to truth, 66.
   Not a theory but a Life, 134.
   Operative, the Pentad of, 288.
   TRY IT! 134.

 ---- and Mythology, 188.

 ---- and the old philosophy, 84.

 Church, the word, 114.

 Church, Christianity a vanity without a Church 200.

 ---- a National, 196.

 ---- the, 288. Field's work on, 208.

 ---- the _most_ Apostolic, 257.

 ---- of England, the, 73. See also Articles, &c.

 ---- divines, orthodox, 230.

 ---- going, 84. Undue love of Church, or sect, 66.

 ---- History, the sum of, 66.

 ---- ordinances and the New Testament, 246.

 'Church and State,' Coleridge's, 198, 261, 273.

 Circumcision, 245.

 Circumstance and the Will, 177.

 Coleridge, S. T.--_Personal._--
   To a friend halting in his belief of Christianity, 320.
   C.'s Baptist friend, 243.
   C.'s convictions, 300, 301.
   His conversation, &c., 278.
   His defence of his work, 274.
   His editors, 337.
   They remiss, 103, 337.
   His friends, 361.
   His proficiency in Hebrew, and friendship with Hyman Hurwitz, 358.
   His language and style, xxx, lxix.
   His alleged unintelligibility, lxix.
   His philosophical and philological attainments, intellectual powers,
     and moral worth, lxxiv.
   His attempts at proselytizing, 337.
   His religious experiences, 291.
   He was not at war with religion, xxxi.
   His "twenty years" of contention for the contra-distinction of Reason
     and the Understanding, 160.
   His love of truth, 291.

 Coleridge, S. T.--_His works._--
   His lengthy notes to the 'Aids to Reflection', 153, 205.
   Criticism of the 'Aids' anticipated, 45.
   'The Ancient Mariner' referred to, 262.
   His promised 'Assertion of Religion,' &c., 103.
   'Christabel' alluded to, 262.
   'Church and State' referred to, 273.
   His correspondent in the 'Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit,' 301.
   'The Friend' referred to, 181.
   The Hebrew Tales in 'The Friend,' 358.
   'Israel's Lament,' _ib._
   The 'Lay Sermons' referred to, 56, 273.
   His 'Lectures on Shakspere,' &c., referred to, 302.
   His 'Literary Correspondence' in _Blackwood's Magazine_,
     referred to, 117.
   His 'Literary Remains,' 188, 314, 340.
   His MS. Note-Books, 257.
   His 'Nightly Prayer,' 340, 360.
   His 'Wanderings of Cain' alluded to, and quoted, 262.
   Tendency of his works, xi.
   His _Watchman_, 23.
   See also under 'Aids to Reflection,' 'Confessions,' &c.

 Coleridge. S. T.--_His Views._--
   He was no contemner of the ancient wisdom, lxxiii.
   His views those of Bacon, lxiii;
     and of the Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries, lxiv.
   Early views on Baptism, 252.
   His Biblical criticism, 285.
   He repudiates sympathy with the ideas of the Behmenists, &c., 94.
   His view of Christianity, xxx, xxxvi;
     an Evangelical view, xxx.
   His Confession of Faith, 292.
   On Edward Irving, 254-5.
   Opposed to Locke, lvii.
   The philosophy of the 'Aids,' lxvii.
   "Coleridge's Metaphysics," lxx.
   Views on the relations of prudence and morality, xxxi.
   On Redemption, _ib._, 208.
   On Religion, or the Spiritual life, xxxi, xxxvi, 339.
   His transitional state of religious belief, 271.
   His view of reason in relation to spiritual religion, xxxvi.
   The key to his system, the distinctions between nature and free-will
     and between understanding and reason, xxxii, lxiii.
   His views on Original Sin, xxx.
   On the terms _spiritual_ and _natural_, _ib._

 Coleridge, S. T.--_Criticism of, &c._--
   C. termed un-English, 230.
   Arguments for "extinguishing" him, _ib._
   C. and his critics, 258.
   His alleged Mysticism, _ib._

 Coleridge, H. N., on the 'Aids', xi;
   on the tendency of Coleridge's works, _ib._;
   on the 'Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit,' 285;
   on Locke's philosophy and the Church, xii;
   on Dr. Marsh's Essay, _ib._;
   on reason and the understanding, xi.

 _Commandment, the New_, given by Christ, 249.

 Commonplace truths, 1.

 Common Prayer, Book of. See Prayer.

 Common-sense, 172.

 Commonwealth, religion of that time, 94.

 Communion Service, proposed emendations of, 352.

 Communion of the Sick, 353.

 Confession of sins, 352.
   Luther on, _ib._

 'Confessions of a Fair Saint,' Goethe's, 291.

 'Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit,' v, 261, 284.
   Is a key to Coleridge's Biblical criticism, 286.
   H. N. Coleridge's advertisement to, _ib._
   Author's advertisement to, 289.

 Conscience, the, 80.
   Is the only practical contradistinction between man and the brutes, 341.
   Things opposed to it, 344.

 ---- and reason, 229, 345.

 ---- and the senses, 342.

 ---- and the will, _ib._

 Consciousness, 58.

 Consequences, General, Paley's principle of, 181.

 Contemplation, religious, 124.

 Contempt, 68, 69.

 Content, 69.

 Controversies, religious, 67.

 Conversation, 72.

 Conversion, 16.

 Corpuscular philosophy, the, 265.

 Corruption and Redemption, 185.

 Cranmer, 227.

 Creation, the week of, 74.

 Creed, the, of the Reformed Churches, 292.

 Criticism of the 'Aids' anticipated, 45.

 ---- anonymous, &c., 258.

 Critics replied to, 258.

