Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason (Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft) is a 1793 book by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Although its purpose and original intent has become a matter of some dispute, the book's immense and lasting influence on the history of theology and the philosophy of religion is indisputable. It consists of four parts, called "Pieces" (Stücke), originally written as a series of four journal articles.


Royal censorship

The First Piece originally appeared as a Berlinische Monatsschrift article (April 1792). Kant's attempt to publish the Second Piece in the same journal met with opposition from the king's censor. Kant then arranged to have all four pieces published as a book, routing it through the philosophy department at University of Jena to avoid the need for theological censorship. Kant was reprimanded for this action of insubordination. When he nevertheless published a second edition in 1794, the censor was so irate that he arranged for a royal order that required Kant never to publish or even speak publicly about religion.

Title meaning and translations

The book's title is based on a metaphor Kant introduces in the Prefaces and uses throughout the book, whereby rational religion is depicted as a naked ("bare") body while historical religions are regarded as "clothing" that are not appropriate "vehicles" for conveying religious truths to the populace. The earliest translation treats this metaphor too literally: using "naked" ignores the fact that Kant's "bloßen" can also mean "mere". The most recent translation solves this problem by using the English "bare", which also has both meanings.

English translations

  • Religion Within the Boundary of Pure Reason Semple translation 1838
  • Werner S. Pluhar, Religion within the Bounds of Bare Reason. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2009. With an Introduction by Stephen Palmquist.
  • Allen W. Wood and George di Giovanni, Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. With an Introduction by Robert Merrihew Adams. Also included in Immanuel Kant: Religion and Rational Theology, volume 6 of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant, pp.55-215.
  • Theodore M. Greene and Hoyt H. Hudson, Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1934/1960.
  • T.K. Abbott, translation of the First Piece only, on pp.323-360 of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Practical Reason and Other Works in Theory of Ethics. London: Longmans, Green & Co., Ltd, 1873.
  • J.W. Semple, (title unknown). Edinburgh: Thomas Clark, 1838/1848.
  • John Richardson, Religion within the Boundaries of Naked Reason extracts in J.S. Beck's The Principles of Critical Philosophy (1798). Revised and reprinted in Richardson's Essays and Treatises (London: William Richardson, 1799), volume 2, pp.367-422.

See also

Full text











J. W. SEMPLE, Advocate,


^ LIBKAHY. EDINBURGH :,^£^/?P UHll^^^^S^'




HI)S 0^"^^^


Printed by Thomas Allan & Co.

265 High Street.

■ I,




Translator's Advertisement to the Reader, . vii


Kant's Preface to the First Edition, ... 1 — — Second Edition, . . 11



Exordium. Of the Principles of Good and Evil, . 1 7

Explanatory Scholion, ... 21 Section I. Of Mankind's Originary Predisposition toward

Good, ..... 26

Section II. Of the Bias to Evil in Human Nature, 30 Section III. Man is by nature evil, . ^ . .35

Section IV. Of the Origin of Evil in Human Nature, 45

General Scholion. Of Divine Grace, . 51

BOOK 11.


Exordium. On a certain Difference obtaining betwixt the Ethic of the Stoa and the Ethic of the Church, . 67





Of the Title of the Good Principle to rule over

Mankind. Section A. Impersonated Idea of the Good Principle, 72

Section B. On the Objective Reality of the above Idea, 74 Section C. Difficulties standing in the way of the alleged reality of the above Idea, together with their re- solution, ..... 80


Of the Title of the Evil Principle to Rule over

Mankind, ..... 96

General Scholion. Of Miracles, . . .103




Exordium. The thorough conquest of the Evil by the Good Principle is only to be achieved by the coming and founding of a Kingdom of God on Earth, . 115


Philosophical Account of the Victory of the Good Principle.

Section I. Of the Ethical State of Nature, . 119

Section II. Mankind ought to quit their Ethical State of Nature, in order to become members of an Ethic Commonwealth, • . . . 121

Section III. The Idea of an Ethical Commonwealth is the Idea of a People of God combined under Ethic Laws, ..... 124

Section IV. The Idea of a People of God is only to be rea- lized by forming a Church, . . 127




Page Section V. A Church is best founded on a Holy Writ, and

the thence arising Faith Ecclesiastical, . 130

Section VI. Ethical Science is the' Supreme Interpreter, and the only Infallible Expounder of all Ecclesias- tical Creeds whatsoever, . . .14^0 Section VII. When the Kingdom of God may be said to

be at hand, .... 148


Historical Account of the Founding of a Kingdom

OF THE Good Principle on Earth, . . . 163 General Scholion. Of Holy Mysteries, . . . 183


OF RELIGION AND CLERIAECHY. Exordium. Of Ecclesiastical Despotism, . • 199


Of the Religious Worship of the Deity, . 203 Section I. Of Christianity considered as Natural Religion, 208 Section II. Of Christianity considered as a Learned Re- ligion, ..... 217


Of the Superstitious Worship of the Deity, 224

Section I. Of Delusions in Religion generally, . 225

Section II. Of the guard furnished by Ethic against all

Delusions in Religion, . . . 228 *

Section III. Of Cleriarchy and Sacerdotal Despotism, 234 Section IV. That Conscience is at all times her own -

Guide, ..... 251

General Scholion. Of Means of Grace, . . 259

C. CORNELIUS TACITUS De Moribus Gebmanobum.

Haud defuit audentia Germanico: bed obstitit Ocbanus




During the six-and-forty years that Frederick THE Great reigned over Prussia, his subjects enjoy- ed unrestricted liberty of the press. But upon the death of that illustrious monarch in 1786, and the ac- cession of F. William II., a different order of affairs began. An edict was published shortly after (in 1788), greatly hampering, or even suppressing, freedom of de- bate, especially in matters theological ; and this edict had very nearly the effect of stifling Kant's work on religion. Kant had sent the first book to the Edi- tor of the Berlin Monthly Magazine, and this part was allowed by the philosophical censor, Mr G. R. Hillmer, to pass to the public, when it appeared in April 1792. Book II. was forwarded to Berlin, with the view of being published in some subsequent number. Upon reading it, however, Mr Hillmer considered the treatise theological, not philosophical, and therefore sent it for inspection to Mr O. C. R. Hermes, the theologic censor, who most unhesi- tatingly refused his imprimatur, and took Book II.


into custody, as illicitly poaching on the preserves of theology. In Germany, the ancient universities pos- sess several immunities and many important privileges and jurisdictions of their own. Some of them have even rights of appellate jurisdiction. To this latter class belongs the university at Konigsberg ; and before the university of Konigsberg Kant resolved to bring his case. He completed his Philosophical Theory of Re- ligion, and sent it to the theological faculty, contend- ing that the investigation did not fall under their jurisdiction, as it was merely a philosophical specula- tion upon theology. After mature deliberation, the theological faculty of Konigsberg found that the vo- lume was not one that could fall under their cogni- zance, and remitted it to the philosophical faculty, who at once sanctioned its publication. Thus a work suppressed by the royal censorship at Berlin, was printed notwithstanding in the same year at Konigs- berg, with the express consent both of the theological and philosophical faculties.

This account of the present volume I have thought it necessary to prefix, to enable readers to understand the allusions in the Preface, and also some expres- sions in the text. The preposterous behaviour of Mr Hermes furnishes us with a very satisfactory scale by which to estimate the justness of the lash- ing inflicted by Kant in Book IV. on churchmen bigoted, superstitious, and despotic. It must be ad-


mitted, Hennes had afforded ample room for even a severer reprimand. The pointed passage at p. 242, where the Author complains of churchmen attempt- ing to give the go-by at once to biblical learning and to reason, — thinking that they need only to command,^ but not convince,^^! understand as a direct allusion to Mr Hermes.

Touching the Treatise itself, the Germans hold that this volume is the most important disquisition that ever appeared upon religion generally, and upon the Christian religion in particular; an opinion in which I think every person must concur, whether he accept or decline the singularities and originalities of Rationalism. That it concerns us islanders to know the religious or quasi-religious opinions entertained by our next-door neighbours on the Continent, no sane man, I apprehend, can doubt. Journeys are made to China and Hindostan to learn the metaphysical and ethical speculations there pre- valent. Even the books of Con-fu-tszee are trans- lated, and deemed not unworthy of sifting comment. How much more nearly are we called upon to study opinions which, to use the words of Sir James Mac- intosh, " have now exclusive possession of Europe to the north of the Rhine — have been welcomed by the French youth with open arms — have roused in some measure the languishing genius of Italy ; but are still little known, and unjustly estimated, by



" the mere English reader ;"f — more especially when we reflect that those opinions are the cherished and valued sentiments of a race who, both t>y speech and blood, are our nearest kinsfolk.

To contribute in some measure, however slender, toward removing the ignorance so justly lamented by the polished writer whose words I have quoted above,, is the humble aim of the few following sheets, as well as of the volume which I previously ventured to lay before the public. I have only yet farther, before concluding, to thank my readers, both on this and the other side of the Atlantic, for the very cour- teous reception with which they have deigned to coun- tenance my labours.

Edinburgh^ 1st November 1838.

f Prelim. Dissertat. to 7th ed. of Encyc. Brit. p. 412,












EthiC; in so far as founded on the Idea of Humanity as a free Agents binding himself, by virtue of that very Freedom, to an unconditionate Law of Reason, is by it«elf complete and entire ; so that mankind neither requires the idea of any Superior Person to enable him to investigate his duty, nor does he need any incentive or spring to its execution other than the law itself. At least it must be his own fault if there exist any such want or need ; a de«  feet, however, quite without remedy from any foreign sources ; since, whatsoever is not originated by himself from his own freedom, cannot supply or make up the want of his own morality.

A System of Ethics, therefore, needs no Religion, neither dt^ecHvdy to aid man's will, nor subjedivelyy as respects his ability, to aid his power ; but stands, by force of pure practical reason, self-sufficient and independent : for, since its decrees have ethical virtue to oblige by the bare form of that universal legality wherewith all maxims must co- incide, such formal fitness for law universal, being the su* preme and unconditionate condition of the intent of all ac-


2 author's preface.


lions whatsoever, it results that Ethic needs no material determinator of choice, «. e. requires no ulterior end, either to recognise what is duty, or to excite toward its execu- tion, but, on the contrary, can and ought, in a question regarding duty, to abstract from all ends whatsoever. To take an instance, suppose I wish to know, if I should (or can) speak truth in the witness'box, or re-deliver a deposite intrusted to my care, then I require to make no inquiry concerning any end or purpose which my evi- dence or re-delivery may accomplish ; for he who in such a case should cast about for some ulterior motive, would show by doing so that he is a villain.

But although Sthics require bo representation of an end, as a condition aiitecedent to the determinsition of the will, yet it is pos^le that it may have a necessary refer- ence to an end ; not, indeed, as the groundwork, but as Am sequent of maxims adopted in harmony with the law : for no del^ermioation of will can exist in man entirely de- void of all reference to ends, since no volition can re- maiB without effiBct; the representation (^ which effect will BO doubt not be the determinator of the choice, nor yet an end extant in the formal intent how to act ; but which effect must be adopted by the will, as an end emerg- ing in consequence of its determination by the law, apart from which a will could not satisfy itself; for, being left destitute of every, wlftether objectively or subjectively, as- signed end, in an intended action, the will would be com- manded Aott^ybut not ivhiiberwards, ithsid to act. Thus, for morality no end is required, only the law, which is the formal condition of the use of freedom ; but Ethic gives birtb to an end : nor can reason remain indifferent to the question, What is to bb the rbsult of all her right

author's preface. 3

ACTiNO ? toward which final result as a goal (even sup* posing that goal beyond our reach) she might direct all her actions, as toward a common centre*

This end is no more than the idea of an object which comprises in itself, 1. The formal condition of the ends we ought to have (duty) ; and, 2. Also the thereby con- ditioned aggregate of the ends we actually have (the hap- piness proportioned to our observance of the former) ; that is, in other words, the idea of the Summum Bonum, to realise which best possible world {Summum JBonum)^ we must postulate a Supreme, Moral, Most Holy, and All- mighty Being, as he who is alone able to unite these two elements* But this idea is practically not void, for it aids the need we feel to figure to ourselves some last end as the final scope and aim of our exertions ; — the absence of which end would be an impediment to ethical determina- tions. But the main point observable is, that the idea takes its rise from Ethic, and is not its groundwork ; for to adopt this end, pre-requires ethic principles in the person who does so. It is therefore nowise indifferent to the mo- ralist whether he frame to himself the notion of a final scope and chief end of all things or not (to harmonisse with which does not increase the number of his duties, but supplies a common point where all his exertions are ultimately to terminate and coincide) ; for it is only by force of this idea, that objective practical reality can be given to our notion of the conjui^bility of ihe^rmal symmetry of actions originated by freedom, with the mate- rial symmetry of objects in the physical system; a con- junction which is an indispensable postulate of reason. Let us figure to ourselves an Intelligent, a reverer of the moral law^ revolving in thought what kind of worl4 he

4 author's preface.

would create if guided singly by practical reason (a co- gitation man can hardly avoid), of which world he him- self should be a part; then he would not only choose (sup- posing a wish only were left to him) just such a world as that ethical idea of the summum bonum brings along with it, but he would likewise will (had he the power) such a world into existence, because the moral law ordains that he effectuate the highest good possible by his exertions, even although he would see himself in great danger of losing his own personal happiness, by the hazard he might run, of not being found adequate to that idea to which, as a condition, reason restrains the distribution of happiness. This judgment would be impartial as if passed by ano-. ther, and yet his reason would force him to recognise it as his own too ; by all which the Intelligent would evince his ethical need, to figure to himself a final or last end, as the sequent of his duties.

H Ethic issues, then, inevitably in Religion, by extend- ing itself to the idea of an Omnipotent Moral Lawgiver, in whose will, that is the end of the creation, which at the same time can and ought to be likewise mankind's chief end.*

  • The position thebx is a Gob, consequently there is a Summum

Bonum^ in the universe, if it as a belief is to rest on pure morals, is a synthetic a priori proposition, which, although adopted singly for a prac- tical behoof, extends beyond the notion duty (which notion supposes no matter of choice, only its formal (negative) laws), and consequently cannot be evolved analytically from it : coincidence with the mere Idea of a Moral Lawgiver of Mankind, is no doubt identic with the ethical con- ception DUTY $ and to this extent a proposition ordaining such coinci- dence were analytic : but to assume his existence, says more than is ex- pressed by the bare idea of the possibility of such an object. The key to the unfolding of this matter, I can only here sketch in skeleton, with* out applying it to the intricacies of the wards.

Ah evd, or aim willed, is always the object of affection, t.e. of

author's preface.

If Ethic recognise in the Holiness of its Law an object of the greatest veneration, it doth farther, when on the

immediate desire to possess something bj means of an action, in the same wajr as the law is always an object of heveremce : an olyective end (i e. one which we ought to haveX is one objected to the mind (as such bj reason). That end, which is the indispensable and sufficient condi- tion of all other ends, is the last end or scope : proper happiness is the subjective end of finite intelligents (which end all hate bj force of their sensitive economj, and of which end it were contradictory to saj that the J OUGHT to have it), and all propositions which rest on this ground are synthetic, and a posteriori, fiut that every person should make the HiOHEST GOOD possiblo in the world, his last end and aim, is a synthe- tic practical proposition a priori ; and further, is an objectively practical one, proposed by reason ; for it is a position which goes beyond the con- ception of the duty to be performed in this world, and superadds to it a sequent, I. e. an effect not involved or contained in the moral law, and which, consequently, cannot be evolved analytically from it. The law commands categorically, be the effect what it may ; nay, it necessitates man to abstract altogether from such effect, when it calls for any given act ; and does, by this very circumstance, make duty an object of the highest veneration, that it assigns neither end nor scope which might re- commend it, or become an incentive towards the performance of duty. All men would find mobile enough, in the law, if they adhered {as the^ should) to the decrees of pure Reason. What need have they to know what issue of their exertions the course of things may bring about ? for them it is enough that they have done their duty, whether all things expire with this earthly existence, and although happiness and desert never coincide. It happens, however, to be one of the limits put to man*s reason, that he always casts about for some effect resulting fix>m his actions, in order to find in this effect an end and aim such as may prove the purity of his will, which end, although last in execution, was, notwithstanding, first in his intention. In this end, even when assigned by reason, mankind seeks something that he can love. Consequently the law, which be- gets revere xcE only, and cannot recognise the need or want of the lat- ter, does nevertheless extend itself for the behoof of this want, so as to adopt the ethical scope of reason among its determinators, i. e, the posi-


EXERTIONS, THT LAST EiTD AND SCOPE," is a Synthetic a i^riori propo- sition, introduced by the moral law itself, although, by doing so, reason extends itself beyond its law ; and the synthetical extension is possible, by the law*s being applied to that physical predisposition of man's na-

6 author's t»R£FACE.

grade of religion, it exhibits as an object of Adoration — ■• a Supreme Cause, executive and upholder of the Law — enrobe itself with majesty, and appear in state. But every thing, even the most exalted, dwindles to insignificance in the hands of man, when its idea is applied to use. Even that which can only be truly venerated, in so far as the reverence bestowed on it is free, is necessitated to accom- modate itself to such shapes and forms as co-active laws ordain ; and that which offers itself to the free unreserved critique of every man^ is constrained to yield to a cri- tique par force, i. e. to a censorship.

Nevertheless, since the commandment, " Obey the Government !" is also of moral obligation ; and since its observance may, as indeed may that of every other duty^ be reckoned under the head of religion ; it is but seemly that a treatise devoted to the investigation of this latter idea, should itself exemplify ibis ordained obedience — ^a thing not to be accomplished by observing merely one single statutable decree of the state, but only by devoting a united reverence to them all. Now, a Theologian who sits in judgment on a book may be invested with a post where he is merely intrusted with the cure of souls, or

ture, whereby he is forced to think an end out of, aqd beyond, the law (which physical property makes man aa object of experience), and is, in fact (like the speculative synthetic propositions a priori), only thus pos- sible, viz. by containing the a priori principle, whereby we know the ma- terial conditions of freedom as exhibited in practice, so far forth as expe- rience and observation, exhibiting in their results the effects of morality, procure objective though only practical reality to the idea morality, as a causality acting in- upon the world. But if the rigid observance of the law is to be considered as the cause of the production of that end, the Summum Bonum, then must we (man's power being inadequate to that effect) assume an Omnipotent Moral Being as Governor of the World, under whose Providence this conjunction of felicity with desert is effect- ed, L c. Ethic issues necessarily in Religion.

AUTHOR'8 prbvace. T

eke with one, where he is also coneerned with the ad*- vancement of the sciences : the former jadge is only a clergyman, the second is at the same time one oi the learned. As a member of a learned institution {calkd a UniversUy)^ where the sciences are nurtured, and guard* ed against hurt, it is incumbent upon the latter to curb the excessive Censorship of the former, so far, at least, ai to prevent the sciences from receiving any damage. Sup* pose, now, that both censors are Biblical Theoldoians ; then will to the latter, as member of that Academic Fa* culty which has pre-eminently to deal with University Theology, belong the right of appellate jurisdiction : for, so far forth as the cure of souls is at stake, both being clergymen, are equally concerned ; but as for the inte- rest of the sciences, the Theological Teacher at the Uni- versity has a yet farther and peculiar province to admi- nister. If this rule be set aside, then we shall ultimately come to that pass (which in the days of Galileo really happened), that the Biblical Theologian, in order to humble the pride of the sciences, and to save himself the trouble of learning them, will, by a crusading inroad against physical astronomy, ancient geology, or whatever else the science may be (just like those savage hordes who, to defend themselves against the dreaded attacks of an enemy, lay waste beforehand whole territories around them), endeavour to blockade every outlet against the forthcoming operations of the human understanding.

Moreover, in the field of the sciences there stands over against biblical theology, a philosophical theology, as a good intrusted to a particular faculty. Now, so long as this branch of philosophic speculation remains ^^ within THE BOUNDS OF NAKED REASON," and uses toward the

8 author's preface.

confirmation and establishment of its positions, historjr, languages, the old writings of various nations — ^the Bible not excepted, — ^without, however, attempting to intrude its opinions into biblical theology, or to alter those pub- lic doctrines which stand under the privileged guardian- ship of the clergy ; then must it have full freedom to ex- tend itself as far as its scientific grasp can reach : and should it perchance even happen that the philosopher had wandered beyond his boundary, and invaded unawares the domain of the biblical theolc^ian, then would this last, in his capacity of clergyman, be entitled to subject the in- truder to his cognizance. But were it at all doubtful whether or not the due boundary really had been over- stepped, and question arose if such trespass actually had been committed, whether by writing or by any spoken lecture, then would the supreme or appellate censorship devolve on that biblical theologian alone, who might be likewise member of an academical faculty; for then only would he have the ulterior interests of the common- wealth to study, — ^holding his appointment from the state, in order that he might attend to the sciences, and their growth.

Unquestionably, in such a case as is here supposed, the Censorship would devolve, in the last resort, on the Theo- logical, not on the Philosophical Faculty ; for the former alone can claim a monopoly of certain doctrines, whereas the latter always leaves its tenets open to general debate, and can consequently never complain that any new specu- lation diminishes the traffic of the guild. Any doubt, how- ever, as to a territorial invasion, is, notwithstanding the approximation of the two doctrines, and apprehended tres- pass on the part of Philosophical Theology, very easily

author's prbface. 9

removed, when we conrider that the mischief lurises, not from the Philosopher's borrowing any thing from Bibli- cal Theology, but from his thrusting speculations npon Divinity, whereby this last is bent to ends foreign to her established constitution. Thus no cme would ever think of saying, that Teachers of International Law, when citing classical passages or formulae out of the Code or Digest, for the behoof of a philosophical theory of their subject, are guilty of invading or violating the majesty of the Corpus Juris, although those passages be accommodated and understood in a sense slightly varying from that in which Justinian and Ulpian may have employed them ; nor could they, with any colour of reason, be accused of tampering with, or trespassiug on, the Civil Law, provided they did not insist that the Bench and Bar should receive their gloss as the strict and proper meaning of the words. For, were not each faculty entitled to borrow occasionally from the other, then, conversely, we might accuse the Biblical Theolc^an, or the Statutable Jurist, of making innumerable inroads into the territory of philosophy (see- ing that neither can dispense with reason, nor, where a scientific pre-exercitation is required, with philosophy), and bearing hence treasures for their own use. And yet were the first-named faculty to aim at having nothing to do with reason or philosophy in religious matters, soon would it appear which party suffered the greater damage; for a religion which should declare and wage an uncom- promising war against reason, must, in the long run, be worsted. I would even venture to ask, if it were not ad- visable that the student should, after completing his stu- dies in the Hall, hear a course on the Philosophy of Bib- lical Theology, or, indeed, of any other Theology, in or-


der to give the last finiih to hb prejparation for his work ? In truths tlie sciences advance only when elaiborated se* parately, so far forth as each eonstitates a whole by itself, and when subsequently an architectonic survey is made in order to arrange and display them in systematio bar* mony.' It is immaterial whether the Biblical Theologian agree or differ with the Philosopher, and so deem it need- fvl to confute his tenets, provided that he only hear and know them; for thus alone can he become thoroughly fore-armed against all difficulties, open or latent, strown by the philosopher in his path ; whereas, to conceal oIh jections, or which, if possible, is worse, to decry them as impious, is a wretched stratagem, that can only fail : while, on the other hand, to weld both parts together, and only occasionally exhibit an amalgam of philosophy, betrays want of intellectual depth, and brings the public at length to such a pass that they cannot well divine where Theology is going, or what it is about.

Of the following four books,— -where, in order to make perceptible the relation obtaining betwixt religion and hu- manityj affected as it is, in part with good, in part with evil, predispositions, I have represented the Good and the Evil Principles as two self- subsisting causes, operating out- side of, and bearing in upon man, — ^the first has already appeared in the Berlin Monthly Magazine for April 1798. I was, however, under the necessity of republishing it now, on accoant of its intimate connection with the remaining three, which, indeed, contain the development and appli- cation of the notions therein set abroach.



In this edition no alterations have been made ; only the misprints, and some few faulty expressions, have been amended. One or two additional notes have been snb*- joined to the text. They are indicated by a star, thus*. Those in the old edition bore a cross f .

Touching the title of the book (Religion within the Bounds of Naked Reason, for it seems I have been ac- <;Qsed of some latent design), I beg leave to say in expla- nation, that since a Revelation may comprehend inter alia as its object^matter the doctrines of Natural Reli- gion, while, conversely, this last cannot possibly contain the historical details of the former, it may be permitted us to regard the one as a larger sphere of belief, containing within it the other as a less (i. e. as orbs concentric, con- sequently not without and outside of one another). With*, in the bounds of this last — the smaller sphere — ^may the philosopher, as an inquirer into pure reason, proceeding singly upon principles a priori^ confine himself; where, consequently, he must abstract from all experience and observation. Leaving this position, he may make the

12 author's preface

farther experiment of beginning at any supposed revela- tion (abstracting in the meanwhile from pure natural Re- ligion, as an independent and self-subsisting system), and. of holding it, as a historical system, bit by bit, up to the moral notions, for the purpose of comparison ; in order to see if it do not lead back eventually to the self-same system of Natural Theology, which, though incomplete in itself in a theoretical point of view (for it would require to embrace and contain a technico-practical part, for the purpose of instruction), is, nevertheless, for every ethico- practical purpose, complete, and quite sufficient for reli- gion properly so called ; which, as a notion a priori (re- maining after abstraction has been made from every a pos^ teriori part), has significancy only when understood in this reference. Should this turn out really to be the case, then may it be said that reason and revelation are not only in harmony, but identic; so that whoever should, under guidance of ethical notions, follow the one, would find himself eventually at the same goal with the other. And were it not so, then would there exist either two re- ligions in the same person, which is absurd, or there would be one religion and one ceremonial worship ; and since the latter is not, like religion, an end-in-itself, but has value only as a mean, then they might, no doubt, like heterogeneous elements, be for a while confounded, but would, as oil from water, soon become separate — pure ethic, the religion of nature, floating above, while the ce- remonials are precipitated.

That this union, or attempt to bring it about, is a task quite allowed to one who makes a philosophical scrutiny into Religion, and no inroad into the province of Bib- lical Theology, was shown in the preface to the first edi-


tioD. Since then, I have seen my assertion quoted 1>y the celebrated Michaelis in his Mcrah (Part. I. p. 5-11), — ^a man equally conversant with either faculty. In fact, this principle pervades his whole work ; and yet the Theo- logical Faculty have not complained, so far as I know, of finding in his book any thing prejudicial to their rights.

