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abuses of the faculties, and that the tendency to abuse them originates in the disproportion of certain parts of the brain to each other, and in moral and intellectual ignorance of the proper mode of manifesting them, how completely do these considerations go to the root of theology and morals! At present the influence of organization in determining the natural dispositions is altogether neglected or denied by the common school of divines, moralists, and philosophers ; yet it is of an importance exceeding all other terrestrial influences and considerations.
Mr Sedgwick says most truly : “ I do affirm, that the moral government of God is by general laws; and that it is our bounden duty to study those laws, and, as far as we can, to turn them to our account. We honour him for announcing this truth boldly in the University of Cambridge ; but we ask him whether he has ever heard of the principle started by the phrenologists, that the key to the true theory of the moral government of God is the independent, yet adjusted and harmonious, action of the different natural laws, and that these laws and that action cannot by possibility be understood, without taking into account the influence of organization on the mind, that influence being a fundamental fact in human nature? The phrenologists divide the laws of nature into three great classes,-physical, or. ganic, and moral; and insist that these operate independently of each other; that each requires obedience to itself; that each, in its own specific way, rewards obedience and punishes disobedience; and that human beings are happy in proportion to the extent in which they place themselves in accordance with these divine institutions. For example, the most pious and benevolent missionaries sailing to civilize and christianize the heathen, if they embark in an unsound ship, will be drowned by disobeying a physical law, without their destruction being averted by their morality. On the other hand, if the greatest monsters of iniquity were embarked in a stanch and strong ship, and managed it well, they might, and, on the general principles of the government of the world, they would, escape drowning, in circunstances exactly similar to those which would send the missionaries to the bottom. There appears something inscrutable in these results, if only the moral qualities of the men are contemplated ; but if the principle be adopted that ships float in virtue of a purely physical law,—that the physical and moral laws operate independently, each in its own sphere,—and that this arrangement is in the highest degree beneficial in preserving order and discipline in creation, and in offering rewards for the activity of the whole of the human faculties,--the consequences appear in a totally different light.
Again, the organic laws operate independently; and hence, one individual, who has inherited a fine bodily constitution from his parents, and observes the rules of temperance and
exercise, will enjoy robust health, although he may cheat, lie, blaspheme, and destroy his fellow-men; while another, if he have inherited a feeble constitution, and disregard the rules of temperance and exercise, will suffer pain and sickness, although he may be a paragon of every Christian virtue. These results are frequently observed to occur in the world, and, on every such occasion, the darkness and inscrutable perplexity of the ways of Providence are generally moralised upon; or a future life is called in as the scene in which these crooked paths are to be rendered straight. But if our views be correct, the Divine wisdom and goodness are abundantly conspicuous in these events; for again we perceive, that, by this distinct operation of the organic and moral laws, order is preserved in creation, and the means of discipline and improvement are afforded to all the human faculties.
The moral and intellectual laws also operate independently. The man who cultivates his intellect, and practically obeys the precepts of Christianity, will enjoy within himself a fountain of moral and intellectuul happiness, which is the appropriate reward of that obedience. He will be rendered by these means more capable of studying, comprehending, and obeying, the physical and organic laws, of placing himself in harmony with the whole order of creation, and of attaining the highest degree of perfection, and reaping the highest degree of happiness of which human nature in this world is susceptible. short, whenever we apply the principle of the independent operation of the natural laws, the apparent confusion of the moral government of the world disappears; and we ask, is this a discovery to be trifled with, to be concealed, or to be opposed ? The authors of the Bridgewater Treatises were paid each L. 1000, and specially instructed to bring forward for public instruction the highest, and the best, and the most recently discovered views of the divine government on earth; and although the “Natural Laws" by Dr Spurzheim, and the “Constitution of Man" by Mr Combe, have been before the public since 1828, in the latter of which the principles now expounded are dwelt on at great length, one and all of these writers have disregarded them. If, in doing so, they have shut their eyes to the ways of the Creator, verily they will receive their reward.
If these principles be well founded, is it not obvious that a vast change in the topics of moral and religious instruction is awaiting mankind ? At present, our moral and religious guides deliver extremely little precise information concerning the constitution of the human mind and the external world, and their mutual adaptations; and they teach still less of the doctrine that man must study and obey the natural laws before he can attain to the perfect action and enjoyment of his natural powers. On the contrary, many of the views presented are based on the
principle, that human nature is actually a “ruin," and life unavoidably a great scene of endurance, for which man is to be compensated by happiness in a future state; although, to a wellinformed mind, many of the sufferings in question appear to be the direct consequences of ignorance and neglect of the natural institutions of the Creator.
In urging these views, we may be causing uneasiness to some pious, but timorous and ill-instructed individuals. We would willingly avoid doing so; but the imperative dictates of duty impel us to proclaim what we believe to be truths of divine authority and of the highest practical importance, and to protest against the spirit which designedly keeps them in obscurity, as if they were in themselves dangerous and pestilential.
But to return to Mr Sedgwick. He combats Paley's argument that expediency is the measure of right, and endeavours to shew, that, according to this principle, virtue and vice would have no longer any fixed relations to the moral condition of man, but would change with the fluctuations of opinion, and that every one would be entitled to claim the liberty of judging for himself. Christianity, he says, places the mainspring of every virtue in the affections; and Christian love becomes an efficient and abiding principle, not tested by the world, but above the world. “ The utilitarian scheme starts, on the contrary, with an abrogation of the authority of conscience—a rejection of the moral feelings as the test of right and wrong. From first to last, it is in bondage to the world, measuring every act by a worldly standard, and estimating its value by worldly consequences.” This conclusion “ appears, indeed, not only to have been foreseen by Paley, but to have been accepted by him.” (P. 66.)