 Cupid and Psyche, and the Fall of Man, 189.

 Cyprian, and infant baptism, 251.

 Cyrus, 62.

 Daniel, the Book of, 302.

 Daniel, S., quoted, ix, 75.

 Danton, 253.

 Darkest before day, 203.

 Darwin (E.) on instinct, 279.

 David and the sons of Michal, 186.

 Davy, Sir H., 265, 317.

 Death, the penalty of Adam's sin, 183.
   The debt of, 219.
   Fear of, 203.
   Death the loss of immortality, and death eternal, 206.
   Spiritual death, 217.

 ---- and the Resurrection, 204.

 Deborah, 306.

 Deceit, self, 61.

 Demonstrations of a God, &c., 120.

 Des Cartes, 268.
   His theory of instinct, 279.

 Despair of none, 68.

 Despise none, and despair of none, 68.

 Detraction, 69, 70.

 Devil, the. See Tempter.

 Discourse = Understanding, 228.

 ---- and Shakspere's "discourse of reason," 346.

 Disputes in Religious Communities, 67.

 Dissent and the Church, 257.

 Diversely and diversly, the words, 306.

 Divines, our elder, 40.

 Docility is grounded in humility, 126.

 Doctrinal terms, 36.

 Dog, the, its species of moral nature, 164.

 Donne, quoted. 16.

 Doubt. 66.

 Earthenware, enjoy your, as if it were plate, and think your plate
   no more than earthenware. 69.

 Ecclesiastical history, 47, 272.

 Education of the young, xvi.

 Edwards, Jonathan, his Calvinism, 105.

 Election, the doctrine of, 37, 108, 111.
   The word in St. Paul's writings 113.

 ---- arbitrary, and Reprobation, the doctrines of, 103.

 England, xix.

 Entertainment and instruction, xviii.

 Enthusiasm, 261.
   Satire and, 46.

 Enthusiasts, the, of our Commonwealth time 94.

 Equivocation 29.

 Error, intellectual effect of, xlii, xlvii, lviii.

 Esther, the Book of, 302.

 Eternal death, 206.

 Eternal life, the promise of, 234.

 Eternity and Time, 209.

 Ethics, or the Science of Morality, 197.

 Eucharist, the, 200, 227, 257, 350.
   Keble on Hooker's view of it, 353.

 Evangelical, Coleridge an, xxx.

 ---- clergy, the, on Baptism, 254.

 Evangelicals, the, 133, 210.

 Eve, the Serpent and, 171.

 Everlasting torment, 103.

 Evil, the origin of, liv, 102, 170.

 ---- and good, 197.

 ---- resistance to, 208.

 Examination, self, 11.

 Expedience is the anarchy of morals, 90.

 Expediency, xvii.

 Experience, 154.

 Expiation and pay, the words, 216.

 Extreme unction, the Romish doctrine of, 227.

 Extremes, 246.

 Eye, the, the body, &c., 266.

 Ezekiel, xvii, 356.

 Faith, Essay on, 339.

 ---- xxxi, 7, 13, 137, 287.
   The articles of, assimilation by, 259.
   Christian Faith, 232.
   Faith defined, 341.
   St. Augustine on it, xviii.
   The essay on it, 257.
   The kinds of it, 348.
   Its mysteries, 168.
   Faith necessary, _ib._ Spiritual Faith, 85.
   The strong faith of Sir T. Browne, 137.

 Faith and Ceremony, 248.

 ---- and Duty, 314.

 ---- and right reason, 228, 229.

 ---- Steadfast by, 208.

 Fall, the, 189, 293.

 ---- a Spiritual, possible before Adam, 195.

 Falstaff, the lying of, 310.

 Familists, 13, 94.

 Fanatic, when the mystic becomes one, 261.

 Fashion and holiness, 60.

 Fatalism, Locke's opinions tending to, lv.

 Fate, 271.

 Fathers, the, uncritical study of, 314.

 Fears, worldly, 52.

 Feeble, the, always popular, 274.

 Feelings, 57.

 Fenelon, a, 264.

 Fidianism, 138, 142.

 Field, Dr. R., and his work on the Church, 208.

 ---- extract from, 213.

 "Finds me," that (the utterance) which, 295, 296.

 Finite, the, faculty of, 346.

 Fleming, Dr., on man and the brutes, lx.

 Flesh, the word, as used by Christ, 272.

 ---- _according to the_, 242.

 ---- _manifested in the_, 217.

 ---- and Spirit, 225, 242.

 Flowers, 74.

 Forethought, 2.

 Forgiveness, 86.
   Self-deceit in, 61.
   The Socinian doctrine of, 86.

 Fortune and circumstance, the riddle of, 235.

 Freedom, the highest form of, 204.

 Free-thinking Christians, 230.

 Free-will, Luther's view of it, 105.
   See also Will, &c.

 ---- and nature, xlix.

 French Revolution, the, 253.
   The Atheists of it, 121.

 French people, and women, their talkativeness, 72.

 'Friend, The,' Coleridge's, 269.
   An essay there referred to, 181.
   The Hebrew Tales in it, 358.

 Friendship, 33.

 Future life, the, and the present, 195.

 ---- state, belief in, 233, 237.
   The same taught in the Old Testament, 52.

 Galileo, 161.

 Geist = gas, 162.

 Generalization, 182.

 Genius and the dunces, 151.

 Genus and species, 149, 162.

 George III., on the Bible, 200.

