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is no doubt even at this early period, * activity, but it is attivity without voluntary reflection. Inspiration has for its character enthusiasm; it is accompanied by that powerful emotion which elevates the mind above its ordinary subaltern state, developing the sublime and divine part of its nature:
“ Est Deus in nobis, agitante calescimus illo. “ In fact, man, during the marvellous state of inspiration and enthusiasm, unable to refer it to himself, refers it to God, and calls the primitive and pure affirmation, revelation. Is the human race wrong? When man, conscious of his seeble agency in inspiration, refers to God the truths which he did not make, but which govern him, is he deceived? Certainly not. For what is God? I have told you : thought in itself, absolute thought in its fundamental elements, eternal reason, the substance and cause of the truths which man perceives. When man refers to God truths that he cannot refer to this world, nor to his own personality, he gives credit where he ought-the affirmation of absolute truth without reflection, is a true revelation. You then see why, in the cradle of civilization, he who has more than his fellow men, of this marvellous gift of inspiration, passes for the confidant and interpreter of God. He is so for others, gentlemen, because he is so for himself; he is so for himself, because he is really so in a philosopbic sense. See the origin of prophecy, of priesthood, of religious worship.
“Remark also a peculiar effect of this phenomenon of inspiration. When urged by the vivid and rapid perception of truth, transported by inspiration and enthusiasm, man tries to bring forth what passes within him, to express it in words, he can only employ words of the same character with the phenomenon to be translated. The necessary form, the language of inspiration is poetry, and the primitive speech is a hymn.”
If we understand all this, the religious hymns of every barbarous tribe are upon the same footing with the Christian Bible. Besides, as reflection succeeds this spontaneous reason, here called revelation, philosophy is above any revelation that can be made, it is the product of the mind in an advanced
* At the pnly period when inspiration takes place, according to this author, viz: in an uncultivated state of mind.
state. This is a sentiment extensively held in France and Germany. It is one, too, that very easily finds access to a reflecting mind, that is not occupied by confidence in the Christian Scriptures, and doubtless may overthrow a degree even of that confidence that would be unshaken by all the arguments of gross infidelity.
We wish, in a few words, to express an opinion as to the general tendency of Cousin's philosophy. In the first place, it seems admirably calculated to destroy all moral distinctions. We admit, our author distinctly recognises the grand principles of morals in many passages of the volumes before us; but all impression of their authority is destroyed by his leading sentiments. If the creation and providence of God are necessary manifestations of the divine causative existence, they can have no moral character, in the common sense of the expression. The actions of creatures, whose reason is only a fragment of the divine reason, can, of course, have no morality different from the divine. All human conduct is, upon this scheme, a part of the divine agency. All things, all events, must be equally good. The fall of millions, in warfare between man and man, is really matter of no more regret, connected with no more guilt, than the autumnal disrobing of the forest.
In the second place, this system affords little ground for belief in the future individual existence of the soul. The fragment of the divine intelligence now manifest in a human body, may be absorbed into the divine essence at death, or it may pass
into some new manifestation, without either past or coming responsibility. We do not say that such is the opinion of Cousin, but it seems to us the only legitimate consequence of his system.
Thirdly: upon the scheme before us, although the Christian religion may be complimented for the past, it can hold no commanding situation in the human mind, after philosophy has fairly executed its mission, after reflection has carried our intelligence into the higher and purer region of abstract thought.
Fourthly : Cousin may not choose for himself the appellation Pantheist, but we know of no other that meets our idea of his system as a whole. But Pantheism, though more sublime, far more seductive, is hardly better than Atheism. It interests the imagination, but its legitimate tendency is to destroy all moral sanction.
To conclude an article, already longer than we design
ed: The state of French and German philosophy is such as to enlist the deepest feelings of every Christian, whose bosom glows with benevolence to the whole race of his fellow
The science and literature of two among the most advanced nations of the world, is employed far more successfully against the religion of Christ than is any superstition of India. The latter cannot seduce an Englishman or American: the former does this daily.
