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spect for the Bible. If properly pursued, such researches will be certain to disclose new analogies between the constitution of nature and the system of revelation, and thus strengthen the proof of their common origin. Besides, there are questions in regard to our duty, which the Scriptures do not notice, and which must be decided therefore either by a moral instinct, or by deliberation. We do not quarrel with Mr. Combe, then, because he recommends the study of the natural laws as subsidiary to a proper knowledge and practice of our duty. On the contrary, we believe that this study is destined to be, in this respect, of the greatest value. The fact that the lessons given in the Bible respecting temperance, justice, benevolence, &c., are inculcated every where throughout nature, and that God has subjected our organs and faculties to such laws, that we cannot attain happiness without conforming to the moral precepts of Christ, is a fact which if clearly seen must always present a strong motive to virtue. Still, we have a right to require of every laborer in this department of science:
1. That he does not mistake for science, the results however ingenious, of a partial and hasty induction.
2. That such results, or in other words, conjectures be always kept in subordination to the Scriptures; i. e. where the Scriptures have distinctly expressed the will of God, there should be no attempt to set them aside on the pretence that science speaks a different language.
3. That the efficacy of mere knowledge be not overrated, but that there be a recognition of the melancholy but well known fact, that men may clearly understand the laws of God, whether made known through nature or revelation, and yet disregard them.
4. That no principles be put forward which tend to weaken our sense of accountability, or disturb our confidence in moral distinctions, or our reverence for virtue.
We are sorry to say, that Mr. C. is guiltless in neither of these respects. In connection with some judicious and many ingenious suggestions, he still evinces such a thorough disregard of the principles of inductive investigation, that we feel bound, as friends of science no less than as Christian reviewers, to protest against the whole style and spirit of his speculations. In doing this, we shall incur, we are aware, the displeasure of his admirers; and we proceed therefore to show very briefly that our charges are not made without reason.
1. We have said that no writer should put forward, as science, mere conjectures however ingenious; and, least of all. should he do this on a subject so sacred as morality. Mr. C. however, appears to know no difference between knowledge and conjecture, excepting in the investigations of the metaphysicians and divines. In regard to physiology or phrenology he can see nothing unsettled or doubtful. Majendie, one of the greatest living physiologists deplores the uncertainty of his science, and speaks of it, as being now, in the condition in which physical astronomy was before Newton commenced his labors. In Mr. C.'s estimation, however, all its guesses are to be received as established laws.
So with phrenology. To most scholars, this new revelation of light, looks very much like a tissue of loose assumptions and still looser reasoning, combined, however, with many useful observations and some shrewd conjectures. But to Mr. C.'s mind it is the scientia scientiarum, without which there can be no moral philosophy-no jurisprudence—no education.
For example, “ Mr. C. observed that the present course will be founded in phrenology, some knowledge of which he must assume his audience to possess. Without phrenology he should have found, in science, no resting-place for the sole of his foot, and never have attempted to clear up the mystery of God's moral government of the world.”! “ It was necessary to assume that phrenology affords a true exposition of the natural constitution of the mind-otherwise no data would be possessed for treating of moral duties.”! (p. 4.) “ It would be of the utmost importance to have a sound and serviceable philosophy of mind (in criminal cases) to guide the judges, managers, inspectors, and criminals themselves, because without such a philosophy the treatment would be empirical—the results unsatisfactory and the public disapprobation great. Phrenology appears to be the philosophy required,” (p. 140.) “A child, therefore, may be stubborn at one age, or under one kind of treatment, who shall prove tractable at a future period or when differently treated. Phrenology comes home to the hearts of parents in this department of life like a revelation from Heaven ; it enables them to appreciate the natural talents and dispositions of each child, to modify the treatment, &c.” (p. 81.) There is a vast deal more to the same purpose throughout the volume; but this, we presume, will be deemed sufficient.
2. After such declarations, it could surprise no one if Mr. C. were to give his science precedence of revelation, and maintain that its decrees are sufficient to set aside those of the Bible. Such seems to be the spirit of the following passages—“ The New Testament confines divorce to the single case of infidelity in the wife. The question now occurs, What does the law of nature, written on the constitution enact ?” Ans. “ The law (i. e. of New Testament) compelling an amiable and moral person to live in the society of a worthless husband or wife, and to be the unwilling medium of transmitting immoral dispositions to children appears contrary to benevolence and justice.” “ The French law seems more reasonable which permitted the parties to dissolve the marriage when both of them, after twelve month's deliberation, and after suitably providing for their children, desired to bring it to a close." (p. 59, 60.)
The fifth commandment requires children unconditionally to honor their parents. Mr. C., by studying the organ of venera. tion, ascertains that this obligation only extends to cases in which the parents have a wisdom, virtue, and experience; and that they must render themselves by their moral qualities and intellectual attainments natural objects of respect before they can hope to receive it of their children.” (p. 174.)
The fourth commandment requires us to rest on the Sabbath day ; but the laws of the bodily and mental constitution require, says Mr. C. some degree of exercise and recreation. (p. 175.)