 German Biblical philologists, 242.
   Their views of the Gospels and St. John, _ib._

 God, the idea of, 76, 81, 116, 120, 191, 255.
   Ideas of Aristotle and Plato, 167.
   Demonstrations of a God, 120.
   God _is_ reason, 255.
   God present in every creature, 351.
   His anger with Adam and his posterity, 186.
   His communion with man, 82.
   His hand in the world, 288.
   His personal attributes, 270.
   Two great things given us by him, 234.

 ---- _manifested in the flesh_, 209.

 ---- and the world, serving, 60.

 Godless Revolution, the, 199.

 Goethe's 'Confessions of a Fair Saint' ('Wilhelm Meister'), 291.

 Good and evil, 197.

 Good men and vicious, radical difference between, 72.

 Goodness more than prudence, xvii.

 "Good tidings," 354.

 Gospel, hearing the, 84.
   Its language and purport, 135.
   The word Gospel in the Prayer-Book, 354.

 Gospel, the, and Philosophy, 122, 124, 125.

 Gospels, the, 242.

 Grace, 200.
   The doctrine of, 38. Growth in, 10, 62.
   Warburton's tract on, 258.

 Grammar and Logic--parts of speech, 117.

 Gravity, the law of, 270.

 Green, Prof. J. H., his essay on Instinct, 278.
   His exposition of the difference between Reason and the
     Understanding, 160.
   His 'Vital Dynamics,' referred to, 59;
     and quoted, 278.
   His remarks upon Coleridge's conversation, &c., _ib._

 Grief, worldly, 52, 57.

 Grotian interpretation of the Scriptures, 243.

 Grotianism, or Arminianism, 107.

 Gunpowder, white, slander so termed, 70.

 Hacket, Bishop, 107, 314.
   Extract from, 99.

 Hagiographa, the, 300.

 Hale, Sir Matthew, his belief in witchcraft, 311.

 Happiness, 28, 74.
   The desire of the natural heart for it, 17.

 "Hard sayings," the, of Christ, 212.

 Harmonists of the Scriptures, 309.
   See also Bible, inspiration of, &c.

 Harrington quoted, on reason in man, 137.

 Hawker, Dr., 316.

 Hearne on the Indians, 237.

 Hebrew theocracy, the, 307.

 ---- Tales in 'The Friend', 358.

 'Henry VI.,' Shakspere's, 302.

 Herbert, Lord, 139.

 Herbert's 'Temple,' quoted, 10.

 Hereditary sin is not original sin, 200.

 Heresies, the rise of, 314.

 Heresy, 15, 140.

 Hildebert, quoted, 141.

 Historical discrepancies in the Bible, 309.

 Hobbes, 24.
   His philosophy, 92.

 Hoffman's discovery of carbonic-acid gas, 162.

 Holy Spirit, 360.
   See also Spirit, &c.

 Hooker, 139.
   Extract from, 129.
   On the Eucharist, 353.
   On Truth, 287.

 Hopes, worldly, 52.

 Howe and Baxter, the religious teaching of their times, lvii.

 Hüber on bees and ants, 75, 147.
   The same as bearing upon instinct, 281.

 Humility the first requisite in the search for Truth, 126.
   The ground of docility, 126.

 ---- and vanity, 69, 76.

 Hungarian sisters, the, 246.

 Hunter, John, 265.

 Hurwitz, Hyman, 140, 358.

 Hutchinsonians, the, 314.

 I, the first person. See Person.

 I AM, the, 196, 360.

 Idealism, Materialism, &c., 268.

 Ideas, 277, 284.

 Idols, xi.
   Worldly troubles are idols, 77.

 Imagination, wisest use of the, 54.

 Imitators and Imitation, 75.

 Immortality opposed to Death, 206.

 Imprudence, 79.

 Incomprehensible, the, 227.
   Incomprehensibility no obstacle to belief, xxxvi.

 Inconsistency, 59.

 Indians, the, Hearne on, 237.

 Indolent, the busy indolent, and the lazy indolent, their
   requirements in books, 151.

 Infallibility, 257, 296, 316.

 Infants, Baptism of. See Baptism.

 ---- the Presentation of, 252.

 Infidel arguments against the Bible, 316.

 Infidelity, and how to treat it, 77.

 ---- and Jacobinism, 253.

 Infinite, the, and the Finite, 54.

 'Inquiring Spirit, Confessions of an.' See 'Confessions,'&c.

 Inquisition, the, and the Bible, 313.

 Insanity, 342.

 Insects, 74.
   Vital power of, &c., 163.

 Inspiration of every word in the Bible, the doctrine argued
   against, 296, 309.
   See also Bible, Scriptures, &c.

 Instinct, 74, 160, 162, 279.
   Its nature, 280.
   Hüber's bees and, 281.
   Prof. J. H. Green, on, 278.
   How it is identical with understanding; and how diverse from
     reason, _ib._
   Maternal instinct, or storgè, 283.
   The instinct of anticipation in all animated nature, 237.
   Right use of the term, 279.

 Instruction, early, 156.

 Instruction and entertainment, xviii.

 Insufflation, Roman Catholic, 227.

 Interpretation. See Bible, &c.

 Irrational, the, 228.

 Irritability, 74.

 Irving, Edward. His view of baptism answered, 255.

 Jacobinism and Infidelity, 253.

 Jael, the morality of, 311.

 _James, Epistle_ (i. 21), 61; (i. 25), 13, 202; (i. 26, 27), 12, 13.

 Jebb, Dr., 49.

 Jesus. See Christ.

 ---- "the name of", 115.

 Jewish faith, articles of the, 130, 132.

 ---- Church and people, the, 250.
   Their canonical books, 298.

 ---- history and sacred records, 358.

 Jews and Christians, foundations of their religious beliefs, 238.
   See also Rabbinical.

 ---- the, and the early Christians, 215, 238.

