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OR, COMPENDIUM OF RELIGIOUS, MORAL & PHILOSOPHICAL KNOWLEDGE.
JANUARY.] “ Social REFINEMENT DAS NO EXISTENCE WHERE LITERATURE IS UNKNOWN.”' (1822.
THE PHYSICAL AND MORAL WORLD,
He too has plenty to occupy his atten
tion. For, through the influence of No. 1.-Connection between Natural and sophistical philosophy, that important Revealed Truths ;-Development of
work, which is the grand object of Mr. Macnab's Theory of the Uni- Divine Revelation, is still in a great
measure retarded; and it is the duty
of every friend of truth to do all in his As the circumstances which gave rise power to root it up. There are thouto the following papers, did not origi- sands in the present day, who would nate from the author himself, though give countenance to the work of God, nothing could have been more conge- were they only convinced of the divinial to his mind; but from his being nity of the scriptures. But when they requested, by the Editors of a respect find, as by their teachers they have able periodical publication, to prepare been led to suppose, that philosophical a Review of the “Theory of the Moral Sacts run counter to revelation ; when and Physical System of the Universe,” philosophers teach one thing, and the of Mr. Macnab, in order to its inser- scriptures another, they cannot be but tion in that publication ; it is deemed stumbled, and at a loss which to beof importance that this should be un- lieve. And it is in vain to urge them derstood. The review was accord- to abandon sense and reason for an ingly undertaken, and prosecuted to unintelligible something which the a considerable length; but feeding in Christian calls faith. No: the sophist such a rich pasture, and surrounded wishes to make surer work of it. Of by objects so grand and sublime, the two such opposite sources of informanotion of merely a review, was, in con- tion, he reasons upon the propriety of sequence of the advice of many intelli- cleaving to that which proceeds upon gent and learned friends, abandoned, the surest principles, and that which, as altogether insufficient for such a in his view, is established on matter glorious subject; so that the originally of fact. Thus religion, through sointended brief review bas now given phistry, loses many of its advocates ; place to a more enlarged speculation, through the supposed opposition of which, it is humbly hoped, will be philosophy to revelation, and the both necessary and useful.
book of nature to the gospel of the Son In an age so pregnant with great of God. events as the present; an age which And what has contributed to cherish has convulsed the political, philoso- this error the more, is, the constant, phical, and moral worlds; an age in and hackneyed, and fearful procedure which the infidel has done his utmost of many Christian teachers, in their to disseminate his ruinous tenets; an mode of only treating what they conage in which the politician and the ceive to be evangelical doctrine; but warrior have approximated to the ze- standing aloof from touching on natunith of that career, in which they had ral truths, as if they were no part of a been so long struggling; an age in divine system, lest they should strike which the modest and receding philo-false fire. The term philosophy having sopher also comes forward to claim his been applied exclusively to such sort quota of public applause, for the ma- of truths, has also misled many; for ny services he has rendered, by his by this means they have, in a manner, numerous and useful discoveries; in been wrested out of the hands of such an age, when all are on the alert Christians altogether ; they have to distinguish themselves by something been considered as belonging to a remarkable, is the advocate of truth, system, entirely different from that, of moral as well as physical truth, to which the Christian, from principle, be the only idle person By no means.' has espoused; and this has rendered No. 36.-VOL. IY.