Mr Sedgwick, with great truth, observes, that, as God is a moral governor of the world, " in the end, high principle and sound policy will be found in the strictest harmony with each other. “ If," says he, “ there be a superintending Providence, and if his will be manifested by general laws operating both on the physical and moral world, then must a violation of these laws be a violation of his will, and be pregnant with inevitable misery.” “ Nothing can, in the end, be expedient for man, except it be subordinate to those laws the Author of Nature has thought fit to impress on his moral and physical creation.”
There is much profound truth in these remarks, but they imply the great importance of a knowledge of the natural laws; and as these cannot be accurately ascertained, in as far as regards man, without a knowledge of his constitution, and as Mr Sedgwick does not mention any system of the philosophy of man which he can recommend as worthy of our approbation, we again ask, why is Phrenology, which professes to be the very philosophy wanted, so completely disregarded ? In the Appen
dix to Mr Combe's System of Phrenology, 2d edition, an illustration is given of the application of the principles of Phrenology to the solution of questions of expediency, to which we refer. It shews to what a large extent the constitution of individual minds necessarily must enter as an element into our judgments on that subject, before they can become sound and consistent.
In the Appendix to his Discourse, Mr Sedgwick has added some valuable and instructive notes, in the last of which he reproves, with great eloquence and severity, the bigoted and ignorant individuals who a dare to affirm that the pursuits of natural science are hostile to religion.” He offers a most successful defence of the study of geology, and chastises those writers who have endeavoured to falsify the facts and conclusions of that science, for the purpose of Aattering the religious prejudices of the public. “ There is another class of men,” says he, “ who pursue geology by a nearer road, and are guided by a different light. Well-intentioned they may be ; but they have betrayed no small self-sufficiency, along with a shameful want of knowledge of the fundamental facts they presume to write about ; hence they have dishonoured the literature of this country by Mosaic geology, Scripture geology, and other works of cosmogony with kindred titles, wherein they have overlooked the aim and end of revelation, tortured the book of life out of its proper meaning, and wantonly contrived to bring about a collision between natural phenomena and the word of God.” (P. 150.)
The following observations are exceedingly just, and our readers will not fail to observe how completely applicable they are to Phrenology, as well as to Geology. “Á Brahmin crushed with a stone the microscope that first shewed him living things among the vegetables of his daily food. The spirit of the Brahmin lives in Christendom. The bad principles of our nature are not bounded by caste or climate ; and men are still to be found, who, if not restrained by the wise and humane laws of their country, would try to stifle by personal violence, and crush by brute force, every truth not hatched among their own conceits, and confined within the narrow fences of their own ignorance." (P. 151.)
“We are told by the wise man not to answer a fool according to his folly ; and it would indeed be a vain and idle task to
a engage in controversy with this school of false philosophy-to waste our breath in the forms of exact reasoning, unfitted to the comprehension of our antagonists—to draw our weapons in a combat where victory could give no honour. Before a geologist can condescend to reason with such men, they must first learn geology. It is too much to call upon us to scatter our seed on a soil at once both harren and unreclaimed—it is folly to think, that we can in the same hour be stubbing up the thorns and reaping the harvest. All the writers of this school have
not indeed sinned against plain sense to the same degree. With some of them there is perhaps a perception of the light of natural truth, which may lead them after a time to follow it in the right road; but the case of others is beyond all hope from the powers of rational argument. Their position is impregnable while they remain within the fences of their ignorance, which is to them as a wall of brass ; for (as was well said, if I remember right, by Bishop Warburton, of some bustling fanatics of his own day) there is no weak side of common sense whereat we may attack them. If cases like these yield at all, it must be to some treatment which suits the inveteracy of their nature, and not to the weapons of reason. As psychological phenomena, they are, however, well deserving of our study; teaching us, among other things, how prone man is to turn his best faculties to evil purposes—and how, at the suggestions of vanity and other bad principles of his heart, he can become so far deluded, as to fancy that he is doing honour to religion, while he is sacrificing the common charities of life, and arraigning the very workmanship of God." (Pp. 151, 152.)
Why should this bigoted hostility to science coexist so extensively with pretensions to religious earnestness ? and why should it be so generally received by the people as a proof of superior sanctity ? Christianity itself is not to blame. It is in accordance with the best and profoundest interpretations of the divine workmanship exhibited in nature. The fault lies in the system of clerical instruction ; which not only excludes all regular instruction in the constitution of the external world and its relations to human nature, (although these abound with the most delightful and impressive examples of God's power, wisdom, and goodness), but sedulously confines itself to the teaching of dogmas. These dogmas are in general merely the prominent tenets which distinguish the sect of the preacher; the great practical precepts of the New Testament being often allowed to sink into comparative obscurity. The consequence is, that individuals who confine themselves to religious studies are grossly and deplorably ignorant of at least one-half of divine revelation, that which is addressed to the human faculties in the great book of Nature ; and they entertain extremely contracted views even of Christianity itself. They are, therefore, the easy dupes of every ignorant zealot who desires to attract notoriety by defending Christianity from what he calls the inroads of in fidelity ; in other words, who is ambitious of gaining a name, for himself at the expense of Divine truth and of the real welfare of the community. The proper education of the people is the only remedy for this disgraceful evil.
Our extracts present but an imperfect outline of the contents of Mr Sedgwick's volume. We wish that it had been printed in a cheap form, and that it were diffused over the whole kingdom.