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which they are the expression, has been concerned to reveal more of Himself to weak and ignorant mortals, than such invariable sequences could do, they have met these invariabilities, and this empire of sequence, with the unproved hypotheses of an intuitional physiology, with the subjectively discovered laws of human mind, with the metaphysical conception or fiction of La Grande Fetiche, and Le Grand Etre, with the ipse dicit of moral philosophers who are now in the end of the world able in the exercise of their intuitional consciousness to determine oracularly the limits of the right and good, and with a system of observances, rites, and so-called worship, based on the recommendations of one who is, in their theory, an annihi
There is nothing either to hope or fear from these speculations or reveries. Acute and comprehensive generalizations have been made by Comte, even in his latest works; shrewd and penetrating glances were thrown by him on human affairs; but he has made, or shown, a breach in the rampart through which the entire army of metaphysico-theological conceptions may re-enter the closed citadel of the human spirit, and his career signally illustrates the hopelessness of philosophy to meet the needs and satisfy the yearnings of humanity. Victor Cousin's dictum concerning the cycle through which systems and methods of philosophy pass, is again confirmed. The scepticism which is the heir of the sensationalism and idealism of earlier systems, has once more led, as on many previous occasions, to a clearly-pronounced mysticism. It is not unjust to say that the most extreme form and thoroughgoing expression which scepticism has ever assumed, has ended in the elaboration of a system of subjective inspirations, infallible and personal authorities, in a cabalistic and fanciful ceremonial, in prophetical dreams, and mythologic fictions.
Nevertheless, although Comte has thus, in his own person, conspicuously proved the absolute need of a Divine Revelation to man, we admit that the number of those who are influenced by his later speculations, or who will join the positivist society, and advocate the religion of Le Grand Etre humanity, is small in comparison with the number of those scientific explorers who partially, yet practically, accept the teaching of the positive philosophy in certain departments of thought and inquiry ; who are content with the laws of sequence, who are striving to find them in the regions of human will and history as well as
Even M. Littré himself admits, in passing, the intuitional basis and origin of the mathematic axioms (p. 532). This flaw in the Positive Philosophy of its most distinguished advocate will disgust Mr. J. S. Mill, who must clearly have bestowed on him labour in vain.
The Mystic Future of Positivism.
in natural phenomena; who are glorying in their supposed triumph over religious belief and theological dogma; who think that they can take the co-ordinates of all spiritual things, and thenceforward confine their attention to the world and time; who press a utilitarian theory of morals, while ignoring all true metaphysic, and whose whole philosophy seeks to establish itself in entire independence of the will of God or the will of man. In our belief the only reason why these distinguished men have not rushed, like Comte, into the depths of some new-fangled mysticism is, that he has been more comprehensive than the majority of them can be. As long as the attention of such thinkers is absorbed with a few grand classes of phenomena, they do not see the tendencies of their own reiterations. The departments of thought and fact, which they provisionally leave to the investigation of others, re-act imperceptibly upon their consciousness, give scope to the play of their higher faculties, and provide some of the feeble stimulus which their religious nature needs; but let them attempt to go round the circle of human thought and close it up, let them scientifically shut out the Infinite Personal God from their universe, let them dogmatically repudiate all dogma, and find in some great crisis of their life that they are possessed of heart and conscience as well as intellect, that they have an imagination as well as an understanding, let them quell the promptings of their own intuitional nature, and hush the voice that speaks from heaven, then will assuredly come the hour of their travail, and the disintegration of their philosophy. After an amazing panegyric on his master, M. Littré says, in a tone of deep melancholy, that the disciples
of Comte are placed in the dilemma of rejecting the principles ‘in the name of the consequences, or rejecting the consequences ‘in the name of the principles of the Positive Philosophy. The 'adversaries of positivism,' says he will take the former course 'with joy and triumph, and its adherents the latter with deep 'grief.' We candidly acknowledge some feelings of triumph as we reject, in the name of these consequences, the all-inclusive sufficiency of the Positive Philosophy to meet the needs of our being; but our triumph is swallowed up in a still deeper grief, that so many learned and thoughtful men should accept such a substitute for the religion and worship, the ideal, and claims of the Lord Jesus Christ, as is offered in this melancholy parody of His Perfect Life, His Holy Word, and the Church which He has purchased with His precious blood.
ART. IV.-(1.) History of New England. By John GORHAM
PALFREY. 2 vols. Boston. (2.) The Ecclesiastical History of New England. By Joseph Felt.
Vol. I. Boston. (3.) Congregationalism : What it is ; Whence it is ; How it Works.