them an easier prey to such as have than most Christians are disposed to called themselves philosophers. Nor allow; and to treat Nature's truths as would this circumstance have been they do, in connection with revealed much regretted, had not this class of truths, would have the two-fold effect men perverted the subject, and con- of depriving sophists, on the one hand, verted one part of the infinitely won of their most powerful arguments derful works of the self-same Being, against the gospel; and on the other, into an instrument of opposing and of instructing Christians in the knowthwarting another part of them. ledge of those laws of nature which
It has been said, that philosophy is they are called to obey, and even must a handmaid to Christianity; and this, in some sense obey, so long as they perhaps, would be a trutb, were it not maintain their animal existence in that it is so shockingly abused. Yea, this world. I would go farther, and grant it This appears to be the object of Mr. an equally divine origin with Christi- Macnab, in his theory, and we trust anity itself; for the facts on which we shall considerably ramify and entrue philosophy rests, have the same force the same subject in our following origin with those of revelation; they papers.--In general, we may say, that differ only in their nature or kind, but his object seems to be, not to present not in their authority; this being the the world with a new system of philosame in both; and, like the vessels of sophy, but with a new theory, by silver and gold in the ancient sacred which all the principles of philosophy, service, physical truths are of use to known or unknown, moral or physical, illustrate and enforce spiritual truths. may harmonize. This seems to be his Hence, is it the business of Chris- object. It is, in short, to furnish a tians, according to their ability, to key, by means of which he would trace them in their respective bear- unlock all mysteries; a thread, by ings, and to observe their admirable which he would unravel all knowharmony, notwithstanding their infi- ledge ; a light, that will dissipate all nite diversity; for, “ the works of the darkness; a centre, that will unite all Lord are great,” says a celebrated lines. Matter and mind are alike saint of old," and sought out of all them subject to its laws ; for its laws, acthat have pleasure therein.”
cording to him, are more universal Were all Christians, according to than those of gravitation."* Alike, it the opportunity and ability which God unfolds the mysteries of the Creation, gives them, as faithful as they ought Providence, and Redemption. It to be in the discharge of this duty, it unites all knowledge into a point or is impossible to calculate the bappy focus. It displays a continuity, a hareffects which might result from it, mony, a concatenation, the most astoboth to themselves and unbelievers. nishing, subsisting among all the However the generality may here plead works of the Almighty. It shews how to be excused, it is certainly the duty the book of Nature and the book of of the intelligent and learned among Revelation are linked together; the them, whatever be their profession, to one being the first, the other the sedevote at least a portion of their cond volume of a work by the same time, to a pursuit so rational, so in- hand. structive, and important, as that of Such is the theory of Mr. Macnab. demonstrating the correspondence and This is the thesis he wishes to mainharmony subsisting among the various tain. He wishes to simplify, to geneworks of God, and by this means ralize, to give the mind a hold of every both edify their brethren, and convince thing at one grasp! And, how noble, the gainsayers.
how sublime the idea, could it only be It is pleasing to think, that there realized ! have not been wanting the most mas- But is not the idea chimerical ? To terly works of this kind ; but to the employ the phraseology of our author, person who has consulted the work of judging by “ analogy," where do we our author, and is alive to the subject, find any thing that will bear us out in it must appear that we are still far, such a pursuit, in the whole universe? far short of what yet remains to be Here, we see, if there be unities, there done.
are also diversities~-diversities ad infiThe sacred writers, themselves, will be found much more philosophical * Macnab's Theory, art. 12.
nitum. How then can it ever be, that 1. Some objects are perceptible by our all should approximate towards each
2. Some are perceived by reaother, and meet in a point?
son, or abstraction, or deductions, of This difficulty, as it refers to parti- the intellect. 3. Some are cognizable culars, we do not pretend to solve, for by neither of these means, but are this, upon the best plan it is possible purely the objects of faith or belief, to propose, must be the work of ages; resting upon supernatural revelation; but we may observe in general, that and they bid defiance to the powers of it is possible to conceive a circle the human mind, to come to the whose circumference may contain the knowledge of them by any other whole. And will not this circle have a point or centre, from which, if you Now the different arrangements of stretch your line to its circumference, our ingenious author's plan, deteryou include one portion of a septenary mine the limits and demarcations of scale? Continue your measurement the human faculties with wonderful from this second point, around the line accuracy, as will be evident by the of your circumference; and after di- following sketch. viding itself into six other portions, it On the abstruse subject of the origin will bring you back to the same point of matter, the manner in which he whence you set out. The circumfe- proceeds is admirable. He seems to rence of the circle then, which extends be aware beforehand, that to explain beyond all things, must include the all its intricacies, is a theme beyond whole ; and the centre of this circle is the reach of man; and therefore he the point where all meet. This theory, avoids involving himself in the perreduced to a mathematical figure, plexing and unsatisfying jargon of the would be represented by a vast circle, schools, respecting the concourse of including a hexagon, the six angles atoms, the eternal existence of matter, of which were brought into contact its infinite divisibility, indestructibility; with its circumference, both having and the like. He wisely waves all one common centre. By such a figure those hard and knotty questions, is proved the point in question, in as which tend rather to gender strife, far as it relates to the whole; and it than to prove the subject; and begins being the object of Mr. Macnab's where common sense begins, and work to make it appear, that things in views the world as it appears to the general, by a law in nature, arrange peasant and to the philosopher. He themselves into concentric circles, perceives in general, that there are every one of which is susceptible of two classes which may be said to combeing divided in the manner above prehend the whole. These are matter described ; it will hence follow, that and mind. The latter he therefore when we discover the centre of each places on the right hand, and the forcircle, we ascertain the point of union mer on the left. But prosecuting his where all meet. From this point, observations farther, he perceives antherefore, if we set out on the septe-other class, which, strictly speaking, nary scale, we can never be bewilder- is neither matter nor mind; yet, by ed; for we are travelling on the surest striking characteristics, is allied to ground; namely, from a centre to a both. This, accordingly, he places in circle, and from any point in the circle, the middle between the other two; round its circumference, which will and this constitutes his first scale, bring us back by the number seven, to which stands thus: the centre where we began.
