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old fatherly friend. He begged pardon of him, and confessed to him with deep emotion, that he had himself already felt that with these convictions he could not fill the profession of a preacher. Alas! added he, much consolation is lost to me thereby; and yet I cannot go back from opinions to which I have been brought by a serious investigation, and he then related the first conversation he had with his mother, and told him how lightly she regarded what had given him so much uneasiness.
She was indeed wrong, replied the pastor, in considering these false doctrines as nothing more than learned paradoxes. Yet I can by no means agree that you should give up the study of theology. With these opinions you cannot become a good and happy man, and for the sake of your own peace of mind, you must endeavor to regain your lost belief. He then advised him to attend the lectures of another older professor at the University, who had the reputation of orthodoxy, and to busy himself studiously with the writings of the earlier church fathers. These, said he, also made use of philosophy, but kept it subordinate to faith. Theodore promised to do so, and gave him his hand as pledge.
The pastor then enquired whether he was not willing to preach in the village church. Theodore doubted whether he could do it without disturbing him and his mother, whilst he yet could only say what he earnestly believed. But the pastor encouraged him to do so, saying--You will, perhaps, by seeing how little such a doctrine is suitable for popular instruction, find your way back from your confused opinions. Theodore promised to prepare for this preaching, and the two friends parted with cordiality.
It was hard work for Theodore to prepare this sermon. He was doubtful what subject to choose, and when he had determined on one, his style of treating it appeared too cold and dry, and he wrote it over twice. At last he had finished it, and the day arrived on which it was to be delivered. The whole village came together, the church was full, and none of Theodore's family staid away.
The discourse treated of prayer and its efficacy, and its principal contents were as follows. We ought to pray only for spiritual blessings, as virtue and wisdom, and leave all that concerns our temporal well-being in God's hands. We should receive what he sends us, be it joy or sorrow, with submission and entire acquiescence. If we pray thus, and do it earnestly, we may be sure of an answer, since an earnest prayer carries with it the earnest wish to possess spiritual blessings, and thus
unakes the human will one with the divine. Theodore's manner was remarkably good for a beginner; the villagers praised his delivery, and his friends commended his appearance. But the impression of the sermon was nevertheless not of the most advantageous kind.
The pastor was the first who pronounced his judgment upon the discourse. He praised not only the good delivery, but also the clear and simple arrangement of the sermon, and, for a first attempt, its extraordinary perspicuity; but he found the contents too refined and intellectual, and the view given of prayer not altogether just. The Christian, said he, may pray also for temporal blessings, if he, in imitation of Christ adds, not my will, but thine, be done. And then you have forgotten that we should especially pray for power to do right, without which our best will is worth nothing.
Theodore had now no wish to dispute with him, for he was anxious to know what impression his discourse had made upon his mother, and he hastened home. He found her in great emotion. This sermon, said she, has strangely moved me, I know not whether to be pleased with it or not. I see that you can make a good preacher; but I also fear that you was right in thinking this doctrine very different from the old. I have not been taught to think of prayer as you do—I have never prayed in this manner—and do not now pray so. You know I believed my prayer the cause of your father's cure from his first illness, and at present I pray daily for yourself and Frederica. Shall I now leave it off?
This made a deep and painful impression on Theodore. He cried, No, dear mother, you must not leave it off! and he fell with tears into her arms. His heart was conquered, but his head was not.
Frederica said that he preached almost exactly like the new fashioned preacher in the neighboring city. Thus, without meaning it, she touched Theodore's feelings deeply, for he knew that this preacher had at first attracted great numbers by the charm of novelty, but that now he had an empty church.
Theodore spoke in the afternoon with some sensible villagers, and they could not conceal from him that he had caused little edification with his preaching.
All these judgments were not a little mortifying; but yet he let himself be persuaded by his mother to make a second attempt. A relative had come to pay a visit, who wished much to hear Theodore preach. In order not again to come in contact with doctrinal notions, he chose a moral theme, and spoke
of self-command, showing its value for virtue, and giving the means of obtaining it.
With respect to this discourse the old pastor afterward made to him the following remarks. I by no means object to moral preaching; I often choose similar subjects myself; there are also in the Bible many moral exhortations. But yet one should know how to excite a love and a zeal for morality, and to set forth in a living manner its inward, living essence.
You seem to me to have only considered the external works of virtue, and, as it were, its mechanism—not its inner life. Self-command has in itself no value, since a bad man can employ it; it is but the instrument and tool of virtue, which consists solely in a good state of the sentiments. It is, to be sure, hard to describe the essence of virtue; but Christ has been given us as an example and model of it, to which we can ever look. Whoever lives in communion with him, needs no description. Love will lead him to the right aim. And since Theodore has made no use of this, he has not found the way to the heart.
His mother was not exactly displeased with his second sermon, but neither was she particularly pleased, and Frederica said, that this sermon made her very sad, that she could not go to work so seriously; she did what her heart prompted, and could not consider long about it; and thus she expressed an opinion very like the pastor's, that where there was an impulse of the heart, all moral preaching was unnecessary. But Theodore could not comprehend this, for having studied morality as a science, he prized too highly its merely scientific exposition. But all this indisposed him yet more to the profession of preacher.