Writings by the learned, whether named or innominate, arrive so tardily at this farther comer of the globe, that I have not been enabled to notice in this second edition, the r^ews which I understand have been passed upon this my Philosophical Theory of Revelation. It was my anxious wish to have replied to the celebrated Dr Storr of Tubingen, who, in hiM ** AnnUatumes qucBdam TheohgictB^** &c., has subjected my opinions to a very sifting scrutiny, conducted at the dame time with such extreme attention and candour as to have earned my warmest thanks. Some intention of answering him I even yet entertain, but ven- ture not to promise a rejoinder, on account of the impedi- ments which g^eat age now throws in my way, especially when engaged in elaborating abstract ideas. One Critique^ namely, that published in ^^ No. 29 of the Greiftwald New Critical Reporter^* I may discuss with that curt brevity wherewith n^y Reviewer has handled me. According to his judgment, the present treatise is merely an attempt to solve, for my own satisfaction, a self-proposed problem,


POSSIBLE ?" ^^ This, consequently," says he, <^ is an investigation wherewith they cannot be concerned who know his (Kant's) system as little as they care about it. The question, in fine, is for them inexistent." — Upon this I

14 author's preface.

remark — there are needed for comprebendiDg the sub- stance of the present book, only the most ordinary notices of Ethic, without the slightest acquaintance with the ^* in- quiry ikTo THE WILL," and still less without any re- ference to the Critique <^ Speculative Reason* True, I sometimes speak of virtue^ when understood as a readiness in performing actions outwardly in harmony with the law, as virius phemomenan^ and contradistinguish it from virtue as a ^adfast moral mindedness or intent, of exe- cuting those acts our 07 duty, called virtus wmmemm ; but th^i these expresuons are used merely for the sake of scholastic uniformity. The thing indicated by those term, k staled daUy in every chUd's catecW or sermon, and, be the vocables what they may, is easily understood. Would to heaven as much could be said in praise of the mysteries touching the Godhead, reckoned by the church integrant parts of our religion, which, as were they on a level with every one's common sense, are thrust into ca- techisms for the young; although eventually they must, by a metempsychosis, pass into the form of moral notions, if diey are ever to become generally intelligible.

Kmigsber^^ 26M January 1794,












That the would lieth in wickedness, is a complain^ as ancient as any historic record, or even as that stil older VOLUME, the fictions of the poets — ^nay, it is equally old with that oldest of all figments, the fabulous mythi- cal religions of priestcraft. All three concur in giving the world at its outset a good beginning : be it a golden age — a life in Paradise — or one still more happy^-commu- nion with Celestials. But this welfare speedily disappears. A lapse into evil immediately hurries mankind from bad to worse with accelerated speed. ^ So that we now {which noWf however, is as old as either history or fable) live in the latter times. The last day and destruction of the world lie even at the door, so much so that Siva, the De- stroyer and future Judge of the earth, is already in some parts of Hindustan, worshipped as the God to whom all power in heaven and earth has been delegated; Vishnu having in fatigue thrown up, some centuries ago, the post

  • Mt98 parentum, pejor avis, tulit

No8 nequiores, mox daturos Progeniem vitiosiorem.— Hobat.


of governor of the world, which in the beginning he re- ceived from the Creator Brahma.

A contrary opinion has obtained in modern times. It is, however, far less prevalent, being confined mainly to philosophers and pedagogues, viz. that the world is moving in the opposite direction, being constantly, though imper- ceptibly, on the advance from bad to better. At least it is contended that the predispositions of human nature are ori- ginally so constituted as to tend that way. But this as- sumption was certainly never taken from experience and observation ; for, so long as question is made of moral GOOD AND EVIL, and not merely of the refinements of civi- lization, d.uthenti<; histoiy in every age declares against it. Probably, therefore, it is only a good-natured hypothe- sis, first started by S^eneca, and handed down from him through intei'vening Moralists to Rousseau, in order by its means, to goad mankind on, to the unwearied culture and development of every latent germ, that may perchance on6 day bring forth good fruit. And, indeed, since man comes into the world usually hale and sound in body at his birth, it is not easy to imagine why the inner man — his soul^ — ^should not be deemed by parity of reason just as healthy. Upon this view, nature herself is waiting and ever ready to assist the efforts made for forwarding our moral growth. ^' Sanabilibus (sgrotamus maliSf nosqne jn RECTUM GENlTOSy ncMfa si sonoTi velimuSf adjuDcA.^^ So Seneca of this matter, and so others.

Since, however, nothing is more likely than that both poets and philosophers are in the wrong, it would at once occur to any bystander to inquire, if no medium could be found betwixt the two extremes, and if there were not room to say, that mankind sis a race are neither good nor


bad ; or otherwise, that man is as much the one as the other, being in part good and in part evil. But a person is call- ed evil^ not merely because he performs actions that are body i. e, illegal.; but only then, when his actions are of such a stamp, as to enable and entitle us to conclude upon the evil maxims of his will. Now, though experience and observation may make us acquainted with actions repug- nant to the law, and may even {at least in our own case) te^ch knowledge of illegal acts, perpetrated with the full consciousness that they are so ; still the regulating maxims of the will are no object of possible experience (not always even the maxims of one's own will); whence, by consequence, the judgment, that an agent is an evil PERSON, never can, with certainty, be rested on experience *^ and observation. We must, therefore, from sundry^ or even one evil act, done with the consciousness of its being so, be able to conclude a pfiori upon an evil maxim giving it birth ; and from thence yet farther, upon a general ground of every particular morally-evil maxim extant in the thinking Subject ; which universal ground is again it- self a maxim, before we can deem ourselves entitled to predicate of a person that he is by nature evil.

That no occasion of stumbling may be furnished by the word NATURE, which, when used to signify the Physical System^ is the veriest anti-part of a ground of acting out of freedom, and wherewith the predicates good and evil /- would stand in open contradiction : it is to be observed, that by the nature of man we here mean only that svJbjec- tive ground of tlhe use of his freedom precedent to any act falling under sense — let this ground be what it may. Far- ther, this subjective ground must be figured to be an act OF FREEDOM ; for if otherwise, neither the use nor abuse


made by man of his free choice could be imputed to him as his deed ; and his indwelling good or evil would not be moral. Consequently the ground of moral evil can lie in no OBJECT determinative of the will through the in- tervention of an appetite; neither can it lie in any physi- cal instinct, but only in a ride^ i. e. in a maxim self-ap- pointed by choice to its own freedom. But what now may be the subjective ground of adopting such a maxim, and discarding its contrary, is an ulterior question, that cannot be resolved. For were this last ground, con- cerning which question is made, no longer a general maxim, but a mere physical determination, then would the use of our freedom be explicable upon mere natural, causes^ which, however, is repugnant to the very idea of a supersensible causality. When, therefore, it is said, " Man- kind is by Nature Good," or " He is by Nature Evil," those positions merely mean '^ he contains within him an unsearchable last ground* of adopting good or of adopting bad maxims ;" which ground, unfathomable even by his own reason, pervades and tinges so universally the species, as to serve for an exponent whereby to indicate the cha- racter of the whole race.

We shall also farther say, of one or other of those ethic characters, and that, too, with the view of distinguishing

  • That the last subjective ground of adopting moral maxims must be

• inscrutable {hy man), is already self-evident from this consideration, viz. that since their appointment is free, the ground of such a choice can- not be sought in any physical spring. It can lie only in a maxim. Now, since this maxim must have its ground, and since out of and be- yond maxims no determinatives of free choice can be assigned, it is manifest that we may recede backwards in injiniium along this subjective chain, without ever arriving at the last link, i. e. without ever fathom- ing a maxim*s absolutely last ground.


mankind from other possibly-existiDg inteiligentSy that with him it is congenite. Notwithstanding, nature is not chargeable with his guilt (should man be evil), nor with his good- desert (should he turn out good) : for the man himself is at all times the sole author of his character ; but, because the last ground whereby we appoint to our- selves our maxims, seeing that they must always emanate from our free choice, never can be an event given in expe- rience and observation, upon that account it is that^^an's good or evil (as a good or evil last ground of adoptipg this or that maxim in harmony with, or militating against the law) is said to be bom with him, so far forth as at his birth it is already a ground extant, and precedent of all experimental exercise of his freedom. And since this is the case, even from the earliest acts of youth backward to his birth, this ground must be cogitated as co-existing with and in man, even at his birth, — which, however, does not mean that his birth is the cause of it.


At the bottom of the two just stated hypotheses there lies a disjunctive proposition, " man is by nature either MORALLY good OR MORALLY EVIL;" iaud it will imme- diately occur to every one to ask if this disjunction be correct? Some one might say, that there is room for maintaining that " man is by nature neither one nor other;" and a third party might contend that ^< he is both at once," namely, good in some points, and in others evil. Experience and observation would even seem to declare for this intermediary betwixt the extremes.


Ethic, however, admits only unwillingly of movalTnediay either in actions or in characters : since, were such ambi- guity to prevail, all maxims would be in danger of losing both fixity and precision. Those who profess severer senti- ments are usually called rigorists, a name which, though intended to convey censure, does in fact praise: their adversaries are styled latitudinarians, who again are divided into latitudinarians of neutrality and of coalition. We may call the one indifferentists ; the other syn-


The answer to that disjunctive interrogatory, if it is to fidl out agreeably to a rigorous f method of deciding, bot-

  • If GOOD SB a, then is its contradictory the not-oood ; and this

again results either from a mere absence of a ground impelling towards good = 0, or from the positive presence of a ground the antipodes of good = — a. In this latter case the not-good may be spoken of as posi- tive eviL (With respect to pleasure and pain, there can be assigned an intermediate state, so that pleasure = a pain = — a, and that state wherein neither is felt, viz. a state of indifference, = 0.) This would also be the case in ethics, were not the law itself the spring of will ; tor then the moral good (i. e. the harmony of the will with the law) would be = a, the not«good = ; which last, however, would only be the con- sequence of the want of any moral spring = a x 0. But because the law is a moral spring = a, it follows that = the want of the will's har- mony with the law is the effect of a contrary and opposite determina- tion of choice, i. e, of a counteracting of the law == — a; that is, can only happen through a positively evil will. Wherefore, betwixt a good and an evil moral-mindedness ( inward principle of maxims J, according to which an act*s morality must be judged, no intermediate cast or bent of volition can be found. A morally-indifferent action (Adiaphoron Morale) would be an act brought about simply by physic causes, and would stand, upon that account, unrelated to the Moral Law as the Law of Freedom. An ACT of this sort would not be a deed ; and regarding it there could neither be command nor prohibition, nor yet permission.

•j- Schiller, in that exquisite masterpiece ^^ on Grace and Dig. NiTY," disapproves highly of my Hgorous representation of obligation, and maintains (voL xvii. p. 221-4, 1820) that such tenets, if acted on, can only beget manners fitted for the cloister. But since I find that we


toms itself on tbis remark, which is of the most vital mo- ment in ethics, viz. that the freedom of the will is en- dowed with this peculiar property, that it never can be determined by any spring to any act, except in so far as

are at 'one on every other point, even in the most weighty principles, I am unwilling to allow that there can be here any discrepancy, provided only we can mutually understand each other. I at once admit that I cannot associate grace with the dignity of the Idea Duty ; for this idea imports co-action, i. e, unconditionate necessitation, wherewith the ease of grace is quite inconjungible. The Majesty of the Law (like that on SiNAj) inspires awe (not dread that daunts, nor yet charms that invite), u e, reverence felt by a subject towards his Governor ; which, however, in the present case, since the Commander lies within our- selves, is A FEELING OF THE SUBLIMITY OF OUR OWN DESTINY, tianS-

fixing and transporting the mind far more intensely than any beauty. And yet virtue, i. e. the well-grounded intent of invariably discharging all one's duties, is productive of most beneficial efiecls, more so than all that nature or art in the world can accomplish; and so^fair, or even glori- ous, a portraiture of humanity admits very well of being accompanied by the Graces, who, so long as mere duty is concerned, stand reverently aside. When regard is had to the physical grace wherewithal virtue would en- robe the w^orld, were it universally pursued ; then does moral legislative reason call on fancy and the powers of sense for aid. But it is only after having overcome the Hydra that Hercules can attend the Muses — a toil from which the graceful sisters shrink. So that, were the question put, what iESTHETic CHARACTER, or, as It were, what temperament be- longs TO VIRTUE ? — valiant, and by consequence joyous, or anxious and dejected ? scarce any answer would be needed. The latter slavish tone of soul never can be where there is not a latent hatred of the Law ; and the joyous heart, in discharging duty (not complacency in recog- nising it), betokens that the virtuous sentiments are genuine, nay, is the test that piety is real — piety consisting not in the telf-reproachingt of a whining iinner (a state of mind I look upon as exceedingly equivocal, and which is for the most part the man's inward upbraidings at having erred against a dictate of prudential expediency), but in the steadfast unfaltering determination to make the matter better in all time to come ; and this purpose gainijig in life and force by the constancy wherewith the ethical ascetic knows he has adhered to his predeterminate resolves, must needs, beget a joyful disposition, apart firom which no one can be certain that he LOVES the moral good, i. e, has adopted it into his maxims.


SPRING INTO HIS MAXIM, ». 6, bave traDsformed it into a universal rule, according to which he wills to conduct himself. In no other manner can a spring, be it what it may, consist with the absolute spontaneity of a free choice. Again, the moral law is, — our own reason being judge, — itself the originary spring, and whoso makes it his maxim, is morally good. But if, notwithstanding, the law does not determine a person's choice, then some contrary spring must influence the will; and since, by hypothesis, this can only happen by a man's adopting this spring, and along with it its necessary effect, viz. the swerving from the Law, into his maxim (in which latter case the man is evil), it follows that his inward mindedness to observe or depart from the law is never in a state of equilibrious in- difference, and that mankind never can be neither good nor evil.

Neither can man be in some points good, and at the same time in others morally evil. For is he in any one point morally good, then has he made the Moral Law his maxim ; but should he at the same time be in some other points bad, then would, — since the Moral Law is but one and yet universal, — the maxim referring to it, be at once a general and a particular maxim, which is a contradic- tion,*

• The Moral Philosophers of Antiquity, who nearly exhausted every question that can be raised in ethic, did not forget to discuss the branches of the above dilemma. The first query was worded thus : " Must vir- tue BE LEARNED ?** i. e. Is man by nature indifferent alike to vice or its opposite 9 the second, ^' Cas there be more than one virtue ?*' i. e. Can virtue suhHst fragmeniarily in the mind, and man he virtuous and vicious by fuUves 9 Both were denied with peremptory and rigoristical precision, and rightly ; for they considered virtue as it is in the idea of



To have one or other of those sentiments, as a. con- nate property by nature, does not mean to say that the man who entertains them is not their author, i, e. has not himself acquired them, but signifies that they Ikave not been acquired in time^ so that he must be regarded as one or other of them, from youth up continually. The turn of mind (called its sentimefU or mindedness), t. e, the last subjective ground of adopting maxims, can be but one, and goes universally to the whole use of freedom. Farther, this ground must itself have been adopted by one's own free choice, otherwise it could not be imputed. Again, the uUerior subjective ground or inward cause of such adoption cannot be known, although it is impos- sible not to inquire after it ; since, to account for it, all that could be done, would be to assign another maxim, into which that sentiment had been adopted, and which maxim, again, must have had a farther ground ; where- fore, seeing that this sentiment, or rather its last ground, cannot be deduced nor explained from any act of choice, as sijfirst act in tinie^ we call it a property of Will, belong- ing by Nature to the appetitive faculty, although, in point of fact, it arises from the Will's own Freedom. Moreover, when we say of mankind that he is by Nature good or evil, those moral properties are not predicated of him in- dividually, as if some particulars were by nature good, and only others evil; although, to become entitled to un-

reason. And yet, on the other hand, when we contemplate this moral being as a phem^omekon, t. e. according to what experience and obser- vation teach, then may either question be answered in the affirmative ; for then he is not weighed in the balance of pure reason {before a Divine Tribunal)^ but measured by an a posteriori standard {before a Human Court\ of which more anon in the sequel.


derstand those terms as applicable generally to the whole race, can take place only then, when anthropological in- yestigatioDS show, that the grounds entitling us to ascribe to one single man, either of those characters, are such as to leave no room for excepting any from their influente.



This aboriginal substratum may be fitly brought all un- der review, when classed according to the three following heads :

I. The substratum of man's akimality as a living being.

II. The substratum of his humanity as a living, and at the same time intelligent being.

III. The substratum of his personality as an intelli- gent and accountable being.^

  • The third predisposition cannot be regarded as already exhausted bj

either or both of the two former ; for although an animal may have rea- son, it follows not, from that circumstance alone, that his intellect should possess the ability of determining unconditionally his will, and that too by the mere representing of the fitness of a maxim for universal legisla- tion ; i. e. it does not follow, because man has reason, that reason should be self-practical, at least not so far as we can see. How intelligent soever a creature might be, it might very possibly still stand in need of certain springs taken from desired objects, in order to determine its volitions ; nay, it might bestow the most prudent and deliberate judgment both on the springs and means of action, so as thereby most commodiously to reach the end willed, without ever awaking to the reality, or even dreaming the pos- sibility, of such a thing as a moral unconditionally-eommanding law, which should announce itself at once as the determinator and supreme spring.


1. The predisposition for mnnkind's Animality may be stated under the general denomination of mechanical or instinctive self-love, t. e, such self-love as needs no ex* ercise of reason, and is threefold ; firsts the appetite for self-preservation ; second, toward the propagation of one's species by means of the connubial affections, and toward rearing whatever progeny may be procreated by inter- sexual commixtion ; third, the taste for society, and gene- ral intercourse with one's fellow-men. Upon these, vari- ous sorts of vices may be ingrafted, though they spring not spontaneously from those predispositions as a root. They are the vices of an unpruned and uncultivated sen- sory, and may, when swerving farthest from the ends pro- posed by nature in giving man those appetites, be called beastly vices, viz. those of gluttony, drunkenness, vo- luptuousness, and that savage contempt of law exhibit- ed in the life of systematic freebooters, pirates, and the like.

2. Man's Humanity may be all classed under the ge- neral title of comparative self-love, for which theoretic reason is required, whereby we deem ourselves happy or the reverse, wlien compared with others as a standard. Hence springs the appetite for being thought to be some one in the eyes of others ; this appetite, at first no more than a wish to be deemed their equal, so as not to allow to any one a superiority over us, attended, however, with the continual apprehension that others may seek to sub- Were not this law reallj given w^itbin us, never could we have quibbled into existence such a legislation by any stretch of reason, much less have wheedled our will into the belief of its authority. This law aUne it is, that convinces us of the independency of our will on every outward and foreign determinative, and, along with this, of the imputability of all our actions.


ject US to their sway, passes at last into a state of mind where we cherish an unjust desire of lording it over others. Upon this spirit of rivalry and emulation maybe grafted the most enormous vices, bursting out into ani- mosities, open or concealed, against all whom we look upon as strangers. And yet those vices do not sprout na- turally from the soil of our humanity, but are re-agent vices, occasioned by our anxiety lest others should obtain a hateful authority over us, and impelling us, as a measure of precaution, to anticipate them, by usurping to ourselves the power we dread may be employed against us. Whereas nature, in implanting within us an emulous spirit — (a thing by no means inconsistent with mutual love) — aimed only at supplying a spur towards self-culture. Vices en- graiFed on this appetite may therefore be called civilized VICES, and are, when luxuriant in wickedness, known by the name of the devilish vices, — envy; ingratitude; and MALICE.

3. Man's predisposition for personality consists in his susceptibility for such reverence toward the moral law as is of itself sujfficient to make the law the immediate spring of will. Mere susceptibility for reverence toward the law is the moral sense ; but this in itself would not justify us in taking it for any particular predisposition pointing to any particular end ; it can be held so only so far forth as it is an original spring of will. Again, since reverence can only be constituted such a spring by the wilPs freely adopting it into its maxim, which, when done, imparts to the person whose choice is so regulated, a good charac- ter, and this, like every character belonging to a free choice, is something that must always be acquired ; it follows that for the possibility of such acquisition a pre-


disposition of some sort or other, in our ethical econo- my, is demanded, whereupon nothing that is evil can be grafted. The naked idea of the moral law, even with the reverence inseparably attaching to it, cannot with pro- priety be looked upon as the substratum of man's person- ality — on. the contrary, it is itself his personality — is tho.' very idea of a man's humanity considered quite intellec- tually. That we are able to adopt this reverence into our maxims, thereby making it a spring, must rest upon some subjective ground ; and this would seem to be somewhat additional, superinduced on our personality, and this SW' plus is what may be fitly termed a predisposition toward, and for behoof of, our moral personality.

Recapitulating the three aforesaid aboriginal substrata according to the conditions of their possibility, it ii^ appa- rent that the first needs no raticnal power of any sort ; that the second does indeed require a practical exercise of reason, but only in subservience to physical springs ; while the third alone is self-practical, u 6. has unconditionally- legislative reason working at the root. All these predis- positions of humanity are not only negatively good, t. e. so far forth as they are in no wise repugnant to the moral law; but they even tend positively toward good, so far forth as they actually advance and assist in its execution. They are all originary; for human nature would be im- possible without them, and though the two former may be abused ^nd perverted, none of them can be extirpated. The term predisposition^ applied to any being, must be un- derstood to mean not only the elements essential to its constitution, but also that form of their arrangement whereby the agent is made what he is. Such elements are originary when they are of necessity pre-required



toward^the possibility of a creature's bein^ precisely what he is : contingent could the Being still be essentially the same without them. Finally, let it be remarked, that in this section no predispositions have been spoken of, except such as immediately refer to the faculty of appeti- tion, and the determinableness of its choice.



By the term bias {propensity or proneness)^ I under- stand the subjective ground of the possibility of acquiring all at once inveterate habits, so far forth as such habitual desire is in itself only adventitious, and casually superin- duced upon human nature. A Bias* must not be con- founded with a predisposition ; for though both may be brought by mankind into the world with him at his birth,

  • Bias (ITan^) is, strictly speaking, the susceptibility of so liking an ob-

ject of desire, as that when once the Subject has tasted the enjoyment, a permanent appetite toward it is thereby forthwith established. Thus all savages carry about with them a Bias toward intoxicating liquors ; for though there be many among them who know not the excitement of inebriation, and so by consequence entertain no desire for those things which produce it, still it is only necessary to allow them this gratifica- tion for a single time^ in order to found an almost ineradicable appetite for spirits. Midway betwixt appetite and bias (b«^ which presup- poseS acquaintance with the object desired) lies instinct, a want felt to do or enjoy something yet unknown {e. g. the plastic instincts of ani. inals or our own for sex). Lastly, there is a stage of desire above appe- tite, viz. PASSION (not emotion^ fur emotions, whether affectionate or dis- affected, belong to the feelings of pain and pleasure), which is an appe- tite that excludes and takes away all self-command. — [Compare Kant's /n- troduction to the Elementology of Ethics^ § xvi. and Anthrojtologie, § 77* Tr. ]


still the bias must not be regarded as congemie ^^nnate ; but mast — be the bias to good or to evil — ^d^^IookS^^ as matter of acquisition, and entailed by the man upon himself. At present we speak only of a Bias to Moral £vil ; and since evil can arise only from a perverse de- termination of one's free choice^ which choice again can only be deemed good or evil when regard is had to the maxims it has adopted, it follows that the bias to evil can only consist in the subjective g;round of the possibility of an Agent-Intelligent's maxims swerving from the Moral Law ; and if this bias can be predicated of mankind univer- sally, L €. as marking and making part of the character of the race, then may it be fitly called a natural bias of mankind to evil. To all which is to be added, that thef hence arising ability or disability of the choice to makef the Moral Law its maxim, is what is called the having o£ a good or evil heart.

We may figure to ourselves three different degrees of this badness of heart : First, it is the general weakness of man's heart in not adhering to good maxims origiually de- termined on, or, in other words, the frailty of our na- ture. Second, the tendency to mix up immoral wiih the moral springs, which, even although this admixture should take place with a good intention^ and from {sup^ posed? Tr.) maxims of good, must nevertheless be called IM PURi TT. Lastl f, the bias to adopt merely evil maxims, which is the depravitit of man's nature, or of his heart.

First, the frailty of human nature afforded matter of complaint even to an Apostle : ^^ What I would, that I do not." Willing I am, but the execution follows not, u e. I adopt the good (the law) into the maxim of my choice; but this, which is objectively in idea (m theri) an irresisti-


ble spring, is notwiibstandiDg subjectively {in hppothesi), when the maxim is to be acted on, the weaker, when com- pared with the appetitive springs.

Second, The impurity of the human heart consists in this : The maxim is very likely, in regard of its nature and end aimed at (viz. the intended observance of the law) good, and even a sufficiently powerful mobile to action ; I but then it is not purely moral, L e. the law is not, as it should be, stated in the maxim as of itself alone the suf- | FiciENT spring, but there are required at times {perhaps at all times) other springs different from the law to assist in bending the choice toward that which duty would de- mand. In other words, conduct, although dutiful, has not been performed purely out of duty.

Third, the depravity, or, if the term be preferred, the CORRUPTION, of the Human Heart, is the bias whereby the choice leans to maxims that postpone the spring afforded by the Moral Law in favour of other and immoral springs. It may be likewise called the perversity of the Human Heart, inasmuch as it inverts or perverts the ethical order of a FREE will's springs ; and although legally good actions may still. be exhibited notwithstanding that inward disor- der, the cast of thinking is {so Jar as the mo^al-mindedness of the Agent is concerned) corrupted at its root, and the man must upon that account be characterized as evil.

The reader will have observed that the bias to evil is here ciharged upon all men, even the best in outward actions, which moreover must be done, if the universality of a bias to evil is to be proved as extant among all men, or, which says the same thing, if we are to show that the bia» is interwoven with the nature of man.

There is, however, betwixt a man of good morals {bene


moraius) and a morally good maii {moraliter bonus) do dif- ference, so far at least as the harmony of their actions with the law is concerned, except this, that with the one the . law is not always, perhaps never, whereas with the other it is AT ALL TIMES, the alone and supreme spring. Of the first we may say, he observes the letter of the law (e. 6. so far forth as regards the act commanded by the law), of the other, however, he has observed its spirit;] (the spirit of the law consists herein, that it be alone and! by itself a sufficient spring) and that whatever is not OF this faith, is sin {in respectofthe Formalofthe intent). For whenever ulterior springs are required to determine the choice to make its election of legi-conform acts, such, for instance, as ambition, self-love, a good-natured instinct, or sympathy, all which obviously differ from the law, then is it merely accidental that these coincide iu any given conjuncture with the same ; and they might possibly just as easily invite to transgression. The maxim according to whose worth all moral value of the person must be es- timated, is notwithstanding itself illegal ; and the man re* mains, in the midst of merely good deeds all the while evil. . Farther explanation may he needful to clear up the no* tion of a BIAS. Every bias is either physical, i, e. belongs to man's choice as an oi*ganized product of the physical system, or it is ethical, i. e, affects his choice as a Moral Agent. In the former sense, there can be no bias to moral' evil, for a bias of this sort must arise from free- dom ; and a physical bias (resting upon sensitive excite-' ment) toward any use of freedom — be it good or bad a contradiction. An indwelling bias toward evil can therefore cleave only to the moral faculty of choice. Again, nothing ean be morally (i. e. imputably) evil that




is not our own deed. Contrariwise, however, is under- stood by a Mas^ a subjective determinator of choice ante^ cedent to every deed, which bias, therefore, is not yet itself a deed. The bare representation of a bias to evi}, would, by consequence, contain a contradiction, were not the expression taken in a twofold sense, either adapting itself to the idea freedom. Now, the term ^^deed'* or ^* ctcf may signify that primordial use of freedom where- by the supreme and ruling maxim— contrary to, or in harmony vritb, the law — ^was determined on, or it may equally well denote that derived exercise of will whereby outward actions themselves {i, e, acts materially consider- ed, so/ar forth as they are objects qfchake)^ are actually brought forth, conformably to such maxim. The in- dwelling bias toward evil is a deed in the former sense (peccatum originarium)^ and at the same time the formal ground of every illegal deed in the second sense {peccatum derivativum)^ when it is called vice. The guilty demerit of the first subsists even while that of the second is most carefully and successfully eschewed by dint of springs differing from the law. The one act is a deed cogitable, patent to reason a priori, independently of all conditions of time ; the other is a deed sensibk, a posteriori, exhibited in time {Factum Pherumienon), It is the former, as more particularly contradistinguished from the latter, that is a bias, and held connate, chiefly because it never can be ex- tirpated (which uprooting would demand a supreme maxim morally good, a thing impossible, since, ovnng to the pre- sence of the bias, the uppermost and ruling] bent is al- ready figured as morally evil) ; and also because the ques- tion, why evil should have corrupted our dominant and last maxim of choice ? is as unanswerable (although the


corruption be our own deed) as is tlie inquiry after the causes of any other fundamental property, now once for all belonging to our being. What has just been here ad- vanced assigns the ground, why in this section we at once sought the three sources of moral evil only there, where, agreeably to laws of freedom, was to be sought the ulti- mate ground of choosing or of observing our practical maxims, — overlooking the sensory as mere receptivity.



