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Reed's Voyages to New South Wales,
Walch, Rev. J. Anecdote of,......
Review by the Editor, Complaint on,..
tutions, of the, reviewed,.... 276 War, on the Probability of Abolish-
43 Wellington, Colossal Statue of, in Hyde
977 Wolfe, Major-General, Memoir of, 176
Emperial Magazine ;
OR, COMPENDIUM OF
RELIGIOUS, MORAL, & PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE.
JANUARY.] SOCIAL REFINEMENT DAS NO EXISTENCE WHERE LITERATURE IS UNKNOWN." "[1822.
THE PHYSICAL AND MORAL WORLD.
No. 1.—Connection between Natural and
He too has plenty to occupy his attention. For, through the influence of work, which is the grand object of sophistical philosophy, that important Uni-Divine Revelation, is still in a great measure retarded; and it is the duty of every friend of truth to do all in his power to root it up. There are thousands in the present day, who would give countenance to the work of God, were they only convinced of the divinity of the scriptures. But when they find, as by their teachers they have been led to suppose, that philosophical facts run counter to revelation; when philosophers teach one thing, and the scriptures another, they cannot be but stumbled, and at a loss which to believe. And it is in vain to urge them to abandon sense and reason for an unintelligible something which the Christian calls faith. No: the sophist wishes to make surer work of it. Of two such opposite sources of information, he reasons upon the propriety of cleaving to that which proceeds upon the surest principles, and that which, in his view, is established on matter of fact. Thus religion, through sophistry, loses many of its advocates; through the supposed opposition of philosophy to revelation, and the book of nature to the gospel of the Son of God.
As the circumstances which gave rise to the following papers, did not originate from the author himself, though nothing could have been more congenial to his mind; but from his being requested, by the Editors of a respectable periodical publication, to prepare a Review of the "Theory of the Moral and Physical System of the Universe," of Mr. Macnab, in order to its insertion in that publication; it is deemed of importance that this should be understood. The review was accordingly undertaken, and prosecuted to a considerable length; but feeding in | such a rich pasture, and surrounded by objects so grand and sublime, the notion of merely a review, was, in consequence of the advice of many intelligent and learned friends, abandoned, as altogether insufficient for such a glorious subject; so that the originally intended brief review has now given place to a more enlarged speculation, which, it is humbly hoped, will be both necessary and useful.
In an age so pregnant with great events as the present; an age which has convulsed the political, philosophical, and moral worlds; an age in which the infidel has done his utmost to disseminate his ruinous tenets; an age in which the politician and the warrior have approximated to the zenith of that career, in which they had been so long struggling; an age in which the modest and receding philosopher also comes forward to claim his quota of public applause, for the many services he has rendered, by his numerous and useful discoveries; in such an age, when all are on the alert to distinguish themselves by something remarkable, is the advocate of truth, of moral as well as physical truth, to be the only idle person? By no means. No. 36.-VOL. IV.
And what has contributed to cherish this error the more, is, the constant, and hackneyed, and fearful procedure of many Christian teachers, in their mode of only treating what they conceive to be evangelical doctrine; but standing aloof from touching on natural truths, as if they were no part of a divine system, lest they should strike false fire. The term philosophy having been applied exclusively to such sort of truths, has also misled many; for by this means they have, in a manner, been wrested out of the hands of Christians altogether; they have been considered as belonging to a system, entirely different from that, which the Christian, from principle, has espoused; and this has rendered
them an easier prey to such as have called themselves philosophers. Nor would this circumstance have been much regretted, had not this class of men perverted the subject, and converted one part of the infinitely wonderful works of the self-same Being, into an instrument of opposing and thwarting another part of them.
It has been said, that philosophy is a handmaid to Christianity; and this, perhaps, would be a truth, were it not that it is so shockingly abused. Yea, I would go farther, and grant it an equally divine origin with Christi- | anity itself; for the facts on which true philosophy rests, have the same origin with those of revelation; they differ only in their nature or kind, but not in their authority; this being the same in both; and, like the vessels of silver and gold in the ancient sacred service, physical truths are of use to illustrate and enforce spiritual truths. Hence, is it the business of Christians, according to their ability, to trace them in their respective bearings, and to observe their admirable harmony, notwithstanding their infinite diversity; for, "the works of the Lord are great," says a celebrated saint of old," and sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.'
than most Christians are disposed to allow; and to treat Nature's truths as they do, in connection with revealed truths, would have the two-fold effect of depriving sophists, on the one hand, of their most powerful arguments against the gospel; and on the other, of instructing Christians in the knowledge of those laws of nature which they are called to obey, and even must in some sense obey, so long as they maintain their animal existence in this world.
This appears to be the object of Mr. Macnab, in his theory, and we trust we shall considerably ramify and enforce the same subject in our following papers.-In general, we may say, that his object seems to be, not to present the world with a new system of philosophy, but with a new theory, by which all the principles of philosophy, known or unknown, moral or physical, may harmonize. This seems to be his object. It is, in short, to furnish a key, by means of which he would unlock all mysteries; a thread, by which he would unravel all knowledge; a light, that will dissipate all darkness; a centre, that will unite all lines. Matter and mind are alike subject to its laws; for its laws, according to him, are more universal than those of gravitation."* Alike, it unfolds the mysteries of the Creation, Providence, and Redemption. unites all knowledge into a point or focus. It displays a continuity, a harmony, a concatenation, the most astonishing, subsisting among all the works of the Almighty. It shews how the book of Nature and the book of Revelation are linked together; the one being the first, the other the second volume of a work by the same
Were all Christians, according to the opportunity and ability which God gives them, as faithful as they ought to be in the discharge of this duty, it is impossible to calculate the happy effects which might result from it, both to themselves and unbelievers. However the generality may here plead to be excused, it is certainly the duty of the intelligent and learned among them, whatever be their profession, to devote at least a portion of their time, to a pursuit so rational, so in-hand. structive, and important, as that of demonstrating the correspondence and harmony subsisting among the various works of God, and by this means both edify their brethren, and convince the gainsayers.
It is pleasing to think, that there have not been wanting the most masterly works of this kind; but to the person who has consulted the work of our author, and is alive to the subject, it must appear that we are still far, far short of what yet remains to be done.
The sacred writers, themselves, will be found much more philosophical
Such is the theory of Mr. Macnab. This is the thesis he wishes to maintain. He wishes to simplify, to generalize, to give the mind a hold of every thing at one grasp! And, how noble, how sublime the idea, could it only be realized!
But is not the idea chimerical? To employ the phraseology of our author, judging by "analogy," where do we find any thing that will bear us out in such a pursuit, in the whole universe? Here, we see, if there be unities, there are also diversities-diversities ad infi
* Macnab's Theory, art. 12.