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lous can desire, to make up the composition of a great actress. In short, to parodize the words and not the sense of Shakspeare: "This Tree hath robbed many trees of their several additions. She is graceful as the poplar, majestic as the oak, malancholy as the willow, profuse in beauty as the magnolia, tender as the orange, delicate yet enduring as the locust. Like the cedar of Lebanon, an evergreen, redolent of sweets, whose sacred oil, when used to preserve from decay the books of the fathers was but a type of that intellectual essence, wherewith she embalms the thoughts and inspirations of genius in our memories for ever.'
Editors' Drawer. We resume, and conclude for the present, our examination of the brief articles appropriate to this department. Similar papers, now in hand, will be discussed in a future number.
The following reply to the queries of 'D.;' in the Knickerbocker for December, is timely, and, as it seems to us, well reasoned and conclusive:
To the Editors of the Knickerbocker:
GENTLEMEN: A sensible correspondent of yours, over the signature of 'D.,' proposes an attempt at an exposition of the following passage of Locke's Essay; and as I deem that quotation one of the finest specimens of writing in that great work of genius, I hasten to furnish him with my interpretation of it. Locke says:
Reason is natural revelation, whereby the eternal Father of light and fountain of all knowledge communicates to maukiud that portion of Truth wbich he has laid within the reach of their natural faculties. Revelation is natural reason, enlarged by a new set of discoveries, communicated by God immediately, which reason vouches the truth of by the testimony and proofs it gives that they come from God. So that he who takes away reason to make way for revelation, puts out the light of both, and does much the same, as if he would persuade a man to put out his eyes, the better to receive the remote light of an invisible star by a telescope.'
This statement contains a just and profound view of the object of a revelation from heaven, and of the office to be performed by reason in the examination of its credentials. The obscurity in the language of Locke, in which your correspondent refers, arises out of the ditference between the ordinary meaning of the term revelation, and thai technical import which is given it in theological treatises. Revelation is either natural or supernatural. In the firsi sense we use this word when we say, that as soon as day-light appeared, our dangerous condition was clearly revealed to us, or such a person revealed all the facts which were confided to him, under an injunction of secrecy Supernatural revelation, implies a miraculous communication of truth to mankind, by immediate inspiration of God. In the first of these meanings, therefore, reason is very apıly said by Locke, to be natural revelation, since all the truths at which we arrive through its instrumentality, must come to us mediately, though not immediately, from the great Father of light and fountain of all wisdom. May not the magnificent scene presented to us in the external world, be said to be revealed to us by God, through the action of the eye, or external organs of vision? So reason may be regarded as the internal organ of vision, or mental eye, which discloses to us the impalpable world of truth and knowledge.
Again: Revelation is natural reason enlarged by a new set of discoveries communicated by God immediately, which reason vouches the truth of by the testimony and proofs it gives that they come from God. That is, revelation in its technical import, is an enlargement of the knowledge of mankind by a new set of discoveries communicated immediately or supernaturally by God. And as we say, that a man may have a narrow or enlarged reason or understanding, according to his degree of information, so by these communications from heaven, and under this supernatural dispensation, the reason or knowledge of mankind may be said to be enlarged by a new set of discoveries. Or what is equivalent to this statement, a state of revelation, as contradistinguished from a mere state of natural reason, is that in which the reason or knowledge subsisting in the world is enlarged by revelations from heaven. Locke means to affirm, that all the truths to which the human mind can attain by the exercise of its native faculties, may be regarded as a kind of natural revelation, made to us by the Fountain of all wisdom, inasmuch as he bestows the powers which enable us to attain them, but where our knowledge ceases, or when we arrive at the boundaries which are prescribed to our researches, there revelation approaches, and opens new fields of knowledge.
But farther : Wher revelations to us are announced, upon what grounds are we to receive them as genuine communications from heaven? It would not do to give credit to every person making pretensions to divine illumination, or we might have become the dupes of every imposior, from Simon Magus to the infamous Matthias. How, then, are we to guard against endless impositions, unless revelations be considered as appeals to our reason and understandings, which, in the language of Locke, are to become
vouchers for their truth from the testimony and proofs which are given that they come from God?' If reason is not made the umpire which is to decide the authenticity of a revelation, we should open a door to the wildest enthusiasm, and most atrocious impostures. It does not follow, however, from this appeal to reason, that she must necessarily abuse her powers. It will be her province to discriminate the cases, in which the truths revealed are within or above her comprehension, from their very nature, and yet sustained by adequate proof, from those which are to be repudiated, as contradictory to her clearest dictates.