ViUis nemo sine nascitur. Hobat.

The position, man is evil, can consequently signify^ nothing more than this : He is inwardly aware of the authority of the moral law, and has, notwithstanding, adopted the intent of occasionally swer^ning from it into his maxim. To say that by nature he is evil, imports that evil can be predicated of him, considered as a race ; not however as if such wicked quality could be concluded upon from the general notion of humanity, for in this lat- ter event his indwelling evil would be necessary, i, e, man- kind, as known by us from observation and experience,, cannot be otherwise judged of; or thus — we may pre-sup- pose this evil as subjectively-necessary, in every, even the best man. Again, since the bias must itself be regarded as morally evil, consequently as no gift of nature, but as something that may be imputed, it must consist in ille-;' gal maxims of choice. Farther^ since this illegality must, — >


the will being free, — be regarded as fortuitous ; which eon* tingency, however, would seem to be at variance and iM compatible with this evil's universality, unless the first subjective ground of appointing maxims be interwoven, somehow or other, and, as it were, rooted, in the substra- tum of humanity : we shall therefore call this bent a na*^ tural bias to evil ; and since it is self*demerited, we shall moreover call it a badical evil, inborn in the nature of man, and yet nevertheless entailed by him upon him- self. .

That such a corrupt bias must really be rooted in man- kind, scarce needs a regular proof, when we reflect on th^ multitude of crying instances, thrown by the observed ac- tions of man into our hands. Do we prefer examples from that state of society philosophers have eulogised as setting forth the primeval good-natured dispositions of the race? then we need only to contrast with this hypothesis the scenes of wanton and unprovoked cruelty in the murder-* ous dramas enacted on the stage of Tofoa, New Zea- land, and the Navigators' Islands, or the ceaseless feuds'*^ that devastate (according to Captain Hearm) whole tracts

  • lake the perpetual war betwixt the Arathavesqwa, and thedog*ribbe4

Indians,-— a war having no other end in view than mutual murder. In their opinion, martial valour is the chief virtue of savage life. Even in civilized states, warlike intrepidity is an object of admiration, and the ground of an especial regard expected by that proieMlaa who deem coiurage their only boast ; and not without reason : for, that mankind can propose to himself something as his end, prized by him even higher than life (honour), and where he divests himself of every interested aim, demonstrates a certain sublimity in his internal predispositions. And yet the complacency wherewith conquerors extol their mighty feats of destruction and implacable death, shows but too clearly, that mere vio- lent superiority, and the havock they can effect, even apart from every other view is precisely that whereon they most plume themselves.


of North- West America, —^from which deadly havock not one indiridual derives the smallest gain, — and we have vices of the savage more than enough to make us abandon that assumption. Think we, on the other hand, to find a more favourable portrait of human nature among civilized na^ tions (where their faculties are better and more fully de- veloped), and we shall straightway hear a long melancho- ly litany, whose stanzas contain nothing but indictments against humanity : we shall hear of a secret guile betwixt even the most cordial friends, so that a certain moderation and reserve of confidence is recommended even in friend- ship, as an indispensable rule of prudence ; of a propen** sity to hate those who have obliged us, and for which re- turn every benefactor must be prepared; of a hearty good-will, which still leaves room for the remark, that there is something in the misfortunes of a very dear friend not altogether displeasing to us, of many other vices cloaked with a specious and dissembled mantle of virtue ; to say nothing of those open faults which disdain all se- crecy ; and we shall have enough of the eivUized vices (the most mortifying of all) to cause us to avert our view from the faulty conduct of our fellowsj^ lest we su- perinduce upon us a still farther, and perhaps more hate- ful vice, that of misanthropy. Should this catalogue, however, not yet sui&ce, then let any one attend to the vices curiously compounded out of both at once, obtain- ing betwixt states in their outward international rela- tions, where countries, although civilized, place them- selves to one anotlier in the relation of savage hordes, u e. into a state of continual readiness for war, and that, too, with such forethought obstinacy, that they seem to have taken up the rooted opinion, that standing armies never


fire to be abandoned ; and he will immediately perceive^ that those great societies called NATioNsf proceed upou principles diametrically contrary to their professed ;ob* jects — ^principles whereof they know not how to divest themselves, — which no philosophej: has yet been able to bring into harmony with morality, nor (which is worst) in exchange for which has he been able to propose any better, that would be in unison with human nature; from whence it has happened, that the philosophical millen- nium, which expects a period of perpetual peace, ground- ed on a universal league of nations, constituting them- selves into a grand cosmical republic, is — just like the the- ological, which tarries for the complete moral amend- ment of the whole human race, — universally derided as a fanatical delusion.

The ground of this evil cannot be placed fjirstjy as is

f Looking at the historical progress of states as the phenomenal exhi- bition of those internal predispositions of our humanity that are for the most part hidden from our own view, we become aware of a certain me^ chanical precession, whereby nature advances her own ends, even while defeating and disappointing nations of theirs. Every state endeavours to enlarge its territories by overrunning all adjacent whom it hopes to conquer, and so, if possible, to erect a universal monarchy ; a state of matters where aU freedom, and along with it its fruits, viz. virtue, taste, and science, must expire. But the monster, after having de- voured all its neighbours, explodes by and by of itself, — ^Ita laws lonng by degrees all co-active power, — and becoming broken up by insurrec- tion And revolt into several lesser states. These, instead of combining in a civitat maxima (t. e, a commonwealth of free confederate peoples), begin iu turn the same game of new, lest war (that scourge of our jspecies) should cease ; a thing, which, although by no means so incurably evil as the deadly sepulture of a universal empire (or even as a holy al- LiANCE, to guarantee to Despots their respective Despotisms for ever), does, nevertheless, as was remarked by one of the ancients, make far more wicked men than it removes.


commonly done, in the human sensory, and the thence arising natural appetites and wants ; for not only have the appetites no immediate reference to evil (on the contrary, by allowing the moral sentiment to appear in its force, they afford opportunity to good) ; but farther, we are not accountable for their existence (neitker can we impute them to ourselves ; for, as con-crecUed, we are not their au* thor) ; but what we are by all means accountable for, is the bias to evil, which, as it affects the morality of our own subject, i. e. that wherein and whereby we are free agents, must, as self-demerited, by all means be imputed to us, notwithstanding the deep inrooting of that bias into our choice ; upon account of which bias, we must say that evil is by nature indwelling in man. Neither can {second- ly) the ground of this evil be placed in a corruption of moral-legislative reason, as if reason had abrogated and defaced within itself the authority of the law, and rebel- led against the obligation founded on it ; for this last is ab- solutely impossible. An agent, free, and at the same time absolved from his corresponding Moral Law of Liberty, is a manifest contradiction, and tantamount to fancying a cause in operation without efficient laws. So then, to ex- plain the ground of moral evil in man, the sensory con- tains too little; for the sensory, by itself alone, and ab- stractedly from those springs originated by freedom, low- ers man merely to an animal ; whereas the hypothesis of an absolutely wicked will, and a reason renouncing the government of its own laws, contains too much ; since, in this latter case, a principle of antagonism against the law would be constituted the ruling spring, and the person would be transformed to a Devil, Neither of these cha- racters, however, can properly be applied to mankind*


Altliough the existence of a bias to evil can be suffi-^ ciently set forth by the proved collision of man's choice with the law, still such phenomena, experienced and ob* served in time, do not acquaint us with the inward na«  ture nor the true ground of this enmity; for, since this antagonism obtains betwixt free choice (t. 6. such a choice as can only be cogitated by an a priori notion), and the moral law, so far forth as it is a spring (where, again, we have still to deal with a pure intellectual conception), it follows, that it must be cognisable a priori^ and be dedu* ced from the idea evil, so far as such evil is possible accoi*d* ing to freedom's laws of obligation and imputability. What follows is the evolution of this idea.

No man (not even the worst) does in any maxim state a rebellion against the moral law by a studied renuncia^ tion, and, as it were, disclamation of his due obedience. On the contrary, the law does, by force of his moral na- ture, thrust itself irresistibly upon him; and were no other spring astir in the mind, he would adopt it as a suf-* ficient determinator into his uppermost maxim, «. e. he would be morally good. But, by means of his physical nature, although equally harmless with the other, he leans toward the springs of sense, and, agreeably to the subjective principles of self-love, adopts these also into his maxims of life. But were he to do so irrespectively of the law, and make them by themselves alone, the sing- ly-sufficient determinators of his acts, then he would be morally evil. Since now he naturally adopts both into his maxims, and since either, when alone, would be found quite enough to afford a ground of voluntary deteiinina- tion ; he would, — if the moral difference of maxims de- pended only on the difference of their contaitied springs


(i. e. on the matter of those maxims)^ viz. whether the law, or an impulse of sense, were such matter,— -be at once both morally good and evil, which, however agreeably to what was laid down in the exordium, is a contradiction. Con*- seqnently, that whereby a man is morally good or evil, eannot depend on the dijference of the springs adopted byf him into his maxims (not on their matter)^ but on their I subordination (on their form), namely, whjch one he I


Hence it appears that mankind is only evil so far forth \ as he inverts the ethical order of those springs which he adopts into his maxims. In choosing his principles of Ufe, he begins by attempting to place self-love and the moral law alongside of one another; and on becoming aware that they cannot subsist as co-ordinates, but that one must necessarily be subordinated to the other as its condition, he makes the selfish spring condition his ob- servance of the law ; whereas the latter it is that ought to be the condition precedent of his gratifying the former, and stated as the alone and exclusively prior spring in his supreme and most universal maxim.

Notwithstanding this invertedness of the will's springs, contrary to their le^timate ethical order, actions may outwardly be as much in harmony with the law as if they had sprang from genuine motives; so long as reason lends to the appetitive springs, when integrated as great* est*happines8 principles, that unity which would other- wise belong to the moral law — a case where a man's out- wai*d and observed character is good, although his intelli- gible remain all the while evil.

If, now, there be in human nature a proneness to this inverting of the proper order of the will's springs, then



is there in man a natnral bias toward evil ; and such bias is itself morally evil, for it must be regarded as seated in the will's free causality, and consequently as imputable. This evil is radical, for it corrupts man's maxims in their last ground. Moreover, as a natural bias, it never can be extirpated by any exertions of the human subject, for this could only take place by force of good maxims, I which, when the supreme subjective ground of all max- I ims is already corrupt, never can occur ; nevertheless it can be outweighed, being met with in mankind who are free agents.

The vitiosity of human nature is, therefore, not so much wickedness — this word being understood in its severest sense, namely, as an inward wickedness, or intent of choosing evil as evil (for that were diabolical), — as rather I perversity of heart, which, on account of the conse- quences flowing from it, is called an evil heart. This, however, is not inconsistent vidth a state of Will that may generally and on the whole be good, and arises from the infirmity of human nature, which is not sufficiently strong to adhere to the good principles it may once for all have adopted ; coupled, however, with the impurity (insince- rity) of not duly sifting and arranging the springs accord- ing to their ethic content, and of having an eye mainly to this, that actions quadrate with the Law, although they have not been originated by it. Now, although from such a state of matters vice may not immediately arise, still the cast of thinking, whereby the abscftice of vice is look- ed upon as virtue, is already a radical perversity of the human heart.

This guilt, called connate, because it shows itself as early as the first utterances of Mankind's Freedom, though


sprang from it and imputable^ may, in its two first stages of frailty and impurity, be regarded as uninten- tional (cu^)y and only in the third as forethought crime (dolus) ; for it bears the character of a certain guile (do- lus mabisj of heart, whereby we deceive ourselves as to the state of our own good or evil sentiments, and, instead of troubling ourselves about our moral or immoral mind- edness, deem ourselves rather justified before the Law, so long as our actions draw after them no bad effects — ^a case which, for any thing that the maxims are worth, might very well happen. Hence comes the peace of conscience of many who think themselves religious : in the midst of actions where no consideration was had of the Law, or, however, where the Law had not preponderating sway, they luckily escape from all unpleasant sequents, and hence have not only a tranquil mind, but perhaps even a self-opinion of their own merit, by feeling themselves guiltless of those transgressions wherewith they observe others to be stained* Nor do they think it needful to in- quire whether this exemption be owing merely to the bounty of fortune, or whether the very same vices might not have been committed by them, had not imbecility, con- stitutional temperament, education, or circumstances of time and place (all things quite unimputable)^ led them to refrain. This insincerity, shrouding our real inward character from our view, prevents the founding of genuine moral principles within, and spreads, after having deceiv- ed ourselves, so as next to beguile and impose upon others, which, if not wickedness, is at least worthlessness, and proceeds from the radical evil of human nature, which, by distorting and untuning our moral understanding in regard of what a man is to be taken for, renders slippery


and uncertain all ethical imputation) and constitutes that rotten spot in humanity, which, until entirely seyered, keeps back the germ of good from unfolding itself, as it otherwise infallibly would do.

A member of the British Parliament once, in the heat of debate, threw out the remark, Every one has aprice^ for which he ia certainly to be had." Should this indeed be true (and let each determine for himself), and if there is absolutely no virtue for which a grade of temptation can* not be assigned sufficient for its overthrow ; and if our enlisting under the banners of the good or the evil prin>* cjple depend on the highest bidder and quickest payment; then may that bo universally true of all men, once taught by an Apostle, " T/tere is here no difference, for all are gone astray. There is none that doeth good (according to the spirit of the Law) ; wo, not one"*

  • Of this condemnatory sentence of morally judging reason, the proof

is contained, not in this, but in the former section ; the above confirms only by experience the accuracy of the previous deduction. But expe«  rience and, observation cannot unveil the original of this evil, lying, as it does, in the uppermost maxim regulating our free choice, the appoint- ment or adopting of IV hich governing principle is an intelligible act, anterior to all experience. Hence, likewise, viz. from the incomplex unity of the uppermost maxim and the similarly uncompounded unity of the standard law, we comprehend why the pure intellectual judgment of mankind*s morality proceeds on the principle of excluding any interme- diary betwixt good and evil ; although, when judging of actions merely as deedt exhibited to tense, the position is quite admissible that there may be A mean betwixt the moral extremes* Thus, we may hold negatively, that, prior to any education, man is indifferent to both good and evil ; or positiveiyt that his moral actions are mixed, being partly good and partly bod. But these experimental judgments speak of the character of man so far forth only as it is a sensibie phenomenon, and must give place to the pure a priori intellectual decision when a final and conclusive ad- judication of the whole case is required.




A FIRST BEGINNING is that Origination of an effect by a cause, where the cause is not itself the effect of any other cause of the like kind. A commencement may be con-- sidered as being either a cogitable or a sensible original* In the former respect, we consider only the existence of the effect ; but in the latter, the happening of the effect, where consequently the effect is as an event referred to its cause in time. When an effect is referred to a cause wherewith it stands connected agreeably to the laws of freedom, as is the case with moral evil, then is the deter- mination of choice toward its production, viewed in con- nection, not with its determining grounds in timey but with those in pure a priori reason only, and can consequ^it- ly not be deduced from any antecedent state ; although this last must always be done when an evil action is as an EVENT in the external world referred to its efficient cause in the physical system. To search for an origin in time, of free actions as such, is a contradiction ; and it is equally a contradiction to inquire after any such origin of the moral peculiarities of man so far forth as these last are regarded as contingent ; the last gi'ound of the use of freedom must, like every determinative of free choice whatsoever, be sought for exclusively in intellectual representations.

Whatever the origin of the moral evil of humanity may be» assuredly, of all representations, the most improper and inept is that whereby its propagation over the race is


figured as if it descended to us by inheritance from our first parents ; for of moral evil we may well say what the poet affirms of mankind's good-desert, << Genus, et proa- vo8j et qtuB non/ecimu8 ipsty vix ea nostra voco"* Farther, it is to be noted, that in investigating the origin of evil, we do not at first take into consideration the bias toward it (as peccatum in potentia) ; but sift only the internal pos- sibility of the true and actual evil of given actions, and those conditions of choice that must concur and co-operate with that possibility, before such evil can be perpetrated. Every wicked action whatsoever must, when we consi- der its cogitable original, be so depictured to the mind as if the person had fallen directly into it, out of a state of innocence : for, let a man's previous deportment have been


what it may, and whatsoever may have been the physical force bearing in upon him; nay, whether those physic forces be entirely without, or, moreover, also within the

  • The three academical faculties would make intelligible, each after

its own fiuhion, this hereditary transmission, viz. as he&edita&y dis*


medical &culty would figure to themselves this heir-loom of evil as some- thing like a tape-worm, concerning which many natural historians are of opmion, that since nothing like it is found elsewhere, not even in any other animal, this insect must have been pre-existent in our first parents. (2.) Lawyers would regard it as the legal consequence of our succeeding to a patrimony burdened severely with sundry casualties of superiority, or other monstrous debUa fundi* (To be bom is nothing else than to acquire possession of the goods of the earth, in so far as those are indis- pensably requisite to our support.) We must now discharge (suffer for) those obligations, and are notwithstanding eventually torn by death from our possessions. (3.) Theologians regard this evil as the personal par* ticipation of our first parents in the apostacy of an outcast rebel, and that we either then (although now no longer aware of it) joined his party, or that, bom at present under his dominion, we take more plea- sure in the Prince of this World's goods than in the sovereign behest of our Heavenly Lawgiver ; by which breach of allegiance, however, wq can only expect hereafter to share his destiny.


man ; nevertheless his act is free and undetermined by any one of those invading causes; and hence such deed not only can, but in ttuth must^ be hdd MS ORicftiNART use ow CHOIC&. He ought to have eschewed it, in what conjune* tures and circumstances soever he may have been plaeedF; for by no cause in the world can he ever cease to be a free, f. 6. a spontaneously acting being. Farther, we rightly say, that we impute to every man the consequences aris- ing from his former free immoral acts, and by this we obviate an evasion that might otherwise be attempted, by inquiring whether those sequents themselves be not be- yond our control ; because in the primary free act giving them birth, there is already extant sufficient ground of im- puting them likewise. What although an intelligent may have been never so inveterately wicked, even up to his pre- sent and immediately instant act ? what though his evil habits, long a second nature, should have grown into a first ? still, notwithstanding, it has not only been all along incumbent on him to act otherwise, but it is likewise even now his immediate duty to amend ; consequently such in- debted change must be fully within his power, and he is, in the very moment of not altering his inner man, as open to an imputation of transgressing, as if endowed with a natural predisposition toward good — (a thing inseparable from freedom) — ^he were now, by an original lapse, falling from his pristine state of innocence into evil. We cannot therefore raise any question as to such deed's origin . in time (t. e. Us chronic origin)^ but can investigate only its origin in reason («. e. its cogitable origin)^ when we wish to look into, and, if possible, explain the bias, i. e. the gene- ral subjective ground whereby we adopt into our maxim an intent of transgressing.-


Quite analogous to what is here advanced is the repre* sentation of this matter given by the Scripture, when it describes the origin of evil as chrmologicaily beginning in the human race, and narrates what in the nature of things must have gone first (apart from all conditions of time) as a commencement in time only* Agreeably to this an- cient Chronicle, evil commences not from any indwelling bias toward it, for then its rise and spring would not be from the causality of freedom, but talces its origin from sin, u e. from the transgi*es8ion of the Moral Law qiia Divine Commandment. Again, the state of mankind antecedent to all bias toward evil is called the state of innocence. In this state the Moral Law first announced itself to man* kind by its veto (Genesis, ii. 16, 17), as indeed it must do in the case of every agent not altc^ether pure, but ex- posed to the solicitations of appetite* But instead of ex-^ clusively giving ear to this law as the only uncondition- ately good spring, mankind began to beat about for sun- dry other springs (Ibid. iii. 6), which are no more than hypothetically good (viz. so far forth as they encroach not on the law), and made it his maxim (if we cogitate the act as emanating with full consciousness from freedom) to obey the Law of Duty^ not singly out of Dutp, but per- chance with a view to itome ulterior ends. Hence he be- gan to quibble* away the severity of that commandment

  • All homage demonstrated toward the law, so long as we give it not,

as bj and for itself the sufficient springs preponderating weight over everj other determinative of choice, is htpocritical, and the bias to paj such sbortire homage utward oirix.Cy u e* s bias to self^deceif, when quadrating ourselves witli the moral law ; upon which account it is that the Bible calls the Author of Evil (who, however, resides in our- selves) THE LIAR F&QM THE BEGINNING ; and thus characterizes man- kind by what seems the main ground of his evil conduct.


which secludes the influence of every other spring. By andr by he degraded obedience to the rank of a mere mean pr\ condition subservient to principles of self-love; thus final- * ly an undue weight of sensitive impulses became intro- duced into the maxims of life, the springs arising from the law were overbalanced, and so mankind sinned* Mutato nomine de tefabula narratur. That we daily and hourly do just so ; and that consequently ^^ in Adam cdl have Binnedk^* ai^d ^^ stiU sin^^ is self-evident from our pre- vious remarks; with this difference, however, that we come into the world with a connate bias to transgression, whereas in the first created pair no such bias — only inno- cence — is conceivable ; wherefore a transit into evil is in their case spoken of as a fall — ^in us as proceeding from the already extant and ingenite depravity of our nature. This bias, however, signifies nothing farther, than that when we endeavour to unravel and retrace the chronic origin of evil, we must, for the cause of every predeter- minate transgression, recede toward the sources of evil, along the links of time, backwards to that period when our rational faculties were as yet undeveloped; for the groundwork of which development we must assume a bias somewhere as a natural bent toward evil, called upon that account connate — ^a mode of figuring to ourselves the mat- ter, that, since our first parents are held to have been created with, and instated in, the complete possession of all their faculties, is in their case quite impracticable. For had our progenitors brought with them into the world any such indwelling bias, then it would have been, not in-< deed connate, but, what is far worse, concreated, and part of their aboriginal subsistehcy; whereas, as it is, their stK is proposed to us as a fall out of innocence. — Of a


moral property imputable to our account) no origin in time is therefore to be sought, although it is quite iuevit* able not to attempt such an investigation when we wish to EXPLAIN to ourselves its contingent presence with our race. Whence perhaps also the Scripture, in condescension to our frailty, may have thought fit thus to represent the matter.

The cogitable origin of this disjointing of our choice, whereby subordinate springs have come to be uppermost, is inscrutable ; for this bias to evil must itself be imputed to us, and consequently the ground of choosing evil max* ims would itself need to be accounted for by pre-suppos- ing some ulterior maxim to adopt such evil ground. Evil can only take its rise from what is morally bad, and can<- not have the bounds of our finite nature for its source^ and yet, since the originary predispositions of humanity (which, if this corruption is to be in^puted to him, no one save mankind himself could destroy) are all substrata toward good, there remains no assignable ground whence moral evil can at first have flowed. This incompreheu'- sibility, together with the more exact specifying of the grade of mankind's wickedness, is what is suggested by Holy Writ,* when it sets forth evil as coeval with the

  • What is here said is not to be understood as if it were intended for

Scriptural exegesis, — a thing quite beyond the legitimate boundary of pure reason. People may come to a general understanding as to the best mode of making available, for purposes of moral instruction, any historic document, without undertaking to say whether the interpre- tation is really the writer's meaning, or only one we put upon him ; provided only that such interpretation contain what is in itself ^rue, even independently of all historic evidence, and be moreover the only s^ise by dint of which we pin extract from a passage somewhat condu- cive to moral edification ;— -since otherwise the narrative could be' no more than a fruitless auginent4ti6» of otir histcmcal knowledge. People



beginning of the world, though not yet to be met with in man, but pre-existent in a spirit once of a most excel- lent and lofty nature ; whereby is foreshadowed to us just this FIRST beginning of all evil as utterly unfathomable ; for whence can have come the evil of this spirit? — ^as also farther, that since 'twas only by his seduction that mankind lapsed into evil, we are not out-and-out corrupt- ed, but still capable of amendment, and thereby contradisr tinguished from a seducing spirit, in whose favour no fleshly appetites can be counted as an alleviation of his guilt ; whereas with us, amid the ruin of our hearts there are remains of a good will, and consequently room for the not ungrounded hope of our return to that good from whicb^ we have swerved.




Whateoer^ in a moral sense, man is, or ought to be, whether good or evil, that must he either have made, or have still to make, out of himself ; either product must

ought not needlesfllj to dispute about a document, and its historical au- thoritj, whein that document's contents, how multiform soever they may be, tend in nowise to make us better men, or when, if they have that tendency, they can be known aUunde without documentary proof, and indeed m%ut be so cognizal^* Historical knowledge, which cannot have any inward reference to morality, nor validity for every one^ falls under the class pf e&vicai adiaphora^ whereof each may take just as much as he finds edifying.


be the effect of his own free choice, since, if otherwise, it could not be imputed, and the man himself would conse* quently be morally neither good nor evil : When it is said ^^ mankind was created good, that can mean no more than that he was destined for good by his Creator, and that his originary predispositions are good. Man is not, by force of these, already good, but only so far forth as he rejects or adopts the thence arising good springs into his maxims of conduct (which must be left entirely to his option) does he bring it about that he becomes either good or evil. Even admitting that toward his be- coming good or better, supernatural co-operation were in- dispensable, then, whether this aid consist in withdraw- ing hinderances, or in lending him some positive help, mankind must nevertheless first of all make himself wor- thy to receive it, and must, by adopting this principle of intensifying strength into his maxim, lay hold on and appropriate it — which assuredly is no small matter : thus alone can such superadded good be adjudged to his ac- count, and the man himself be reckoned morally well-de- serving and of ethical desert.

How it is possible that one naturally and radically had should come to make out of himself a man good — tran- scends all our information ; for how can an evil tree bring forth good fruit ? But since a tree confessedly good has, agreeably to our foregoing investigation, brought forth bad fruit ;* and since the lapse from good into evil (when

  • A tree predisposed by its constitution toward good is no more than

postiblp good, not yet really so ; for, were it actually good, then it could not bring forth bad fruit. It is only when mankind avails himself of the latent 'springs whereby he can act upon the law, that he becomes truly good (the tree an absolutely good tree.)


we bethink ourselves that it must arise from freedom) is not more comprehensible than a return from that evil to- ward good, the possibility of this latter transformation cannot be denied. Notwithstanding our fall, the com- mandment, ^^ it behoves m to become better men^" resounds unintermittently throughout our soul; consequently we can amend, even were our own endeavour insufficient, and only rendering us susceptible of an unsearchable higher aid. In this assertion, we no doubt assume that a germ of good still subsists in its entire purity, alike un- corrupted and indestructible, which most certainly cannot be self-love ;* for this last, when made a ruling principle of choice, is precisely the rise and source of every evil.