The septenary scale is, accordingly, the grand hypothesis of our author: But he observes again, that matter, and let none be startled at his hypo- strictly speaking, appears under difthesis ; for, that it is founded on unde- ferent aspects, viz. mechanical and niable mathematical truth, the septe- chemical ; and that mind also appears pary division of the centre and the under different aspects, namely, anihexagon, as above described, clearly mal and intellectual. And the central demonstrates.
step between these, as partaking of There are THREE sources from which both, yet distinct from both, is organthe human mind is furnished with ization and vegetable life; wbich, by ideas; and these proceed in the gra- the principles that compose the first dation of sense, reason, and faith. of its properties, is allied to the left of
MIND. CENTRAL STATE,
the scale ; but by those that compose tre of the scale; on each side of which its last property, is allied to the right are two belonging to matter, and two of the scale. So that we have now an to mind; represented thus: organic, or vegetable step in the cen
MATTER. Mechanical, Chemical. Organic, Vegetable. Animal, Intellectual.
Having made this advance, the nating with eternity to come, or final mind of our author was led naturally causation. to proceed a step further; and he per- These two, added to each extremity ceived that the phenomena of the three of the scale, differ from the other central steps, viz. the chemical, vege- steps, in the respect that they are table, and animal, were cognizable by above the reach of human investigathe human senses ; but that the pheno- tion; they are involved in eternity mena of the two lateral, namely, me- both ways. They are not cognizable, chanism and intellect, belong to the like the other five, by sense or reason, province of reason or abstraction. but are above our ken as mere animal
Still dipping deeper and deeper or rational beings. They are, thereinto this wonderful subject, and now fore, matters of faith or belief, as the exercising his reason upon it, he per- others are of sense and reason ; and ceives a chasm in his plan, a some- this demonstrates the necessity of thing wanting at its beginning and end; Divine Revelation, to assist and a something, which appears dark and bear us out in such profound investimysterious, involving the first and the gations; for, without such aid, we last ; that is to say, an efficient and must fall infinitely short of our object. final cause ; the one regarding the ele- Hence the necessarily mutilated sysmentary part of matter, the other tems, both of cosmography and ethics, regarding the moral part of intelli- where men discoursing on such subgence.
jects do not avail themselves of the This, accordingly suggested to him light of the word of God, but walk the complete septenary scale. To the merely by the light of the spark of beginning of the mechanical, he was their own kindling. led to prefix the elemental; and to the Our author's complete septenary end of the intellectual, to superadd scale, or great seven-fold mystery of nithe moral ; and both these are hem- ture, now appears in the following med in by the inscrutable paths of the scheme, with the Sun, the soul of the Almighty, beginning with eternity ab organic vegetable world, presiding ante, or efficient causation, and termi-l over the centre.
Elemental, Mechanical, Chemical, Organic. Animal, Intellectual, Moral. 1, 2, 3, Vegetable. 5,
Eternity ab ante Efficient Causation.
Eternity to come, Final Causation.
Perceived by the senses.