Art. V.-LETTER FROM HUMPHREY MARSHALL.
[Among the other papers belonging to the Western Messenger, the following
letter was put into my hands. The sickness and absence of the former Editor must excuse our apparent incivility in neglecting to notice it for so long a time. I omit those parts of the letter which the author says “are not for discussion,”— and add a few remarks.]
To the Editor of the Western Messenger.
Sır,—I am a subscriber to the Western Messenger, and just having read No. 2, I proceed to express my pleasure at
its tone, and manner of treating its subjects; and especially those of a religious character; and to say that your publishers will be paid its price. Of all men, surely Christian Preachers ought to be the most charitable and courteous to each other. On this topic, however, nothing more.
Seeing, or supposing that I have seen, an invitation to laymen who have read scripture, to communicate the result of their researches to the Editor of the Messenger," and thinking myself within that description, I am emboldened to make an inquiry which may lead to further communications on the subject so every way interesting as the soul of man. I pray you, sir, what is it? It seems to be a reasonable question, and should be answered distinctly, before there is much more disputation about it. Is it the eonic or demon soul of the ancient Bramins? Or if not, what then? For I do confess that the scriptures have not taught me at least, I could not learn from them what it is. While to me it is an object of great solicitude. If it is the mere human intellect, the organ of man's moral powers only, then I shall own that I have an idea of it, and a reference to the brain may serve for illustration. I languish for information, and have reason to believe there are others as ignorant as myself—though they may have less desire for knowledge. If you answer this application, please let it appear as the text of your commentary. I am, very respectfully,
Your humble servant, Frankfort, Sept. 16, 1835.
REMARKS. What is the soul? This question may either mean--In what sense is the term sonul used in the scripture, and by Christians generally? What do they understand and signify by it? Or else Mr. Marshall may mean to ask, What is the essence of the soul? Is it spiritual or material, or in other words, is there any soul at all? We will try to answer both questions.
The scriptures do not, any where, so far as I know, undertake to define the term soul. They use the word in the popular sense, with the meaning given it by all nations and in every language. In no language which I have heard of, is a term wanting to express this idea. The scriptures do not reveal to us that we have a soul-they take it for granted Common sense reveals that to us. I do not mean that common sense reveals to us what its nature or essence is, but common sense teaches us that there is something in man which thinks and feels, chooses, acts, loves, hates, hopes, fears, suffers, rejoices. This constitutes his personality-this makes his identity—this is his I. We take it to be an undeniable fact that men have universally agreed that there is a principle within us answering to this description. I say universally—perhaps I should qualify my remark, by excepting a few philosophers and metaphysicians. Just so there have been a few metaphysi
cians who have denied the existence of their bodies, and of any outward world. These exceptions prove the rule.
The Bible, then, takes its stand on human nature-on common sense-on the universal reason of man, when it uses the term soul, and the idea it designates. It assumes a fact which the intellect of the race had already established—that there is something in man, which, for want of a better word, we may call his soul.
But now, if you ask what this soul is; meaning, what is its nature, what ils essence; we must at once admit our ignorance. I neither know its essence, nor that of any thing else. I only know its qualities. Within me, I perceive the phenomena of thought and emotion; I refer them necessarily and inevitably to a subject—to something which thinks and feels. Without I perceive the phenomena of color, hardness, extension, form; I refer them necessarily and inevitably to a subject, to something which is hard, solid, colored. These phenomena are broadly distinguished from each other, by the manner in which they are perceived. The former arc perceived by the senses-the latter by consciousness. The subject of the former I call body, of the latter soul.
I consider therefore that it is just as certain that we have a soul, as that we have a body. What we know of either are only qualities, not the essence. But we are as certain that we think and love, as we are that we see and hear. And by an original law of the mind which acts inevitably and universally, we conclude on perceiving color, that there is something colored, on perceiving thought, that there is something which thinks.
In our seventh number we have an article to which we would direct the attention of readers who wish for further light on this topic. This article is headed “Souls and Bodies,” and numbered XVI. on the cover.
ART. VI.--CHANNING ON SLAVERY.
We heard of this book from all quarters before we saw it. First we heard that an edition of three thousand copies had been sold immediately. Then we saw some remarks of Mr. Leigh in the United States Senate, in which he expressed his surprise, that the amiable and eloquent author should have written a work which appeared to him to contain abolition doctrines. Directly after, we saw the book violently attacked, and its author shamefully abused in the Boston States.
Abuse from that quarter, however, has by thoughtful men been considered as praise. Then we saw it spoken of with unqualified approbation by the Boston Register, and Recorder. The first being an Unitarian paper, might be expected to praise whatever came from Dr. Channing—but the other being the Calvinistic print, was an unimpeachable witness. The editor of this lası speaks of the book as a neutral ground, a point of union for those who were opposed to slavery, and also opposed to Abolitionism, agitation, and immediate Emancipation. It seems to lay aside all party feelings, and speaks of the book and its author with a generous and noble spirit of respect and sympathy.