  • Words that admit of a double sense not unfrequently prevent even

the clearest grounds of reason from begetting a full and permanent con- viction. As love, so may self-love be divided into that of benevo- lence and complacency. Both are quite consistent with reason. To make the former a principle of conduct is quite natural, for who would not wish for perpetual welfare ? And yet this selfish good- will is only reasonable in so far as it proposes to itself those ends singly which may consist with the highest and most lasting happiness, and then chooses the fittest and most appropriate means for reaching those elements of well-being. In such circumstances, reason acts merely as a handmaid in the service of our ordinary appetites, and the systematic maxims that may be adopted for appeasing them stand quite unrelated to mora- lity, or do rather, when made the uoconditioned principles of volition, ut- terly subvert it A reasonable love of self-complacekcv may also be understood in a twofold manni^r : ^rtt, that we are well-pleased with ourselves in consequence of our gaining the aforementioned ends, and then such complacential self-love is identic with the love of a selfish good-will toward one*8 self. We take pleasure in ourselves, just as a tradesman, whose mercantile speculations turn out well, congratulates himself on his foresight and skill. Or, second^ we may mean, the self- love of an UNCONDITIONED COMPLACENCY, and this latter self-corn- placency would not depend on whatever gain or losses might fiow from our actions, but on the inward principle of such self-approbation as can lilone spring from the subordination of all our maxims to the moral law. No one to whom morality i^ not indifferent, can be well-pleased with


The redintegration of our aboriginal predisposition to- ward goody is consequently not the re-acquisition of a lost ethic spring ; for this consisting in reverence toward the nuh- ral laWy we never could by any possibility have forfeited ; and could such forfnture at all occur, then never could we again have resuscitated such a feeling within. The renova*- tion of mankind's moral character, is therefore the reviving of reverence in its primitive purity, as a condition pre^ cedent, that must qualify every maxim ; agi*eeably to which reverence, the law, — ^not merely conjunctly with other springs, or perhaps postponed to them — but in its naked integrity, is re-established as of itself the sufficient spring determining our choice. The original good consists in that SANCTITY OF INTENT, which proposcs to itsclf the execution of all duty, whereby whoso entertains such pure maxims, though not yet himself holy (for betwixt intent and act there lies a mighty gap), is notwithstanding on the road

himself while conscious of sentiments militating against the law ; on the contrary, such inward warfare can only leave room for a feeling of the most bitter self-dislike. Hence we may speak of a piucticai. 8ELF.I.OVE, which disdains all admixture of foreign elements of happi- ness, and seeks satis&ction only in the pure a priori spring of choice. Since, howev-er, this last is neither more nor less than immediate reve- rence toward the law, it is difficult to understand why people embarrass themselves by talking of a heasokable and of a moral self-love, seeing that ethically mankind can only like himself so far forth as he is aware of having made reverence for the law his ruling motive. Happi- ness is, agreeably to our sensitive nature, the first object that we uncon* ditionally desire ; although, when viewed in connection with our whole rational and free economy, it is neither the first nor yet unconditioned ob«  ject of choice. This last is oue worthiness of beiitg rendered happy ; «. e, the harmony o . all our maxims with the moral law. That this be made the objective condition, under which alone our wish for hap* piness can be brought into unison with legislative reason, is the drift and upshot of every ethic rescript ; and a moral cast of thought just consists in harbouring only such conditioned wishes.


thitherward, and approximating his goal by ondless. pro- gression. Readiness in performing dutiful actions is how- ever called YiRTiJE, when regard is had merely to the le- gaUiy of a person's character, so far forth as it can he known from experience and observation {Virtus PhanO' niemm). Such virtuous character is in permanent posses- sion of maxims, whence actions outwardly in harmony with the law ari^ — only the springs employed for this purpose are borrowed indifferently from any quar- ter. In this sense, virtue is acquired bit-by-bit, and is defined by many to be a long habit of observing the law, whereby mankind passes, as he gradually re- forms his conduct, from a proneness to vice, into a contrary bias toward virtue; for all which, no change OF HEART is needed, only a change ov manners.^ Mankind deems himself virtuous when he feels bis habits confirmed of performing what outwardly is du^ ^y, although his actions flow not from the supreme prin- ciple of morality. On the contrary, the intemperate grows eober for the sake of health : the liar betakes himself to truth, on account of his reputation ; the fraudulent returns to municipal honesty from a view to repose or gain; all in conformity with the lauded greatest-happiness-prin- ciples. But for any one to become not merely a legal- ly, but, moreover, a morally-good man {i.e. acceptable to Ood), that is, virtuous according to his intelligible character (Virtus Nmimnon)^ and to make himself one who, when he recognises any thing to be his duty, needs ' no other or farther motive than just this very represen- tation duty, that cannot be effected by any gradual re-/ forms, so long as the basis of his maxims remains im-l pure ; but can only be accomplished by a transvolv-


TiON of the sentiinents of the inner man (an instant transit to maxims of holiness), and he becomes a new man only through a sort of regeneration, as it were by a new creation (John^ iii. 5 ; Genesis^ i. 2), and change of heart* But if man is depraved at the bottom of his heart, how is it possible that he, by his own strength, can bring about this revolution within, and become, of bis own accord, a good man ? Nevertheless, duty thus enjoins ; but the law ordains nothing impracticable, wherefore we must hold that the revolving takes place in the cast of thinking ; and that the gradual reform affects the bent of the sensory so far forth as this last throws obstacles before the first : that is to say, — ^when by one single inflexible determination, mankind retroverts his will's perverted bias for choosing evil maxims, he then puts on a new man, and becomes, in regard of his principles and inward-mindednessj placed in a capacity for good : while, perceptibly, it is only through a long track of conduct that he can be seen even by him- self to have grown into a good man. In a single word, it is to be hoped, that this purity of principle, now chosen as his dominant rule of life, will suffice to keep him un- swervingly steady, along the good though narrow rail- way of a perpetual progression fi*om bad to better. This progression is for him to whom the unknown depths of the heart are patent, and in whose All-Seeing eye the mo- ments of the series are envisaged in their sum, an integral unity, t. 6. is before Ood tantamount to being already a really good man, and acceptable in his sight : wherefore, thus far forth the change may be regarded as a finished and entire conversion of the heart. But for mankind, who can oply estimate themselves, and the strength of their adopted maxims, by the upperhand they gradually gain


through time over the sensory, the transition can never be regarded otherwise, than as an ever-enduring striving after what is better, consequently, as no more than a gradual reformation of the bias to evil.

Hence it follows, that the moral education of man can<- not begin with correcting his manners, but must take its rise from a transvolving of his cast of thinking, and must set to work by endeavouring to beget and found a cha* racter. Commonly, however, people set about this mat- ter otherwise, fighting against singular vices, and leaving the common root, whence they sprout, untouched. And yet mankind, even when gifted with the most scanty intellectuals, is just so much the more readily awaken- ed to deeper feelings of reverence for duty, the more he is taught to withdraw therefrom all foreign motives that self-love might otherwise thrust into the maxims of con- duct ; even children are quite in a condition to detect any, aye ! the smallest vestige, of an admixture of spurious with the genuine springs ; whereupon actions, how seemly so- ever, lose straightway in their eyes all moral worth. This susceptibility for receiving impressions of the unadulterat- ed moral good, admits of being so wonderfully cultivated, as to become stamped indelibly on the heart, when we propose to their youthful notice examples of the illustrious dead, and make them sit in judgment on the ethical purity or impurity of their maxims, so far as that can be clearly gathered from the record of their actions ; — an occupation of the understanding that soon gives to the naked idea DUTY preponderating weight. Contrariwise, to allow one's ethic pupils to wonder at deeds of virtue, even though accomplished with the greatest sacrifices, is far from being the right key to which the mind should be attuned, in


order to bring it to a moral pitch. It is a mistake to suppose that any good, mankind may do, can surpass his duty. Discharging duty, however, is only that regularity which is of the essence of a moral order of things, and is consequently nothing that deserves to be wondered at. Such wonder is rather mischievous in its effect, and un- strings the reverential chords of duty, by representing its 7>erformance, as something meritorious and extraordinary. One thing, however, there is, which, when rightly ap- prehended, never ceases to transfix the soul with the highest possible admiration, and where such admiration is not only just, but does likewise clarify aud exalt the soul — ^and that is the Originary substratum for morality it- self. What is that (mankind may well ask himself) where- by he, dependent by so many wants on the physical system, is, notwithstanding, at the same time raised so far above it, by force of the idea of an original susceptibility with- in, that all those wants shrink to nothing, and he him- self is judged unworthy even to live, if, overcome by pain, or defiled by pleasure, he incline to an enjoyment of them (which yet (done can render Itfe desirable J^ doing despite to a law whereby Reason mightily commands, though annex- ing to that behest neither bribe nor threat? The weight of this question even the most unlettered must right inly feel, if at all aware of the sanctity attaching to the idea Duty ; though as yet unacquainted with that amazing pro- perty of our nature — ^Freedom* — ^unfolded singly from the

  • The idea of our freedom is not antecedent to our consciousness of

the moral law, but is inferentially deduced from its unconditioned sway over the determinabieness of our choice. This any one may speedily become convinced of, by merely asking himself if he is immediately certain of possessing a power of vanquishing the greatest seductions to ' transgression by dint of a forethought steadfastness of resolve,


representing of the law. And it is jast the inoomprehen- sihle of this godlike susceptibility, announcing to man his celestial descent, that does, by breaking on the mind with a force that cannot be resisted, swell and transfix the soul with reverential emotions of the deepest and most enrap- tured admiration, thereby strengthening him for whateveir sacrifices the awe of duty may demand. Again and again i to arouse this feeling of the excellent and sublime of our moral destination is especially to be recommended, as the chief mean of begetting moral sentiments, inasmuch as this feeling directly counteracts our inborn bias to pervert the order of our springs of choice ; so that, by restoring the

Phalaris licet imperet ut sis Falsus, et admoto dictet perjuria tauro ;

and the answer must at once be, that he cannot tell whether, in such event, he might not be shaken from his purpose. But duty demands that he adhere inviolably faithful to its decrees ; hence he rightly infers that he can do so, t. e. that his will is free. They who maintain that this unsearchable property of our nature is quite comprehensible, de- lude themselves with the word determinism {the Principle of the WiWt Determination hy sufficient inward grounds) ; as if the difficulty consisted in combining this principle with freedom ; whereas the difficulty is, how pREDETERMiNisM — whereby our voluntary actions, as events, have their sufficient ground in antecedent times that are no longer within our power — can consort with freedom, which last requires that both act and its contrary be at the instant of my acting fully within my own con- troL That is what people fain would, but never will, comprehend.

There is, however, no difficulty in combining the idea freedom witli that of God as a mecessart Being. For freedom does not consist in the contingency of an act (i. e, in its being undetermined by any grounds), (i. e, such a principle of ivdeterminism as might represent good and evil as equally possible divine acts, if those last are to be free), but in absolute spontaneity, and thus is endangered by predeterminism alone, in as much as there the determinative ground is contained in time by. gone^ IS consequently not in my power, but in the hand of nature, and so drives me irresistibly on to act. But since in the case of the Deity no sequences »f time are cogitable, this difficulty entirely faUs away.


unconditioned reverence for tbe Law as the supreme condition of all maxims we adopts tbe originary moral, order may be reintroduced among the heart's ravelled springs, and therewith, that the predisposition toward good, at first implanted in the heart of man, may be re- suscitated in its pristine purity and vigour.

But is not this redintegration of character by one's own exertions, diametrically opposed by the inborn depravity of man, whereby he is unfitted for good ? Doubtless ! so far as the comprehensibility of such a change is con- cerned; and as for any insight into its possibility, the present case is quite on a par with every other event in time (change)^ which is itself necessary when regard is had to the Physical System, and whose antipart is never- theless figured, agreeably to the Moral Law, to be possi- ble and realizable by freedom. The position of man- kind's indwelling radical evil does therefore preclude only our seeing into the ground of the possibility of this self- reform. It is not inconsistent with the possibility of a / return to good itself; for, so long as the Moral Law com- \ mands, ^^ Tlwu SHALT beccme a better man^^ the conclu- ! sion is inevitable " that thou CJNST.*' The heart's con- j nate evil is a statement of no practical import in the theory, u e* neither in the elementology, nor in the di- dactic of morals ; for the duties imposed by the Law remain the same, and retain the same obligatory force, whether a bias to evade them be co-extant with the Will or not. But in the ascetic of morals the position does say something, and yet no more than this, viz. that in cultivating our concreated ethical predispositions toward good, we cannot so begin, as were we by nature innocent, but are constrained to set to work by counteracting a vi-


tiosity of choice, subvertiDg our primeval ethical condi- tion, and, because this bias is ineradicable, by unremit- tingly wrestling, and so making stand against it. Since now this issues in an endless progress from bad to better, it results that the converting of the sentiments of the wicked, into those of the good, takes place by so changing the innermost and last ground whereupon maxims of life are determined on, that those last become henceforward conformable to the Law, so far forth at least as this new ground (the new heart) is itself immutable. A convic* tion of this immutability cannot be attained by man, nei- ther from the immediate witness of his conscience, nor yet from proofs gathered from his experienced and ob- served life, inasmuch as the depths of his heart fthe last subjective ground of choosing maanms) are impenetrable. But upon the road leading thither, «• e. to such immutabi- lUy^ he must hope to get by his own exertions, whither- ward indeed he is directed by his bettered sentiment, now grounded and rooted in good. It behoves him to be- come a good man ; and he can only be deemed moraUy goody in regard of whatever, as done by himself, can be im- puted to his account.

Against this proposal of self-amelioration. Reason, now naturally disinclined to the irksomeness of any moral task, seeks refuge by screening itself under the allega- tion of mankind's natural imbecility, and there shield- ing itself by all sorts of impure religious ideas (amongst which is to be reckoned the ascribing to God greatest-hap- piness-principles as the condition of his Law). Again, all religions may be divided into those of mere worship , and THE RELIGION OF A MORAL LIFE. Agreeably to the^^ former, mankind either flatters himself that God will I


provide for his everlasting welfare, quite apart from his becoming a morally better man (by remitting his " sins) ; or, should this last appear to him incredible, that God may perhaps straightway make him better, and that too independently of his own exertions, provided he only earnestly beseech it by instant prayers and supplications ; whereby since, in the eye of an all-seeing person, praying can be nothing else than tantamount to wishing, nothing need at all be done ; for indeed if a wish could accom-' plish such a transformation, then would every one be good. But upon the principles of moral religion (which, amid all public ones that have hitherto appeared, the Christian religion alone is), this is the unalterable de- cree, " that every one must do as much m in him lies in oT" der to render himself a better man, and only then, when he has not buried his connate talent, nor tied it up in a napkim (Luke, xix. 12-20) i, e. when he has unfolded the germm latent in his aborigincd susceptibilities for good, may h^ hope, that what lies beyond his power may be supplied by a higher co-operation^^ Neither is it absolutely necessary that an individual should know wherein this aid consists, nor how it is afforded ; perhaps it is inevitable, that even were all this revealed at some former period, other people should not at some other and future period, come to frame to themselves different opinions, and that too with the greatest possible sincerity, about the matter. But if this be so, then would this farther principle validly apply; ^^ Jt is not essential^ and consequently not necessary^^r every I ONE to know what God does, or may cUready have done far \ I his salvation ; but it is undoubtedly requisite that aU should j I know WHAT THEY THEMSELVES HAVE TO DO in order to' \render themselves worthy of his aid.**


This general schdion is the fifst of those four remarks that are app^ded, one to each book^^f the present treatise, and that might be superscribed respectively, (1.) Works of Grace ; (2.) Miracles; (3.) Mysteries; (4.) Meana of Grace. They are the outworks (jparerga) of a religion within the bounds of NAKED REASON ; they do not inwardly belong to it, but they are immediately adjoining. Reason, conscious of its inability to satis^ fy all the mind's moral need»y extends itself to transcendent ideas, ho|Mng that they may make up for this defect, without however vindicating any claim of possession to such more extensive ter- ritory. Reason impugns neither the possibility nor yet the EXISTENCE of objects corresponding to those ideas, but is unable to adopt any motives from them either into its maxims of think- ing or acting. Nay, reason rather holds, that if there be in the unsearchable fields of the supersensible, anything more than it can comprehend, but which were nevertheless needful to eke out and fulfil our moral shortooming, then this would stand us in stead, and be made available to a good will, though all the while unacquainted with the matter ; and this it trusts with a faith (touching such unknown and inaccessible supersensible supply) which we may call reflective ; for the dogmatical belief, which gives out these joorer^a as points of ej«owledge, appears in its eye chargeable with either insincerUy or temerUy, The re- moval of difficulties withstanding what has its practical estab- lishment in itself, is, when those difficulties give rise to transcen- dent questions, no more than a very secondary affiiir. Again, as to the detriment accruing from those moraUy-transcendent ideas, when incorporated with religion, the baneful results following the above-named four classes, are, (1.) the Fanaticism of sup- posed inward experiences ( Work$ of Grace) ; (2.) the Super- stition of alleged outward experience (Miracles); (3.) the ILLUMINATISM of a supposcd enlightening of the eyes of the understanding in regard of the preternatural (Mysteries) — the


whimseys of AithpH in search of the great secret ; (4.) the Thau- MAT17ROT of endeavouring to act upon the supersensible (Means o^ Grace) — all wanderings of an understanding that has strayed beyond its legitimate boundary, and that too with the fancied moral view of becoming acceptable to God. Touching the above general scholion to our first book, every one perceives that to bring about within himself a work of grace, is just such an attempt to bestride the supernatural, — a project that never en- ters into the maxims of reason so long as it remains within its own limits ; since the moment we have to deal with the preter- natural, all use of understanding comes at once to an end. To assign iheoreUcally a test whereby to ascertain that any inward mental experience is a work, not of nature, but of grace, is im- possible, because our notions of cause and effect cannot be ex- tended beyond what we have experienced and observed, conse- quently not beyond the operations of nature, without or within ourselves. Again, the hypothesis of a practical application of this idea is no less self-contradictory ; for, to make any use of this conception, would render pre-requisite a rule fixing what we ourselves had to do in order to acquire some ulterior good. A work of grace, however, signifies the very contrary, viz. that the moral good is not our deed, but that of some other person, and is therefore, by the very idea of it, something only to be got by DOING NOTHING, which is absurd. We can therefore admit such works of grace as somewhat incomprehensible ; but never can they afford the groundwork of any maxims, whether regulating the theoretical or practical conduct of the mind.










BOOK 11.




That, in order to become morally good men, it is not enough to allow the germs of good implanted in our race to develope themselves with unimpeded force, but that it is further requisite for us to encounter an opposing cause of evil, — ^is a matter that the Stoics did pre-eminently be- yond all Moralists of/ Antiquity declare loudly by their watchword virtue, which alike in Greek and Latin signi- fies FORTITUDE or VALOUR, and does consequently remind us that there is an enemy to be overcome. Regarded in this point of view, virtue is a most praiseworthy name, notwithstanding its having been often boastfully abused, and, more lately still, sneeriugly derided. For, to summon up to VALOUR, is almost tantamount to infusing it; as, on the other hand, a lazy self-distrusting reason, pusillani- mously waiting for exterior aids in points of ethic and religion, not only unnerves every energy of the mind, but even renders man unworthy of such help.

But those sturdy Sages mistook their enemy, who is not to be sought in the natural, and, though undisciplined,


Still openly displayed and undisguised, appetites of the sensory ; for the inward foe is an invisible occult enemy , lurking behind the ambushes of reason, and upon that account just so much the more dangerous and deadly* Theyf called on wisdom to make a stand against folly, which allows itself unawares to be inveigled and worsted by the sensory, instead of calling upon her to wage war

f These philosophers derived their supreme moral principle from the Dignity of Human Nature, viz. freedom, or the mind*8 independency on the force of appetite ; and one better or more noble thej could not have proceeded on. The laws of morality they then immediately deduced from reason, thus alone legislatory, and by them unconditionally com- manding. Here everything was properly a^usted, not only objectively^ as regards the rule, but likewise subjectively^ with respect to the spring, of action : provided only we ascribe to man the incorrupted will to adopt without delay those laws into his maxims. But in this latter supposi- tion lay their cardinal error ; for, however early we may throw our in- quiring eye over liian's moral state, we immediately perceive that with his affairs it is no longer re* integra ; but that a beginning must be made by dislodging evil from possessions it has usurped (a usurpation that never could have taken place, had we not ourselves willingly received it into our maxims), i. e, that the first real good we can do, is to come fbrth

i out of an evil estate, extant not in. our appetites and wants, but in a perverse maxim chosen by freedom. Appetites do no more than throw difficulties in the way of executing maxims that may happen to thwart

' them : whereas evil consists properly herein, viz. that mankind wills

' not to withstand those appetites when these last invite to transgression ; which evil-mindedness it is strictly that is the true inward enemy. Ap- petites are merely opposed to fixt principles generally, indifferently whether those principles be good or evil, and hence that generous sys- tem of antiquity is as a pre-exercitory discipline of appetite whatso- ever, useful toward the moderating and self-government of the indi- vidual by stable maxims. But, in so far as there ought to be specific

^ PRINCIPLES of the moral good within, which as yet are not, then must a very different enemy be pre-supposed, whom virtue has to encounter, — apart from which sustained war&re, all virtues are not indeed, as the

.Church- Father had it, shining tinsy but dazzling firaUtiet ; since thereby the uproar itself is only sometimes hushed, while the Heads of the sedi- tion remain unquelled and at large.


upon the wickeixness of . the human heart, which, 1>y soul-^destrbying pTmeiples, secretly saps and undermines the m<MraLfott;es86s of l&e souL

Our natural appetites are conaidered iu themselves good, t. e. irreproachable, and it is not only fruitless, but even hurtful and blame- w€»*thy, to attempt to extirpate them ; they need Only to be tamed, lest they encroach lipon or overthrow each other, and so be prevented from harmonis- ing toward their whofe and common last eind — happiness. Reason, when administering this physical interest of well- being, is called prudence. Only the morally illegal is ^ id itself bad, absolutely objectionable, and to be eradicat- ed. Reason, . when teaching how this is to be done, and, still more fitly, when exerting this information into act, deserves and obtains the name of wisdom, in comparison wherewith vice may certainly be termed folly; but only then, when reason finds herself strong enough not merely to HATE and arm herself against it as an object of terror, but thoroughly to despise its charms and artful entangle- ments.

When, consequently, the Stoics painted to themselves man's ethical Olympiad as a mere wrestle or gymnastic with his (otherwise harmless) desires and aversions, so far forth as these latter hinderances of his inward freedom were to be overthrown ; then, since they assumed no par- ticular positively evil principle, the cause of transgres* sion could only be placed in reason's neglecting to meet them on the battle-field. But since, farther, this omission is itself contrary to duty (s. e. transgression), its ground cannot (without explaining in a circle) be again placed iti the appetites and wants, but only therein, where will's free choice is determinable {i. e. in the inmost last ground of \


appointing rules of life, which rules are observed to have conspired with the inclinations). This being the case, we easily understand how an inevitable though unwelcome explanation, whose last ground must remain perpetually shrouded within the veil of the impenetrable,f should in- duce philosophers to mistake the actual enemy of good, against whom they thought a contest was to be main- tained.

None need, therefore, be surprised that an Apostle should have represented this unseen soul-devastating enemy, known only by his effects upon us, as external to our frame, and more particularly as an evil spirit. *^For we wredle not against flesh and blood {our natural in- cHNATlONS)f but against the principalities and powers of ^ritual wickedness ; — that tve map be able to stand against the wiles of the deviT^ (Ephes. vi. 12 and 11) ; an expres- sion that does not appear designed to extend our knowledge beyond the barriers of the world of sense, but to assist us to envisage, for a practical behoof, a notion of the unfathom- able supersensible. For, to all practical ends it is quite the

I f Moral philosophers commonly imagine that the existence of evil in our race admits of easy explication, from the violence of the sensitive springs on the one hand, and the impotencj of the rational springs {rev€» rence) en the other ; t. r. is to be accounted for from the frailtt or weak- ness^ of our nature. But then the Moral Good (as to its last ground in the ethical predisposition of our personality) ought to be still more easily explicable ; for the comprehensibility of the one, apart from that of the other, is absolutely incogitable, whereas Reason's power of mastering all opposing springs by the naked idea of a law is utterly inexplicable ; and it is equally incomprehensible how the springs of the sensory ever could gain the ascendency over a preceptive faculty invested with such autho- rity. And, indeed, if every one acted agreeably to the requirements of the law, then it would be said that all followed a common order, neither would it occur to any one to inquire into the cause of this uniformity.


same whether we place our Seducer within or also at the same time without us. Our guilt is the same in either event, in as much as we could not fall by his extraneous seduction were we not already secretly banded and in league with him ;f an affair we shall consider under the two following heads.

f It is a distinguishing characteristic of the ethic of Christianity, that it represents Moral Good as distant from Moral Evil, not as heaveit from EARTH, but as HEAYEir from BELL ; a mode of speech figurative) no doubt, and as such revolting, but which is nevertheless, in its spirit and intendment, philosophically correct. It serves to prevent us from Regarding good and evil* — the kingdoms of light and darkness — as conter- minous, and as merging gradually into one another, through impercep- tible shades of perpetually decreasing or increasing luminosity, and sug- gests to us, that those realms are disjoined by an immeasurable gulf. The total dissimilarity and repugnancy of the maxims whereby man is rendered a subject in one or other of these kingdoms, viewed in connec- tion with the danger run of imagining any cognationship betwixt the properties that fit mankind for one or other of those abodes, entitle us to employ these symbolical representations, which are at once dreadful, and at the same time exceedingly sublime.





A. Ing^erganated Idea of the Good Principk.

Mankind (i. e, Agent-Intelligents generally), in his ENTIRE MORAL PERFECTION, is that aloBO which ORB reii* der a universe the object of a divine decree, and be the end of its creation ; to which morality as a supreme con- dition, happiness is immediately attached by the Will of the Most High. This Intelligent is the only-beloved of God — " the same was in the beginning wUh God»* The idea of such Person emanates from Ood's very essence^ and is therefore no created thing, but his only-begotten Son.

    • The Word (the Fiat !) whereby aU things were madej

and withaut which was not any thing made that is made^ For his sake, i. e. for the sake of Intelligents, cogitated agreeably to the fulfilment of their moral destiny, every thing has been created. ^^ He is the brightness of his Fa-- therms glorxf^ — " In him God loved the toorld /' and only through him, and by adopting his sentiments, can we hope to become " children of God"

Self-elevation to this ideal of moral perfection, t. e. to the archetype of moral sentiments in their entire pu- rity, is obviously a duty incumbent upon all men, to which ascent, the idea itself, as objected to us by reason for our imitation, gives power. But since we are not the


authors of this ideal (and since, on the contrary, it has taken up its abode in human nature without our being able to ex|>lain our susceptibility fe^ the indwdling of . 8uch<an oceupan't), it may perhaps be more appropriately saidy that that: affchetype has come down from heaven to us, apd assumed oiur humanity {for it is not so easy to figu^re to ourselves how MAN, who is by nature !bad, i should strip off his evil, and raise himself to a conformity with the Ideal of Holiness, as it is tcK hold-that the latter has invested itself with humanity {a thing not in itself v evil), and con descended unto it). This union with us may therefore be regarded asA state of humiliation of THE Son OF God, when we figure to ourselves such a godlike-minded person as may be our archetype, taking upon him a multitude of sorrows, although himself hciy^' and therefore Isxempt from thrir sufferance^ merdy with the view of advancing ^mr Sovereign Good ; wherieas man- kind, who never is free from guilt, must, even after he has adopted the sentiments^ pf tiiiat ideal, r^ard whatever sorrows may afflict him, m whatever way, as his merited desert {i. e. as no undue humUiation ? TV.), and must con- sequeDtly deem himself unworthy of entering into an al- liance with such an idea, although this last serves for his archetype.

