« AnteriorContinuar »
suspected that such an argument would that all men would reason themselves, appear to him exceedingly difficult to without any division of opinion, into comprehend. But let him be told that that unanimous view of the subject in to kill without authority is murder; which we now acquiesce. and the observation will at least ap- Now this question, which we have put, pear to him intelligible.
by extreme supposition, as possible to But, to put that case more boldly- be proposed, is one which, according to suppose that we knew no reason against these theorists, is at all times actually taking away life but the amount of an before us for deliberation, in the very injury; suppose that all instinctive hor- terms in which we have suggested it; ror and natural condemnation on the for, according to them, all passionate subject were removed, and we were natural repugnance and abhorrence left to gather our own impressions on on this and every other subject are dethat point from our own observation lusive weaknesses, and our own unconand deduction, what confidence have sidered submission hitherto to the comwe that it could ever be made matter mon persuasion is either mere inertof evident demonstration to us, that it ness or ignorance; for the decision of was better to permit the utmost degree the expediency alone decides the act of private injustice and injury, than to be a duty or a crime, and every that the judgment of life and death man for himself, and no other for him, should, even in the extremest case, be is the judge of this expediency. He trusted to private hands ? No doubt is bound, then, to investigate and to we, ourselves, have that conviction judge, since, otherwise, he knows not most powerfully impressed on but that he is leaving duties unperminds. But whence have we it? How formed. What we have alleged of much of it is derived from our acquies- the supporters of this theory, that they cencein that great Law of Nature which wipe out from such deliberation the makes life sacred? How much from authority of all natural sentiment, and our mere habitual love of civil tranquil- leave the mind solely to the speculality, making us averse to ferocious jus- tive consideration of expediency, may tice? But take away these feelings seem to demand some sanction. Hear, which persuade our judgment, and what then, Paley. • Must we admit," he assurance have we that demonstration says, after proposing some difficult could be made to our understanding cases—“ must we admit these actions that society would be injured and not to be right, which would be to justify benefited, if there were sheuthed swords assassination, plunder, and perjury?” within it ready to leap forth against the “ No," he answers, “these actions, bosom of the profligate oppressor? after all, are not useful, and for that What assurance have we that such de
reason, and that alone, are not right.” monstration could be made conclusive It follows then, clearly, that in judgto every mind throughout the nation; be- ing of assassination, plunder, and pering accompanied at the same time by the jury, the only ground of judgment is admission of the principle, that every their utility or inutility ; but our feelman was for himself the judge of expe- ings of aversion to them can be no diency, and that the questi of the means of assisting us to compare, in propriety of assassination rested solely any supposed case, their utility and on the determination of the expediency? inutility. These feelings tend very For that the point for decision was strongly to bias our minds one way; not whether a law of crime should, in and on that account are an impedisome cases be suspended; but that it ment to the impartial judgment of the was, ab origine, a question whether consequences of the action. such an act was, in such a case, a crime If the Rule, therefore, of Expediency or a duty, there being nothing in the is our only rule, we must suppose ouract itself decisive of the question, and selves free from all natural and inthe whole lying entirely open to be ascer- stinctive abhorrence of crimes, and tained by the probable expediency. It that in such a state of mind they come surely would be much to assert that with before us to be judged by Reason all their natural belief on the subject alone on the ground of their procompletely shaken, and coming to the bable advantageous or injurious conseinvestigation as to a matter of mere spe- quences. If we can satisfy ourselves culative debate, the result would be that in all the most perplexing cases
in which crimes might be suggest- nefit from the Act, singly considered, ed, the understandings of men, un- would be great, and the injury conaided by their feelings, would discern sisted merely in the violation of the the necessary injury resulting, by general Rule, the understandings of general consequences, from their adop- mankind in general could not be retion, and condemn them accordingly, lied on for preferring the sanctity of then we must believe that the Sys- the general Rule to the apparent adtem of Expediency is not attended vantage of the particular Act, then with the danger which we have repre- must we admit that to suffer the consented. But if, on the other hand, it demnation of crime to rest solely on should appear probable that when in the estimate of Expediency, would dividual cases arose in which the be- shake the foundations of society.
DEPENDENCE OF MORALITY ON THE DIVINE WILL.
