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ERE we to adopt the plan of certain modem writers, it would be necessary to begin by defining the faculty of reason, by delineating its characteristick qualities in terms more striking from being new, than solid: but besides being often the mere effect of imagination and prejudice, these definitions are too numerous to answer any other purpose than to gratify curiosity, while the heart and the mind remain as unsatisfied as ever. We are too intent upon the surface, which, in fact, is the chief substance of many modern productions) whereas, the mind of man longs for something marked with all the attributes of truth; something that may call it back to itself from the wanderings of dissipation, or the languors of inaction, and point out its origin as well as its destination.— However, not to shrink entirely from this difficulty, we will only say, that, " Reason consists in the accuracy and combination of our thoughts," and is the faculty which distinguishes man from the brute, in whom instinct is really nothing more than impulse. The mind, perpetually busy in collecting a multitude of ideas, passes judgment upon them, and decides accordingly. Without the reasoning faculty, what would be the situation of this vast universe? "The Earth," says an interesting writer,* " would be nothing but a blind and sluggish mass, requiring neither the light, nor warmth of the sun; but when reason intervenes, which is the centre of God's works, and constitutes their harmony, then intelligence, unity and fitness become conspicuous in them all, and man, by approximating all beings towards each other, forms a grand total from the separate parts of the creation." "The animals," continues this writer," are unacquainted with Him, who clothes and feeds them; the stars know not whence they derive their brightness; reason alone perceives and feels these wonders; standing be
* Lb Plashcj Spcctaole de la Nature.
This is the grand and magnificent spectacle, which should fix our attention, and make us disregard the wretched trammels of this earthly body in which we are entangled." For let our strength of intellect, or flights of fancy, be what they may, we shall be no more than stammering infants, if eternity, that perspective traced by the Deity himself, should be hidden from our eyes. Those prodigies of human genius, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Tuily, are chiefly entitled to the veneration of posterity, for having broken through the gloom which surrounded their cotemporaries, in search of a glimpse of that indefectible light, of which the sun itself can be scarcely deemed the shadow: who could have imagined, that the clouds, which began to disappear before those luminous minds, would again be invited in our day, to hover over the horizon of reason with tenfold obscurity? Although enlightened infallibly by a ray from Heaven, this noble faculty retains its language and its rights among a few wise mortals only, who generally pass for driveling enthusiasts. Men are seriously labouring to divest themselves of their spirituality, to descend to the level of mere animal nature, and affect to be surprised, if a doubt or regret be uttered at such a degrading metamorphosis: nay more, enthusiasm becomes a louder watchword, as soon as reason begins to expose these delusions, and call us back to God in whom we exist and live. But her voice will never cease to be heard,— no stormy passions can efface the image of the Eternal.
Reason will continue to tell us, if we choose to hear her, that truly wonderful is the beginning of our existence, and that every contemplation on this mysterious subject, must necessarily cany us back through all the generations that are past, to some original parent, who could not create himself, and of course, must be the work of some eternal, unlimited, and almighty power, whose will creates, extends and multiplies all things. Reason will continue to tell us, that thought being altogether of a spiritual nature, bears no affinity to the lymph or blood that circulates in our veins, and without any other vehicle than the memory and imagination, can range uncontrolled through all the regions of space. It will tell us, that, agitated with desires, which find no rest here below, we seek without even a conscious knowledge of their tendencies, the supreme and only term of excellency and happiness, the centre of whatever moves and breathes. It will tell us, that thrown upon this globe for a few years or days, our chief business should be to secure the inconceivable recompense which is promised to virtuous sentiments and exertion. It will tell us, that nothing can ennoble the nature of man but a meek, and patient, and generous frame of mind; and that the man who is wise enough to live within himself, is far more dignified and happy, than he who is ever aiming to extend his fame, and thus to live by the fleeting breath of perishing fellow mortals. It will tell us, that truth, being the object of universal inquiry and estimation, must necessarily exist, and can be found exclusively unmixed with errour in the bosom of Christianity, the only sublime, and holy, and consistent religion. In a word, reason will tell us, that man only acts a rational part, when he honours his Creator, and that