The ideal of humanity as acceptable to God (t. e. the idea of an ethical perfection, so far forth as this last may be possible for finite Agent-Intelligents shackled by wants and appetites) can only be co^tated by the representation of a person ready and willing to discharge all the offices of humanity, who not only by doctrine and eJcample spreads abroad the utmost amount of good, but does fur-j ther, although asisaulted by the highest temptations, uui


dei^o for the sake of the whole world, his enemies not ex^ cepted, the greatest miseries, even an ignominious death. Thus would the matter seem to be figured ; for we can frame to ourselves no notion of the degree* and momentum of a force, such as is the m% insUa of a moral sentiment, except by observing it warring against antagonists, and standing, amid the greatest possible invasions and extre* mities, unvanquished and victorious.

Through a practical taith in this Son of God (fi- gured as having taken upon him our nature), mankind may hope to become acceptable to God (and so to enter into everlasting bliss), u e, he who is conscious of such moral sentiments within, as enable him to believe and to place in himself a well-grounded trust, that he could, un- der any similar temptations and griefs (considered as the test and touchstone of the genuineness of that idea), ad- here unchangeably to the archetype of humanity, and re- main true to the exemplar by a steady following of his footsteps — such a person, I say, and he alone, is entitled to look upon himself as one who may be an object not un- worthy of the Divine complacency*

B. Objective Reality of this Idea.

This idea's reality is, in a practical point of view, con- tained completely in itself, for it has its rise and spring from our morally legislative Reason. We ought to con- form ourselves to it ; consequently we can. Needed we first of all to prove theT possibility of our becoming con- formable to this archetype, as is absolutely indispen- sable in the case of our notions of the physical system, lest we be misled by empty phantasms, to which nothing


given can ever correspond ; then must we, by parity of reason, pause before we admitted the claim of the Moral Law to be the unconditionally sufficient determinative of our choice ; for how it comes to pass that the bare idea of law whatsoeoer should be a far more weighty mover of the will than any utilitarian considerations, cannot be made ^comprehensible by reason, nor corroborated by observa* tidn and experience : for, touching the first, the Law's behest is unconditional ; and as for the second, even sup- posing that there never yet had been a man who rendered unqualified obedience to the Law, the objective necessity of becoming thus unconditionally obedient, shines the same with self-evidence undiminished. We need, therefore, no examples from experience and observation, in order to con- \ stitute, that ideal of humanity whereby alone man is ac- ceptable to God, our pre-appointed archetype. It is already extant in the ideal archetypes of reason. Farther, who* soever should, previously to his acknowledging any one to be in harmony with that idea, and a fit exemplar for imi- tation, demand more than an unrebukable and well-de- serving life, open to every one's inspection ; whoso should besideis crave signs and wonders performed by him or upon him for his credentials, would thereby proclaim his own moral unbelief, viz. his want of belief in virtue, — ^a de- fect not to be supplied by any faith grounded on mira- culous supports : for this Faith could only be Historical^ whereas the belief in the practical validity of that idea, as seated in reason, alone possesses moral worth ; and this idea it is, that must first accredit miracles as signs from on high, not the idea, that from them, is to receive its con- firmation.

Upon this same account, the records of experience ought




to be able to set fortb, as a bistorical fact, the given and displayed example of some one wbo had realized, this. ideal (so far, at least, as we can e^tradt evidence of one'« hji*"- ward mpral sentiments from his exterior deportment), al* though, properly speaking, the law would entitle us to expect from every one an ectypal transcript of diis idea, whereof the Prototype resides at all times, veiled and !&■•- tent, in the deeply hidden sanctuary of our own i^asoD^ in as much as neither experience nor example can ade- quately or exhaustively depicture it, those last not unfolds ing to view the inmost sentiment of the person, and. allow- ing us only to conclude upon it, and that uncertainly^ (Eyen mankind's own inward observation, of himself does not so enable him to envisage the depths of bis heatt, that he can attain a confident, settled, and unchanging convic* tion of the purity and fixity of the maxims be professes.) And if a person really endowed with such godlike sen- timents had at any given epoch appeared^ descending as IT WERE, from heaven to earth, who in doctrine, life, and death, had fully set forth the exemplary pattern of a course of life acceptable to God, to the utmost possible ex- tent that outward experience will admit,*— the archetype of such conduct being, as we have said, extant, and to be sought for, in naked reason only, — and bad he in conse- quence of this his character and doctrine, achieved a most gigantic revolution in the destinies of our race, scatter- ing abroad the undecaying seeds of a yet uncomputed and indeed incomputable moral good ; still that ought not to give us cause to look upon him as any thing else than a naturally-begotten man, seeing that each individual must recognise and feel himself bound to let the light of a simi- larly bright example so shine before him, although by this


I do not mean to assert stf/g^liciter that he may not per- chance have been a pretematurally begotten Being. In a practical point of view, the snpematuralist hypothesis can benefit us nothing, since the archetype subjected by us in IJioiJ^ht) to this phenomenon is to be found in ourgelves (though ordinary men) ; and the existence of this ideal in the human soul is in itself sufficiently incomprehensible, without our multiplying difficulties by holding it| in addi- tion to its supersensible original, hypostatised in a particu- lar individual ; on the contral-y, the advancement of this Holt One above the weaknesses of human nature, would, —so far as we can see,-— rather impede than assist this idea in exciting our generous emtilation to attain it. For how perfectly human soever we cogitate the physical consti- tution of this morally perfect man, what though he be in- vested with the same wants, and exposed to the same mi- series, and temptations to transgression with ourselves; still, if he is represented as thus far superhuman as, by a purity of will not earned, but immutable and iDgenite, to be absolutely exalted beyond the possibility of a lapse, "^ then must this enormous elongation from the common class of men remove him to so infinite a distance, that this godlike man would cease to be fitly proposed to us as an exemplar. Mankind might, in such event, say, let there be given to me a thoroughly holy will, and every seduction to evil must of itself come to nought ; give me a perfect inward conviction, that after a brief career on earth, I by force of this connate holiness shall straight- way enter into possession of the everlasting glories of the heavenly kingdom, then will I not only willingly but joy- ously undertake and stand out all grief and pain, how bit- ter soever, even up to the most contumelious death, see-


ing, as I do, in near prospect the exhilarating and glorified result. And though unquestionably the cogitation — that this godlike person was from everlasting, in the actual pos- session of those excelsities and beatitudes, and needed not to earn them by these his sorrows, — that he voluntarily divested himself of such celestial splendours for the sake of the unworthy, even for his enemies, in order to rescue them from everlasting ruin, — must determine our minds to admiration, love, and gratitude toward him, — and al- though the idea of a deportment regulated upon so per^- feet a standard of morality \^ould by all means be valid for us as a behest to be observed, still he himself could not be represented as a pattern for our imitation, nor conse- j quently as any evidence to us of the practicability and at- tainableness of so pure and exalted a moral good.f

f The limits of the human understanding prevent us from figuring to ourselves any considerable personal worth in the actions of another, un- less we have them represented to us after a human fashion ; but then such figurative representation ought never to be understood as implying that so the matter (xcr* Akn^uai) is, in real fact and event In order to cogitate supersensible properties, we need always to think them accord- ing to an analogy with physical entities. It is thus that our philosophi- cal poet ascribes a higher rank to man, in consequence of his bias to evil,

  • ^ at least in so far as he fights against and overcomes it ; than to those

celestial spirits who, by force of the sanctity of their nature, are exalted beyond the possibility of seduction. — (This worlds with all iUfauUt^ it bel- ter than a realm 0/9111- lest angelt, — Haller.) Even the Scripture accom- modates itself to this mode of speech, when, explaining to us the intensity of the love borne by God toward the human race, it speaks of his having submitted to the utmost sacrifice that a loving Being can undergo in order to render even the unworthy happy ('* So God loved the worlds** &c.) : for reason cannot comprehend in any way how a self-sufficient Being can give up part of what constitutes its own bliss', and deprive itself of its own possessions. This is an analooicai. schematism indispensable for illus- trating the matter ; but when turned into a SchematUm ox Effigiation for determining an object, it becomes anthrofomorphism, which is of the most hurtful consequences in religion — I may here remark, that in pass-


Such a godlike-minded, though still perfectly human teacher, might nevertheless with the greatest propriety I speak of himself as if the ideal of morality dwelt in him ; bodily, and were fnlty set forth in his doctrine and life, j In using such an expression, be would allude only to the i turn of thinking adopted by him as the regulator of his | actions ; but since these rules of life cannot be forthwith ; held up to others as exemplars, being in themselves in-^ \ visible, and capable of outward protraiture only by ac^ \ tion and instruction, he might very well say of himself which of you accuseth me of sin ; for it is but equitable to ascribe that blameless example of a teacher, which illus- \ trates his tenets, to nothing but the purest motives, so long as those tenets treat only of what, at any rate, is every person's duty, and all grounds are awanting for suspecting him of by-views. A cast of thinking such as now described, ready to forego and undergo every thing,

ing from the sensible to the supersensible it is quite allowable to sche- matise (t. e. explain a conception by help of the analogy it may bear to somewhat sensible) ; but it is quite disallowed analogically to conclude that what belongs to the one can be predicated of the other. To take an instance : I cannot infer that, because I cannot depicture to myself in thought the cause of a plant except by comparing it with the relation ob- taining betwixt an Artist and his Work {e, g. a watch), i. e, by ascribing - intelligence to such cause, — ^it cannot, I say, be inferred, that therefore the cause of the plant (or of the material universe generally), does itself possess understanding ; %» e, 1 am not entitled to say that intelligence, which is a hypothesis necessary for my private explaining to myself the growth and structure of a plant, is likewise a condition precedent of the possibility of the existence and action of such cause itself. The relation obtaining betwixt a symbox. and a notion, bears no analogy whatever to the relation obtaining betwixt that symbol and the thing indicated by the notion ; and to pass from one to the other is ingens talUu (jxtrufiaffis us «xx« ytws)) plunging us at once into the abysses of anthropomorphism-, the arguments proving which assertion, I have expounded elsewhere at length.


in order to forward the general interests of the race, figured as extant in an Ideal of HaBianity, is valid foir all men, at all times, and throngfaout all worlds, in the eye of Supreme Justice, whenever mankind makes, as he oughts his own real sentiments conformable to the archetype thus cogitated in idea. Doubtless this will ever remain a rightecNisness not our own, so far iorth as our own right- eousness ought to consist in sentiments fully commen- surate to the prototype, and in a thence arising course of life tallying with faultless exactness to the standard. There must, however, be an a]|^ropriation of this right- eousness possible for a person who leadsa good life, when viewed in connection with its prototype sentiment ; al- though to make this appropriation comprehmisible, is at- tended with very great difficulties, which we now set our- selves to expound and remove.

C. DifficuUies contrary to the reality of this Idea, together

toith their Solution.

The fi rst diffic ulty, suggesting doubts as to the attain- ableness of this idea, viz. that of a Humanity morally ac- ceptable to God, springs from the holiness of the law- giver, taken in connection with the defective state of our own righteousness. The law says, Be holy (in your life and conversation) as your Father which is in Heaven is Holy ; for that is the Ideal of the Son of God. proposed to us as our archetype. But the distance of the good we have to attain, from the evil we quit, is infinite, and can consequently not be passed over in any given time ; ne- vertheless, the moral economy of man is destined to coin-


cide with the sacrosanct requirements of the law. This harmony must consequently be looked upon as taking place in the sentiments, u e. in that universal and pure maxim of obedience, whence, as a germ, all good is to be unfolded — ^a change of character which, being duty, is certainly possible. Here, then, lies the diflSiculty. How can the sentiment, or formality of the intent, come in the room of deeds that are at aU times (not throughout the whole of absolute time, but at each point of time) faulty ? and the solution is, that good conduct, regarded as a con- stant progression from bad to better in infinitum^ must bI-\ ways be estimated by us as defective, in as, much as the law of cause and effect fetters us to the conditions of time ; whence also it happens that our good deeds, made exhibi* live as phenomena, must at all times be held as discon- form to the Holy Law. The Searcher of the Heart, how- ever, tests the supersensible sentiment whence such ac- tions flow, and may therefore be cogitated as regarding, in his pure intellectual intuition, such endless progres- sion as a completed whole,* and so as somewhat perfect* Thus may mankind trust, notwithstanding his perpetual shortcoming, that he may, on the whole, be well pleasing to God, in what point of time soever his existence may be terminated.

  • To prevent mistakes, it may be necessary to add, that the above

does not by any means intend to say, that a virtuous sentiment can cojk- 1>EK8ATE for our &iling in duty, or serve as an indemnity for the actual evil extant in this endless series ; what is said is, that the sentiment which comes in the room of the totality of this indefinite approxima- tion, can supply those defects only, inseparable from the finite existence of Intelligents in time, viz. those defects arising firom their never being fully, what they are only always on the point of becoming. The question of compensating positive transgressions falls under the thibd difiiculty.



The 8E Q0ND diffi culty emerging^ when we conirMt the aspirations of mankind after good, with the ditinb RIGHTEOUSNESS, touches the reaching this moral good it- self — ^a state of moral welfare, consisting in the reality and CONSTANCY of an ever onward persevering (and kept from falling) sentiment in good, widely different from PHYSICAL WELL-BEING, Understood as contentedness with one's outward state, liberation from evils, and enjoyment of perpetually increasing pleasures. For an uninterrupt* ed striving a^Ur the kmgdomofGofU coidd one become con- fidently assured of the unchangsablsness of su<^h a turn of mind, would be tantamount to already knowing one's self to have entered into it; after which mankind might assuredly trust that *^ oB oOier things (requisite for exter- nal comfort) waidd tmehubtedly be added imto him*"

A soul solicitous on this point, m^ht no doubt be oomi* forted, when told, <^ The Spirit beareth witness with amr spiritj" &c. ; that is to say, whoever cherishes sufficiently pure sentiments, must of himself be inwardly aware that he never again can fall so low as to be in love with evil ; and yet to trust to such supposed feelings of supersensible origin is rather a perilous undertaking. Never are people more apt to deceive themselves than when open to be mis- led by their own favourable self-opinion. Neither does it seem advisable to summon mankind up to any such confi- dence ; but rather more conducive to morality ^' to work out our solvation wiJBijtar cmd trembUn^* (a hard saying, which, misunderstood, may goad man on to the blackest fanaticism). And yet if b^eft of all confidence in our once adopted maxims, scarcely could we persist in our inr tended course. But this assurance enters of itself, with- out having recourse either to a sweet or an anxious fan»-


ticisniy from observiogthe Iiaroiotiy obtaimog betwixt our life and previously adopted purpose; for an individual who throughout a eonuderable tract of time has seen his forethought principles exerted into act, and is thence en- abled to conclude, with tolerable certainty, upon a radical reformaliion of his character, may reasonably hope that Uiis advancement, provided only its inward principle be good, will so confirm and augment the elastic force where- with he still presses forward to what is better — ^as not only to prevent him from quitting while on earth the narrow path of virtue, and urge him with more courageous and unimpeded footstep thitherward — ^but also, should an- other life yet await him, still to carry him onward in the idame direction toward the unapproachable goal of moral excellence ; since, from his own inward experience and observation, he may look upon his character as radically altered. On the contrary, he who, notwithstanding many an attempt at moral amendment, never yet steadfastly persevered in good, but fell perpetually back into evil ; or who perhaps U even inwardly aware of ha^dng slidden far- ther, as life advanced, downwards along the devious slope from bad to worse ; cannot reasonably entertain the small- est hope, that he would, either in this, or another life> con- duct himself better, inasmuch as those malignant symp- toms would show that moral corruption had struck deep root in his inmost sentiments. In such circumstances^ every one perceives that the former would obtain a vista into an unboundedly opening and happy futurity ; the lat- ter, again, a vista into just as inimitably increasing and dimensionless a misery ; which two prospects are for us mankind, so far as we can judge, views into a blessed or cursed eternity. Suggestions, enough startling and mighty.


to tranquillize and fortify the one in good, as well as ta aroilse in the other, the condemning voice of conscience, calling on him to halt in his wicked career ^ nay, such cogency as springs, do those subjective representations possess, as to supersede the necessity of laying down ob- jectively the dogmatical position, that at death, man's fu- ture destiny becomes then everlastingly foredoomedf for

f The question, whether the pains of Hell are finite or eternal, is a CHILDISH question, t. e. one which, though answered, could benefit the querist nothing. Were the former alternative taught, then would there be too much ground to fear, that most (as indeed is the case with all who believe in purgatory) would, like the sailor in Moore*s Travels, say* ^' WeU^ ru do my best to stand it outJ** Again, were the other alternative supported, and incorporated with the Church-Creed, then might, even contrary to the intent aimed at by sudi doctrine, result to the vicious a hope of complete impunity, even after the most abandoned life. The clergyman called to the death-bed of one whose late though avenginfi; conscience urges him to seek advice and consolation, feels it cruel and inhuman to announce eternal reprobation as his lot ; and since betwixt this last and plenary absolution no intermediary is admitted by his creed — ^his church teaching that the culprit is to be punished either eterm nally or not at aU, — he endeavours to inspire him with hope that his guilt may be forgiven, and promises to transform him in all haste into a new man acceptable to God ; and as time is now no more for entering on a walk and conversation well-pleasing to his Judge, rueful confessions, formulas of faith, and vows of amendment if life be spared, are brought in as means to prop up his fainting heart. This is the certain and ine* vitable consequence whenever the ete&nity of the future doom ad* judged to us as the due recompense of our earthly life is set forth as a DOGMA ; and mankind are not rather told to frame to themselves a no- tion of their hereafter ethical estate, from a careful estimate of their pre- sent and previous deportment, and to regard such future lot as the spon- taneously arising and naturally to be anticipated consequence of the other. The sight-outrunning extent of the series of sequents to be ap- prehended, while under the Dominion of the Principle of Evil, will take as effective ethical a purchase on the mind as were that series authenti- cally proclaimed to be interminable ; without, however, drawing after it the disadvantages attendant on this portentous dogma (to which, by the way, neither grounds of reason nor warrants of Holy Writ furnish a


either good or evil, — ^a fancied knowledge, that only in- duces the human understanding to overstep the bounds of

title). As a specimen of these disadvantages we may' note, that since the wicked, even while alive, counts beforehand on this ultimatelj and easily to be accepted pardon ; or, when life is drawing to an end, thinks he has only to do with the claim of Grod's justice against him, that is to be appeased by words and formularies ; it results that the rights of man- kind are violated with disregard, and no one ever re-acqufires possession of his own : a result this, from those forms of expiation, so extremely common, that an instance to the contrary is almost unheard of; where- as the other vista into the unknown and unfathomable recesses of his awaiting destiny naturally prompt him to repair and counteract what he has done, as much as possible, in order that the efects flowing from his evil deeds may^ while he is yet alive, be to the very uttermost obliter- ated. Is there any one who may perchance think that Reason will not, before life has ebbed, prefer against a sinner a sufficiently stem indict- ment at the bar of his own conscience ; if such there be, he would, I ap- prehend, err exceedingly ; for, Just because reason is free, its sentence over man cannot be corrupted or bribed. When conscience resumes her rights, and her avenging ministers bring forth in array man*s register of crime, and suggest to hinj, while engaged with this dark review, that he may speedily stand before his Judge, then needs he only to be left to the forebodings of his own thoughts, which, in my opinion, will judge

him with the Uttermost severity. 1 have only one or two remarks to

add. The popular adage, '^ all*s well that ends well,*' cannot be applied to Morals, unless indeed we understand by a good termination, such a close as consists in the person himself becoming a truly good man. But how is any one to know he has become good, seeing that this wish- ed-for transformation can only be inferred from the good course of life it subsequently brings forth ; for which, at the end of life, no farther space remains. . Of happiness, the remark may hold very well : and yet even then, only when regard is had to the station whence we review our life, viz. not from its commencement, but from its close. Fast griefb leave no painful reminiscences behind when once we know ourselves se- cured against their return: their departure rather makes way for a gladness that enhances the zest of present good, ih as much as pleasure and pain, being seated in the sensory, and floating on the stream of time, vanish with this last*s lapse. Neither can they be held to constitute one whole with that happiness of which we are at present in the fruition, but are^ on the contrary, expelled and displaced by the now existing occupant


all allowed insight. A good and pure eentiment (which may be called a good spirit governing us), wh6re<^ we are conscious, guides consequently to a conviction of its permanency and steadfastness, although it does so tnedi" ately only — and is the Comforter {Peirticlete) re-assuring

of time. If, however, this brocard be uDdentood to fefer to a noral es- tiroate of life^then maj mankind go very fiir wrong indeed, if he think otf vdl because good actions have wound up its close. The subjective moral princijde-^thecast of thinking, or sektimkvt) — ^which alone gives or deprives bis character of worth, is at somewhat mpenentibley not capable of being frittered down into fragments of time, but must be cogitated ss an nnum ptid^ or absolute unity ; and since we can only conclude upon our sentiments from actions which are the phenomena of those sentiments^ we must, in any such general estimate, take our whole Ufe into consider- ation ; and then the reproaches of conscience, arising from ttus earUer part of life (previous to repentance), may perhaps drown the self-applause be* stowed on the lat^, and go fiur to stifle the triumphant ezdamation, aWs »eU that ends weZA.—— There is connected with the doctrine of eternal punishment another tenet, closely allied, but not identic with it, vif. the di^ma that << att ^t mtut he/brgiven hert.** Our reckoning is finally summed up when we quit this world— as the tree fidls, it must De ; and no one may hope yonder to overtake what he has neglected here. There is, however, just as little room for confidently asserting this last position as the former ; it is nothing more than a princiide employed by Practical Season for regulating the use it makes of its notions of the supersensible, reason remaining all the while perfectly aware that we are totally in the dark as to the oljective properties of such supersensible; all that i^ason intends by such a suggestion, is to remind us that since we can infer from our past walk and conversation singly, whether or not we are acceptable to God, and since our allotted space of earthly probation ends when we go hence, we have cause to regard our account as closed, and are led to draw out a balance-sheet to see whether we can then hold ourselves jus- tified or not. Generally speaking, were we, instead of aiming at prin- ciples coNSTiTiTEKT of knowledge of supersensible objects, c<mtentedly to confine our judgment to iie#vlativi5 principles that acquiesce in their own possible practical use, then would human wisdom be a great gainer, and mankind would cease to hatch broods of supposed knowledge where nothing can be known ; that after all do, in the end, turn out highly pernicious to morality.


U89 when backslidings make us apprehensive of its con- stancy. Certain knowledge is, on such a point, unattain- able by man; neither is it, as far as we can see, morally desirable; For (be it well noted) this assurance cannot be founded on any immediate consciousness of the uir- changeableness of our sentiments, these being no object of intuition; it can only be inferred from their effects experienced and observed in our daily life — a conclusion drawn from the phenomena of that good and evil sentiment, and therefore incapable of acquainting us certainly with the vis insita of its causal strength. This deficiency must be still more sensibly felt, when the change of character has taken place only toward the dose of life ; for thmi those a posteriori proofs of its sincerity alt<^ther fall away, no sufficient trajectory of moral walk and conver- sation being given^ that might serve as a groundwork whereon to rear a satisfactory judgment touching one's moral worth ; and inconsolableness (which, however, the nature of man, and the obscurity of all trans-sepul- chral matters, prevent from passing into wild despair) must inevitably spring from any rational estimate that such a person can make of his moral state.

The THIRD , and, as it would seem, the greatest difficul- ty, that must stand in the way of all men, even after they have struck into the paths of good, and that must repre- sent, as wanting, when weired in the balance of divine justice, the sum-total of our actions, is as follows. Not- withstanding the adoption of a good sentiment, and with what constancy soever mankind may have persisted in acting on it, still he began from evil ; and this prior guilt he never can abolish. That, after a change of heart, no new debts are contracted, can never pass for



any adequate discharging of his old ones. Neither can there be performed any thing supererogatory, or beyond what is at all times incumbent on him to do ; for it is our unremitting duty always to execute all the good possibly in our power. Lastly, neither can this primordial guilt,

> antecedent to any good ever done by man (styled in the former book the radical evil of Human Nature), be taken away by any other person, so far as all our notices of the law of nature and reason reach ; for the obligation thence arising is not transferable like a money debt (where it is indifferent to the creditor whether his debtor or some one else discharge the bondjt, so as to admit of being devolved upon a cautioner ; but is, on the contrary, the most exclusively personal that can be conceived, viz. a debt of sins, and tye to punishment, prestable by the guilty alone, not the guiltless, even though this Innocent were magnanimously willing to offer himself as a substi* tute. Again, since moral evil (called sin, when regarded

) as a transgression of the Moral Law qua Divine Com- mandment) brings along with it an infinitude of viola- tions of THE LAW, consequently an infinity of guilt, not so much on account of the infinity of the Supreme Lawgiver — (of which transcendent relation obtaining betwixt man and THE Most High we can comprehend nothing) — in- fraction of whose authority is thereby made, as rather on

f account of the radically evil sentiment and general turn of the maxims (like universal principles when con- trasted with singular transgressions), it would seem to follow, that all mankind could only look forward to an illimitable punishment, and everlasting extrusion from the kingdom of God.