From this explanation, I think, we cannot fail to perceive the force and beauty of Locke's conclusion, so that he who takes away reason to make way for revelation, puts out the light of both, and does much the same as if he would persuade a man to put out his eyes, the better to receive the remote light of an invisible star by a telescope.' Could a more apt and beautiful illustration be invented by human genius? I recommend it to the especial consideration of all those divines in our country, who seem to imagine that they are exaluing the honors of revelation, when they are disparaging the pretensions of human reason, and making it as blind as a bat in matters of religion, when in the investigations of science, it can weigh the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance, subject the laws of nature to its dominion, and even scan the heavens. Right reason will always be the hand-maid to true religion, and the enlightened clergyman will never entertain any apprehensions about the progress of sound science. If the Bible be the word of God, it can never be found in contrariety to the volume of his works. Originating in the same unerring wisdom, they must be found in harmony, if rightly interpreted. He who would destroy reason, therefore, to make way for revelation, puts out the light of both, because reason is the inward eye, which not only discerns all natural and moral truth, but is the only organ that enables us to perceive those remote truths which are disclosed to it by the light of revelation. Revelation may become to it the telescope, by whose aid only it can bring those truths, like invisible stars, within its sphere of vision ; but it can no more supersede its functions in the apprehension of those truths, than the use of that optical instrument can preclude the necessity of the natural organ, in the observation of the heavenly bodies. The aptitude and beauty of this illustration may be still farther exhibited, by extending the points of analogy. Suppose the remote star which we desire to descry, to represent a future state of existence after death. Revelation may be symbolized by the telescope, which enables us to discern it. Now, as, after we have obtained a distinci view of the heavenly orb, through our optical glasses, it would be very unreasonable to deny its existence because it could not be discerned by the naked eye, or because its properties, as disclosed to us, are incompatible with those conceptions which we have previously formed of those planets, that come within the reach of more minute scrutiny, so also, it is equally irrational, to repudiate the doctrine of the soul's immortality, when clearly revealed," because we can attain but indistinct and inadequate ideas of the mode of its existence, and the offices it will perform in that future condition. It is enough that we can discern the remote star, through the aid of the telescope, to induce us to believe in the certainty of its existence in the regions of space. It is enough to convince us of the soul's immortality, that it is clearly disclosed to us in an authentic revelation.
Nor, finally, does this view of the subject supersede the exercise of Christian faith It only strips it of the characteristics of a blind credulity, and communicates to it the properties of a rational belief. Christian faith is a lively and operative conviction of the iruths of Christianity; and surely this is a plant which will as readily spring up, grow, and flourish in the soil of reason, and, I will say, too, of sound science, as in the rank and uncultured ground of ignorance and superstition. Nay, it becomes a more wholesome and productive tree, in proportion as the mould from which it grows is better formed by nature, and cultured by art and learning.
Junius, Jr.,' in a private note, 'is of opinion that, by giving place to a communication of the Rev. FREDERICK BEASLEY, to which Junius, Jr. replied, and by also giving the reverend gentleman the last opportunity — that is, the opening and closing speech the editors have dealt unfairly by the parties. If they also think so,' he adds, 'they will please give place to a reply to the article in question, contained in the November number of the Knickerbocker.' The request is but a just one, and we cheerfully comply with the wishes of our correspondent. Since, however, the matter now stands precisely
as we supposed it to remain when we expressed a similar decision, on a former occasion, we would repeat that, so far as this Magazine is concerned, the further discussion of this subject in its pages must be considered as at an end.
Dear Sir: I have no wish to knock down your argument, and place mine on its top, by my superior skill.' I merely wish to clear away the rubbish of error, being satisfied that truth will, in all such cases, be found on the top. I have, therefore, expressed freely my sense of the question at issue, and shall be equally rejoiced, which ever side may prevail, so that TRUTH be triumphant.
