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feelings, inclinations, and circumstances, which do not exactly meet in any other. These variations make concurrence more difficult and uncertain-but what is true at last gradually obtains it-and the admitted fact or conclusion then becomes a fixture in human knowledge.

To produce this individual conviction in favour of his own views and sentiments, every writer may justly aim; but, at the same time, be content with seeking to gain it by fair reasoning and correct statements, and never exact it, nor be dissatisfied or acrimonious towards those who may withhold it. Each of us claims the liberty of judging for himself, without blame, as to the ideas of others, and must, in common equity, concede to them the same right of deciding on what he may express. What we retain in our own bosom remains of course our secluded property; but the very act of uttering it to others conveys a right to all who hear to admit or question it as they may deem proper. We have no title to command their acquiescence in any human speculations, or to resent their doubt or disapprobation. With these sentiments the present letters will be written and submitted to you; never meant to be imperious-never claiming infallibility. If the language seem at times positive, do not mistake that as intended to be assuming or dictatorial. It is to be read as only expressing the strength of my individual conviction, and not as a presuming assertion that my conclusions must be right, nor as a reproach to any who may differ from me. It would be unprincipled in me to write them if I did not believe them to be just; but my belief is a law to no one else; and whatever phrases may be used, it will be always with the understanding that they leave every one to the fair exertion of his own natural right to dissent or agree, as his own judgment may determine, without any fetter or imputation whatever. I only ask you to receive my thoughts as not unwelcome visitersto read them fairly as well as freely; to examine and think on them without prepossession, and with so much deliberation as their important subjects may reasonably claim. Search and obtain elsewhere what further knowledge or other views you feel to be necessary for your final judgment upon them; listen to the remarks of those whose opinions you respect or whom you wish to consult, and then decide disinterestedly for yourself. By this course I shall not be a cause of leading you into error, and you will be taking the fittest human means to avoid it.


That our World has been made and is conducted on an intelligent Plan, and for intelligent Purposes, which we have the Capacity to discover and understand.


Our correspondence has been founded on the great principle that our earth and all its systems of living beings have been the creation of an intelligent Creator.

By that degree of intelligence which human nature possesses and everywhere exercises, we know what intelligence is in any being, and how it acts; and we can understand and appreciate what we perceive it to perform.

In human workmanship, we see the operation of intelligent beings with our rate of intelligence; and what we do as such assists us to discern and judge of the agency and effect of greater intelligence elsewhere. In the world we inhabit, we behold the works of intellect in its most perfect nature. But amid all its grandeur and inexpressible superiority in the productions which surround us, it still displays itself with so many resemblances and analogies to the qualities and operations of the mind which it has conferred upon man, that the agency of the Divine intelligence is never beyond our perception, and will always be a rational subject of our study. The success of the human intellect, in tracing it in its sublime arrangements of our material system, warrants the hope that the moral economy of our world may be in time discerned and developed, in all its wisdom and beauty, if we accustom ourselves to meditate upon it, and persevere in the belief that it has been devised and established by the same intelligence which has framed and governs the laws and principles of the visible creation.

It is the nature of intelligence to devise before it makes, and to make according to its design. Hence, in our natural world, every part must have been put together according to the purposes of its producer's mind."

Its construction has been framed to execute these purposes

in their intended order and succession; and it follows from this, that all things which earth contains have been specially adjusted to effectuate the ends appointed at their creation; because, without a specific adjustment of their due means and causes, no specific effect can be educed-no end can be attained.

These principles apply as much to our moral as to our material world; for, if external nature has been formed upon a reasoned plan, we may be sure that what concerns life and sensibility must have been as intelligently arranged by an intelligent Creator, and with still greater precision and contrivance, if anything less than accuracy could be anywhere in the works of such a being, because, in addition to exactness of frame and careful adaptation to coexisting things, it would be necessary so to plan and adjust them as to suit the activities of the human mind, and not to agonize its sensibility.

A surprising degree of care and thought must have been exerted to make such diversified forms of living things as everywhere abound, and yet to cause the existence of each to be so comfortable to them, and the comforts of all to be so harmonized as we find them universally to be.