The solution of this difficulty depends upon these fol-


lowiBg remarks. The final sentence of a Searcher of the Heart must be regarded as bottomed on the general sen- timent of the accused, not on its phenomenal appearances \ ' — ^acts at variance or in harmony with the law. In the case considered) however, we assume a dominant good sentiment, which has gained and retains the mastery over the once mighty principle of evil ; and thus the question arises, ^< Can the ethical sequents of his former ESTATE (viz. punishment qua effect of the divine displea- sure) be drawn over and MADE TO TELL UPON THE BETTERJBD CONDITION OF HIS PRESENT MAN" where he

must be regarded as henceforward an object of the divine complacency. As we do not here inquire, <^ whMier^ BEFORE his change of senitment, the execution of impefnding punishment vxndd consist with God's rectitude ?' — (a point about which no man can doubt), we shall take it for granted, in the present investigation, that the punish- ment due to his misdeeds has not been inflicted prior to repentance. The pains of law cannot, however, be re- garded as inflicted after repentance, when the person leads, agreeably to the supposition, a new life, and has become morally another man; nevertheless, satisfaction must be given to Supreme Justice, in whose sight no blame-worthy is ever guiltless. Again, since the execu- tion of punishment is, consistently with the Divine Wis- dom, to take place neither before nor yet after a change of heart, and is notvriithstanding necessary, it results that we must regard it as suited to Supreme TVlsdom to inflict it in the very act of redintegrating one's character. Let us then see if, in such ethic transformation, there are not already, even by the very notion of it, involved those evils which mankind may regard, as due to his previous mis-


deeds, and as penaltieBt satisfying Divine Justice. A change of heart is an exit out of evil) and entrance in- to good ; a stripping o£P the old and putting on the new man, so fiu: forth as the individual dies unto sin (and to all appetites mideading into it)^ and becomes alive xmto righteousness* But in this c<^table transit there are not two moral events separated by any distance of time. The whole is but one single act, the d<^ar- tore from evil being effected singly by that good sen- timent which wafts us into good^ and vice versa* The good ideal is consequently included in the abandonmiNit of evil, just as much as in the outset of our pursuit of virtue; and the pain justly annexed to the mortifying of sin, arises exelusively from the clarifying irapaises of the latter. Betaking ourselves to the upward road of duty, and dereliction of the ancient haunts of vice, is conse- quently {as a death of the M many and crucifying of tine

f The hypothesis, that all evils in the world are to be looked upon as punishments for past sins, does not seem to have been invented for the behoof of a Theodicy, neither does it seem a sprig of priestcraft ; for the belief is too universally spread to be derived firom any artificial origin. Probably it lies just at the door of our understanding, which is apt to connect the course of nature with the Laws of Morality ; and thence de- rives the cogitation, that we must first become better men before we can expect to get rid of the ilia of 1^ or have them counterbalanced by greater goods. Hence the first man is represented (in the Bible) as con< demned, upon account of his transgression, to work for his bread, and the first woman to bring forth chUdi^n with pain, while both are yet fiulher sentenced ultimately to 4leath ; although it is perfectly inconceivable that any other destiny should have awaited animal creatures, constituted with such limbs and organs as we have. The Hindus suppose that mankind are spirits (called Dewai\ incarcerated in an animal framework in consequence of some anterior crime; and even Mallebbancus was driven to deny that the irrational part of the creation had souls or feel- ings, rather than admit that horses should smart under such complicated cruelty, without having ever tailed ofjbrhidden hay,**


flesh) in ittdf a sacrifice, and entrance on a long train of snffieringa in life, whii^ tlie new man, vmo ttke-'minded wUhihe Son if Ood, undertakes merely for the sake of the ethic good ; which suffering and sc»rrow, however, he- longed as Pt7if iSHMENT properly to the old man (now be- eom^ morally another). Although, then, the reformed is pkysicaUy the self-same guilty person as before, and must as such, be equally condemned as obnoxious to punish* ment, whether before an ethical tribunal, or his own con- science, still his cogitable inward man is, when regard is had to its b*ansfermed character, in the eye of a divine judge, with whom the formal of the sentiment comes in room of a defective deed, to be looked upon as morally another ; and does in its purity, as a transcript of the ex- \ amplar of the Son of God, adopted by him into his senti- ments, bear, — or by personifying the idea,-— this Son ofJ God, does himself, as vicarious substitute, bear foi the guilty, and, in like manner, for all who practicallji believe in him, the penalty of sin ; — does, moreover, ai Redeemer, satisfy, by Us sufferings and death, Supreme Justice; and does, lastly, as Advocate for the blame- worthy, lead them to hope that they may be ultimate- ly absolved and acquitted by their Judge. With this only difference, that in this figurative representation, the suffering continually undergonef by the new man while

t £veii the purest moral sentiment can beget only such actio _ consist in a continual transit, on our part, from bad to better. Never- theless, when regard Js had to their supersensible original, this sentiment maj and ought to be holy and conformable to the archetypal pattern, and may, as one whole intellectual unit contuning the ground of an end- less progression, compensate the defects extant at any point of the se- ries, and come in the room of a completed deed. The question, how- ever, here occurs, can he *^ to whom there <# (or should be) furw no condem-


dying to the old, is stated as a death once for all endured by the representative of mankind. Here is something superadded to the desert of good works, not to be met with while considering the two former difficulties, and which is reckoned to us out of Grace. For, that we should be already held to be what, while on earth (and per- haps in any future world), we are no more than about to became, is an adjudication to which we can show no title,* and the accuser within would rather move for a condem- natory sentence. Such absolving sentence must there- fore always remain a Decree of Grace, although, as based on satisfaction (extant only in the ideal of an amended sentiment, and known to God alone), it is quite in harmony with everlasting justice when we, for the sake of our faith in that moral good, are acquitted from all farther responsibility.

noHan^^* deem himself justified, and yet r^«rd the iUt of life that meet him on his course toward good as pukitite ? i. «. is he to acknowledge a blameworthiness of sentiment, and consequently a state of mind dis- pleasing to God ? Yes, but only in his capacity of the man whom he is unremittingly stripping ofi^. What was due to his old man as punishment he joyously stands out and goes through for the sake of that good where- with his new man is invested ; consequently, looking at them under this light, he reckons them not as penal ; i. e. aU those evils and calamities which, be&lling the old man, would have been punishments, and still are, 80 &r forth as the old man is not yet altogether put oflT, his new man willingly accepts, as so many opportunities of testing, exalting, and car- rying fiurther and hi^er, his moral weal. Whereas the self-same evils in his old condition, not merely have been recompensed to him as ties, but would also have been felt as such, seeing that as physical evils they are diametrically opposed to that greatest-happiness-amount, which, of the immoraUy'inindedt is the exclusive end and aim.

  • Only SUSCEPTIBILITY ; for this is all that we, on our side, can bring

towards such acquUtal. Farther, the Decree of a Superior adjudging to us a good for which, as inferiors, we have nothing more than moral recepm tivHy^ is called grace.




Bat here a question may be raised, Does this deduction of the idea of a justification of the once guilty, but now transmuted to sentiments acceptable in the sight of God, lead to any practical result? and, if so, What may ita practical bearing be ? It would rather seem, that no posi- tive use of any sort, can accrue from such an investiga* tioD, either to religion or to morality, since, by hypothe* sis, the party interested has already passed into that de- siderated moral state, to develope, advance, and bring which about, is already the last end and scope of all ana* lysis and elaboration of ethical ideas ; for as to any con- solation to be thence drawn, amended moral sentiments do of themselves straightway beget and bring this moral welfare forth (as comfort and hope, though not as certain- ty). The previous inquiry is therefore no more than the solution of a speculative problem ; not to be silently over- looked by reason, because then reason might be upbraid- ed with her inability to reconcile her hopes of final abso-^ lution from guilt, with the decrees of Divine Justice ; — ^a reproach most hurtful to our rational faculty in many respects, but especially in what regards morality. But whatever may be thought of the positive value of the above deduction, its negative use is of avail to the reli- gion and morals of every man ; for now it is most clearly obvious, that, singly, where a total change of heart has taken place, can the guilty cogitate himself as absolved at the bar of Heaven ; wherefore no expiations, be pompous or mournful, no invocations, nor hosannahs ( even of the vicarious Ideal of the Son of God) can sup- ply its want ; neither, if such free and incumbent chan^ of heart be there, can those add to its validity before the celestial tribunal, inasmuch as this Ideal must have been






adopted, and have passed into our own sentiments, before we can look upon it as coming in the room of our defi* cient deed.,

Different from those interrt^tories is the query, what mankind may, at the end of life, have to hope or fear, as consequences of the actions he may have done. To reply to this question, it is first of all requisite that he know his character, at least so far as to be able to strike some tolerable estimate of its worth. Hence, even should he suppose that a reformation of character has taken place^ he must notwithstanding, in his estimate, compute like- wise the aistions of the old man whom he has stripped off, via. what and how much of the corrupt man he has laid aside, and what purity and degree of strength his sup- posed new character has attained, so as effectually to counterbalance the depraved bias, and secure him against a return into evil. The estimate must consequently exa- mine in detail his whole life. Again, since be can arrive at no certain or well-defined notion as to the real state of his inward sentiments, but is left to infer this from his couirse of life, be must hold that the only means of satis- factorily convincing his future Judge (his own awakened conscience rising to sit in judgment on his then recalled actions), will be to place before his mental vision, some time or otber, a panorama of his whole transacted LIFE — ^not a mere segment of it — ^perhaps the last and t favourable for the accused ; for with this latter part ould naturally connect the hope of a still further pro- gression, had his existence lasted longer. When an entire tStck of behaviour is thus objected to his view, he cannot pr<^ose to place his inteniums in room of his actions, but must, from the aggregate of his actions, conclude upon his



in^nHons. What thinks my reader ? Does not th^ bare thought that he may one day stand before such a Judge, calling back to memory many things that had long slambered neglected in its depositories, suggest to him sundry misgivings as to the destiny he may expect as the sequent of his hitherto led life. When we interrogate the monitor who dwells within, an inexorably rigid sentence is always uttered ; for no one can bribe his own reason. But if brought before some other judge, such as some pretend to say they know from other sources will be the case, then has he many excuses, taken from the alleged frailty of his nature, to urge against a rigid and severe administration of the law. Either he thinks, by rueful self-compunction (that never springs from a genuine spi* rit of amendment), to Inaa his Judge, so as to mitigate his punishment ; or else he hopes, by prayers and supplies^ tions, or by formulas and confessions, which he gives out he believes, to soften and melt down his purpose ; and if such belief is taught and instilled into mankind betimes (confmnably to the adage, <^ JlPs well that ends welF% then does he from the very beginning so take his mea- sures^ as not needlessly to abridge his indulgence in vo- luptuous excess, but waits tiU near life's termination, in order then, in all haste, to close his ledger with a clear balance anyhow in his favour.*

  • The object of those who on death-bed send for a dergjman usually

is, to have a Comforter, net for the physical distress which the last illness or even the natural fear of death produces (for here death- who ends tbenn may act as Comforter), but for their moral anguish, viz. the stings of conscience. These, however, ought to be rather stirred up and shaip* eaed, so as to goad the person on to do what good he still repair, and counteract aa ftr as in him lies the evil springing from his bad actions. Jt ia thua we are warned, ^^ Agree quickly with thine adversary (h»m who




The Sacred Volame exbibits this intelligible moral re^ lationship under the Form of a History. It represents the two Principles in man as Persons without him, op- posed to one another, and diverse as is Heaven from Hell, who not only prove their strength against each other, but do, moreover — the one as accuser, the other as advo- cate — endeavour to make their claims legally valid, as if before a Supreme Judge.

Mankind was originally {Oenesis, i. 28) invested with the thanage and dominion of all the goods of the earth. Of these, however, he only possessed the fee, and was bound to do homage to his liege Lord and Creator, who retained the overlordship and dominium directum of the property. Straightway there appears an evil being (how he became so evil, and broke faith with his Lord, is unknown), who by a lapse forfeited all his estates in heaven, and is now on earth in quest of others in their room. But because

has a kgdl cltum against thee) whilst thott art on the waj with him (i. e. so long as thou art alioe\ lest he deliver thee to the judge*' {after dedth)^'9XiA so forth. On the other hand, to administer opiates to conscience is a violation of what is due equally to the moribund and his surviving fel. low-men, and quite subversive of the true end why such a curator of eon' science can at all be looked upon as advantageous in one's last momenta*


lliis evil person is a spirit of the very highest order^ cor- poreal and terrestrial objects can afford him no delight* He seeks a dominion over the minds and wills, by making the .progenitors of our race swerve from their Lord and become subservient to him ; by all which he succeeds in being acknowledged as the Superior of the goods of the earth, t. e. as the Prince of this World. Here a doubt might easily suggest itself, why the Omnipotent should not instantly have crushed this traitor by his might, and overthrown in the beginning the first rudiments of that kingdomf he intended to found. But Supreme Wisdom deals with Intelligents agreeably to a Principle of Free Will, and does, in the administration of his empire, allow their good or evil to emanate from and be imputable to themselves. Thus, however, in contempt of the Good Prin- ciple, a kingdom of evil was erected, to which all mankind naturally descending from Adam have enthralled them-^ selves, and that, too, with their own consent, the glitter- ing baubles of this world's goods sealing their eyes, lest they should see into the abyss of ruin for which they are reserved. This Good Principle did meanwhile defend it- self against the alleged title of the Evil Principle to rule over mankind, by establishing a particular form of govern- ment, THE Jewish Theocracy, which was set apart for the public and sole veneration of his name. But since the minds of the subjects in this government were mainly

f Father Charlevoix relates that, when teaching a wild Iroquese his catechism, and explaining to his pupil all the ruin and evil entailed bj the wicked spirit on this originally good world, and the mischiefs still wrought by him firuatrative of the best divine institutions, the indignant savage interrupted his instructor with Why doet not God annihilate the DevU f A home^thrust, whichi^e missionary candidly admits he was un«  able at the time to parry.



swayed by temporal rewards and punishments ; and since the ceremonial law, though containing some few ethical precepts, was essentially civil and forensic; it is plain that such an economy as was the Judaical church and state could not encroach much on the realms of darkness, but served only to prevent the imprescriptible rights, of the FIRST OWNER from falling into abeyance.

In course of time the Jews began to feel all the miseries of their Hierarchical Polity, partly perhaps from a sense of the native evils springing from such a course of things^ or perhaps they were taught so to regard them by the Greek philosophical speculations concerning political and mental liberty. The soul-thrilling doctrines taught by those immortal sages had flashed out like thunderbolts into all adjoining countries, disturbing ancient heads of Superstition and Tyranny, — awaking the people to a sense of their rights, and rousing them even to the brink of revolution* At such a time as this it was, when the Jewish people were ripe for a rebellion, that all at once there appeared a Person whose wisdom was so much purer than that of any previous philosopher, that it seemed as if it had come down from heaven ! This Person an- nounced himself, both with respect to doctrine and ex- ample, as a true man, but yet at the same time as a Di- vine Ambase^dor, of such extraction, as, by his originary innocence, not to be included in the covenant which all the rest of mankind had entered into, by their ancestor and representative, with the Evil Principle; and ^^ inwiom, cmsequenUyf the Prince of this World had nothing.** The go-' vernment of the prince was now endangered; for should this man, morally-acceptable to God, withstand all solici* tations to join the evil league, and if, in consequenee, dther


men were to adopt a similar cast of tbinking, then would he lose ail those his subjects, and his kingdom run the risk of being one day utterly subverted. To guard against such an occurrence, the prince offered ihe ambassador the joint-government with himself, of his whole empire, provided he were by homage acknowledged as the right- ful sovereign. But as this experiment did not succeed, he forthwith withdrew from this stranger, while on earth, all that could make life agreeable, plunging hiin in the deepest poverty, exciting against him the bitterest perse^ cntion, calumniating the purity of his intentions and doc- trines, — griefs that the moral mind alone can right inly feel, — ^pursuing him finally even to the most degrading death, without being able, by this violent invasion, to shake him in the least from his constancy and generosity, in advancing the weal of the unworthy by example and precept. And now let us consider the close and issue of this combats The result may be regarded either under a PHYSICAL or LEGAL aspoct. As physical, falling under sense, the Good Principle is worsted. After much endured distress, his life perished* in the conflict, because he

  • Not, as Dr Bahrdt will have it, that he v'olunteebed to die, that

he might, by a shining and startling fate, call attention to his good doc- trines and designs : such a step would hare been self-murder. Manltind maj doubtless hazard something, even when the stake perilled is loss of lilb. We may undergo execution from others, when we cannot esc&pe without betraying a sacred duty ; but no one is entitled to dispose of himself or his life as a mere mean toward any end, be that end what it itoay ; for then he would be authoe of his own death. Neither can I coincide with the remark thrown out in the Wolfekbuttel Feag- iltNTs, that his fife was staked, not on a moral, but on a political and dis- allowed end, viz. the subverting of the sacerdotal power, and substituting himself as Worldly Head in their room. Thb latter suspicion is obviat- cfd by reflecting that he must dready have renounced all hope of life when he exhorted his Disciples at their Last Supper to repeat that cere-


sowed sedition in a realm, foreign to his and endowed with force and authority. But since the realm wherein the will's principles,^— be they good or evil, — are do- minant, is a realm, not of Nature, but of Freedom, i. e» a kingdom where things can be disposed of, only so far as we are able to maintain sway over the mindSf and where no one can be enslaved, except him who chooses to be en- thraljed, and even then only^as long as he. so wills ; it follows that this death, — the last extremity of human SUFFERING, — was an exhibition of mankind's indwelling good principle in its entire moral perfection, as an ex- ample displayed for the benefit of every one. It was then, is now, and may be at all times of the greatest possible influence, by setting forth in the niost glaring contrast the Freedom of the Children of Heaven, and the Bondage of a mere Son of Earth. But this good principle is not to be regarded as having been manifested at one given particular time only; but must be held, even from the very first origin of our species, to have invisibly come down from heaven, and taken up its abode with man'; as any one may immediately convince himself who attends to the final destination of his being— holiness, — andthpn

monj in remembrance of him. Had this been a memento of failing «nd defeated worldly designs, it could only have awakened a mortifying and indignanc recollection of their framer^^And su Llie ejUiortatlon to re- member him would have destroyed itself. Nevertheless, such a meiiek-^ TO of the Great Teacher and Master is not inconsistent with his con- sciousness of having missed of a good and pure moral end, viz. the intent of bringing about a public revolution in religion-^by abolishing a cere- monial faith that extruded all morality in sentiment, and by overthrow* ing the authority of its priests — a design that, I regret to^jthink, has not yet gone into execution. It has not, however, been altogether frustrat- ed, but passed, after his death, though slowly and sorrowfully, into a widely self-extending modification of religion.


reflects on the incomprehensible union betwixt simA an ethical predisposition and the sensitive nature of maB. Appearing, however, in a true and real ^veii person, it may be said of the ideal, that ^^ he then came unto his own, and his own received him not^ although to as many as re«  ceived him^ to Hiem gave he power to become sons (^ God, even to them thai believe on his name ;" t. €• he by his ex- ample threw open the portals of freedom to all who, like him, chose to die to whatever kept them fettered to this earthly life disadvantageously to their morality, and ga- thers from among mankind, under his authority, a pecU' Kar people, zealous of good works, leaving, the meanwhile, those who prefer the servitude of immorality, to their moral chains.

Consequently, the final close of this moral combat, up to the period of the death of the hero of this history, does not issue in the conquest of the Evil Principle ; for his kingdom still endures, and an ulterior epoch is yet expect- ed when it shall be finally subverted. The result of the combat has only been to abridge his power of detaining those whom he enthrals longer than they chose to be his slaves, — a different moral government (and under one or other mankind must at all times stand) now awaiting them as an asylum, where refuge and protection can be found for their morality when they come forth from the ancient haunts of bondage. The Evil Principle bears as yet the name of Prince of this World, — a world where the followers of the Good Principle must always be prepared to undergo physical disasters, sacrifices, and mortifications of self-love, — things that are understood to be persecutions on the part of the Evil Principle, because in his kingdom there are rewards for those only, who make physical well- being the scope and aim of their exertions.


Every body must at once perceive^ that wh^i tfaia lively and singularly popular narrative is diveslied of its mystic veil, its spirit and meaning are practically valid and obligatory, at all times, and for tbe whole world^ ib M much as they lay before every man a vivid outline of his duty. The moral suggested by the narrative is, diat there is absolutely no salvation for mankind apart from -^ their adopting into their inmost sentiments genuine mo- ral principles ; that such adoption is withstood^ not by the so often blamed sensory, but by a certain self-de- merited perversity (satanic guile, or by whatever other name we may term that vitiosity whereby sin entered into the world), to be met with in every man, and ca- pable of being removed by nothing, save by the idea of the moral good in its entire purity, attended, however^ with the inward conviction that this ideal really belongs to the originary predispositions of our personality ; and that all we need do, after having deeply engraven it on our soul, is to keep it clear, from foreign admixture, in order that we may, by the effect it gradually takes upon the mind, become perfectly assured that the dreaded powers of evil never can deface it, and that the gates of hell shall not ultimately prevail against us. Again, lest we beat about for some substitute to supply the want of this assurance, — either, first, superstxtiously, by expiations, that presup- pose no change of heart, or, second, fanatically, by ima- gined passive inward illuminations, both which withdraw mankind to a distance, from good grounded on his own self-activity — the history reminds us that no criterion of this assurance can be morally allowed, other than the criterion of a well-regulated exemplary life.

Finally, an endeavour, such as the present, to find in


the Seripture that sense* which best harmonizes with the tenets, taught by Reason, and looked upon as in her eye amongst the Holiest of Holies, is not only allowed, but must be deemed a duty ; and mankind may remind them- selves of what the WiS£ Teacher once said to his disci- ples, touching some one who struck into a path of his own> but which eventually led to the same goal, *< Forbid him not; for he that is not against uSy is far us,*'


Whenever a moral religion (consisting, as it does, not in rites, observances, or traditions, but in the cordial in- tent of fulfilling all our duties, as if divinely command- ed) is to be established, then must even the miracles that may be historically connected with its introduction be- come ultimately superfluous. Moral religion tends event- ually to displace and dispense with all miraculous beliefs whatever ; for mankind betrays a culpable state of moral unbelief, when he refuses to acknowledge the paramount authority of those behests of duty primordially insculpted on his heart, unless he see them accredited and enforced by miracles — ** Excq)t ye see signs and wonders^ ye will not believe*" It is, however, quite consistent with the common opinions of mankind to hold, that when a reli- gion of mere rites and ceremonies is to be abolished, and one in the spirit and truth of a moral sentiment is to be / introduced in its stead, the historical introduction of this/ last may be accompanied and adorned with miracles, iqf

Which sense, it is at once conceded, is not the only one.


order to proclaim the expiry of the former, which, apart from miracles, never would have had any authority. Again, in order to win over the adherents of the old sjrs- tem to the new order of affairs, it is quite conceivable that the spiritual worship might be represented as the fulfilling antitype, fore-ordained of old, of those ceremo- nies, and which was, even under the old economy, the last end and design of Providence. Since these matters can be thus accommodated to the notices of reason, it can serve no purpose whatever now to call in question the accuracy of those narrations, or of such allegorical inter- pretation, provided only we have fairly attained a true religion, which can subsist henceforward by itself, and on its own evidence in reason, although once upon a time it may have required such adminicles to aid it ; and pro- vided always that people will not insist, that the bare be- lieving and rehearsal of matters incomprehensible (which any one may believe and repeat without being or ever becoming thereby a better man) is to be deemed a mode, or perhaps the only mode, of acceptably worshipping God ; this being an opinion that is most strenuously to be im- pugned» It may, therefore, perhaps be all very true that the Person of the Teacher of the alone true and univer- sally valid religion is an impenetrable mystery ; that his advent and departure from earth were miraculous ; that his eventful life and death were likewise miracles ; nay, that the very history documentarily attesting the nar- rative of all those wonders, is again itself a miracle (t. 6. SUPERNATURAL REVELATION) ; nay. We may concede to such alleged facts whatever worth they claim, and even venerate the vehicle that has brought into public currency, a doctrine, that needs neither sign nor wonder for its ere-


dentia), being insculpted indefaceably on every human soul. All this, it is conceded, may be done, so long as those historic documents are not perverted into elements of re- ligion, and mankind taught that the knowing, believing, and professing their contents, is in itself something where- by we can render ourselves acceptable to God.

Concerning miracles generally, I am inclined to think, f" that although sensible people refuse absolutely to deny them, they do nevertheless object to cultivating any prac- tical belief in the marvellous ; that is to say, they willingly admit in theory that miracles are possible, but in the BUSINESS OF LIFE they count uppn none. Enlightened governments have upon this ground at once conceded, or even decided and enacted, when legislating in ecclesiastical matters, that miracles happened in days of yore; but that now-a-^ys no new miracle can be permitted.f Prodi-

f Orthodox religious teachers who attach themselves to the articles of a church-creed established by law and supported by government, ob- serve this maxim in the case of all supposed new miracles. They thus left room for Mr Ffekkikoeb to defend his friend Mr Lavater, who had declared his belief that miracles were still possible. Mr P. re«  proached the orthodox with their inconsistency, in giving out that some seventeen centuries ago there were actual workers of miracles in the Christian congregations, and yet refusing to admit that miraculous gifts existed in the church now. He remarked to them, that they had suc- ceeded in proving from the Scripture, neither that miracles were to- tally to cease, nor wJien their termination was to be expected. This proof still remains a desideratum ; for the quibble, that miraculous in- terposition is now no longer necessary, is an assumption of higher know- ledge than befits any man. Their conduct in this particular indicates what the dictate of reason is, namely, not practically to admit that such things happen now, although the objective insight that miracles are im- possible is unattainable. But if this be the only rational dictate to be followed, lest the commonwealth be thrown into continued perturbation, ought not a similar maxim to obtain for the protection of phfiosophy, arjd indeed of every rational and reflecting society. They who deny




gies, indeed, were of old so fixed, and gradually eircum- scribed, by the magistrate, that no confusioii ooold «i«r accrue through such anomalous means to the common- wealth ; whereas if any one were of new to display signs and wonders, the government would naturally be appre- hensive whereunto such things might grow, and anxious as to the effect that such preternatural manifestations might exert on public tranquillity and the existing constitution. Were the question raised, " What i$ a miracle ?" then — since all we are concerned about knowing is, what miracles are in reference to us, t. e, when regard is had to the prac- tical use of our own understanding — the following answer might be given, viz. they are events brought about by causes, with the laws of whose efficiency we are and must ever remain totally unacquainted. These miraculous por- tents may be cogitated as flowing either from God or from Demons, which latter class again branches out into signs angelical SLikd signs diabolical^ according as the marvels are understood to emanate from a good or an evil spirit (agathodemonian or kakodemonian miracles). The dia- bolical alone fall under examination ; since the good an- gels (I scarcely know why) are seldom or never heard of acting in this capacity.

GiiAVD miracles^ but admit the small, under the name of extraordinaiy Providences (because, as merely directing or influencing the course of events, little expenditure of supernatural agency is required), talk be«  side the purpose ; the question does not regard the volume or intensity of the efifect, but touches the Form of the Flux of Nature in time^ i. e. depends upon the mode how the form of the course of events is regu- lated, viz. whether naturally or supematuraUy. As iot the mystebi* pusNEss of supernatural operations, to &ncy any studied concealment {on the part ofihe Deity 9 T&.) is quite inconsistent with the importance of a matter of this kind. Farther, in the case of God, no distinction be- twixt what is difficult and easy is cogitable.


Theistical Miracles can by all means be figured as |>gitable ; nay, we can even frajae to ourselves a m^«  and merely general notion of the law of the agency of the Divine Causality, as the causal-agency of an Almighty and Moral Being, at once Creator and Governor of the intellec- tual and material worlds ; for of the laws of his ethical ad- ministration we are intimately aware, and possess a stand- ing perception, that is quite available to reason. On the hypothesis that, in some particular cases, it should seem fit to the Divine Wisdom to control and modify the course of the physical system in that sensible effect called a mi- racle, then we have not the smallest notion, neither can | we ever hope to attain any, of the law agreeably to which God conducts the operation of such sign; we have no more than a general moral notion, that whatever God does, will be all veiy good — a representation that defines nothing with respect to any singular event. Here the un- derstanding is brought at once to a stand, and shackled in its ordinary avocation of referring phenomena to their known antecedents, and sees no prospect of ever gaining any insight that might compensate for this disturbance. Among the various kinds of possible miracles, the demo- nian are the most irreconcileable with the exercise of rea son. For, touching the theistical, reason is always in pos- session of a negative criterion, whereby to test their divine original ; inasmuch as, if any thing were held to be com- manded by God himself immediately appearing, which commandment were, however, directly subversive of mo- rality, then how imposing and majestic soever might be the miraculous appearance of the divine semblance, it is absolutely certain that this supposed preternatural but immoral behest, never could have proceeded from




the Supreme (e. g. if a father were desired to slay his perfectly innocent son). But in the case of any fai|f cied demonian miracle, even this negative criterion is wanting; and were we to attempt to introduce the con- trary and positive rule, viz. that when the sign invites to a good action^ already incumbent on Cis, as our duty, it cannot possibly have come from an evil being, then may we just as easily go wrong; for this last, as we are told, does sometimes transform himself into an angel of light.