The doctrine of the dependence of that is, in the first place, not has commorality on the Divine Will does in- manded, but has expounded, good; volve obscure considerations. In one so that if I desire to know what is way, all these questions may become good here it is shown me ; here is clear ; namely, if they are considered unfolded its absolute essential reality not analytically and each by itself, but without error. If he has not given me as the subject is given us in the world. his Word (which for the present it may If we view the world as the work of not be necessary for me to determine, God, our own souls as such, the Divine inasmuch as Theism brings morality Will as the actual law of all things, to him who has not yet made up his and as that law which does in fact mind whether the history contained in diffuse their moral being through all the Christian gospel, and the Jewish things (so that even the physical scriptures, is, or is not, as Christians world appears to be conformed to and Jews understand it, and as it morality), there is no difficulty to the offers itself, truth ; and this arguinent religious and pious mind in conceiving is one which must comprehend all every thing that is good in itself as Theists)-if he has not given me his effluent from and inseparably united Word, yet he has given me faculties to with God. What should I be without learn something of his Being, and of God? All existing morality, the mo- his contemplation, and, if it may be so ral will of intelligent natures, the mo- said, judgment of moral good; he ral manifestations, appearances, sem- has given such faculties to my species, blances, in nature sentient but not ra. and has enabled them by reflection, tional, (as the love of animals for their age after age, upon the highest subyoung) the subordination to morality jects of speculation to which the aspiin the constitution of theinsensible inor- ration of their spirits carries them, to ganic world, are all the birth of a Will, amass a great body, of what I cannot eternally, infinitely, invariably, wholly but receive as religious knowledgegood. This is simple and not easily purifying gradually their reasondenied. Again, the soul that renders ings, advancing deeper into prinunto God the good that is in it, sees ciples, so that I cannot doubt, even if this relation of its good to its author. I doubt what these writings deliver as Not only he gave me breath and a historical realities, that I live in the spirit håving light within itself, all midst of, and have received, and see good that I have, am, think, or do, by, much religious light. By this even if I had not known him-all ca- light I am morally instructed. By pacities of, and determinations to believing him to be a Being all truth, good, which I know in myself—but all holiness, all wisdom, all
love, even in discovering to me, in the mode in though my conception of these attriwhich he has discovered himself, he butes should have been the work of has given me a motive and a rule—the mere unaided human faculties, I am impulse and knowledge--of good, which able to judge of human right and else I could not have had.
wrong, otherwise and better than I If he has given me his Word, he has could have done without believing. laid down, in the most explicit and not The accumulated moral speculation of to be mistaken terms, the law of good; those who have gone before me, enligbtens me, helps my moral judgment, judgment by this belief; because in even though I should admit that the every particular case, we refer from principle of moral judgment is in mees- ourselves under all the perplexities to sentially the same as in them—that they judgment, the temptations to false have judged and produced this truth by opinion, the moral'illusions of our exerting faculties which I, equally with nature, to a law or measure of judgment them, possess. In a yet greater degree formed and established in the utmost am I enlightened, beyond the know- removal of all causes adverse to, and led ze which I should without this be- in the utmost presence of all causes lief educe from my own soul, by this favouring, right judgment. This is belief. I see, if I may so speak, with an evident advantage to morality of the eyes of the Deity whom I have the religious belief even of natural found. My mind receives the direc- Theism ; even considered, as much as tion of its own judgment from the possible intellectually merely; mamind I have ascribed to him ; for I king the idea of Deity as much as
2 have ascribed to him that mind in the possible an intellectual abstraction utmost sanctity of my own thoughts; divided from reality. But add the hallowing my spirit as much as possi- effects that take place in our mind the ble by offices of religion such as I moment we pass out of this thought, know them by virtuous exercises if I and believe that this conception of know any, by bodily temperances ours is merely an infinitely imperfect which naturally exalt and guard the apprehension of a Being infinitely powers of the spirit, by justice and transcending all finite apprehension ; truth, by acts of love towards human add the effects upon our will of the beings—lifting up as much as possi- vital, undoubting, warm, devout beble to attain divine heights, dilating lief of Him who is that which we have as much as possible to comprehend thought, exalted, enlarged, purified divine greatnesses, my human powers, without end, above our thoughts, and I have in that best and most capa- then know what our moraljudgment will ble state of my soul formed the be in the case in which we are called idea of Deity.