If animal life required a well-conceived plan for its due subsistence and welfare, we cannot doubt that human nature has been the subject of a design as deliberate and kind; and if so, human affairs must have been arranged and provided for, and be always conducted upon a sagacious and well-adjusted plan, and for purposes worthy of the intelligence of a Creator, whose almightiness gave him perfect power and liberty to devise and execute whatever he thought proper. We act in this manner ourselves, with our inferior intellect. In all human workmanships and undertakings, we observe and use ourselves invariably forethought; plan; adjusted arrangement, and provided means to execute the design; a rational and attainable end in view; and a chosen process of operation to effect what is intended.

Plan and purpose, and a suited series of operations conformable to these, and successively conducing to promote and accomplish their prospective objects, accompany all human fabrications and pursuits; and for the plain reason that the end desired cannot be attained without them.

Such are our cotton-mills and steam-engines; such are our military expeditions and commercial enterprises; such

are our literary compositions; such are all the beneficial employments of our social life. Plan and purpose; directing mind; a selected process, or connected and adapted series of means and movements, and an end continually in view, and pursued until it be accomplished, characterize all the varied business and manufactures of human society. This being our perpetual, and natural, and unavoidable practice, we may be sure that omnipotent wisdom is not less sagacious, or less active and provident. We may therefore adopt it as one of our safest and most certain deductions, that plan and purpose accompany, in every part, the Divine economy of human life; and that the habitual course and sequences, the laws and agencies which affect or govern human affairs, have been arranged and are constantly regulated so as to realize in due order the Divine intentions, and to be always promoting and contributing to produce his ulterior determinations.

It is with these plans and purposes that the sacred history of our social world is more immediately concerned; for its chief aim will always be to discern and describe them. It is indeed a subject to which no individual is competent to do justice. From their very nature; from the greatness and remoteness to us of the omniscient Director; from the invisibility and intangibility of the agencies by which his guidance and ruling interferences are carried on; and by the very intellectuality of the process he is pursuing, and of its effects; the delineations and history of his administration of our world, and the investigation of the plans he is executing by it, and of the purposes which they accomplish, must have difficulties, and darknesses, and perplexities peculiar to their recondite nature, and very often insurmountable by any one.

On these themes no one must expect the same success as attended Sir Isaac Newton's study of grand physical agencies which unite the sun and planets into a sublime fraternity with our globe. It was finely said of him, by one who wasted a genius of much promise and power by perverse applications of it;

"Whose eye could Nature's darkest veil pervade,
And, sunlike, view the solitary maid,
Pursue the wanderer through her secret maze,
And o'er her labours dart a noontide blaze."

But no brilliant result like this will yet reward our study of the moral and providential system by which human nature, and its operations, and concerns have been and continue to be regulated and carried on. Our attention has been, hitherto, too much directed to the perceptions of our material sense for our being yet able to explore, as we desire, what lies beyond it. The Divine is always the superhuman; and whatever is superhuman has been too much avoided and decried by philosophical inquirers to be at present understood as it ought to be. What is neglected is never much known; and what is little known is little valued, whatever its real excellence may be. Hence, although what is beyond the reach of our eyesight exists as certainly and as perpetually as what is within its compass, yet the science of the supernatural has been so depreciated and often contemned by those whose power of thought and wide range of knowledge might have thrown many rays of light upon its laws and operations, that we are still involved in as much ignorance and doubts concerning it as our ancestors under the Tudor reigns were of chymistry and electricity, and of the greatest truths of anatomy and astronomy. We know as little of the moral philosophy of the universe, and of the Divine plans concerning it, as they did of fluxions, galvanism, and ærostation.

But there is no just reason that we should continue in this hostility or indifference to it. We have been made capable of understanding it. The Deity has avowedly granted to us, in our divinely-originating and heaven-destined soul, such a participation of his moral and intellectual nature as to have attached to it the noble possibility of being his image and likeness. We must never forget this dignifying benediction. By this he has himself characterized our created nature, and he has signified his desire that we should regain this perfection; he invites us to pursue it; we are every year becoming more fit to do so, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that, the wiser we become, we shall more strongly feel that no inferior objects ought to prevent us from realizing such sublime anticipations. There is a spirit abroad which desires to elevate the condition of human nature. There is a spreading impression that it is yet highly improvable. A progression in it which we cannot stop steadily advances, and urges all into the invisible current. There is a generous am bition in many of raising both their own mind and that of

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