 Jews, Coleridge's attempt to convert one, 337.

 Job, the Book of, 307.

 John (i. 2), 13.

 ---- (i. 18), 212.

 ---- (iii. 13), 211.

 ---- (v. 39), 246.

 ---- (vi.) 212.

 ---- (1 v. 20), 4.

 John the Baptist, 242.

 John, St., the Evangelist, 217.
   His Gospel, 242, 258, 350.
   His writings, 211.
   See also, for passages, John (i. 18), &c.

 Jonah, the Book of, parabolical, 174.

 Kant, 269.

 Keble on Hooker quoted, 353.

 Kepler, 269.

 Knowledge, 36, 65, 81.
   The sort required for Christianity, 5, 7.
   Purity requisite for its attainment, 64.
   Knowledge not the ultimate end of religious pursuits, 65.
   Knowledge, if right, not enough to do right, 81.

 Lactantius quoted, xiv.

 Language, 160.
   Coleridge's precision of, lxix.
   Strictures of, 127.

 Lavington, Bishop, 47.

 Law, 12, 40, 270.

 ---- and Religion, 186.

 ---- the word, St. Paul's and St. John's use of, 202.

 ---- the, and Christ, 201.

 ---- the, of Moses, and the Christian dispensation, 240.

 ---- W., his mysticism, 'Serious Call,' &c., 258-9.

 Learned class, the, 198.

 Leibnitz, 269.

 Leighton, Archbishop, extracts from, 2, 3, 17, 27, 29, 35, 36, 37, 39,
   50, 52, 54, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 74,
   75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 104, 106, 137, 200, 202, 203, 242.

 ---- remarks on, xviii, 94, 102.
   His sublime view of religion and morality, xxi.

 Lessing, 232.

 Liars for God, 308.

 Lies, Falstaff's, 310.

 Life, 4.

 ---- prospects, the fear of injuring, 68.

 Literary bravos and buffoons, their attacks upon Coleridge, 258.

 'Literary Remains,' Coleridge's, 188, 314, 340.

 Liturgy, spots on the, 257. See also Prayer Book, &c.

 Locke, his philosophy and that of Coleridge and Bacon, lviii, lxvi.
   His opinions and Fatalism, lv.
   Dangerous tendency of his views, xii, xlix.

 ---- and Aristotle, 44.

 Logic and Grammar--parts of speech, 117.

 Logodædaly and logomachy, 81.

 Lord's Prayer, the, 132.

 Love, 24.

 ---- and Christian love, 58.

 ---- and the will, 25.

 "Love, the Family of," Dutch religious sect, 95.

 Lovers' quarrels, 67.

 Luther, 210, 213, 254.
   Extract from, 201.
   His view of Freewill, 105.

 Madness, 269.
   The passage of wickedness into madness, 342.

 Magee, Dr., on Redemption, 274.

 Maimonides, 232.

 Man fleeing from God, 83.

 ---- reason in, 345. Man a thinking animal, xix.
   See also Reason, &c.

 ---- and the brutes and lower creatures, 2, 75, 341, 343.
   See also Reason, Instinct, &c.

 Maniac, 25, 178.

 _Manifested in the flesh_, 217.

 Mant and D'Oyly on Baptism, 254.

 Marat, 253.

 Marinus quoted, xiv.

 Marriage, 25.
   And the marriage service, 353.

 Marsh, Dr., 107.

 ---- Dr. James, of Vermont, U.S., and his Essay on the 'Aids,' xii,

 Materialism, 91.
   And Idealism, &c., 265.

 Materialists, the, 24.
   Avowed and unavowed, 264.

 Maternal instinct, 283.

 Mathematical atheists, the, of the French Revolution, 121.

 Meekness, 79.

 Mendelssohn, Moses, 232.

 Merit, 85.
   Men of little merit, 69.

 Metanoia, 86.

 Metaphor, xi, 214.
   The same in the Gospels, 136.

 Metaphors in Scripture interpretation, 200.

 Metaphysical opinions and the doctrines of Revelation, xliv.

 Metaphysics, 45, 171.

 ---- the objections to, lxxi.

 Methodist fanatics, 210.

 Michal, the sons of, David's treatment of them, 186.

 Milton on reason and the understanding, lix.

 Milton's word arbitrement = free agency, 344.

 Mind, the human, 2, 80.
   Differences in, 149.

 "Mind of the flesh," St. Paul's, 346.

 Minimifidianism, 142, 244.
   See also Fidianism.

 Ministry, the Christian, 2, 35, 68, 96.
   Worldly views in, 68.
   Students for it addressed, xvi.
   An unlearned ministry incapable, 98.

 Miracles, those worked by Christ, 231.

 Miraculous, the term, 64.

 Mirth, 52.

 Moral Law, the, 130, 132.

 ---- Philosophy, 199.

 ---- Science, 89. The same and Political Economy,196.

 ---- and Religious Aphorisms, 35.

 Moralist, Paley not a, 196.

 Morality, 12, 14, 20, 62, 131.
   Of the Bible, 311.
   Morality less than religion, xvii.
   Religious morality, 45, 85.
   Transition from morality to religion, 63.

 ---- and the people, 196.
   And prudence, xvii, xxxi, 19, 64, 131, 273.

 Morality and religion, xvii.
   See also Religion and morality.

 Morals, Expedience is the anarchy of, 90.

 More, Dr. H., 94.
   Extracts from, 95, 96, 98.

 Moses, 62.
   The books of, 299.

 ---- Paul and Christ, 241.

 Motannabbi, his _Fort_-philosophy, 237.

 Motives, xlix, 39, 58.

 Mysteries of Religion, xviii, 158.