he can do this only by worshiping him in the manner which he has prescribed. These are the answers which reason will always make to those who consult kert instead of listening to the language of flesh and blood; which, allmaterial as they are, have a language of their own, often too powerful for the heart. It is this portion of our nature, which maintains the sway of the passions, making us a prey to dangerous, and often criminal sensations: it triumphs over the shattered powers of our souls; it substitutes the pleasures of sense, to those of reason; in secret whispers it presumes frequently to insinuate that it constitutes our final happiness, and that neither our persons, nor consciousness, survives its extinction. Thus readily do our hearts become engrossed by the accommodations and luxuries of life; they appear the only needful blessings, and poverty, nay mediocrity, is regarded as the greatest of evils. Unfortunately, reason is compelled to sustain the constant attacks of our animal nature, and thry only listen to her voice, who have courage sufficient to set at defiance the tyranny of fashionable opinions, and that of the senses. With great reason therefore, does the gospel enjoin a continual guard and vigilance over our animal propensities; and tells . us, th",t our greatest fear should be not of those who can destroy our bodies; and for the same purpose the apostle deems it highly important to inform us, that he " kept under his body and brought it into subjection."* The false and pernicious system of materialism derives its credit and support from that portion of our nature, which is constantly harassing us with its wants. Controlled by our feelings rather than by our perceptions, we are too prone to regard ourselves as mere earthly substances, unless by an effort worthy of our immortality, we shake off the degrading dust, and soar into the sublime regions of depurated ideas. There is a sanctuary in the bosom of our reason, where God himself resides, and delivers the oracles of his wisdom. Those inspirations, which we neglect, those compunctious visitations jof conscience which we stifle, those desires which we pervert, are nothing less than the echos of his voice: they are the communications of his will, the immutable economy of his law, which commands us to know ourselves, and to spiritualize all our faculties. To do this, no effort of enthusiasm, no quietism is required: it is merely the spring of an immortal substance conscious of its native energies, loosening its earthly ties, and soaring naturally to its source. Thus the silkworm divested of its unseemly integuments, expands its wings, and rises from the earth: thus the sluggish pool, after being lashed by the tempest, becomes pure and limpid. Were we fully sensible of the value of the operations of reason, were we convinced
that her voice is the interpreter of the most High, and the organ of his will, we should be more anxious to hear and obey her dictates, and to cherish this feature of the divinity in our nature. It is by reason, that man becomes in a great degree the sovereign of the earth: reason brings him acquainted with his Creator, and with himself; enables him to distinguish between good and evil; confers on him powers to caleulate, combine, and measure all quantities, bodies, and distances; and begets a feeling conviction of his immortal destination. Man, therefore, by abusing his reason, must degrade his nature; and this is so evident, that even the weakest minds dread above all things the imputation of unreasonableness: and yet, it is assuredly from the abuse of reason that the mistakes both of the head and the heart proceed. Man, from his very birth, is a prey to prejudice, mistaking for genuine light the glimmerings of fancy. The Egyptians were acquainted with many sublime sciences, yet they worshiped as many gods as they had plants in their gardens. Reason is never despised withimpunity; she will be heard, she will be respected, and her claims are founded upon the superiour value of her dictates to the counsels of fellow mortals. Created for us, and ever active within us, her language is accommodated to our characters, our capacities, and our duties. Nothing in nature bears such direct and intimate relation to our propensities and wants, as our own reason: but to feel this truth we must listen to her injunctions, we must understand our obligations. Among all nations reason is the same, but to obtain her ends, she varies her expressions; without encroaching upon the freedom of the will, she suggests motives most appropriate to every character; and while speaking soothingly to some, and vehemently to others, becomes all to all; but her language is always the same;—it is always the language of truth.
J'OR THE THEOLOGICAL MAGAZINE.
On the TesrjMONr, or, rather, on the Silence of Jose/thus, concerning Jesus Christ.
THE following is a faithful translation of the famous contested passage in the history of Josephus "About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if, indeed, we may call him a man, for he performed marvellous things. He was an instructor of such as embraced the truth with pleasure. He made many converts both among the Jews and Greeks. This was the Christ. And when Pilate, on the accusation of the principal men among us, had condemned