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Thus, both before and after the flood, the vicious of mankind receded from all true cultivation, as they hurried towards civilization. Finally, as it was not in their power to make themselves wholly beasts, or to remain without a semblance of religion ; and yet continuing faithful to their original maxim, and determined to receive nothing as true, but what they derived, or believed themselves to derive from their senses, or (in modern phrase) what they could prove à posteriori, they became idolaters of the heavens and the material elements. From the harmony of operation they concluded a certain unity of nature and design, but were incapable of finding in the facts any proof of a unity of person. They did not, in this respect, pretend to find what they must themselves have first assumed. Having thrown away the clusters, which had grown in the vineyard of revelation, they could not, as later reasoners, by being born in a Christian country, have been enabled to do, hang the grapes on thorns, and then pluck them as the native growth of the bushes. But the men of sense of the patriarchal times, neglecting reason and having rejected faith, adopted what the facts seemed to involve and the most obvious analogies to suggest. They acknowledged a whole beehive of natural gods : but while they were employed in building a temple* consecrated to the material heavens, it pleased divine wisdom to send on them à confusion of lip accompanied with the usual embitterment of controversy, where all parties are in the wrong, and the grounds of quarrel are equally plausible on all sides. As the modes of error are endless, the hundred forms of polytheism had each its group of partisans who, hostile or alienated, thenceforward formed separate tribes kept aloof from each
* I am far from being a Hutchinsonian, nor have I found much to respect in the twelve volumes of Hutchinson's works, either as biblical comment or natural philosophy; though I give him credit for orthodoxy and good intentions. But his interpretation of the first nine verses of Genesis xi. seems not only rational in itself, and consistent with after accounts of the sacred historian, but proved to be the literal sense of the Hebrew text. His explanation of the cherubim is pleasing and plausible: I dare not say more, Those who would wish to learn the most important points of the Hutchinsonian doctrine in the most favorable form, and in the shortest possible space, I can refer to Duncan Forbes's Letter to a Bishop. If my own judg. ment did not withhold my assent, I should never be ashamed of a conviction holden, professed, and advocated by so good and wise a man as Duncan Forbes.
other by their ambitious leaders. Hence arose, in the course of a few centuries, the diversity of languages, which has sometimes been confounded with the miraculous event that was indeed its first and principal, though remote, cause.
Following next, and as the representative of the youth and approaching manhood of the human intellect, we have ancient Greece, from Orpheus, Linus, Musæus, and the other mythological bards, or perhaps the brotherhoods impersonated under those names,* to the time when the republics lost their independence, and their learned men sank into copyists and commentators of the works of their forefathers. That' I include these as educated under a distinct providential, though not miraculous, dispensa·tion, will surprise no one, who reflects that in whatever has a permanent operation on the destinies and intellectual condition of mankind at large—that in all which has been manifestly employed as a co-agent in the mightiest revolution of the moral world, the propagation of the gospel ; and in the intellectual progress of mankind, in the restoration of philosophy, science, and the ingenuous - arts—it were irreligion not to acknowledge the hand of Divine providence. The periods, too, join on to each other. The earliest Greeks took up the religious and lyrical poetry of the Hebrews; and the schools of the prophets were, however partially and imperfectly, represented by the mysteries, derived through the corrupt channel of the Phænicians. With these secret schools of physiological theology the mythical poets were doubtless in connection; and it was these schools, which prevented polytheism from producing all its natural barbarizing effects. The mysteries and the mythical hymns and pæans shaped themselves gradually into epic poetry and history on the one hand, and into the ethical tragedy and philosophy on the other. Under their protection, and that of a youthful liberty secretly controlled by a species of internal theocracy, the sciences and the sterner kinds of the fine arts, namely, architecture and statuary, grew up together ;--followed, indeed, by painting, but a statuesque and austerely idealized painting, which did not degenerate into mere copies of the sense, till the process, for which Greece existed, had been completed. Contrast the rapid progress and perfection of all the products, which owe their existence and character to the mind's own acts, intellectual or imaginative, with the rudeness of their application to the investigation of physical laws and phænomena : then contemplate the Greeks (Γραίοι αεί παίδες) as representing a portion only of the education of man; and the conclusion is inevitable.
*“I have no doubt whatever that Homer is a mere concrete name for the rhapsodies of the Iliad. Of course there was a Homer, and twenty besides.
I have the firmest conviction that Homer is a mere traditional synonyme with, or figure for, the Iliad. You can not conceive for a moment, any thing about the poet, as you call him, apart from that poem. Difference in men there was in 'degree, but not in kind; one man was, perhaps, a better poet than another ; but he was a poet upon the same ground and with the same feelings as the rest." Table Talk, VI. pp. 312, 400.--Ed.