In that idea are upon to give it, principally in the case united at their height all the notions of our own actions, when we are called of moral good which those who have upon to judge our act in the moment preceded me and which I, instructed before we are to do, or to forbear itby them, have been able to collect,- or when we have done or forbornein it are embodied, as in a living pre- what difference there will be in it, sence, consecrated as an object of under the control and in the elevation adoration. Thus, therefore, if it can of that belief pervading our heart and be supposed that we know nothing of all its affections, predominating in our God but our own self-educed concep- volition,-or without it, left to ourtion of him, so that when we refer, in selves, knowing no higher judge, knowjudging morally, from ourselves to God ing nothing above or out of our own we do in fact refer only from ourselves mind; and then we most feel that there to ourselves, still it appears that, even is profoundest wisdom in the words under this supposition, we gain moral “ Imprimis venerare Deos."
ORIGIN OF THE FINE ARTS.
It may be observed generally of all quired, admitted proportions of greatthese Arts that their scope is, either by ness and beauty, and were susceptible added embellishment, or by casting it of other embellishments. The mind, altogether in another form, to give which cannot rest in utility, but seeks beauty to something which has a na- in all its works to gratify its inherent tural place and use in human life. desires and aspirations, availed itself Thus the dwellings of men and tem- of the capacities it found in structures ples for their worship must have had a of mere natural service, and gave a place among their works, although Ar- dominion to imagination in the works chitecture had never learnt any thing of use. Only it is a just restraint that from imagination. The purposes of the work of imagination shall not in natural life were to be served, but the any wise unfit the structure for its nastructures which these purposes re
tural service. If it can in any way
heighten its fitness there is gain on with metrical language and with both sides. So Sculpture, as distinct dance. The constant use that is from its subservience to Architecture, found among early and rude natiors has a natural use in human life, as it in every part of the world, of some serves to perpetuate to a people the species of melody framed with words likeness of those men to whom, from into song, or accompanying their rude any motives of national homage, they dances—in services of their worshipdesire to yield this testimony of per- in their festivities—in other stated and petual remembrance. It has ser regular occasions of life—as we find, ved, moreover, the purposes of their for example—among the early Greeks, erring worship, by shaping for them among the Highlanders of Scotland, the objects of their idolatry. These among the Arabs-customary songs two purposes gave to primitive Sculp- accompanying particular avocations ture its place of ordinary service to of labour—this various uniform use human life, without any intermixture of melody for service without imagiof those higher principles which have nation, justifies our considering it, like since found their way into the art. the other arts, as having a foundation But imagination saw how in the rude in natural life, on which the work of forms of primitive art she could in- imagination is afterwards raised. And vest her own conceptions of august if Music might seem to imply an artiand beautiful form, and taking the ficial melody, as if it must have had chissel from the hand of mechanic from the beginning gratuitous invenlabour, she began, for the world's tion, the singular fact may be recol. delight, the work of her beautiful lected that the primary notes of the creation. Painting seems to have music of all nations is the same—a had a similar origin with Sculpture. sufficient proof that the ground of It was at first an art of memory, not of melody is laid in our organic constiimagination. It was used to preserve tution, and a reason the more to supthe likenesses of men, and from its port the view which has been taken of ready variety the records of events. this art, as having a natural origin in In the hands of imagination it became the natural occasions of life, indepena beautiful art for delight; sometimes dently of imagination-since even mestill serving its original use, and some- lodies of joy and sorrow may thus be times seeking no other end than pure allowed as the natural utterance of a delight. This art, too, was applied in being, whose ear and voice are framed a natural use, as it may be called, to with the instinct of melody. the service of erring religion. There Without pursuing similar illustrais a farther use which may be men; tion through less important branches tioned as found in these three arts in of art, and without pretending to have their early practice, that is, as prepar- given more than a very slight stateing the mansions of the dead. All ment with respect to those that have these works, whether of utility or been enumerated, the argument which homage, are works of natural service, these observations were intended to independent altogether of that imagi- support, will, perhaps, be admitted, nation which is proper to the Fine Arts, namely, that those Arts, which we though they may all be said alike to in- term the Fine Arts, have all their provite that imagination. In like manner, per origin in the uses of human life, Poetry had its primitive natural ser- independently of that infused spirit of vice ; metrical language being found imagination which constitutes their a fit vehicle for the memory of na- interest to us, and which, in our estitions; and being used, therefore, formation, is indispensable to their chathe oral record of laws, moral doc- racter. trines, mythology, and national events Nor is this consideration of so little --at first independently of imagina- importance, as we might be apt to imation. It is said that the science of the gine, in determining the ultimate chaDruids was taught in many thousand racter of these arts. For although