 Mysticism, 227, 258, 260, 261.

 Mythology and Christianity, 188.

 Name, the word, 152.
   As applied to God and Christ in Scripture, 351.

 Natural and Spiritual, the terms, Coleridge's view of, xxx.

 ---- Theology, 272.

 Naturalist, a, 238.

 Nature, 44.
   The fairy-tale of, 41.
   The term, &c., 166.
   The Religion of (so called), 158.
   The worship of, 271.

 ---- and Art, 167.

 ---- and Free-will, xxxii, xlix, 42, 44, 167, 176.

 ---- and religion, 57.

 Necessitarians, creed of the, lii.

 New England Calvinism, 105.

 ----, religion in, lxvi.

 New Jerusalemites, and Coleridge's attempt to convert one, 337.

 New Testament, the misinterpretations in, xlviii.
   The authorized version defective, 12.

 ---- and the Church, 246.

 Newton, Pope's epigram on, 230.

 Newtonian and Cartesian philosophies, the, 268.

 Newtonian system, the, 156.

 Nicholas, H., the Familist, 95.

 Novelty, 258.
   Its use, 1.
   The fault of, 230.
   The passion for novelty in thought, 72.

 Obedience, total, impossible, 183.

 Oersted, 265.

 _Old man, the_, St. Paul's use of the term, 194.

 Order, 255.

 Origin of Sin, controversy on, in the _Christian Spectator_, 1829, liv.

 Originating an act, 176-7.

 Original, the word, 175, 178.

 Original Sin, 172.
   Apologue illustrating the bearings of Christianity on the fact and
     doctrine, 192.
   Original sin not hereditary sin, 200.
   Augustine and Original sin, 247.

 ---- and Redemption, 206.
   Coleridge's view of, xxx.

 Orthodoxy, 78.
   Popular orthodoxy, 309.

 Pagan philosophy, xvii.
   See also Philosophy, the old, &c.

 Pædo-Baptists, 244.

 Paley, Dr., 239, 273, 274, 275.
   Not a moralist, 196.
   His principle of General Consequences, 181.
   His 'Evidences,' 232.
   On man and the brutes, lx.
   A passage in his Moral and Political Philosophy criticized, 230.

 Papists, Baxter's censures of the, 141.

 Paradox, 5.

 Parr, Dr., on Paley, 230.

 Passion no friend to Truth, 79.

 Paul, St, 16, 212.
   His use of the names Adam, and _the old man_, 194.
   The word "election" in his writings, 113.
   His Epistles to the Romans, and to the Hebrews, 238.
   His use of the word Law, 202.
   On the remission of sin, 213, 215.
   His view of schism, 254.
   His writings, 211.
   For St. Paul's writings, see also under _Romans_, &c.

 Paul, Moses, and Christ, 241.

 Pay and expiation, the words, 216.

 Peace (or Reconcilement), 50.

 Peasants' War, the, and other revolutionary outbreaks, 253.

 Pelagianism, 57, 247, 252.

 Pentad, the, of Operative Christianity, 288.

 Pentateuch, the, 299.
   See also Bible, &c.

 People, the, and the ministry, 6.

 ---- the, and morality, 196.

 Perfectionists, 98.

 Person, the first--No I possible without a Thou, 343.

 Peter Martyr, 227.

 _Peter, St._, Epistle II., 298.

 Petrarch quoted, 21.

 Pharaoh, destruction of, 356.

 Pharisees and Sadducees, the, 133.

 Philosophic Paganism, modern, 128.

   prejudice against in religious communities, xxxiii.
   Modern philosophy, xlvii, lx, 156.
   The Scottish, xlix, lxv.

 ---- and religion, necessity of combining their study, xxxix.

 ---- the old, and Christianity, 84.

 ---- and the Gospel, 122, 124.

 Phrenology, 100.

 Physico-Theology, 272.

 Pity, 23, 34.

 Plato, the misinterpreters of, 92.

 ---- and Aristotle, ideas of God, 167.

 Platonic philosophy, lxvii.
   Platonic view of the Spiritual, 20.

 Pleasure, 30.

 Plotinus on the soul, 53.

 Political Economy and Moral Science, 196.

 Polypi, &c., development in, 58.

 Pomponatus, and his _De Fato_, 159.

 Pope's epigram on Newton, 230.

 Popery and the Bible, 313.

 ---- See Roman Catholicism, &c.

 Popular Theology, 274.

 Power, xlix.

 ---- and authority, distinction between, 358.

 Prayer, 350, 361.
   The philosophy of, 257.

 ---- The Lord's, 132.

 ---- A Nightly, 340, 360.

 ---- Book of Common, Notes on, 257, 337, 338, 350.
   Proposed alterations in, 352, _et sq._

 Preacher, the, 288.

 Preaching, 61.
   Baptism and preaching, 242.

 Pride, 69, 76.

 ---- and humility, 75.

 Priestley, Dr., 139, 239, 270.

 Principle, 40.

 Prometheus, 189, 270.

 Promise, the _ingrafted word of_, 237.

 Proselytizing, Coleridge's attempts at, 337.

 Prospects in life, fear of injuring, 68.

 Protestantism and schism, 316.

 Prothesis, Thesis, &c., forms of Logic, 118, 343.

 Prudence, 11, 17, 18, 22, 33, 34, 131.
   Prudence distinct from Morality, xvii, 131.

 ---- and Morality, Coleridge's views of their relations, xxxi, 64.

 Prudential Aphorisms, 27.

 Psalms, the, 302. See also Prayer Book.

 Psilanthropism, 139, 160.

 Psilanthropists, 138.

 Ptolemaic system, the, 156.