In the education of the mind of the race, as in that of the individual, each different age and purpose requires different objects and different means ; though all dictated by the same principle, tending toward the same end, and forming consecutive parts of the same method. But if the scale taken be sufficiently large to neutralize or render insignificant the disturbing forces of accident, the degree of success is the best criterion by which to appreciate both the wisdom of the general principle, and the fitness of the particular objects to the given epoch or period. Now it is a fact, for the greater part of universal acceptance, and attested as to the remainder by all that is of highest fame and authority, by the great, wise, and good, during a space of at least seventeen centuries--weighed against whom the opinions of a few distinguished individuals, or the fashion of a single age, must be holden light in the balance,—it is a fact, I say, that whatever could be educed by the mind out of its own essence, by attention to its own acts and laws of action, or as the products of the same; and whatever likewise could be reflected from material masses transformed as it were into mirrors, the excellence of which is to reveal, in the least possible degree, their own original forms and natures ;-all these, whether arts or sciences, the ancient Greeks carried to an almost ideal perfection : while in the application of their skill and science to the investigation of the laws of the sensible world, and the qualities and composition of material concretes, chemical, mechanical, or organic, their essays were crude and improsperous, compared with those of the moderns during the early morning of their strength, and even at the first re-ascension of the light. But still more striking will the difference appear, if we contrast the physiological schemes and fancies of
the Greeks with their own discoveries in the region of the pure intellect, and with their still unrivalled success in the arts of imagination. In the aversion of their great men from any practical use of their philosophic discoveries, as in the well-known instance of Archimedes, the soul of the world was at work; and the few exceptions were but a rush of billows driven shoreward by some chance gust before the hour of tide, instantly retracted, and leaving the sands bare and soundless long after the momentary glitter had been lost in evaporation.
The third 'period, that of the Romans, was devoted to the preparations for preserving, propagating, and realizing the labors of the preceding ; to war, empire, law. To this we may refer the defect of all originality in the Latin poets and philosophers, on the one hand, and on the other, the predilection of the Romans for astrology, magic, divination in all its forms. It was the Roman instinct to appropriate by conquest and to give fixure by legislation. And it was the bewilderment and prematurity of the same instinct which restlessly impelled them to materialize the ideas of the Greek philosophers, and to render them practical by superstitious uses.
Thus the Hebrews may be regarded as the fixed mid point of the living line, toward which the Greeks as the ideal pole, and the Romans as the material, were ever approximating ; till the coincidence and final synthesis took place in Christianity, of which the Bible is the law, and Christendom the phenomenon. So little confirmation from history, from the process of education planned and conducted by unerring Providence, do those theorists receive, who would at least begin (too many, alas! both begin and end) with the objects of the senses; as if nature herself had not abundantly performed this part of the task, by continuous, irresistible enforcements of attention to her presence, to the direct beholding, to the apprehension and observation, of the objects that stimulate the senses ;- -as if the cultivation of the mental powers, by methodical exercise of their own forces, were not the securest means of forming the true correspondents to them in the functions of comparison, judgment, and interpretation.
Sapimus animo, fruimur anima: sine animo animo est debilis.
L. Accii Fragmenta.
As there are two wants connatural to man, so are there two main directions of human activity, pervading in modern times the whole civilized world ; and constituting and sustaining that nationality which yet it is their tendency, and, more or less, their effect, to transcend and to moderate,—trade and literature. These were they, which, after the dismemberment of the old Roman world, gradually reduced the conquerors and the conquered at once into several nations and a common Christendom. The natural law of increase and the instincts of family may produce tribes, and, under rare and peculiar circumstances, settlements and neighborhoods; and conquest may form empires. But without trade and literature, mutually commingled, there can be no nation; without commerce and science, no bond of nations. As the one hath for its object the wants of the body, real or artificial, the desires for which are for the greater part, nay, as far as the origination of trade and commerce is concerned, altogether excited from without; so the other has for its origin, as well as for its object, the wants of the mind, the gratification of which is a natural and necessary condition of its growth and sanity. And the man (or the nation, considered according to its predominant character as one man) may be regarded under these circumstances, as acting in two forms of method, inseparably coexistent, yet producing very different effects accordingly as one or the other obtains the primacy; the senses, the memory, and the understanding (that is, the retentive, reflective, and judicial functions of his mind) being common to both methods. As is the rank assigned to each in the theory and practice of the gov. erning classes, and, according to its prevalence in forming the foundation of their public habits and opinions, so will be the