In the business and practical conduct of life, miracles are not to be counted on ; neither can they tell in any way upon the suggestions of our understanding, with whose directions, from day to day, we never can dispense. Judges (although, as members of the church, most ortho- dox believers in miracles) listen to the excuses of a culprit who urges in alleviation of his crime a temptation from the devil, with ears as deaf as if nothing had been said, although, if they really considered such preternatural se- duction possible, it would not be undeserving of atten- tion, that a simple common man had fallen into the snares of a most astute and abandoned villain. But then this outlaw cannot be cited to their bar ; the prisoner and his spiritual accomplice cannot be confronted; in a single word, no judge can make any rational application of any such alleged defence. Sensible divines will therefore take good heed how they cram and bewilder the heads of their flock with infernal stories about this occult Proteus. Again, as for benignant miracles, when men of business talk of them, that is no more than a mode of speaking. Thus a physician says, without a miracle the patient is gone, — he must certainly die ; where by a miracle is mere- ly understood an unusual occurrence. To the real busi-


nesB of life belongs the occupation of the natural philoso- pher, in endeavouring to detect the causes and laws of cosmical phenomena : such physical laws of those events, I say, as he can authenticate and prove by observation and experience, although he renounces every pretence to know, what that which works agreeably to those laws, may be in itself, or what it might be, were we gifted with an added sense* In exactly the same way, each man's moral amendment, is part of the solemn business of life ; and whether celestial influences work along with us, or be even deemed needful, toward an explanation of the possi- bility of so desirable an event, still mankind cannot com- prehend them, neither can he certainly distinguish the extraordinary aid, from his own natural operations, nor yet superinduce them upon himself, and so as it were draw down the heavens and put them within his grasp. I In as much, then, as no practical benefit can accrue from such tenets, he sets to work as if there were no moral miracles,* and, in obeying the decrees of reason, proceeds exactly as if the whole change and amendment of his in- ner man depended singly on his own strenuous and dili- gent exertions. Lastly, the imagination, that any one can by dint of A firm theoretical faith in miraculous events, himself possess the practical gift of performing them, and take as it were the kingdom of heaven by vio- I lence, is so very unexpected an evagation from all bounds of common sense, as to render it needless for us to tarry even for a moment on so preposterous a whimsey.

  • That is to saj, mankind refuses to admit a miraculous belief into the

maxims either of his speculative or practical understanding, without, however, calling in question either the pottibiliiy or octMty pf such mar- TeUous demonstrations*


Jugglers, who pretend to magic gifts, have recourse not un- frequentlj to a subterfuge, in order to impose upon the credu- lous, viz. they appeal to the confessed ignorance of natural philosophers. We cannot fathom — they cry — the last ground of the attraction of gravitation, nor yet of magnetism ; hence, by parity of reason, &c. &c But the laws of gravitation and mag^ netism we know in most extensive detail, and are even perfect* ly acquainted with the limits and conditions under which alone certain given effects take place ; and this is enough both for a sure and rational application of those phenomena, and also for ^ satisfactory explication of them, secundum quid^ u e. down- WARDSy when using those laws, so as to subsume and arrange the magnetic or other phenomena under them ; although certainly not enough for an explication simpliciter, t. e, regressively up- wards, when we wish to comprehend the last substratal ground of the forces, that we know operate according to those ob- served laws. This remark likewise serves to throw light on a remaikable peculiarity in our intellectual economy, viz. why the stupendous wonders ef Creation, t. e. sufficiently attested, though startling and marvellous phenomena, or even unexpectedly emerging appearances, seemingly at variance with nature's known laws, are eag^y laid hold of, to promising enchanting prospects, whereas the announcement of something really muraculous and preternatural, tends rather to abash and deject the mind. The cause is obvious : Natural Wonders unfold in vision farther and iexhaustless fields of intellectual research, and encourage reason to entertain the hope that, by duly tracing the anomalous phe- nomena, new and hitherto unknown laws may rise to light. Pre- ternatural wonders, on the other hand, rather overwhelm the understanding, and give birth to the apprehension that it is about to be berefi of all trust and confidence even in those it be- lieves already investigated and established. Now, whenever the understanding is wrenched away from those laws of experience


and observation, which by its categories it prescribes and im* poses on all cosmical events whatsoever, then may it be said to have breathed out its last gasp ; for in such fkiry world its know* ledge is useless, and all human wisdom is at once defeated of its ends, seeing that in an order of affairs so loosened and dissolved^ even the moral exercise of practical reason, in discharging duty, is subverted ; for, now, who can any longer be certain that cer- tain changes may not, quite unknown to us, be miraculously wrought upon our moral springs, where none can tell, whether to ascribe them to himself, or to some higher impenetrable cause. Tliey who are inclined to judge favourably of miracles, think they remove the stumbling-block thrown by them in the way of reason, when they concede that preternatural events are of seldom occurrence. Possibly they even insinuate that this rarity is covertly involved in the very notion of a miracle, be-^ cause, if any such event were ordinarily to happen, it would then cease to be a wonder. Giving them the full benefit of this ttiost sophistical evasion (the sophism of confounding an objective question, viz. what a thing is f with one merely subjective, viz. what the tcord whereby we indicate that thing signifies ^), it must still be asked, how seldom ? once in a century, or only, per- haps, in the beginning of the world, but now not at all. Here, nothing can be definitively fixed from what we know of the object (for that, by hypothesis, transcends our comprehension) ; all we can do is to assign a necessary maxim on which we must regu- late the use of our understanding, and either admit that they happen never, or daily, masked under the garb of natural events. The latter alternative is quite incompatible with reason, and hence our only course is to fall back upon the former. This po- sition, however, it must well be noted, is only a self-appointed maxim, regulating our reflex judgments; it must not be mistaken for a positive theoretical assertion. No man is at liberty to frame so exaggerated an opinion of his deptli of insight, as to pre- tend decisively to say that the admirable conservation of species and genera in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, where each


successive generation follows the exemplar of its parent kind,-r copying with the greatest exactness all the internal mechanism of its originary frame- work^ and even (in the case of plants) adorn- ing itself, every spring, with the most delicate hues that coloured the complexion of the primeval stock, setting at defiance all the desolating fury wherewith the autumnal or wintry blasts of in- organic nature might attack the seeds : — no person, I say, can pretend to know whether all this is operated by the laws and plas- tic powers of the physical system, or whether the Creator's im- mediate agency is not invariably required for the annual re-ex- hibition of this vernal show. But the phenomena are objected to our observation and experience ; consequently, in our eye^ they are seen as effects wrought by nature, and are by us never to be otherwise judged of. The modest voice of reason calls upon us to abide within these limits, and to stray beyond this circum- scribed barrier, is the step of an understanding at once rash and indecorous ; although I am aware, that people who appeal to pre- ternatural explications, often pretend that they do thereby give proof, of their humble and self-denying spirit.





ANY possibl;e revelation,


BOOK lit









From tlie enduring combat fought by every morally- minded person, under the banners of the principle of good, against the assaults of the j^nciple of evil, no higher ad- vantage is at any time to be expected, than that mankind succeed in achieving his emancipation from the tyranny of the latter. <^ To be madejreejram sin, and a servcmt of rigkteouanesSi^ is the utmost to be gained from the strug- gle. We remain, notwithstanding, continually exposed to the hostile aggression of our foe ; and to maintain a freedom perpetually threatened and endangered, it is ne- cessary that we continue always armed and ready for a conflict.

Into this state of danger, mankind has fallen by his Qwn fault; consequently, he is bound, as much as in him lies, to strain every nerve to extricate himself from it. But how is this extrication to be accomplished? that is the question. Reflecting on the various occasions and cir- cumstances that entangle and detain him in this danger,


the conviction arises naturally in his mind, that this hid pferilous condition is not owing to his own rude isolated nature, but springs from the connection and relationship into which hcf is thrown among his fellow-men : no sti- mulant or instinct of his physical system does, so long as he lives apart and by himself, stir those emmoved pas- sions, that spread such desolations amid his originally good predisposition. tl\s wants are few, and so easily supplied, as to leave his mind unembarrassed and tranquil, in fearless confidence, that as much as man absolutely needs is to be found everywhere. He is only poor (or fancies himself in penury}, when he begins to apprehend that others may think him so, and despise him upon that account. Only when mixing in intercourse with his fel- low-meti, do envy, ambition, avarice, and their train of uncomfortable perturbations, besiege and take his other-^ wise frugal and contented mind captive. X^ superinduce upon any one these dire effects, it is by no means neces- sary that his associates be sunk in evil, or seduce him by their contagious example into crime. It is enough that mankind come together, in order, by their proximity and intercourse, to corrupt themselves mutually, and plunge one another into evil. Unless, then, some method can be devised for guarding against this danger, it would seem that, how successfully soever each individual man may have for a while emancipated himself from the thraldom of the enemy, he is, notwithstanding, in immi- nent risk of being constantly thrown back into his ad-^ versary's snares. The most obvious plan for counteract- ing this perverted and re-acting bias to spread abroad the seeds of evil, would be to form a general combina- tion, instituted for the express end of warding off the bad,


and cultivating what in mankind is good. To combine in such a union is tantamount to instituting a standing society, admitting of gradual and continual extension, in- tended for the general support of morality, where all the members work in common toward the suppression and overthrow of the wicked principle. The eventual domi- nion of the Good Principle is, consequently, as far as we mankind can work along with it, no otherwise to be at- tained than by setting up and spreading a society, com- bined under laws of virtue, whereof the end is no other than the advancement of virtue as its own and last end. To project and realize such an ethical institution, capable of comprehending the whole human race within its bo- som, is therefore propounded to us by legislative reason, at once as Problem and as Duty; for thus alone can the Good Principle hope to triumph over our indwelling prin- ciple of evil. Out of and beyond the laws prescribed by morally-legislative reason to each single individual, she unfurls moreover a banner of virtue as a central-point, around which all lovers of good may rally, where each fights no longer alone, but in the escort of allies, all equally intent on crushing the power of their restless and vigilant invader, and securing victory for the Good Prin- ciple.

A conjunct association of this sort, regulated on the pattern of the above idea, and combined under its ideal moral laws, may be called an ethical society; and whenever those laws are publicly announced, it may, in contradistinction to the juridico-civil or political^ be called an ethico-civil society, ov, in other words, an ethical COMMONWEAL. This ethic commonwealth may exist in the midst of a political commonwealth ; nay, the mem-




benr of bodi may be the same (however, unless the civil polity be already in existence and serve as groundwcNrk for the other, no ethical polity can ever be figured as rea- lizable by man). But though the one presuppose the other, the ethico-civil polity has its own peculiar and dis- tinguishing principle (the principle of virtue), and con- sequently a form and constitution essentially different from those of the former. Nevertheless a certain anal<^ obtains betwixt them, r^arded both as commonwealths, upon account of which analogy the latter may be spoken


Me Good Princijde)^ — an idea deeply rooted in the reason of man, and possessing full objective reality (viz. as im- posing upon mankind a duty of combining in such a mo- ral cMias maxima)^ although subjectively it never can be hoped from the good wills of mankind that they will re- solve cordially to co-operate toward the eduction of that end.





A POLITICAL OR JURiDico-civiL STATE denotes the re- ciprocfd relation of man to nuin, so far as they stand un- der laws common, public, and forenaie (where the laws carry with diem an outward title of co*action). An ethi- co*civiL state, on the contrary, is one where mankind are combined mider tke like laws, only these last have not in and for themselves an y coercive pow er of the civil kind, 1. 6. its inherent jurisdiction exists solely under p ure law s of virtuCb

Again, as to the first, is opposed the juridical (or legal, though not upon that account le^limate) state of nature; so a distinction is to be taken betwixt the latter and the ethical state of nature. In either state of nature each in- dividual appoints to himself his own law, there being no outward legislation extant, to which he, in conjunction with others, could acknowledge himself subject. In both, is each his own judge and avenger, there being as yet no PUBLIC AUTHORITY empowered to act as common arbiter, judicially to apply the rule of right, determine impartially in any emerging crisis what each man's duty may de- mand, and then enforce ite general observance.


felxisting political commonwealths have, it is true, de«  parted from the crude inartificial regimen ; but still every member of this civil community remains in his ethical STATE OF nature, and is in truth quite entitled to persist in it ; for, that any civil polity should be held bound to compel its subjects to form themselves into an ethic com- monweal, is a palpable contradiction — the latter society being, by its very idea, distinguished from the other, just by wanting and disclaiming all co-active force. Doubt- less every political society must wish that there may ob- tain among its members a government according to laws of virtue, in order that where its own co-active mechanism is invalid, — ^human tribunals not penetrating into the inte- rior of man,---these virtuous sentiments may bring forth the desired effect. But woe worth the day to that statesman who should dream of violently establishing a society in- tended simply for ethic ends ; for such rude attempt would give birth to anything save a moral community, and would render uncertain and unstable the foundations even of his state. Members of a civil polity are, therefore, quite ex- empt from any legislatorial compulsion, or subjection to the decrees of an ethical society, and retain full and un- shackled option, whether they will, with their fellow-citi- zens, frame, moreover, a moral association, or continue in the first and original ethical state of nature. On the other hand, as soon as an ethical commonwealth, based on pub- lic laws, has been arranged, and possessed of a correspond- ing public constitution, those who have freely made them* selves its members must not suffer themselves to receive or- ders from any political authority, how to adjust or construct the details of its internal framework. Although they may, indeed must, allow certain limitations to be prescribed,



viz. that none of their institutions obstruct that duty al<- ready incumbent on each associate as a citizen of state, — a precaution that, where an ethical society is founded on genuine moral principles, is perhaps little better than un- necessary apprehension.

Again, because the offices of virtue extend to the whole human race, the idea of an ethical commonwealth em- braces an ideal aggregate of all mankind, and does, by this peculiarity, distinguish itself from all political societies. Hence any assignable number of men, united for this u]«- timate end, cannot be regarded as the ethical state ITSELF, but only as a branch of it; each partial and more limited society endeavouring to come to a complete uniformity and concordance with every other, in order to arrive at that absolute ethic whole, whereof each lesser association is no more than a Scheme or Effigiation^ each of them again standing to one another in the relationship of an ethical state of nature, and consequently encumber- ed with all the inconveniences that attach to this imper- fect order of things, just as is found to obtain among states totally unconnected by any common international convention,



The juridical state of nature being, as we have seen, a state of mutual natural hostility, the same remark holds of the ethical state of nature, where each person lies per-


petoally exposed to assaults from the principle of evil ex- tant in himself, and in every other of his fellows. Man- kind (as we observed above) corrupt one another's mora- lity; andy notwithstanding the good-will of individoals, they do, through want of a common central principle, just as were they instruments of the Evil One, distract one another, by having no joint understanding, from pursuing a common good end, and so expose themselves to the risk of again relapsing under the dominion of the evil they had overcome. Again, as a state of lawless freedom, and independency on any co-active rescripts, is a state of open injustice and war declared against each man by his neigh- bour, which it behoves every one to quit, in order tb com- bine in s€K3iety political,f in exactly the s^une way the ethical state of nature is tantamount to an open and per- petual invasion of the principles of virtue, and a state of internal immorality, whence each individual ought, with utmost diligence, to come, as speedily as possible.

Here we impinge upon a duty altogether sui generiSf viz. a duty obtaining not betwixt man and man^ but owed by the whole human race to itself. Every class of

-|- HoBBES* position, ^ itatus hominum naturaUt est beUum omnium inter cmneiy^ is quite correct when we read ^ est status hetti^** &c For al- though, betwixt men uncombined by public statutable enactments, actual war may not arise,, still their stfite (status juridicus) is one wherein each, as his own judge, decides upon his own rights and property, and has for these no security, except what results from his own strength ; and this state of affairs is in very deed an interbelligerent condition, where every one*s hand is ready to be turned against his brother. His next position,

  • ' exeundum esse e statu naturaliy^ is a corollary from the former, inasmuch

as, by this posture of afioirs, a perpetual lesion of one another^s rights takes place, every one claiming to be judge* in his own behalf, and re- fusing to offer others any security in points ofmeum and tuum^ save his own arbitrary will.


Intelligents is, agreeably to objective ideas of pure rea- son, destined to a common and joint end, viz. the pur- suit of the SOVEREIGN, OS their common good. But, since the highest ethic good is not to be attained by each individual's endeavouring separately to carry forward the work of his own moral perfecting, but does, on the con- trary, demand for its realization a general union of hearts j and minds, combined into one whole, and purposing I the same end, thereby constituting a system, in which, and by the unity whereof, this highest good can alone be brought about, it is manifest to every one that the idea of such a systematic whole, viz. an universal republic under ethic laws, is an idea totally diverse from that of any other moral precept (for those last concern only du- ties in our power to perform), and one that ordains us to aim at a grand whole, whereof it is uncertain whether its I realization may stand within or beyond our power; and consequently the duty imposed by this idea differs entire- ly, both in kind and principle, from all other duties what- soever. The reader will, I doubt not, already be aware that this is a duty which will imperatively demand the pre-supposition of a still further idea, viz. that of a Su* preme Moral Governor, under whose general super|ntend<- ence and disposing providence the otherwise inadequate efforts of Particulars are concentrated, so as to issue in a joint effect. Let us, however, prosecute the inquiry in- to the rise and source of this our moral need, and see whitherward it may guide us.




In order to found an ethical commonwealth, its indivi- dual members must be represented as subjected to a pub- lic legislation, and those laws by which singular members are conjoined into a whole must be regarded as com- mandments issuing from some common lawgiver. When the state to be erected is political, then is the collective will of that artificial body produced by the association, the legislator {u e. author of the constitution) : — juridical legislation resting upon the principle, ^^ that each per- son's FREEDOM IS LIMITED, AGREEABLY TO LAW UNIVERSAL, BY THOSE CONDITIONS ACCORDING TO WHICH ALONE IT CAN HARMONIZE WITH EVERY OTHER PERSON^S FREEDOM;

where, consequently the general will extorts outward obe- dience by virtue of its title of co-action.f But if the com- monwealth is ethical, the people cannot be regarded as them^- selves legislating ; for in this society all laws tend to pro- mote morality — ^a thing quite internal, and therefore not falling under any public outward human legislation what- soever, this last concerning itself only with the legality of actions. There must coni^equently, some one, other than the people itself, be assigned as the public and yet in- ward legislator of an ethical state. Again, ethic laws are never understood to emanate originally from the will of

t The above is the Supreme Principle of Law. (The reader will find this position stated and explained in my translation of Kaut*s Ethics, p. 192 6, §§ B, C, and D Tb.)


A Superior, i, e. are not like statutes, which, until emho-' died and published in an edict, obtain no obligatory force ; for statutable decrees of this kind never can become parts of any moral legislation, and the duty of obeying them would, however diligently observed, beget no free and independent virtue, but would remain always among the offices of CO-ACTION* The Supreme Lawgiver in an ethi- cal society can therefore be such an one alone, in regard of whom, all real duties,f whether juridical or ethical, may be figured as founded on his commandment ; who is farther a searcher of the heart, percipient of the in- most sentiments of all, and adjudging — as must take place in every commonwealth, — to each what his actions may be worth. This, however, is the Idea of God* as Mo- ral Governor of the World ; wherefore we conclude, our ETHICAL STATE Can ouly be cogitated as a folk combined

\ Whenever any IfaiDg is acknowledged to be duly, although only imposed by the arbitrary will of a human lawgiver, then may we forth- with assert that obedience to it is enjoined by the Divine Will. Muni- cipal Enactments are certainly not Divine Commands ; and yet, where lawful, it cannot be doubted that obedience to them is divinely com^ manded. The saying, We must hearken to God rather than to man^^ sigo nifies no more than this, viz. that should any earthly legislation enjoin something immediately contradictory of the moral law, obedience is not to be rendered : where, conversely, I take occasion to remark, that when a municipal unimmoral statute is opposed by an alleged statutable divine behest, then is there good ground of suspicion that the declaration of the will of God is supposititious'; for then it collides^ with a clear plain duty ; and that any given document really does contain Divine de'^ crees, never can be so authenticated by any experience or observation, as to warrant mankind in setting aside, for its sake, an otherwise plain and existing duty.

  • Any reader who may think the text obscure, would do well to con-

sult Kant's chapter on Conscience, Ethics, p. 277-81) § 13> — Tn.


by and under a divine eommandment, »• e. as a Pe<^le of God standing under etbic laws* y/ A people of God may no doubt be imagined, combined

I under legal statutes, wbere not the morality, but only the

legality, of conduct is inquired into. This would be a juridical commonwealth, whereof the legislator is God, and the constitution of such a state would be theocratical ; and, iQ so far as certain men, in the capacity of paiests, immediately receive and communicate his laws, the ad- ministration would be aristocratical. An institution of this sort, however, resting, in form and substance, mere- ly on historical events, is not what we are in search of, and cannot be looked upon as solving the problem pro- jected by pure morally legislative reason. In the next apotom<»^ containing a kisiarical account of the advent of a Kingdom of God, we shall consider this theocracy as a society r^ulated by juridico-civil laws, and where the le- gislator, although God, acts as an outward lawgiver only ; whereas in the pres^it apotome, we investigate such a philosophical economy as may depend on a legislation purely inward, and be a society standing under laws of virtue, t. 6. constituting << a People qf God zeabms of good works.^

Contradistinguished from the notion of a people of God, is that of a rabble, or mob, whose Ringleader is the Evil Principle — a gang intent on propagating mischief, and on hindering the other association from taking place, although the principle threaiening the sentiments of vir- tue is also within, and only by a figure spoken of as an extraneous power.




Sublime as is the idea of an ethioal eoiiiBionwealtb^ it can never be fully attained or realisEed by mao^ but dwin- dles in his hands down to an institution that does no more than transcribe the Form of the other ; for when we come to the materials requisite for instituting such a whole, we find that our means are very much abridged, beiug con- tracted by the narrow limits of our moral nature.

EstaUishin^ a moral people of God, is therefore a work whereof the execution is to be expected, not from man, but only fr<Mn God himself. It is not, however, upon that account allowable for mankind to resign himself to doth, and never to bestir himself so as actively to forward this institution, but to devolve all on Providence^ each man attending singly to his own private moral necessities, and leaving the supervisorship and care of the ethical mterests of the race to the guardianship of a higher wisd<Hn. So far from that, mankind oug^t to proceed as if every thing depended on himself ; and it is only under this con- dition, that there is room to hope that a Higher Wisdom may crown with success the efforts of our well-meant schemes.

The wish of every honest-minded man therefore is, that ^^ (he Kingdom of God nutjf come and His Will be done on Earth ; but then, the question arises, what have man- kind to do in order that this may come to pass.


An ethical commonwealth under the divine moral legis- lation is A CHURCH, and in so far as such ideal state is no object of possible experience, it is called the invisible CHURCH (a naked idea of the union of all the virtuous un- der the immediate divine moral government, which idea is the archetype whereon man has to regulate evety eccle- siastical institution framed by him). The visible church is an actual combination of given members, in a society, that endeavours to copy the form and feature"of the other ; and as every association combined by public laws, exhibits dif- ferences in rank — ^those who only obey the law differing in some degree from those who look after its execution — so the collective mass of the church is called the ^fiock or con-: gregatuMj while the superiors are called guides or shep* herds, who administer affairs in room of the Invisible Head, and in this latter capacity are styled ministers or servants of the church. A similar denomination occurs in the political fabric, where the visible Head of the com- monwealth not unfrequently styles himself the first servaM of the statCy though he acknowledges no superior, perhaps not even the collective body of the nation. A true visible church is that which represents the moral kingdom of God on earth. Its conditions and criteria are as follow :

I. Universality, consequently a numerical oneness of the church, the groundwork of which unity must spring from the constitution and genius of the church itself; so that, however torn and split by fortuitous sects and dif- fering opinions, its fundamental principles are such as must eventually bring about unity of view, and lead to a general amalgamation of all parties in one single ecclesi-* astical society.

II. Quality, which is purity ; the union being held to-


getber by no other than ethic laws : — and equally clari- fied from the timidity of auperstition and the whimsies of fanaticism.

III. The RELATIVITY is a mutual relationship of free- dom, where not only is the inward relation of members to one another that of equal freedom; but where also the outward relation of the church to the state is based on a free, independent, and reciprocal alliance. (There can therefore be no room, in a well-regulated church, either for HIERARCHY or ILLUMINATISM, which last is a species of DEMOCRATIC inward light, each member claiming par- ticular inspirations, adapted to his. own head, and collid- ing with those of others.)

IV. Modality. The church's constitution must be UNCHANGEABLE, admitting, however, from time to time, modifications, according to place and circumstance ; for which casual by-laws the church contains a sure and stable groundwork in the a priori idea of its own end. (Its establishment rests therefore on primary laws, pablished^ as it were, once for all, in a fixed code: it cannot conse-f quently be founded on arbitrary formulae, for these, want- ing the a priori authentication of reason, are fortuitous, changeable, and open to contradiction.)

The Church, or visible ethical commonwealth, r(^ard- ed as the representative of a city of God, has, by dint of those its peculiar principles, a constitution apart and by it- selfj and betwixt it and any political constitution there is no comparison or similitude at all to be made. It is not MONARCHICAL, uiidcr Pope or Patriarch ; nor aristocra- ticai<, under Bishops and Prelates ; nor yet democrati- CAL, as among independent sectarian Uluminati. Its con- stitutional frame* work might best be likened to that of a



Family under a common, inyigible, and moral Father, whose eldest and most holy Sou, who hest knows his Father's Will, and is by near ties of consanguinity con- nected with all its branches, does, by unfolding and ex- plainii^ to the younger brethren what he has more fully learnt of the parental will, occupy the stead of the paternal head. They, upon this account, revere the Father in him, and thus enter into a general fraternal union and lasting alliance of hearts.



• J^ Pure religious faith, being a naked belief of reason,

'and capable of being communicated and imparted to every person, is that alone which can serve as a groundwork fajsi a Church Universal. Whereas mere historical belief, grounded only on facts, can spread its influence no far- ther than the narriitive has been carried ; and must even then be multifariously limited and circumscribed, as well as by the varying capacity of its auditors to judge of its credibility. And yet experience teaches a faulty weak- ness of our nature, that must prevent us from ever count- ing so much on the strength of that pure faith as it well deserves, and induce us to distrust our hope of erecting a church on it alone.

Mankind's short-sightedness in supersensible matters is so great, that even while they justly value and appreciate


this pure moral faith (which^ upon the whole, is in their eyes, and must indeed be most self-evidently convincing), they are with difficulty brought to admit, that a steady and diligent prosecution of a moral life is really all that God demands to render them his acceptable subjects. Obligation they cannot well figure to themselves, others- wise than as a worship to be performed toward God, which worship respects not so much the inward moral worth of actions, as looks rather to this, that they are offered to God, in order by passive resignation and obe«- dience to please him. They will not suffer themselves to be persuaded, that by the fulfilment of their duties to their fellow-men, they do in very deed truly obey the Divine Commands ; and that, consequently, in all their actions, — ^in every thing they morally compass and avoid, they do unremittingly serve and worship God, seeing that it is absolutely impos8i}^]e to approach him by any closer or nearer worship ; our actions affecting mun- dane Intelligents only, but never placing us in contact with the Deity. A potentate on earth often wishes to be HONOURED and EXTOLLED by professions of subjection, thinking, that without these, he cannot count upon so much obedience to his edicts as he deems necessary for the maintenance of his sway. Besides, mankind, even when most enlightened, take an immediate complacency in demonstrations of respect ; and hence duty, so far forth as it is at the same time based on a Divine Behest, comes to be discharged as if it were a concern rather of the Deity than of Humanity ; by all which it happens, that the idea of divine worship is placed in room of the idea of a pure moral religion.

Since all religion consists in our regarding God as that


awful lawgiver who enjoins upon us all our duties, the next point for consideration in arranging an institution of life, is, " How God wills to be feared and obeyed ?" Again, the Divine Will commands either by merely sta- tutable or by PURE moral laws. Touching the latter, every one may straightway know, from his own reason, what that will of God is which is the substratum of all reli^on. Indeed the idea of Godhead takes its rise from our coiisciousness of the Moral Law, coupled with the need felt by reason of assuming somewhere a higher power, able to procure to that law whatever whole and entire effect a created universe will admit of, and to make that effect conspire and harmonize with the moral scope \ Tof all things. And as a notion of the Divine Will, fra&ied f purely after the standard of the moral lawpallows us v/' ! to have birt'oiff "^Gbd, so by necessary consequence can . there be room only for ON£j*glJigion, and that, too, purely j moral. Were it, however, even conceded that there are divine statutable enactments, and religion made to consist in their observance, still an acquaintanx^e with themjs at? tainable, not by any effort of reason, but singly by revela- tion ; and such revelation, whether imp^^rted to the mass publicly, or privately to single individjaals for the pur-

Ipose of bcSng propagated by writing or tradition, would found a historical but never a pure rational belief. And although statutable divine laws be admitted (which can be recc^nised as obligatory, not of themselves, but only by dint of a revelation of the divine will), still the pure MORAL legislation, whereby God's will is originally en- graven on our heart, is not only the indefeasible condition precedent of all genuine religion whatsoever^ but is just that wherein this last properly consists, and toward which


the statatable can only work, as containing a mean of ito propagation and advancement.