 Public, pampering the, 152.

 Public Good, the: "We want public souls," 98.

   insincerity in the, 318.
   Pulpit "routiniers," 308.

 Purgatory, 206.
   And the Bible, 313.

 Purity requisite to the attainment of knowledge, 64.

 _Quarterly Review_, the, on Baptism and Regeneration, 226.

 Rabbinical and other dotages on the Scriptures, 194.

 Railers at religion, 78.

 Ransom, the word, 216.

 _Rational_ Christian, the, 274.

 Rational interpretation of the Scriptures, xxxviii.

 ---- and reason, the words in relation to religion, xxxiii, 8.

 Readers and authors, xv, xviii.

   In man, 137.
   Neglect of studies belonging to it, xvii.
   Discernment by, 4.
   Reason not the faculty of finite, 345.
   God _is_ reason, 255.
   Practical reason, 97, 115, 164, 277, 283.
   Right reason and Faith, 228, 229.
   Reason is super-individual, 346.

 ---- and its antagonists in man, 345.
   And the conscience, 229, 345.
   Reason and rational, use of the words in relation to religion, xxxiii.
   Reason and the Spirit, 96; and Spiritual religion, xxxvi.

 ---- the, and the Understanding, xi, 135, 142, 143, 171.
   Their difference in kind, 143, 148.
   Coleridge's "twenty years" of contention for this distinction, 160.
   The distinction a key to Coleridge's system, xxxii.
   Prof. J. H. Green's view, 278.
   Milton's view, lix.
   Summary of the scheme of the argument, 277.
   [For this argument see also Understanding, &c., the 'Aids' throughout,
     _passim_, and the 'Confessions' in part.]

 Reason and the will, 344.
   See also Will.

 Reasoning in religion, rule for, 108.

 Reconcilement, 50.

 Reconciliation, 61, 215.
   The word and its connection with money-changing, 215.

 Redeemer, the, 13.
   See also Christ, &c

 ---- "every man his own," 87.

 Redemption, 143, 200, 257, 293.
   Coleridge's view of, 208.
   The doctrine of, xiii, 106, 195, 223.
   Dr. Magee on, 274. Its mystery, 208.

 ---- and Baptism, 209.

 ---- and corruption, 185.

 ---- and Original Sin, 194, 206.

 Reflection, xxv, xxvi, 1, 2, 4.
   Art of, xiii, xix.
   Need of, xiii, xix.

 Reformation, the, Bacon and, lxiv.

 Reformed churches, the creed of the, 292.
   Religion in New England, lxvi.
   Railers at religion, 78;
     and satirical critics of it, 45.
   Speculative systems of religion, 126.
   The spiritual in religion, 20, 61.
   The three kinds of religion corresponding with the faculties
     in man, 21.
   Where religion is, 196.
   See also Spiritual religion, &c.

 Reformers, the, of the 16th and 17th centuries, lvi, lvii.

 Regeneration, 200, 217.

 ---- and Baptism, 136.
   The doctrine that "Regeneration is only Baptism" refuted, 226.

 Regret and remorse, 105, 342.

 Religion, 29, 156, 158.
   Advantages of, 32.
   Coleridge's views on, xxx, xxxii.
   The mysteries of religion, xviii, 158.
   Natural religion, 120, 157.
   The "Religion of Nature," &c., 158.
   Rule for reasoning in religion, 108.
   The word in _James_ (i. 26, 27), 12.

 ---- and Law, 190.

 ---- and Morality, xvii, xxi, 273.
   'Lay Sermons' referred to, 273.

 ---- and Nature, 57.

 ---- and philosophy, necessity of combining their study, xxxiii, xxxix.

 ---- and science, 162.

 'Religion, Assertion of,' &c., Coleridge's unpublished work, 103.

 Religious amalgamation, 67.

 ---- Aphorisms, Moral and, 35.

 ---- autobiography, 49.

 ---- communities, disputes in, 67.
   Their prejudice against philosophy, xxxiii.

 Religious contemplation, 124.

 ---- controversies, 67.

 ---- experiences, 291.

 ---- morality, 45.

 ---- philosophy, elements of, 88.

 ---- professors, detraction among, 70.

 ---- pursuits, 65.

 ---- teaching of the time, and of that of Baxter and Howe, lvii.

 ---- toleration, the limitations of, 139.

 ---- truths and speculative science, 205.

 ---- unions, 67.

 Remorse, 82.
   Remorse and regret, 105, 342.

 Repentance, 85.
   Jeremy Taylor's work on, 207, 213.

 ---- and forgiveness, 86.

 Reprobation, doctrine of, 103.

 Responsibility, 342.

 Resurrection, death and the, 204.

 Revelation, the doctrines of, and metaphysical opinions, xliv.

 Revolution, the Godless, 199.

 Revolutionary, Geryon, the, 253.

 Ridicule, 47.

 Right, a knowledge of the right not enough for doing right, 81.

 ---- misuse of the word, 181.

 ---- and wrong, 81, 181.

 Righteousness, imputed, 73.

 ---- and virtue, 6.

 Rites and ceremonies, 12, 358.

 Robespierre, 253.

 Robinson, Wall, and Baxter on Baptism, 247.

 Robinson's 'History of Baptism,' 246.

 Roman Catholic, and Catholic, the terms, 141.

 ---- Catholic Church. See also Romish Church, &c.

 ---- Catholics, 141.
   Coleridge's attempts to convert, 337.
   Their doctrine of the punishment of sin, 213.

 ---- Catholicism, 239, Is inseparable
   from Popery, 200.
   Insufflation and extreme unction in, 227.

 _Romans_, Epistles, quoted, &c. xxxix, 39, 42, 43, 113, 174.

