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natural intellects regard this description or species of theatrical representation as the impersonation of bad dreams and savage cruelties, characteristic of a low and barbarous stage of civilization. “All tragedies are of kings and princes.” Dr. Baffirmed, in substance, “men write and love tragedies; because it is a terrific display of, and combat between, sin and goodness.” But I think, men write and love tragedies; because, to the revengeful mind, they are sublime, and to the undeveloped imagination, exciting. Again, let it be repeated, if the Lecturer would but receive the exhortation of Pope to “study man," and leave the high truths pertaining to the “ Lord of Hosts” for subsequent investigation, he would certainly become less theological and more rationalistic. The cause of truth would be thus advanced.
This discussion was commenced, apparently, with a perfect, though carefully expressed, assurance of personal competency to philosophically prove the supernaturalness of sin, and the necessity for a supernatural plan of redemption. But the effort thus far has utterly failed. He can not intelligibly and decisively determine what sin is; because there exists no universally recognized standard of goodness. Surely, the decalogue, and the Christian Bible, do not constitute a universally recognized standard; for every clergyman in Christendom entertains different conceptions of Right, obtained by reading the same identical book and commandments. Until, therefore, Dr. B- ascertains, beyond all dispute, what the law of God absolutely and eternally is; and until that law is acknowledged all over the world as the only admissible and everlasting criterion of Right; it will remain unqualifiedly impossible for him to supernaturally define what sin is, or to convict the whole creation as being made subject to vanity, and men as voluntary aliens to the Lord of Hosts.
In conclusion, Dr. B-. urged, quite logically from his premises, the people to avail themselves forthwith of the re
demptive plan of salvation. They were, he affirmed, all convicted of the tremendous reality of sin, and should, therefore, immediately set about — [something] of which, I venture to affirm, not ten of the entire congregation had the least adequate conception. His theology is not only time-sanctified, but measurably popular. It acknowledges no necessary connection with, or dependence upon, either nature or common sense. It professes to be established upon a basis entirely supernatural. It takes no practical and beneficial cognizance of the social and natural wants of mankind; but merely enjoins faith in certain abstract dogmas and incomprehensibilities, which have already divided the world into petty sects and spread hostility and discord throughout the land. Whereas, if Dr. B— would but study mankind more, I know he would “blame" less; and become of far greater service to the rising generations. By an adequate knowledge of phrenological science, and of the law of hereditary transmission of qualities,* he would be enabled to judge mankind with a righteous judgment, and to teach the people how to avoid entailing unhealthy and vicious constitutions upon their offspring. But trembling for the safety of doctrines based upon a supernatural foundation, the Lecturer discourages the investigation of Nature and her laws; and frowns, dogmatically and sarcastically, upon nearly all the splendid and valuable discoveries which rationalists and researchers have exhumed from the deep vaults of universal nature. In reply to the Lecturer's concluding earnest and prayerful appeal to the people, that they should forthwith avail themselves of the redemptive scheme and turn all their love and attention to the Lord, I am impressed to partially neutralize it in the reader's mind, by quoting the following impressive parable, written by Leigh Hunt :
* See chapters on the action of psychological laws, as applicable to the generation and improvement of the human type, in Great Harmonia, Vol. III. ; also in the Edinburgh Journal, edited by Combe ; also in the Educational System of A. Bronson Alcott, of Boston, Massachusetts. This mind is most worthy of the attention which has been bestowed upon more popular personages. His spirituality of character render him a natural exponent of the psychological laws of Education, which the shepherds of the land should more fully comprehend.
“ ABOU-BEN-ADHEM (may his tribe increase !)
Awoke one night from a sweet dream of peace,
What writest thou ? The vision raised its head,
And is mine one ? said ABOU. “Nay, not so,'
Dr. BUSHNELL has now attained the summit of the philosophical argument, in favor of supernaturalism and against the rationalistic theories of religion. In the progress of the effort, man and nature have been constantly referred to as living witnesses and demonstrations of the supernatural faith and theory. The young minds of the congregation, and the skeptical members of all professions, were to receive, from this naturalistic argument, ample satisfaction, that nothing but supernaturalism can be the truth. The Rationalist was, in the commencement, promised a philosophical demonstration of the practicability of God in Christ, of the atonement, of the redemptive plan of salvation, of special providences, and prayer. To accomplish this desirable end, this modern LUTHER has relieved his mind of five discourses, the last of which number I design to review on this occasion.
The apex of the rational or philosophical argument is now reached by this independent champion of popular theology. During the eccentric march, nothing has been neglected, which could, in any conceivable manner, impeach the character of man, and bring the entire human family into direct confliction with the nature and will of God, and with the ineffable harmonies of the moral universe. The Lecturer has labored diligently to convict mankind of the most diabolical sins and abominations. He has said very much calculated to weaken the individual in his private efforts to be and to do good; and has somewhat discouraged those who would strive, by the aid of science and spiritual rationalism, to live righteous lives in strict obedience to the moral and physical laws of their being. He has, in his intellectual gyrations, raised the theological telescope, its lens deeply colored in the dyes of orthodoxy, and bade his hearers look through that beclouded medium, at the “system of nature” as differing from the system of God, and then at the spiritual “realm of powers,”— causing the people to observe in either direction the illustrations and confirmations of the supernatural creed. And then, he inverted the instrument, and bade his skeptical hearers to gaze in the opposite direction, at mankind in their multifarious spiritual relations to the wide expanse of created. things. After the Lecturer had succeeded, as he supposed, in utterly demolishing man's faith in the divinity of man, and converting the whole system of nature into a perfect pandemonium of wretched antagonisms to God, then he mounted the ruins,-ascended the falling and crumbling fabric-and said: “Here, then, I stand-feeling assured that nothing can shake me from my position-and, now, I offer to man. kind, as a sovereign remedy for all sin, the redemptive plan of salvation.”
The Lecturer said, in concluding his last discourse, that he left the subject at a point where the Christian plan of redemption was seen to be essential to individual regeneration. The presumption is, therefore, that the philosophical department of the argument for supernaturalism is now completed. And of course, we, who desire to be reasonable and rational beings,--and professedly candid in our recognitions and val. uations of an argument, pro or con, on any subject,-should now ask ourselves the questions :
First. Has Dr. B- proved Rationalism to be erroneous ?
Second. Or, the Bible scheme of redemption to be indispensable to peace on earth and good will among men?
My impression is, that these essentially important points have not been proved---nay, not even apparently so; and