By HENRY M. DEXTER. 8vo. Boston, (4.) Official Record of the National Congregational Council held at
Boston, Mass., June 14—24, A.D. 1865. Boston. Some men wish us to believe that the highest worship possible to man is the worship of humanity. His God, even in his best estate, is said to be himself by reflection_his own nature projected as an object of the imagination. But this is a low pantheistic dream. It would be nearer the truth to say, that according to the laws of thought, where the mind is fairly cultivated, man cannot avoid having an object of worship above himself-immeasurably so. It is true, our primary conceptions of natural and moral intelligence come from what we find within ourselves. But it is no less true, that the idea of the limited must necessarily suggest the idea of the unlimited, the idea of the imperfect the idea of the perfect. In this manner it is inevitable, that the Eternal, the Immense, the All-perfect, should be an object of thought; and the presumption surely is strong, that our conception of such a nature being thus a necessity, the object of the conception must be a reality. Good men have no doubt on this matter. They believe in the existence of this glorious Being, and when they learn to regard Him as expecting obedience and trust from them, and as extending His constant and tender care over them, they pass into a new region of existence: a breath like spring comes upon the soul, unlocking its hidden forces, diffusing over it a world of new beauties and filling it with new joys. There is no sense of life like that sense of it; no gladness like that gladness.
This new consciousness and new aspiration once possessed, is regarded by the wise as a gift from the hand of the Infinite, with which no lower hand must be allowed to intermeddle. Compared with the High and Lofty One from whom these influences have come, the potentates of the earth are shadows and vanity, and to Him accordingly supreme homage must be rendered. In the eye of conscience, the power that would interdict such a service, is not only the foe of conscience, but the foe of the Being to whom the conscience should tend its fitting allegiance. Two qualities are inseparable from life wherever you find it—a craving for its proper nutriment, and
Spiritual Life-its Origin and Power.
the tendency to propagate itself. It must have its atmosphere of spiritual influences, which means religious association; and it must be allowed to extend the sphere of those influences so as to bring others within the circle of their power. With such minds, it is imperative that they should be spiritual, and grow through the influence of their spiritual relationships; and it is hardly less imperative that they should become the creators of the spiritual in others. Here, as elsewhere, the love of offspring is a deeply -seated passion. Here, as elsewhere, the tendenoy is to multiply some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred fold. Únspiritual men do not comprehend this. It is a region of experiences hidden from them; but it is not the less real on that account.
It is thus that religion has come to be so grave, so grand, and so potent an element in the history of the world. Hence the antagonism which has grown up so often between conscience as thus religious and enlightened, and the law-makers and law-administrators of this world who have not known what it is to possess hearts thus moved and consciences thus governed. Men believing themselves to be thus divinely influenced, have dared to say, could not but sayWe are prepared to render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, that is, all civil obedience ; but we must be left to render to God the things that are God's; that is, all spiritual submission. Their secular relation to the delegated powers of earth, has not been more a fact, in their apprehension, than their spiritual relation to the Supreme Power in heaven; and when the power which has been delegated has presumed to intrench upon the province of the Power to which it has owed its delegation, the question has arisen, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.'
As might have been expected, the men who were the first to claim this liberty for the human conscience were holy men of the Hebrew race. Among that race the voice of the prophet often rose in protest against the impieties of the king. Nor were such instances of resistance confined to men specially inspired, as were Elijah and Daniel. We meet with confessors of this order among men who based their conduct on the ground common to good men everywhere. `Nebuchadnezzer spoke
and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and 'Abednego, do you not serve my gods, nor worship the golden
image I have set up? Now, if ye be ready, that at what time 'ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have set up, well; but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a fiery furnace: and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands ? 'Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the • king, O Nebuchadnezzer, we are not careful to answer thee
in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver ‘us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto 'thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the 'golden image which thou hast set up.' (Dan. iii. 14–18.) So the divine right of a king was to be resisted in the name of the King of kings. The conscience of the magistrate was not to become law to the private conscience in regard to religious duty. The three Hebrews had acquitted themselves faithfully in the civil affairs of the provinces, which it seems had been entrusted to them; but religion was another sphere of duty, in which another authority was to be acknowledged as exclusive
It was thus also with the first Christians. On this plea they separated themselves from established Judaism. On this plea they became to the Roman emperors what the three Hebrew confessors had been to the king of Babylon. They taught doctrines in the Hebrew synagogues which were new to them. They would not present an offering of any kind to the image which the Cæsars had set up. To refuse was to be branded as traitors, and to be liable to the penalties of treason. Still they refused. At intervals, during three centuries, their steadfastness in the avowal of this principle was put to the severest test, and was not found wanting. To the last, their maxim is, that in matters concerning religious life, they must obey God rather than man. They knew that it became them to be humble, and to seek light from every available source, but the ultimate decision as to what was, or was not, religious duty, was to be the decision of their own conscience.
With the reign of Constantine came an end to the times of persecution. Communities which had resisted state authority when exercised in the support of idolatry, appear to have submitted to it, even in matters of religion, only too readily, when it avowed itself the friend of Christianity. By this time, the spiritual life which had characterised the early church had in a great measure passed away. For some time, too, the action of the civil power in relation to ecclesiastical affairs was limited and cautious, and few seemed capable of suspecting how naturally this secular influence would grow so as to overshadow and deteriorate everything religious. When evils from this source began to appear, it was seen that good had come along with