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We will allow that rigidly inculcated morality might in time discipline the mind; if it were endued with no feeling, it might steel it sufficiently against the seduction of the world; if it found in itself no internal counter-agent, it might succeed in a world of beings formed without feelings or passions. But such a world is not here; as human nature is now constituted, it is ever likely to prove feeble and powerless in every way. As far as promoting that predisposing inclination to virtue, of which we are speaking, it does not even pretend to give it; it is cold in its nature, and enters not into the heart: the boasted code is too coarsely woven to affect the passage of these fine and impalpable sensations, and looks only at the utmost to the correction of the more gross and positive sin. The commencement of the mischief, therefore, is, under this supposition, left entirely untouched, though we know that the certainty of its progress may in most instances be but too surely calculated upon.

The law may punish theft; it even goes so far as to aim, by so doing, at destroying the audacity of the mind that would dare to seize

upon that property which belongs to another. But what is there in this power of the law that should arrest in its origin the first germ of a thievish disposition-how will it restrain the internal and secret coveting of what is our neighbour's? The law may sometimes paralyze the murderer's arm, but never can attempt to check the rising hatred in its earlier day, or the revengeful feelings that prompt such a horrid crime. The law may punish adultery, but never can even seek to reach that which is the source of the mischief-the unseen adultery of the heart.

We may give one more example of the insufficient influence of a system of morality, as to its effect on the human disposition, and that is one which brings us nearer to the true nature of religious feeling than any hitherto adduced, namely, the example of an oath.

An oath is become the main support, the very corner stone, of the temple of justice, in this country: it is that, without a regard to which scarce any transaction between man and man can be carried on; none certainly, after commission, can be examined without it. Yet

an oath is a mere breath, a mere sound without efficacy or use, if it is not founded on religious feeling in short, if it does not bottom itself on the fear of a Supreme Being. Every gradation of its power, and every estimate we may wish to form of the confidence we should repose on it, may be accurately calculated, by examining the hold which religion has in the mind of the person from whom it proceeded: and on this feeling the security of our properties and our lives universally depend. How inefficiently should we attempt to supply its place, by an expression of devotion to the public interests of society, or even, as some have proposed, to the national good, or any of the fancied formulas of the recluse and inexperienced philosopher. The principle of an oath is as familiar to savage nations as to the most civilized; it is a sort of necessary offspring of the second nature of man; but in every instance the principle of fear and reverence in which it is founded is one and invariably the


Whoever shall unhappily succeed in persuading his nation, whichever it may be, to

make this offering upon the altar of his own reason, (for that is what is called human reason, after all,) instead of the altar of his God, will learn one day, even within the limits of a short life, to weep over the ruin and devastation which his misguided efforts have brought upon society at large. All that unassisted human nature can do, must indeed savour of the imperfection that seems necessarily inherent in the works of man. And how many are the instances in which we see the folly of those persons exposed, who would persuade us that they are able to provide in any way a full and efficient substitute for religion!



Existence of God known by Revelation-Code of Morality given by Revelation—The efficacy it acquires by engaging our feelings—All Religions formed on tnis principle-Communication with God, an idea natural to Man-Argument as to the possible design of the Almighty-Christian Religion—Doctrine of the Incarnation Of the Atonement-Miracles.

Ar the close of a former chapter, we had come to this conclusion, that all the inferences of our reason followed and depended upon certain intuitive laws of the human mind; and that whether we looked to those axioms which are the foundation of mathematical science, or to any the most perfect species of proof to which our sagacity might attain-still the first step, the original law of our belief, was neither more nor less than a judgment formed by revelation from our Maker. This idea, then, that our elementary judgment is so formed, and cannot have proceeded from our reasoning faculties; this idea of a positive revelation to us having already taken place, certainly precludes the difficulty a man might otherwise feel as to

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