Now we ask, can the friends of the Christian religion do nothing to resist this terrible enemy? Are we to combat the superstitions of heathenism, and still not even ask what can be done to resist a more dreadful foe in Christian lands? We pretend not to say what definite steps can be taken to favour the cause of revealed truth in either France or Germany; but while God is ahe hearer of prayer, the subject deserves consideration. A single thing may be suggested : any measure that would favour the increase of piety and knowledge of the truth, among the lower and especially middle classes of France or Germany, would at length extend the benefit to the more refined classes. The literati of Germany would, of course, scorn any such attempts to reach their minds; but will they not at some time return to the religion of the Bible, and will not this be a consequence of prayers and efforts, which a preceding generation had ridiculed ? Is it not a want of faith and true Christian zeal, that leads us to suppose the German philosopher beyond the reach of divine mercy, when exercised through any of its common channels? Were Christian writers in this country and in England, always upon the alert to expose the vagaries of infidel philosophy, and place over against it the truth of God, great results might at some time he anticipated. We are ever to remember, that God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty ;-—that no flesh should glory in his presence.”
We add a single reflection. Just before our Saviour appeared upon earth, there was prevalent a general expectation that some extraordinary person was soon to visit mankind, and produce a highly beneficial revolution in the world. While the Jewish prophets uttered the oracles of God, Roman poets, Indian philosophers, Persian magi, were the unwitting heralds of the Prince of Peace. Like this, is one of the signs of the present time. The Christian world looks for the se
cond coming of Christ, in the display of Millennial glory, as an event near at hand. French and German philosophy predicts a new religion and new social state, as the grand result of all preceding changes. The wisdom of the philosopher will doubtless disappoint him—the faith of the Christian may, as it respects the precise time, but cannot in the end. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?"
ART. IV.—THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH IN RELATION
TO SUNDAY SCHOOLS.
Men often come slowly to the adoption of the principles of the merest common sense, even in the doctrines and duties of religion. How much Christianity has lost whilst its disciples have been dallying in hesitation about obeying the simplest instincts of duty, we believe to be incalculable. They never ponder so deliberately, and with such cautious progression, as when an effort is proposed to take advantage of the very postulates of reason in promoting the triumph of the Gospel. The strongest illustration of this most anomalous fact is furnished by the history of the Church in regard to its efforts to control ihe education of the young. For it is no late discovery that the mind of childhood is susceptible of permanent moral impressions. No theme can claim a more venerable prescription to the last honours of triteness than this. And if the world are really ignorant of the connexion of early education with the destiny of the individual, it is for some other reason than the want of common fame to proclaim it: for it has been set forth in all conceivable forms, from the Proverbs of Solomon to the distich of Pope, and from the staring apophthegm of the copybook, to the rant of the college rostrum. It is thus that the great truth has been suffered to evaporate, even since the dispensation of the Gospel. The praise of education has echoed from the pulpit too, in good set phrase, but the Christian world slumbered upon the sermons until the Archbishop of Milan showed that the subject was capable of some practical inferences.
But even this hint, like many others from that
disfavoured quarter, was despised by Protestant Christendom for more than two hundred years, and we have only just now celebrated the lapse of the first half century since the introduction of a universal system of religious education for children.
And yet it has taken that half century to carry the Church through the first process of awakening. We allude not to the agitation of contingent questions of lawfulness and expediency, to the suspicions and misgivings, or to the positive opposition and denunciation, which the Sunday School system encountered. For, that there prevailed during that period a singular frigidity on the general subject of the moral training of children, is shown by the absence of all effort to furnish a substitute for the plan of Raikes, acknowledged to be worthy of all commendation in its design, but which, it was pretended, could be prosecuted only by desecration, and the accomplishment of which was, after all, essentially impracticable. But, confining our observations to the earliest feaiures of the plan itself, and to the Christian zeal which it enlisted, we say it is surprising, that it is only since the late Jubilee that the Church has seemed to begin to be aware of the divine designs in this new organization. Cases of—what may be called, in reference to the efforts of teachers—uccidental conversions of children, occasionally occurred, and they were proclaimed abroad as unprecedented wonders, and received with doubt or incredulity by the religious public. But when the Spirit of God moved through a church, the Sunday-School room presented itself in a new light to the revived Christians and the recent converts. Instead of being looked upon as a receptacle for street-idlers; a penitentiary; or, at best, as a place where the rudiments of reading might be conscientiously tasked into a child by making the Bible his horn-book, it presented the aspect of a gate of heaven; and teachers felt the appalling truth that the souls of these children were committed to them, and that there was no other way opened for their deliverance from hell than had been opened to themselves. They were led to a more solemn consideration of the nature of the office itself ; and it soon becomes evident to a candid mind, that when Providence has assigned any moral field to its culture, there is a responsibility connected with the trust proportionate to the interest involved. They had, heretofore, been too apt to consider that it was a business of generous self-denial that they had assumed, and that the service