 Romish Church, the, 199, 246.
   See also Roman Catholic, &c.

 ---- hierarchy, source of their power, 213.

 ---- superstition respecting the Eucharist, 353.

 Sacrament, doctrine of the, 260.
   Sacrament of the Eucharist, and the best preparation for it, 350.

 Sacramentaries, the "freezing poison" of their doctrine
   of the Eucharist, 351.

 Sadducees and Pharisees, the, 133.

 Saint, and St.  See the names of the Saints, as John, Paul, &c.

 Salvation, the doctrine of, 36.

 Satire and enthusiasm, 46.

 Satirical critics of religion, 45.

 Savages, their belief in a future life, 237.

 Saviour, The, 165, 169.

 Scepticism, origin of, 29.

 Sceptics, unwilling, 103.

 Scheme, a, not a science, 195.

 Schism, and St. Paul's view of it, 254, 256, 257.

 ---- and Protestantism, 316.

 Science and religion, 162, 205.

 ---- what is, and what is merely a scheme, 195.

 Scottish philosophy at fault, xlix, lxv.

 Scripture, 8, 288.
   Figure of speech in, 56, 313.
   Its language, 55.
   Its literal sense the safer, 56.
   See also Bible, Inspiration, &c.

 ---- interpretation, 101, 194, 205, 243.
   Private interpretation denounced, 199.
   Rational interpretation, xxxix.
   See also Allegory, Metaphor, Bible, &c.

 Scriptures, Letters on the Inspiration of the.
   See 'Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit.' "Search ye," &c., 246.

 _Scrutamini Scripturas_, Selden on, 246.

 Sect, or Church, lovers, aphorism for, 66.

 Seed analyzed, 41.

 Seekers, the, 94.

 Selden on _Scrutamini Scripturas_, 246.

 Self, 306.

 Self-deceit, 61.

 Self-interest, prudent, 34.

 Self-knowledge, xix, lxxi.

 Selfishness, 99.

 Self-questioning, 205.

 Seneca quoted on spiritual truths, 96.

 Senses, conscience and the, 342.

 Sensibility, 22.

 Serpent, the, and Eve, 171.

 Shaftesbury, 128.
   His philosophy, 92.

 Shakspere, and his doubtful works, 302.
   His "discourse of reason," 346.
   His Falstaff, 310.

 ---- Coleridge's 'Lectures' on, referred to, 302.

 Sick bed, a, 207.

 Silence, the virtue of, 71.

 Sin,--"The subtle bosom sin,", 5, 10.
   Original Sin, 172.
   Roman Catholic doctrine of the punishment of sin, 213.
   The remedy for sin, 70.
   The tyranny of sin, 34.
   See also Origin of Sin, Original Sin, &c.

 Sins, confession of. See Confession.
   Imitating sins, 75.

 Skink, the, 78.

 Slander, 70.

 Smith, John, his Tracts (1660), quoted, 167.

 Socinian doctrine of forgiveness, 86.

 Socinianism, 231.

 Socrates, 64.

 Sophisms, exposing, xvii.

 Sorrow, 57.

 Soul, the, 83.
   Its different faculties assigned to parts of Religion, 21.
   Its immortality, 236.
   Its organs of sense, 57.
   Plotinus on the soul, 53.
   Soul and Spirit, 203.
   See also Spirit, &c.

 South, Dr., and his speculations upon the state of Adam and Eve, 194.

 Southey's 'Omniana' referred to, 55.

 Space, 116.

 Spanish refugee, a, on Christianity and Protestantism, 239.

 Species and genus, 149.

 Speculative reason and Theology, 122.

 Spinoza, 227.

 Spinozism, 268.

 Spirit, 43, 99.
   The Holy Spirit, 39, 50, 56, 96, 101, 288, 361.
   How the Holy Spirit's presence is known, 39.
   Pretended call of the Spirit, 98.
   The term Spirit, 38, 100.
   The Spirit in man is the Will, 55, 88.

 Spirit, _according to the_, 242.

 ---- body, soul and, 361.

 ---- and flesh, 225, 242.

 ---- and reason, 96.

 ---- and soul, 203.

 ---- and the will, 167.

 ---- and the Word, 317.

 Spiritual, the, Platonic view of, 20.
   The Spiritual in man, 88, 204.
   In religion, 20, 61.

 ---- and natural, the terms, xxx.
   Misinterpretation of the terms in the New Testament, xlviii.

 ---- Communion, 200.

 ---- influences, rational, 39, 50.

 ---- life and spiritual death, 217.

 ---- religion, xxxvi, xlii, 272.
   That which is it indeed, 102.
   Aphorisms on, 88, 96.
   The transition from morality to spiritual religion, 63.

 Squash, the, 78.

 St., and Saint. See the names of the Saints, as John, Paul, &c.

 'Statesman's Manual,' Coleridge's referred to, 199.

 Sterne, 24.

 Stoic, the, 57.

 Storgè, or maternal instinct, 283.

 Stuart, Prof. (? Moses), and his Commentary on the Epistle
   to the Hebrews, xl.

 Student, the Theological, an aphorism for him, 66.

 Students for the ministry addressed, xvi.

 Study neglected for amusement, 151.

 Subjective and Objective, 117.

 Success and desert, 235.

 Superstition, 126, 248.

 ---- and belief, 287.

 Superstitions go in pairs, 246.

 Superstitions respecting Baptism, 249.

 Swallow, the, 74.

 Swedenborgian, Coleridge's, alleged conversion of a, 337.

 Swift, 45.

 Symbol, 173.

 Symbolical and allegorical, difference between, 212.