The nature of your argument against Hume, I think I fully comprehend. It is built on an attempt to show, that as human testimony in some cases amounts to certainty, it therefore does not always rest on a variable experience. This appears to me to be a contradiction in terms.' The very cireumstance of its being sometimes true, and sometimes false, constitutes its variableness. So far as I have learned, it always has been variable: I know that this is the character of testimony in the present day, and until it becomes uniformly true, or uniformly false, it will always continue to be variable. Not so with our experience of the laws or modes of nature: these are uniform, constantly pursuing the same course of causes and effects.
It appears, therefore, that your attempt to prove that testimony is sometimes uniformly true, is a kind of special pleading entirely one side from Mr. Hume's argument.
If, as you observe, miracles are the only evidence which should produce conviction of supernatural communications, or are the only authentic credentials of a divine mission, (and it appears to me to be quite reasonable that it should require the exhibition of a miracle to produce belief in so strange an event,) then it follows that we have no means in our reach to produce such conviction, for we are entirely without miracles, and are under the necessity of being satisfied with human testimony.
Let me put this in a more condensed position. You say : “By miracles alone can any one who makes pretensions to supernatural communication expect to produce conviction in the minds of others. But we are without miracles, therefore those making such pretensions ought not to expect to produce conviction.
Again : Miracles are the only authentic credentials of a divine mission.' But those pretending to such mission have shown us no miracles, therefore their credentials are wanting.
You put into the mouth of your opponents such a syllogism as this: "Testimony is sometimes doubtful and deceptive : that which is sometimes deceptive must always be so; therefore testimony is always deceptive.' It will not be necessary to call in the wisdom of Solomon, or the strengih of Sampson, to knock down this arguinent of straw. It will only be necessary to repeat the idea of Hume; that testimony is sometimes doubtful and deceptive; it cannot therefore furnish as strong proof as the laws of nature, which experience has proved to be uniform.
Allow me to quote another of your arguments, in which you appear to reason on the right side. It is clear that in regard to the constitution and laws of nature, we can neither attain to intuitive or demonstrative certainty. If we could do this, the affair would be summarily settled, and no room left for doubt. We should then be as sure that a dead man could or could not be raised, as that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles.' Are then the alleged miracles, events .conformable to the constitution and laws of nature,' but of which we are uncertain ? If so, they are not miracles. Hume defines a miracle to be 'a violation of the laws of nature.' Gleig, Buck, Brown, and others, as well as yourself, define it in the same manner. appears, from your reasoning alone, that the constitution and laws of nature are so certain, thai if we were suficiently acquainted with them, we could depend on their operations with the same certainty that the three angles, etc. But a miracle is an alleged violation or inversion of the laws and constitution of nature, therefore it is as certain that a miracle never occurred as that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right angles.'
The earthquake at Lisbon was an unusual, though a natural event: it gives therefore no suspicion of the certainty of the operation of the constitution and laws of nature,' and can furnish no argument in favor of miracles, which are events contrary to nature.
You have again instanced courts of justice, but as you still omit to name a trial in which a miracle would be involved, allow me to suppose a case which a uniform experience of the laws of nature would render obvious. Would a jury render a verdict for damages, however strong the testimony, if an action was brought to recover the value of a horse and cart, upon the ground that the trespasser had swallowed them? You may perhaps think that I am disposed to treat the subject with levity. It is not so. I have sought in vain for an instance which should be at once obvious and serious. I am persuaded that the air of comic absurdity belongs to the nature of the proposition. Indeed I have very little doubt, that if you would endeavor to rid yourself of your preconceived opinions, and would look at miracles, with the evidence only by which they are backed and opposed, free from the prejudice of education, and the influence of popular belief, even you would soon begin to smile at your own credulity. Your long and eloquent pleading to bolster up testimony, and to render experience of
the laws of nature doubtful, would perhaps persuade, if reason and common sense were not necessary to discover truth. * But truth,' says the learned Hosack, should attract by her simplicity as well as beauty. Where you discern much paint and artifice, beware of your embraces.'
I have read many replies, but no sufficient answer to this argument of Mr. Hume. It is one of those arguments which stand in their simplicity and immovable truth, like granite peaks, around which the ever-shifung alluvium of theology may change its forms and positions, but without being able to cover or destroy them.
For your good wishes and courtesy, allow me to return my hearty thanks, and to subscribe myself your sincere friend and servant,
What a hold has NAPOLEON BONAPARTE upon the imagination - not to say sympathy -- of mankind! It has been said of his followers, that they borrowed a splendor from the sun of the world, which vanished with its source. This may be true: but his was not that sunset
whose glory, while we view, Is lost to earth, and all around is blue.'
