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were only shadows or figures of the moral *; and that they were intended chiefly as directors and indices, to lead us on by degrees from the investigation of natural truth and beauty, to those originals, those realities of the moral and spiritual world, wbich were the true light and life of heaven, only typified by the others. - I strove to prove, that mathematics in general were similitudes of the law of reason in man; and that all works of taste and beauty, were only as shadows of the moral beauty perceived by imagination and sentiment; and that to suppose, that the capability of investigating the glorious works of the Creator was given to man chiefly for the use of his body, which was almost brutal, in preference to the information and improvement of his soul, which was related to the Deity, was a positive absurdity, a perverted and inverted ratiocination, which tended directly to degrade man altogether into the image of a beast. I contended, that it was greatly by means of this absurd abuse of reason and sentiment, that mankind were become so depraved. I supposed, that the ingenious refinements of scientific luxury were the highwater mark of this depravity, which, if not checked by effectual judgments, must in the natural and moral course of events (as I concluded) induce the destruction of the whole world.
* Not that I was so uncharitable, or so very ignorant of men and things, as to suppose, that a beautiful form would ensure a lovely spirit; or, that a deformed person was a necessary accompaniment of a vicious distorted soul! No, I only saw that in the natural scale, natural beauty and symmetry were truly emblematic of, and proportionate to, that state in the soul, or the spiritual system, which we consider to be lovely and rational. But parallel lines are not coincident, or one and the same; but only, beauty : natural things : : grace : spiritual things, and symmetry: natural things :: reason and truth : spiritual things.
I then lamented the errors and blindness of modern education, which (as I thought) almost wholly overlooked the regulation of the heart, on the proper cultivation of which every thing (under God) depended; and aimed only at cramming the mind with learning, useless, and even pernicious, without duly regulated affections. Warmed by my subject, I then launched out in praise of the noble characters of antiquity; yet such was my blindness and wicked prejudice, that I placed Socrates first in my list, and after him the Saviour of the world! I concluded with the praise of Howard, whom I supposed that Providence had raised up in these latter times, lest all the sages and heroes of antiquity should, by the increasing depravity of the world, be shortly considered as merely fabulous and unreal characters.
Nevertheless, as I proceeded, my understanding and my heart were gradually so rectified by the spirit of truth, that I became convinced of my error, in placing Socrates at the head of my catalogue of inspired mortals ; (which I was persuaded that all wise and good men were). I therefore erased his name, and inserted that (now adored one) of JESUS CHRIST, as the most perfect and worthy of mere mankind. Thus I rose one step in my creed; viz. from pure deism, to a kind of Socinianism, or Unitarianism.
Thus far I had proceeded, when my speculations were interrupted by the call of military duty. My corps was ordered out of garrison, and employed from October to December 1791 in active service in the field, together with two others, one of which was a king's regiment. After taking by assault a fort of Tippoo's on plain ground, we proceeded to attack the strong and almost inaccessible hill-fort of Kishnghur in the clouds. Here we were repulsed, after losing the greater part of the light company, and some of the grenadiers of the King's regiment, which led the column of attack according to the etiquette of military precedence. For though the forlorn hope got up to the foot of the wall with the ladders which they planted; yet these were found not to reach much more than half-way up to the top! So deceiving is the appearance of the heights of walls at such an immense elevation.
All the mischief was done by stones, or rather masses of rock, which being pushed over the top of the parapet, where they had been previously placed, swept away every thing on the road (which they commanded) over the brink of a tremendous precipice of some hundred feet, after crushing their bones to pieces in the first instance.
Here, it may be asked, why does the writer insert this solitary scrap of military narrative into a work professedly evangelical in its object.
I reply, not to please myself, but to gratify a particular friend, who begged hard for a history of my campaigns; but as this would be quite foreign to my views, and would, I apprehend, make a mixture something like oil and vinegar; I therefore only insert (as it were) this patch, to show how awkward such a composition would appear.
My corps 'returned from the service it had been employed on in December, and was destined to form part of the garrison of Bangalore; and so soon as we were settled in our quarters, I again resumed my former unfinished work.
Being convinced from a long train of reflections and observation, that the body of man was merely an image or shadow of his soul, I began to write an Essay on the subject, comparing the one with the other, member with
member*, in all cases that fell under my observation, or resulted from my own experience; and though I felt a considerable difficulty in setting out, and a great deficiency in point of physiological knowledge; yet as I proceeded, step by steps fresh lights were continually thrown on the subject, and confirmed by the living manners of society, in such a clear and striking way, as equally surprised and delighted me, and made me admire from whence such lively demonstrations, and yet of so abstruse and spiritual a nature, which I neither gained from books, nor oral instruction, could proceed. This has since that time frequently brought to my awakened mind (or some will think dreaming mind) that mysterious passage of promise and consolation to penitent sinners in Isaiah, viz. “ The children" (of the fu soul) “ which thou “ shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too strait for me: give place to me, that I
dwell. * Thus, to instance very briefly, abstract reason is the head of the soul, and sentiment or moral feeling is the heart and blood. The stomach of the soul, which digests its food practically, is the understanding of experience, or resulting from experience. Therefore in Scripture reading and understanding are figuratively called eating and digesting.– See Ezekiel; and Revelation, x.
+ The children of the soul, from the premises, are clearly the generations of its thoughts and sentiments; of which, as in a little world, there is a continual succession, from the birth to the grave.