The fitness of metrical lan- many of the uses which have been inguage for recitation with song, made dicated have no longer much weight it also suitable for religious and other for our minds, yet among those early ceremonies, which was also a natural nations to whom they served these primitive use. A few words may be purposes, they were felt as of great added of Melody, as connected both moment. It is difficult for us to quit in imagination our own condition of For these arts which afterwards adorn society, and to enter into the concep- life are at that time inwoven with its tions of those whose state of life and serious necessities, and are interfeelings is very different. If we could mingled, too, in concerns, which, if justly estimate the place which these not of necessity, are held by them of arts have in the manners of nations in most solemn importance. They make the primitive conditions of life, we part of what may be called the struc. should understand that they have a ture of their life. great, éven a national importance.
Sir Joshua lays down that Sculpture strength, where the idea of especial aims at two things--Form and Cha- protection cannot apply - though, racter—and that to accomplish either indeed, a superior idea takes its of these, is to achieve a mighty work. place ---that of a creature above proBut how there should be intellectual tection-born to triumph over the delight or sublimity in Form he does ills under which ordinary mortality not unfold; yet he who knows not dies. It must be these feelings that this, is imperfectly skilled in the Gre, make faultless forms of beauty or cian soul. Let us, therefore, discover strength, independently of all exwhy Intellect enjoys a statue which pression, poetical, and worthy of imahas no expression as far as the subject gination's love. Of course it is not is concerned, but animal action and necessary that at every good statue animal perfection. Some elements of the mind should run out into these pleasure are obvious, but go only a speculations; but if it has ever been small way. First, there is the original in the habit of indulging and believing pleasure of looking at animal beauty, in them, the least, almost unperceived, which is not inconsiderable to those inclination to them, will be sufficient who have been bred up in that per. to exalt Form ; indeed that must be petual flow of animal enjoyment with true throughout all poetry and feel. which Grecians were blest ; for the ing. What is superstition with rebeauty of an animal is its adaptation gard to flowers, is literal matter of to animal enjoyment. Then, we sup. fact for gods and god-begotten heroes. pose, where this beauty is carried Among the obvious causes of pleathrough every part, so that nothing of sure in mere Form of a perfect statue, the defects appear, which, in the in- are the knowledge and skill of the finite chances of matter, settle upon sculptor; but we know not how far this all things of mortal birth, it is impos- may go for nobler pleasure. The mere sible to resist a feeling as if there were mechanical skill of doing a difficult an exemption for that creature from thing by long practice does not appear the ordinary laws to which all others very exalted ; and how much share are enthralled -as if it were a favoured it may be allowed in the pleasure of a being, a darling of heaven that no cultivated mind we cannot tell. In a power of annoyance can come near, rude mind it seems often to make up and which the fighting elements of the whole--and that very strong--as nature have united to spare. A Flower in the admiration of rope-dancingof faultless and glorious beauty, just but even here we can hardly believe unfolded, seems as if it could not live that the naked perception of a diffi on this earth and under these skies, if culty overcome by long practice, is there were not some feeling above for the sole source of delight. We believe its loveliness to save it from harm. And that in the pleasure of the “men of this Ariosto must have known, when, the multitude" there is something in deseribing the rose which the virgin more poetical; a confusion of astonresembles, he says that sun, and air, ishment at the exertion of powers of and the dewy morning, and sky, and which they had no conception ; and a earth, incline towards it in favour feeling as if those powers came from This is a feeling of protection. The a higher quarter, and the rope-dancer feeling of the care in Nature for her were a gifted being :-a portion of the production, goes much further-be- reverence which the most enlightened sides applying to forms of faultless minds feel for a juggler. Skill in the