Understood by abstraction, reason, or intellect. Believed by faith in the word of God, who is called Alpha and Omega, the
First and Last.
Let the author who suggests these reasoning; and the first and last by noble ideas, and this rational method faith, or belief in Him who is called of treating the most abstruse and au- the First and Last,' and whose emgust of all subjects, here speak for blem is 'light' and 'fire,' typifying a himself. These,” says he, consti- state, which 'passeth all understanding,' tute what may be called the seven-fold transcending and enveloping in etermystery of nature.”
nity, both ends of the scale.” Art. “It is a scale, wherein the third 85. and fifth are connected by sensible “The seven steps of the scale are ties; the second and sixth by abstract marked by a perfect harmony, which
LECTURE ON ASTRONOMY.
reigns throughout; but are at the idea of diversity or change, the anasame time so interwoven by the law of logy becomes evanescent, or, like the continuity, that we cannot fix a line of moral, matter of faith. Art. 93. demarcation between any two conti- Gliding along in this manner, we guous steps. It is difficult, also, to could easily present the reader, not find language expressive of this ana- only with the different scales of our logy, and yet flexible in its terms; so author, but with a variety of others, that their meanings may amalgamate all tending to demonstrate the harmoby the insensible gradations of syno- ny subsisting among the works of nyme; for rigid definitions find no place God: we could add criticism upon here. There must be no abrupt tran- criticism, and illustration upon illussitions, no sharply defined margins ; tration, all proceeding, like so many they must run into each other, like the wheels within wheels, and systems seven colours of the rainbow, or the within systems, from the most dimiseven sounds of the octave; and, in- nutive atom, to the majestic whole ; stead of a definition, we must designate but this we must reserve to subsecach step by its middle or prominent quent papers. Meanwhile we entreat feature. This is the natural way of the countenance and blessing of the handling those abstruse inquiries, great Eternal, whose works and ways contenting ourselves at first with an we would humbly attempt to demonoutline, and afterwards gradually re- strate and vindicate, to enable us to touching and improving it by approx- execute the present undertaking, in imation, as a painter in finishing a some measure at least, correspondent landscape.” Art. 86.
to the greatness of the object. “ As the seven colours of the rain
( To be continued.) bow produces all imaginable colours, and the seven sounds of the octave all imaginable sounds, even so the seven steps of the great scale, embrace all imaginable science; the whole being Mr. Editor. compacted and swallowed up in the Sir,-As the paper on Light, which I 'first and last.' Art. 87
had the honour to send you, appeared In this manner does our author in the Imperial Magazine, I am inproceed, guiding us by his masterly duced to put into your hands the folhand through labyrinths of darkness lowing, on Theoretical Astronomy. and confusion, into fields of clear day, It was delivered as a lecture, on the where, by a little assistance, every 9th of November, 1821, before a very object may be seen in its proper at- numerous and highly respectable audititude.
ence, at one of the public sittings of a Our author, having got his grand philosophical institution, now flouseven-fold mystery of nature thus ar- rishing in the south of the kingdom. ranged, see with what admirable ease Both in matter and style it is accomhe accounts for the operations of the modated to the taste of a popular aswhole; and how each part, by the in- sembly ; and was received at its delifluence of habit and reiteration, goes very with sufficient marks of approon unto perfection! Beginning at the bation. Perhaps that which was heard highest, and descending to the low- with apparent interest, may be at est, we perceive, that, in the moral least read without offence. department, perseverance produces
AMICUS SCIENTIÆ. more faith and obedience; in the intellectual, habit produces readiness Exordium.-Before I enter immediand skill; in the animal, exercise pro-ately on that subject which is to occuduces quickness of apprehension, mus- py our attention this evening, I cancular vigour, and address; in the not forbear the opportunity which is vegetable, cultivation produces luxuri- afforded me of presenting my congraant growth ; in the chemical, the repe- tulatory offering to this highly retition of many of its processes, produ- spectable and learned society. A ces a more and more refined spirit; in prosperity like that which has crowned the mechanical, friction, and the like, this institution, during the period we produces firmness and smoothness, have had the happiness and honour to and so on ; but in the elemental, be acquainted with it, cannot have which, by hypothesis, excludes the failed to inspire every friend of sci