There is a gorgeous twilight, even yet, about the track of the long-descended orb. How much has been written, and how much continues to be written, of the great conqueror! He is a live-long theme. The following is one of five articles of verse now before us, on the same general topic:
LAMENT OF AN AUSTERLITZ VETERAN.
My glance was not fearfully dim,
Nor the hair on my temples all hoary,
I came from the fight red with glory:
When I think of that isle in the brine,
Where his cold shrouded relics are lying
And his dirge are eternally sighing,
In dreams of the night I behold
flis legions to battle advancing,
Bright wings o'er bis cavalry prancing,
Once more on my withering cheek
The storm of the Switzer is blowing,
Where the sands of the desert are glowing -
Again the red war-cagle huilds
His perch in the tottering Kremlin,
The field with artillery trembling -
I was stedfast to suffering France,
When the wild winds of Faction blew on her,
And he gave me this bright cross of Honor.
Could I but have stood by his bed
When his soul from the fetter that bound him
That long bad been warring around him, *
O, would that you Seine near his tomb
Could wander, his requiem swelling,
The cold, earthen roof of his dwelling :
Repining is vain! Near the place
Where he moulders, the willow is trailing,
of the desolate isle is assailing :
October, 19, 1836.
W. H. C. H.
Here is a touch of these times,' which will serve to relieve the more solid dishes here served up, as it were at a side table. The writer is far better off, with bis cheerful spirit and humor, than many a rich man, who, although having great possessions, is yet laboring to reach a certain satisfactory point in wealth, but finds that boundary a 'financial horizon, that recedes as he advances.'
Messrs. EDITORS: The times are strangely out of joint. The dislocation occurred somewhere about two years since; and although we have a superabundance of physicians and surgeons, no relief has yet been afforded to the patient. Some reconimend one thing, and some another; but instead of putting the unfortunate subject on the mending hand, the treatment has but increased the malady, and our ears are now continually assailed with the unpleasant music of ill-suppressed sighs and open groans.
In the mercantile world, there seems to be a deficiency of the circulating medium, and paper money, once very abundant, is now so scarce, that only a privileged few can obtain even a glimpse at a five-dollar note, to say nothing of being so fortunate as to own one. It is so long since I had the pleasure of seeing a genuine hank-note, that I have almost forgotten how they look. A friend of mine has one in his possession, and has promised to show it to me. I have in my drawer, several counterfeit bills, which I prize as highly as one does the portrait of a departed friend, whom he may never look upon again. I take great pleasure in regarding these dear images — these excellent copies of those soft and flimsy objects, with which the innermost pocket of my wallet was once so familiar. How delightful it is to look upon those exquisitely finished miniatures of Franklin and Washington, which adorn the ends of the little creatures! and how I love to contemplate Martius Curtius leaping into the yawning gulf, or that half-dressed female who sits so gracefully upon a rock, holding a pair of scales in her hand, while a pretty merchant ship is sailing plump against her back! And oh! how many tears have I shed, while reading the glorious promise so beautifully recorded thereon, in German text, and other kinds of letters, that if the bearer would come unto the President, he should receive one, two, ten, or a hundred dollars, as the case might be. It forcibly reminds me of by-gone days, when the times were so prosperous that I often had it in my power to walk with a bold front to the paying teller of a bank, and demand five silver dollars in exchange for a bill. Now, alas ! 'I am crest-fallen. I can no longer run the banks, nor look a director in the face, and say I ask no favors. My bank-book has lain undisturbed on my shelf for the last six months. I have not had occasion, during the whole of that period, to deposit a single dollar. My pocket-wallet has been so long without its natural food, that it looks like a beggar in a famine, so lank, wrinkled, and altogether worthless, does it appear. Once it was as portly as an alderman after the annual dinner; and when distended with V's and X's to its utmost capacity, it was indeed a circumstance in my pocket, worth noticing. But now it lies like a flimsy rag among my keys, knife, and iooth-pick, and has not been opened since the first day of August, when I made the third and last thorough search into its empty
* The 5th of May came amid wind and rain. Napoleon's passing spirit was deliriously engaged in a strife more terrible than that of the elements around.' - Scott.