 'Table Talk,' Coleridge's, editions of, 337.

 Talkativeness of women and Frenchmen, 72.

 Taylor, Jeremy, 170, 228, 230.
   Extracts from his works, 172, 187, 228, 229, 234.
   His 'Deus Justificatus,' 172, 187.
   His 'Liberty of Prophesying,' and his alteration of it, 245.
   His work on Repentance, 207, 213.

 Technical phrases, 59.

 Temperance inculcated, 59.

 Temple, the light of the, 292.

 Temptation, 186.

 Tempter, the, 166.

 Terms, Doctrinal, 36.
   Technical, 59.
   See also Words.

 Testament, New. See New Testament.

 ---- Old. See Bible.

 ---- the Old and the New, 133.

 Theological student, aphorism for the, 66.

 "Theology, Natural," so called 168, 272.

 Theology, Physico, 272.

 ---- popular, 274.

 ---- speculative, and reason, 122.

 Theses, kinds of, Prothesis, Thesis, &c., 118, 343.

 Thinking man, the, xix.

 "Thinking souls, we want," 100.

 Thought, the faculty of, 3.
   The passion for novelty in, 72.
   Thought and attention, 3.

 Thurtel, the murderer, his "bump of benevolence," 100.

 Time and Eternity, 209.

 'Titus Andronicus,' Shakspere's, 302.

 Toleration, 67, 68.

 Tongue, the, and detraction, 70, 71.
   The phrase "Hold your tongue!" _ib._

 Tooke, Home, his Winged words, xv.

 Torment, everlasting, 103.

 Trades, arts, &c., and thinking, xix.

 Transfiguration, the, 312.

 Transgressions, the saving power of, 129.

 Transubstantiation, 87, 123.
   Arnauld's work on, 260.

 Trinity, The, 116, 121.
   The doctrine of, 102.

 Troubles, refuge from, 76.
   Worldly troubles, 77.

 Truth, 71.
   Christianity is not better than truth, 66.
   Hooker on, 287.
   Truth must be sought in humility, 126.
   Love of truth, 291.
   Truth Supreme!, 255.

 ---- and belief, 293.

 ---- partial, zealots of, 251.

 Truths, the most useful, 1.

 Ultrafidianism, 138.

 Understanding = discourse, 228.
   How modified in man, 283.
   St. Augustine on, xviii.
   The word in St. John, 4.

 ---- and instinct, 162.

 ---- and reason, 135, 346.
   The distinction between, xxxii, 205.
   Confusion of the terms, lviii, lxi, 167.
   See also Reason and Understanding.

 Unicity, 138.

 Unions, Religious, 67.

 Unitarian, the word, 138.

 Unitarianism not Christianity, 140.
   Its doctrine of self-salvation, 87.
   See also Psilanthropism, &c.

 Unitarians, 230, 232.
   They should be called "Psilanthropists," 138.

 Unity, 40.

 ---- and the Unitarians, 138.

 Unkindness, 151.

 Vanists, the, 94.

 Vanity and humility, 69.

 Vice a wound, 129.

 ---- and virtue, the twilight between, 24.

 Vico, G. B., quoted, xiv.

 Vicious men and good, 72.

 Virgil, 275.

 Virtue, 30, 128.
   Virtue a medicine and vice a wound, 129.
   Virtue and righteousness, 6.

 'Vital Dynamics,' Prof. Green's, referred to, 59; quoted, 278.

 Vital power of insects, &c., 163.

 Wall, W., his tract on Baptism, 254, 255.
   On the Church, and unity among Christians, 256-57.

 Warburton, 45, 239.
   His tract on Grace, 258.

 Wars and Christian men, 358.

 Water, the word as used by Christ, 272.

 Waterland and Bull, their works, 211-12.

 _Watchman_, the, Coleridge's, 23.

 Wesley, John, and the Bible, 311.

 Wickedness, 54.
   When it passes into madness, 342.

 Will, 176.
   The Absolute Will, 224, 255.
   A good will, 197.
   When will constitutes law, 201.
   The will of the Spirit, 203.
   The will = the spirit in man, 88.
   Jeremy Taylor on the will, 231.
   See also Original Sin, &c.

 ---- and the brute animals, 201.

 Will and Free-will, 342.

 ---- and the judgment, xviii.

 ---- and love, 25.

 ---- and reason, 344.

 ---- Free, xlix, 39, 40, 42, 56, 104, 163, 176, 185, 190.

 Wind-harp, a, 207.

 Witch of Endor, the, and misinterpretation of the word witch, 311.

 Witchcraft, and Sir M. Hale, 311.

 Women and Frenchmen, talkativeness of, 72.

 ---- and religious fanaticism, 210.

 Wonder, 156.

 "Word, the, that was in the beginning", 294.
   The Divine Word, 6.
   The informing Word, 4.
   The Word as a Light, 242.
   The Word and the Spirit, 317.

 Words, xvi.
   Their force as used by Coleridge, lxix.
   Hobbes on, 167.
   Importance of a knowledge of words, 5.
   Legerdemain with words, 23, 81.
   Meaning and history of words, 15, 100.
   The science of words, xvi.
   The use of words, 150.
   See also Terms, and some words under their several names.

 Wordsworth, 44, 271.

 Works, Good, 85.

 World, the, its unsatisfying nature, 54, 76, 82, 235.
   Retiring from the world, 84.

 Worldliness and Godliness, 56, 60.

 Worldly activity, xvii; hopes and fears, 52.
   Worldly views, influence of, 68.

 Wrapped up, unseemly matter, 358.

 Wrap-rascal, a, 121.

 Young, the, education of, xvi.

 Zealots of partial truth, 251.


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