The Scriptures represent prayer as exerting a persuasive influence over the Divine mind. According to Mr. C. however, God rules by general and immutable laws-such, that “prayer has no effect upon Him, but only works its effects upon us as it contributes to change the temper of our minds, to beget or improve right dispositions in them, to lay them open to the impression of spiritual objects” (p. 175.) Hence, too, every man must inevitably reap the natural consequences of keeping or transgressing any law, and must reap them in this life. The rigid execution of justice in the present world (by God) is the view to be maintained by Mr. C.” (p. 12.)
The Bible teaches that “whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.” Mr. C. contends that he only chastens those with whom he is displeased. “ In so far then as calamities arise from the action of the physical laws (which are very numerous, and their operations extensive) they ought to be viewed merely as punishments for disobeying those laws.” (p. 15.) “ The heart-rending desolation of parents, when they see the dearest objects of their love successively torn from them by death, ought to be viewed by them as the chastisement of ignorance or negligence alone, not as proofs of the world being constituted unfavorably for the production of human enjoyment." To avoid suffering then, we have only to observe the natural laws, leaving the author of those laws out of the question—and if suffering comes we are to consider it simply as a penalty, and hasten to repent. How little St. Paul must have known of this philosophy which"clears up the mystery of God's moral government of the world !" REVOL. I.-NO. I.
JOICE, says that apostle, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings. To you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for his sake. Ask Mr. Combe why these primitive Christians had great tribulations, nay, why the blessed Master became the Man of sorrows, and he will give a far different account of the matter. Yet he is sorely offended because the clergy of Edinburgh have presumed to say, that he is laboring, “ if not for purposes hostile to the Gospe!, at least on ihe theory that men may be made good and happy without the Gospel.”
3. Mr. Combe appears almost entirely unconscious of the fact that mere knowledge unaided by a higher influence does little for the virtue of mankind. In his estimation too, nothing seems worthy of the name of knowledge, except those formal and generalised statements of truth which we find in books of science ; and if ignorant of these, he appears to think that mankind can have no means of securing happiness, or even health. We must understand the structure and functions of the digestive organs, in order even to eat in safety, and be acquainted with the physiology of the lungs and the chemical constitution of the atmosphere, before we can venture to breathe the air of our chambers. Mr. C's. style of speaking would lead us to suppose that experience could give us no information—that self-preservation had been made by the Creator to depend on the study of phrenology—and that no results of science could become known or useful to common people till they had first learned the process by which such results were discovered.
But not to insist on this, let us suppose that men were thoroughly instructedin the nature and functions of every organ and faculty. Does it follow that they would act accordingly? So thinks Mr. C.“men of average minds, if informed, could not refrain from obeying the natural laws.” (p. 51.) “If before the organs of the domestic affections come into full activity the youth of both sexes were instructed in the laws of the Creator relative to marriage, and if the sanctions of religion and public opinion were added, it is hardly conceivable that as a general rule the propensities would act in disregard of all these guides.” “ If we are cultivating, enlightening and improving the mental powers for this world we are fitting them for the next !” (p. 181.) Knowledge is to make men obedient, and obedience is to be their salvation for this world and the next. This is Mr. Combe's short and easy method.
4. One of'the first requisites in a writer on Moral Philosophy, is that he put forward no principle which is calculated to weaken our sense of accountability, or shake our confidence in moral
distinctions. Whether Mr. C. has done this, will be sufficiently evident from a few extracts. “Men with heads of the worst class are naturally so prone to crime, that they yield to temptation and commit it.” “ Extensive observation of the heads of criminals and inquiry into their feelings and histories, place it beyond a doubt that in many of them conscience is (and always has been) either very defective or has literally no existence." “ It is extremely questionable whether society should punish severely those who err through moral blindness arising from deficiency of certain parts of the brain !" This is indeed " a revelation ! and there can be little doubt that at Sing Sing and Auburn, it would receive a most cordial reception. We fear, however, that the worthy inmates of those retreats would not be so well pleased with Mr. C.'s method of treatment, though they would doubtless prefer it to the method administered by Capt. Lyndes and Mr. Wiltsie. “ What then should be done with this class of beings?” * The old plan of punishment has undeniably failed, and ought to be given up. We should take possession of the persons alluded
to, [before they have broken any law], and treat them as moral patients. They should be placed in penitentiaries, where they should be prevented from abusing their faculties, yet be humanely treated, and permitted to enjoy as much liberty and comfort as they could support, without injuring themselves, or others.”
But what is the fundamental principle in Mr. Combe's ethics, that by which he would test the moral quality of actions? Does he recognise a radical and immutable difference between right and wrong—and constitute an unvarying standard of duty ? Xardly. —“Every act is morally right," (he says) “which is approved of by an enlightened intellect, operating along with the moral sentiments of benevolence, conscientiousness, and veneration ; while all actions disapproved of by these faculties are wrong.” (p. 9.) Here we would ask, whose “ enlightened intellect” is referred to in the above passage, or how we can know when our own becomes sufficiently enlightened to be taken as a guide. Is this giving us one moral standard, or many ? Is it ascribing to actions an intrinsic and fixed moral character of their own, or is it making their character dependent on “ the approval of be. nevolence, conscientiousness, and veneration, enlightened by intellect?” (p. 164.) Is it constituting one law of duty to be made the perfect rule of all ; or is it permitting every one to find a law for himself in the dictates of his own mind? The author attributes to Reid, Stewart, and Brown, a doctrine substantially the same with his own-to the last of them with justice; to the other two without any reason.