« PredošláPokračovať »
of imagination ; the power of association and abstraction ; and what is more decisive still, the moral sense, of which there is no vestige in the brutes ; and the faculty of taste; for all men perceive a difference between right and wrong and feel moral obligation; and all men have some sense of beauty and deformity. Moreover, all men are capable of improvement, and those nations which are now the most learned and refined, were once among the most barbarous of the human race.
This perfect similarity in mind and body is sufficient to lead all impartial men to the conclusion, that the human race are all descended from one pair, and that the varieties are accidental ;-the effect of a variety of causes, all of which we are unable to explore.
Some philosophers, have, however, thought themselves justified, in considering men of different species, not so much from the variety in their complexion and external appearance, as from the different degrees of flatness or rotundity, in the skulls of different nations. On this ground, the learned Blumenbach, has reduced the whole human race to five classes or species. But in the first place, the examination of human skulls has not been sufficiently extensive to furnish correct data for such a classification; and in the next place, if the difference exist, it affords no philosophical reason for supposing an original diversity of species. The causes which have operated other changes, may as easily have produced a difference in the mere form of the skull: and those who give credit to the discoveries of the craniologists, will find no difficulty in accounting for any varieties which are found, in the skulls of men of different tribes.
Some time since, a radical difference of intellect, was insisted on, as a criterion to determine a difference of species: but since our acquaintance with the most degraded and stupid of the human race has become more accurate; and especially, since we have witnessed the improvements
which these are capable of, and the rapid advancement of some of them, in knowledge and civilization, the whole ground of this opinion is taken away.
There is another criterion of the identity of species, which by some naturalists has been considered decisive. It has been found, that although animals of different species may be made to propagate a mongrel breed, their offspring are, for the most part, barren, and are seldom known to propagate. But the various classes of men mingle as freely and propagate the species with as much facility, as people of the same tribe. Of late, however, some doubt has been expressed respecting the correctness of the fact first stated, on which the whole argument rests. It is alleged, that sufficient experiments have not been made on the subject of the natural want of fertility in mules and other hybrids; and that, as far as experience gocs, they are found to be fruitful in as many cases, as they are barren. Leaving, therefore, the degree of barrenness in such animals in doubt, it is clear, that no new species, capable of continuing itself by propagation, has been formed, by the union of animals of different species, and that there exists a natural obstruction, which does not exist in the case of men of the different classes.
But why might not a number of pairs of the same species, or exactly similar in parts and powers, have been produced, as well as one? To which we answer, that although the thing is possible, yet sound philosophy never resorts to such a supposition. Naturalists always go on the principle that more causes of the phenomena of nature than are sufficient, are not to be admitted, and where every effect can as well be accounted for by supposing one original pair, as by many, the hypothesis of more than one, ought, on general principles, to be rejected.
Having seen that reason itself leads us to believe that all the various nations of men are derived from one stock, and
form but one species, it cannot but add strong confirmation to our belief, that the Sacred Scriptures clearly inform us, that when God created man upon the earth, he created them male and female ;-one man, and one woman–from whom proceeded all the nations of the earth.
The idea which some have entertained, that there were men before Adam, is destitute of all shadow of proof. The apostle Paul, in his discourse before the Senate ofAreopagus, explicitly declares, what reason and revelation unite in teaching, to be the truth. “And hath made of one blood all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” One word from the inspiration of God, goes farther to establish our minds in the belief of the truth, than volumes of arguments, depending merely on the fallible reason of man.
The Bible teaches us that every man of every tribe and of every colour, whether his skull be flat or prominent, is our brother, and has a claim upon us for all the kindness and beneficence which it is in our power to show him. The same God is the Father of us all; and the same man is our common earthly father; and we are all rapidly tending to the same judgment, and to the same eternity.
But if any should, after all, be of opinion, that the diversity among inen cannot be accounted for by natural causes ; yet it does not follow that the Mosaic history is false, or that there are several species of men, entirely distinct from each other. At some period of the history of man, for some special reason, the Governor of the universe may have given a distinctive colour to one or more families of the earth. And some believers in the Bible are so fully impressed with this idea, that they have undertaken to aflirm, that we have an intimation of this very thing, in the sacred history. While some, however, would refer the black colour of the skin to the mark set upon Cain, (which is irreconcilable with the history of the deluge,) others, with more probability, refer it to the curse upon Canaan, the son
of Ham. As his posterity were doomed to be the servants of servants, it is thought that some peculiar mark was set upon them, which, it is presumed, was the dark colour of the skin, and the crisped and wooly hair. And in confirmation of this opinion, they allege, that the black people are the descendants of Ham, and that they are the slaves of all the world, until this day.
While I am willing to admit, that God might, for reasons unknown to us, have miraculously changed the complexion and features, of a part of the human race; I must think, that the idea that the black colour was inflicted as a disgrace and a curse, is a mere prejudice. Why should not the white colour be considered as a mark of God's displeasure ! for, no negro from the burning sands of Africa, can appear more shocking to the inhabitants of northern regions, than the white man does to the people of the interior of that continent.
It seems, moreover, to be a prejudice without foundation, that the colour of the whites was that of the first man. Much the larger part of the inhabitants of the earth, are of a complexion nearly midway between the two extremes. Is it not, therefore, much more probable, that our first parents were red men, or of an olive or copper colour? And this opinion derives some support from the name of the first man; for the radical signification of Adam is red. And if this be assumed as a fact, then it will be much easier to account for the various complexions of men, from natural causes, than if we suppose that either white or black was the original complexion.
But from what has been said, it will be seen, that no valid argument against the truth of the Bible can be derived from the variety, in the human species; whether that variety can be accounted for by natural causes, or not.
Note.--Other observations, omitted for want of room, will be deferred to some other occasion.-A.
CHURCH GOVERNMENT IN PRUSSIA.
The relation in which church and state stand to each other, and their reciprocal duties, is one of those difficult points, on which there has always been great diversity of opinion. One theory would represent the church, contemplating as she does, the moral and religious culture of men, and divinely appointed for the attainment of this object, as thereby so far exalted above the state, that the latter is bound, not only to render her all necessary aid, but also, to conform all its own movements to her directions. To this subordinate condition had the Romish church reduced almost all the governments of Europe, during the middle ages. Another theory, on the other extreme, regards the state, as designed to promote the attainment of all the objects, for which men are sent into the world, and consequently considers the church, only as an instrument in its hands, for the accomplishment of one of its multifarious purposes. A third, considers them as distinct institutions, yet having so many objects and interests in common, as to render it necessary, that they should be under one common head, and that the right of self-regulation, on the part of the church, should be restricted to very narrow bounds. A fourth, by proposing to the state no other object, than the temporal well-being of society, and supposing that the moral and religious interests of men, can be best promoted by an institution designed expressly and exclusively for that purpose, regards the church and state as essentially distinct, both as to their ends and the means of their attainment; and requires, that each should independently pursue its object, by any means not inconsistent with the rights of the other,