When therefore a response, valid for every man, eb- 6ARDED SIMPLY AS MAN, is to be given to the interroga- tory, " How God wills to be obeyed and worshipped ?" we cannot hesitate in repljring, that the legislator's will must be purely moral, for the statutable legislation (rest- ed on revelation) can only be looked upon as contingent, and as something that has not yet, and never can, be ad- dressed to all, consequently, as what is not binding upon all mankind generally. Wherefore not they who cry « Lord, Lordy but they '^ who do the WiU of God ;" i. e. not those who, by setting forth his praise conformably to revealed conceptions, which all mankind cannot have (or by lauding his Ambassador as a being of Divine Ori- ginal), but those who, by good moral deportment (upon which point the divine will is known to all), seek to please him, are they who give that true worship which he exacts.

But when we regard ourselves bound to behave not only as men simply, but likewise ab citizens of a divine state on earth, and deem it our duty to promote the existence ( and wellbeing of that society which we called a church, then it should seem that naked reason can give no answer to the question, **- How God may will to be worshipped in a church (as a congregation of God) ?" and that a sta- tutable legislation, proclaimed by revelation, were indis- pensable. This again would lay the foundation of a his- torical belief in the facts revealed, and may, when contra- distinguished from the pure religious or ethical belief, be called church-faith. The former is conversant singly with those individual acts which do in their aggregate



make up the matter of the worship of God, where all our duties are discharged by the spirit of a moral sentiment, as if they were divine commandments. A church, on the other hand, as a union of many, in an ethic commonweal, requires a public obligement^ i. e. a certain ecclesiastical Form, founded on conditions occurring in experience and observation^ This form may be various, and being fortui- tous, cannot be acknowledged to be obligatory, apart from some statutable divine behest ; and yet the fixing of the Form ought not upon this account to be regarded as ex- clusively devolving upon our heavenly Lawgiver. On the contrary, grounds are not wanting for the assumption, that God's will rather is that we ourselves should carry out into execution reason's idea of such a commonwealth ; and that how many forms soever of church polity may hitherto have been tried in vain, mankind are not to cease from pursuing this design by new attempts, avoiding to the uttermost the faults of their predecessors, the end and aim being imperative, and intrusted to their own en- deavour. There is, therefore, no insuperable ground for holding the laws forming and instituting any church to have been enacted by divine authority. There is even presumption in declaring them to be so, to the end that we may supersede the toil of labouring steadily to better and improve its form, or perhaps a usurping of higher authority, in order, under the pretence of a divine com- mission, to impose on the multitude the yoke of ecclesias- tical traditions. Nor would there, on the other hand, be less arrogance in peremptorily denying that the mode in which some ^ven church has been framed, may not per- haps be a special arrangement of the Almighty, more par- ticularly should this church, so far as we can see, com-


pletely harmonize with natural religion, and be farther distinguished by the characteristic of having appeared all at once, without any assignable march of intellect on the part of the public in theologic matters, that could have prepared the way, or account for its arrival. ,

Doubts thus obtaining whether God or mankind them* selves should institute a church, the latter have betrayed a bias to fall into that religion which consists mainly of a Divine Worship (cuUus) ; and as all worships rest on arbitrary rescripts, they are biassed to believe in divinely- enacted statutes, whence springs the supposition, that above and beyond the best course of life that man can fol- low agreeably to the dictates of pure moral religion, he must obey a divine . law inscrutable by reason, and need- ing a particular revelation, the observance of which com- mandment is intended to be a service done for .the imme- diate worship of the Deity (quite apart from the observ- ance of those precepts promulgated by reason as his laws). Thus it happens, that. men never will consider church- membership — ^associations forregulating its JFbmi— or even PUBLIC institutions, as things in themselves necessary for forwarding the moral part of religion, but only as things required, in order that, by solemnities, confessions of re- vealed laws, and the observance of the formal ritual of the church (which last is itself only a mean toward a mo- ral end), they may, as they say, serve their God. Al- though the whole of these observances are morally-indif* ferent acts, they are^ just, upon this very account, that they are done singly with a view to his worship, reputed to be the more acceptable in his sight. The endeavours of man- kind to institute an ethical commonwealth have, therefore,


naturallyf gone hand in hand with a historic creed of some sort or other* The creed of the church will always be found anterior to the pure ethical bdief. Templss (fanes consecrated to the public worship of the Deity) are earlier than churches (congregational assemblies for in- culcating and enlivening the sentiments of morality) ; and PRIESTS (anointed administrators of sacred rites) are prior to the CLERGY (teachers of pure moral religion) ; indeed to this day they are in many countries deemed their su^ perior in rank, and usually held in greater estimation by the vulgar*

Since, then, it is now once for all the case, that a sta- tutable church-creed is invariably superadded to the pure a priori ethical belief as a vehicle for promulgating this last, and a mean tending to combine mankind in a public association for moral ends ; it is obvious enough that not tRABiTioN, but WRITING) must preserve the faith unchang- ed, and give it a uniform and general spread. A written revelation alone can inspire contemporaries and posterity with equal veneration, and without it mankind would be left in doubt as to the offices of worship owed to God. A sacred volume is regarded with the greatest awe, even by those (and in particular j ust by those) who never read it, or iirho, when they do, can extract from it no ecdierent notion. With them the edge of all argumentation against its reli-p gious tenets is at once dulled by the stunning dictatorial reply — thus it is written ; and hence those passages which are understood to state an article of faith, go by the name of prorfs or umrrants. The established inter- preters of such a Holy Writ receive from their office a

■|- Morally, this process should be reversed.


kind of consecration ; and history shows that no eeclesi-* astical faith, bottomed upon a Scripture, has ever perished, but has survived the most disastrous convulsions of the state ; whereas church-creeds, only rested on tradition, and supported by ritual observances handed down by an- tiquity, have not outlived the decline and death of the community^ How fortunatef that such a book haa been thrown into our hands, containing, side by side with its statutes and belief, a most complete and pure moral theor^ of rel%ion, wherewith the other (considered as the vehi- cle of its introduction) can be shown to be in the fullest harmony — ^a happy conjunction of events, which, work- ing together with the end aimed at by it, and the difficulty of explaining by natural causes, whence its enlightening efficacy to our race, has enabled it to main- tain its credit and authority as if it were a revelation.

. There are still a few things connected with this notion of a belief in revelation*

There is but oke (true) religion, although there may be various kinds of belief* We may even add, that notwithstanding the multiplicity of ecclesiastical institu- tions, kept asunder by diversity of creed, one and the same true religion may be found pervading.

It is therefore more convenient to say <^ tiiis indmdual

t An expression intended to apply to every tiling that can be wished or hoped for, which we scarcely yenture to anticipate, and cannot pro«> cure for ourselves, even by the most diligent forecasting of the future. When, therefore, we find that such unloolced-for benefits have really fallen to our lot, we can ascribe the gift to no other cause than the be- n^ity of Providence.


is of this or that (Jewish, Mahometan, CbriBtian, Catho- lic, Lutheran) faith," than to say, <^ he is of this or that religion.*^ The term reUffion ought never to be employ- ed in catechisms or addresses to the great bulk of the people. It is too learned and unintelligible. Indeed no modern language possesses a corresponding synonym. The boor invariably understands by religion his church- creed, which can be laid before him in a seen and embo- died form ; whereas religion lies hidden in the man with- in, based upon his moral sentiments. Most men were honoured too much by ascribing to them any religion. They neither know nor^desire any, and the established church-creed is all that this word suggests to them. . Re- ligious wars, by which nations have often been distract- ed and blood-stained, have never been any thing else than brawls about creeds of form and show, and .the per- secuted ought properly to have complained, not that the oppressor hindered him from worshipping God according to the dictates of his own conscience (for that no out- ward force can do), but that he was prevented from puh- licly celebrating the rituals of his church-creed.

Whenever a Church, as is the general use and wont, claims to be the Only Church : Universal (although grounded on the tenets of a particular revelation, which^ being historical, cannot reasonably be expected from every one), then are they who refuse iu any wise to ac- knowledge her particular form of creed straightway de- nounced as Infidels, and hated with the whole heart. He who partially swerves from it in unessentials, is held tainted with heterodoxy, and shunned as contagious. Lastly, should any one, though a member of the church, stumble at any of the essentials of its established faith.


then ho is called — especially if he labour to spread abroad his error — a HBRETic^f and is, like a traitor, considered far more culpable than any foreign foe ; and as the Ro- man senate interdicted from fire and water those who, without permission, passed the Hubicon, so, by ecclesi- astical censures, the Church puts all heretics, as outlaws from its pale, under the bann ; and with cursing and ex- icommunication devotes them to the infernal gods. The assumed infkllible accuracy of the teachers or heads of the Church in points of faith, is called orthodoxy ; and this agaiti may be divided into a despotic or brutal and a liberal orthodoxy. Were that church which proclaims its for- mula of faith as universally binding styled Catholic> and those churches again which oppose themselves to this universal claim — (although they would willingly advance it for themselves if they durst) — styled Protestant, then may a curious observer detect many instances highly lau- dable of Protestant Catholics^ and several most offensive of ArchrCaihoUc Protestants. The former are men of an open and enlarged mind (for which no thanks to their church), and make a singular contrast with the narrow and con- tracted views of the latter, who certainly gain nothing by the comparison.

•f Mongols call Thibet {according to Gregoriiy Alphdb. Tibet, pag. 11) Tanout*Chadzar, i. €• the land of dwelling-houses, thereby distinguish, ing its inhabitants from themselves, as the tent-inhabiting Nomades of the wilderness. Hence the Thibetese are called Chadzars, which was subsequently corrupted, as in German, into Ketzer ; and because the Mongols were addicted to the Thibetese faith (in the Great Llama), which seems to approach very near to Manichseism (possibly Manichse- ism thence took its origin), and brought it with them when they burst into Europe, it came to pass that, during a long period, the terms Ha- reiki and Mankhcti were exchangeable.




Our readers are already aware, that although a church wants one most important mark of its being the true Church, viz. a valid claim to universality, when founded on revealed tenets, inasmuch as their historical ground- work' — though clothed in writing — spread far and wide -«-«ind thus guaranteed to the latest posterity — ^never can become the object of a joint and universally-excep- tionless conviction ; still, such is the inbred infirmity of mankind, as alwayB to require for the last abstractions- the grounds and ideas of naked Tcason — some tangible cover and confirmation from the testimony of observation and experience (a consideration to which, in introducing any doctrine, intended to be of catholic reception, an eye is always to be had) ; and hence some one ecclesiastico- historical creed, from among those already extant, must be made available for that purpose.

Successfully to combine with this a posteriori belief, which, it would seem, chance had thrown into our hands, a stable moral faith, will depend mainly on the exegetical mode in which the revealed text is expounded and unfold- ed ; which must receive a perpetual interpretation paral- lel to the known practical behests of the religion of pure reason. The tlieoretical and speculative parts of any church creed are for us devoid of moral interest, unless they assist us, and are found conducive to the discharge of all our duties qua divinely commanded (regard had to the


imperatives of morality, as if they toere divine command- ments, being in fact the very essence of all religion). An interpretatioft of this sort may, no doubt, not only fre- quently seem, but often really be strained ; and yet the text must be thus forced into a moral dress, in preference to the verbal [and literal meaning, whenever this last sa-» vours nothing of morality, or perhaps tends even to snap our moral springs.*

Upon reflection, it will be found that this has been done, both in ancient and modem times, with every va- riety of Sacred Scriptures; and that prudent, honest- minded teachers had continued so long to gloss and refine

  • Take as an instance the fiHy-nlnth Psalm, ver. 11.16, where a prayer

for revenge is pushed to a dreadful length. Michaelis (Morals, part iL p. 202) approves oi this prayer, and adds, The Psalms are ivsfibeo ; and when we find in them petitions for vengeance, it cannot he improper to call down punishment on the guiitj, for we cam not have a holier MORAL SYSTEM THAN THAT vs THE BiBLE. Let US confine our atteu- ti<Hi to those concluding words, and then ask, is morality to be expound- ed after the Bible ? or ought not rather the Bible to be tested by the standard of morality ? I will not here pause to inquire how this Psalm, and another passage deemed equally inspired, are to be reconciled,—.^' Ye heme heard that it hath "been said by them of old time^^ &c ; ^' but 1 say unto you, love your enemies ; bless them that curse you, &c. ; but will just at once try how the Psalm can be adapted and accommodated to my existing mo- ral principles (e. g, thus it may be assumed, that not personal enemies, but that under such a figure our wicked passions, those invisible and far more ruinous enemies, are attacked and held up to execration). Should this prove impracticable, then I will suppose it has only a political, not a moral sense, and refers to that relation in which the Jews believed them- selves to stand with God as their temporal regent. The meaning will then be somewhat not unlike the spirit of that other passage, ^^ Vengeance it mine, I will repay, saith the lAyrd,'^ commonly understood to warn us against revenging ourselves, although most probably it points to the law obtaining in every country, that satisfaction for injuries is to be sought in the Sovereign's Tribunals, where the Courts do not justify the re- vengeful malice of the prosecutor, but allow him to conclude for what- ever damages and penalty he pleases, and can.


upon the text, that they at length brought it very nearly to square with the general precepts of morality. The sages of Greece and Rome acted thus with their fabulous histories of the gods; and the coarsest polytheism was gradually sublimated into a symbolical representation of the One Divine Essence. The vicious pranks of the gods, as well as the wild but beautiful fancies of the poets, were first shrouded, and then presented to view under a mysteri- ous apparel, that made the popular belief approach the sem- blance of a sensible and edifying morality. Modern Juda- ism, nay, Christianity itself, consists in great measure of such strained senses, although in either case, the contortions of the meaning, have unquestionably led to good andneedful ends. Mahometanism itself has been thus dealt with ; and the paradise of the faithful, described as abounding with all sensual voluptuousness, is spiritualized as skilfully as the Song of Solomon. In India the same maxims are cur- rently applied in interpreting the Veda, at least when read to the better-educated classes. That this expedient is prac- ticable with so many different creeds, without always dis- turbing the literal terms of the narrative, arises hence : \ Long prior to any popular myths, there lay extant in the / human mind its primeval substratum for religion, the first rough development of which uncultivated susceptibility did, during the early twilight of dawning knowledge, tend merely to superstitious or hero-worships, and occasioned for their behoof just those various mythic revelations; and thus to those textures woven by the plastic energies of de- pictive fancy, there always has adhered some unconscious trait, sufficiently indicative of the chai*acter of their super- sensible ori^nal. Neither can such exposition be charged with insincerity, provided we do not insist that the sense


given by us to the national legends, or to the holy books, was that intended by the authors ; but, reserving such question for a future inquiry, insist only that it is possi- ble so to construe the intendment of the writer. Even the reading of the Scriptures, and investigations into their import, have no other view than that of rendering us bet- ter men. Their historical part not having this effect, is sheerly indifferent, and may be dealt with as we list : (the Historical Belief ^^ is deady being alone ;" i. e. the profes- sion of it by itself contains nothing,- — and leads to no re- sults—but those, in which we are morally unconcerned.)

Admitting that a particular document contains a Di- vine Revelation,- the preliminary ground of this credence must be, that the doctrines taught are worthy of Ood ; and thereof the surest test and criterion is, that <^ aU Scripture given by inspiration of God must be prqfUabk for doctrine^ for reproof for correction^ and instmction in righteousness^" &c. &c. ; and since this last — the moral amendment of our species— is the proper aim of the religion of reason, it re- sults that Natural Religion must supply the Supreme Ca non of all Scriptural Ex^esis. This religion it is that is ^^ the Spirit of God guiding us into aU trutii^^ and that does, by instructing and redressing the depravities of ignorance, quicken us with principles of conduct. Moreover, it re- fers all the historic contents of the Scripture to the stand- ard and springs of the pure Moral Law of Righteousness, this being that alone in any ecclesiastical confession which is the sum and substance of religion proper. No search- ing or expounding of the Scriptures can at any time pro- ceed on any other principle, *^ and we can only find in them eternal life so far forth as they bear untness to this truth.**

Joint-interpreter of the written rule is added as subor-


dinaie adjunct, biblical learning. The Authority OF Holy Writ, the worthiest, and, in this enlightened quarter of the globe, the only instrument fitted to conjoin mankind in church communion, constitutes what we have called Faith Ecclesiastical* This popular belief cannot be Directed, for the populace are rootedly fixed in the opinion that no tenets based alone on reason are suited to supply them with an infallible rule, and hence clamour for. a revelation from God, and insist on having the church formulary of fidth historically verified by an inquiry into its origin. Again, since man's wisdom and skill cannot waft him into Heaven, in order to bring thence the credentials authenticating the mission of the first Teacher, he must rest contented with those tests,—* apart from the inward evidence of the matter revealed, — derived from the circumstances under which the new f^th appeared. Here he must acquiesce in the narrative of contemporaries ; the writers of antiquity must be ran- sacked, and the dead languages diligently searched, before any estimate can be struck of the credibility of those an- cient Annalists. Thus learning and biblical criticism are indispensable to support a church rising on a Holy Writ, although superfluous toward either establishing or enforcing the principles of common morality and natural religion. They do, however, effectually prop up the fa- bric of Church Authority, so long as its first advent is not seen to be attended by some palpable absurdities or deformities, that at once discredit its pretence to be an immediate institution from the Deity; and this should be enough to remove all obstacles out of the way of thos^ who think they experience from this idea a positive con- firmation of their moral faitb, and do upon that account


the more readily embrace it. But learning is needed not only for showing the genuineness and authenticity of the Sacred Writings, but also for their interpretation. How can the unlearned, who reads his Bible only in translations, be certified of the accuracy of the version ? Even the bib- lical expositor who is versant in the ancient tongues must provide himself with very extended historical information ; and much critical knowledge is required, to enable him to extract from the state, manners^ and opinions of the olden world, such a digested view as may open and unfold to his congregation the spirit and genius of the text.

Natur al relig ion and biblicalle^^ing are therefore the only authorized interpreters and guardians of a holy record. Evidently the Divine must not be disturbed by the arm of the magistrate from publicly propounding whatever insight or discoveries he may have reaped in this field, neither is he to be tied to the narrow limits of certain articles of belief; for were the state so to usurp, then would the Laic constrain the Church-man to follow in his wake, and to abide singly by those opinions for which, after all, the laity were first indebted to the learn- ing and instruction of the clergy. If the state is cautious to provide men learned iu theology, whose fraudulent and corrupt manners will not discountenance all they would recommend, and to whose conscientious labours it can safely intrust the entire administration of the ec- clesiastical commonwealth, then has the sovereign done all which the ends and jurisdiction of Civil Society entitle him to do. But to intrude himself into the schools of divinity, and to force to church-conformity, by taking a share in theological polemic, is a usurpation beneath the dignity of the head of the state, which nothing save^ tho



indiBcreetness of a mob could ever have demanded ; for those literary controversieSi when not waged from the pulpit, always leave the church-going public in the secu- rity of profound repose*

Pretences, however, are sometimes made to the office of interpreter, where both Reason and Learning are dis- pensed with, and an internal feeling is set up as light suf- ficient whereby at once to discern the true meaning of the Scripture, and also to perceive its divine original. Ques- tionless it must be conceded, that ^^ whoever obeys its precepts, and does what it prescribes, will by all means find that the doctrine is of 6od.^' The very incentive to good actions and upright conduct felt from its perusal, / must convince him on whom the Scripture takes such an / effect, that its contents are indeed divine; for this feeling / is nothing else than the effect of the moral law, which, I by transfixing the soul with inliest reverence, is on that I very account deservedly esteemed a divine behest. But, ^ little as any feeling can serve for a foundation for any law, or serve as a criterion of that law's morality, — still less can any feeling serve for a certain index, enabling us to conclude upon any immediate illapses of divine in- fluence : for to bring about any change felt in the inner man, obviously more than one single cause may possibly conspire ; and, in such a case as that now under consider- ation, the very morality of the doctrine tallying with the Moral Law of Reason is of itself a sufficient ground to account for such effect ; nay, what is more, whenever any experienced moral incentive can by possibility be traced to such an original, it is our imperative duty to deduce our moral feelings from that their legitimate source, un- lesSy indeed, it be contended that we should unlock and


throw wide the portals of Unreason to every species of fiinaticism, and even hazard bereaTing the emotion re- verence itself of its a priori dignity, by bringing it into ambiguous juxtaposition with every phantastic fit or start of the sensory. Feelings belong to each particular indi- vidual for himself alone ; even when the law bt which, or according to which, they are originated, has been pre* viously investigated and ascertained ; and hence no feel- ing, be it of what sort soever it may, can be recommend- ed or trusted as a touchstone of revealed truth : feelings convey no information of things beyond and without us ; they exhibit to us no more than the manner, — whether agreeable or disagreeable, — ^in which our own passive sub- ject is affected ; and upon our mental states of liking or dislike no knowledge of any object can be based.

Holy Writ is therefore the only rule of ecclesiastical belief; nor can it have any expounder save the religion of pure REASON working together with scripturary learn- ing (which last concerns itself with the faith's historic part). Of those two interpreters, the former is alone authentic and valid universally for the whole world, while the latter is doctrinal only, shaping from time to time, and framing, the church-creed of a particular nation into a permanently fixed and self-conserving system. Touching the last, it seems to be inevitable, that, in the long run, the historical faith should not slide into an empty belief that trusts to the better insight of those learned in the Scripture, — a state of things certainly not over-creditable to human nature, but which may be amp- ly counterbalanced and redressed wherever public free- dom of thought obtains. In fact, this unshackled in- tercourse of thought is a just compensation, that the citi-


zen is rightfully entitled to challenge from the state and church ; seeing that it is only where the learned submit their speculations to general examination, remaining, how- ever^ themselves all the while open and awake to the in* creasing illumination of farther lights, that they can count upon the continued confidence of their countrymen, or expect that members of the literary republic will give heed to their decisions.



The sign of the true church is its universality ; and of this last, again, the criterion is necessity and deter- minability in one only mode. A historical belief, on the other hand, — being founded on revelation, u e, on observa- tion and experience, — is particularly valid only, viz. for those to whom the history has come. It is, moreover, like every other a posteriori knowledge, unaccompanied by the consciousness that the object, be it of knowledge or faith, MUST of necessity be thus constituted, and is impossible ever to be figured in any other manner : it tells us no more than that so the case stands : the belief, according- ly, is entertained by the mind with the consciousness of its contingency. Annals of past events may therefore suffice for supporting an ecclesiastical creed (whereof there


may be several) ; but pure moral religion alone it is that, — ^being founded throughout on the a priori no- tices of reason,— can be recognised as necessary, and the single and alone belief characterizing the true church. Nevertheless, a church may assume this name, although (owing to the inevitable limits put to human reason) a historical belief may attend religion as its con- comitant and introductory vehicle, provided always that this its latter character never be lost sight of, and that the church-creed contain within, the germ of a principle, whereby it is urged to a continual and more close approxi- mation toward pure ethic and religion, until at length these last being attained, the other be superseded and dis- pensed with. Again, since, touching historical dogmata of faith, disputes never can be avoided, an ecclesiastical establishment, resting on an a posteriori creed, may be^ called the church militant, hoping, however, when one day become immutable and all-embracing, to wear the in- signia of the church triumphant. That faith which im-< parts to him who holds it a moral susceptibility for eter- nal bliss is called s avin g ; and this saving faith can be but one and practical. How manifold soever may be the frames and diversities of church-belief, this practical and saving faith must pervade the whole of them, and consti- tute the kernel of pure religion, gradually forth-formin{ itself, and bursting from the vehiculary husk. That re- ligious belief which leads to a statutable worship of the Deity, is a mercenary and servile faith ; nor can it at any time be regarded as saving, inasmuch as it is not MORAL« This last is free and ingenuous, springing from the clarified sentiments of the heart. The bondsman ex- pects, by mechanical services of worship — which, though


irksome, are diestitute of moral worth, and, extorted by fear or hope, may be equally rendered by the greatest scoundrel — to make himself acceptable to God : while that faith which is of ingenuous birth, goes hand in hand with morally good sentiments, as indispensably requisite to our becoming acceptable in his sight*

That saving faith which leads to the hope of future bliss consists of two parts : — the one respects that which we cannot do ourselves, viz. the forensical rescinding of past misdeeds before the eye of our Divine Judge, — the other touches what we ought and must do ourselves, viz. a walk and conversation in a new life, conformably to what is duty. The former part of faith is belief in vicarious satisfaction (acquittal of debt, — redemption, — atonement with God) ; the latter is the belief in the possibility of our rendering ourselves acceptable to God, by henceforward leading an honest and upright life. These two constitu- ent conditions compose no more than one belief, and be* long by inseparable necessity to one another. Now^ ne- cessary conjunction is in no other way to be comprehended, than by assuming that the one link can be developed from its counterpart : t. e. we must assume either that the belief in absolution from the load of self- entailed guilt will be- get good moral conduct ; or that the genuine and practi- cally moral course of life will, agreeably to some law of morally-efficient causes, beget and ground a belief in ple- nary absolution.

Here there emerges a very extraordinary antinomy and debate of human reason with itself; and the solution of this antinomy, or, should this last prove impossible, dispo- sal of the contested question, can alone enable us to de- termine, whether a historical belief (church-creed) must.


as an essentia] part of saving faith, at all times be super- . added to the pure religion of reason ; or otherwise, whether ( the ecclesiastical faith is not, as a mere vehicle, destined \ ultimately to pass — distant, indeed, though the day be — into a pure a priori belief in religious matters.

I. On the hypothesis, that satisfaction has been rendered for the sins of mankind, then can there be no difficulty whatever in conceiving that every sinner would gladly have the benefit of the same ; and if this is to be had simply BY BELIEVING (which is tantamount to a mental declaration that the sinner is willing that such redemp- tion shall have taken place for him), no one would hesi- tate a moment about thus appropriating it. But what I cannot comprehend is, how any man of common sense, who is inwardly aware of being obnoxious to punishment, can, in sound and sober earnest, seriously bring himself to believe that he needs only to credit the message that his debt of sins has been discharged for him, and then (as a lawyer would speak) utiliier to accept this satisfac- tion, in order to regard his guilt as taken away ; and that, too, so radicitus and JundUxtSi that the inevitable effect of this persuasion andacceptation of the offered benefit should be a steady course of good works in all time coming, al- though hitherto — aye ! even up to the immediately preced- ing moment—he had been utterly regardless of morality. No sensible man can i>ubble himself successfully into this belief, although self-ldve often transmutes a wish into hope, and deludes us touching those goods toward whose attainment we contribute, and can contribute nothing; just as if the desired object would come of itself by mere- ly yearning after it. Such a persuasion can only be re- garded as possible when a man holds that this very belief


itself is something instilled into him from above, and con* sequently as something whereof no farther account need be rendered to his reason. Supposing that he find this im- practicable, or that he is still too upright to experiment upon himself, so as to bring about an artificial and coun-^ terfeit confidence, as a mean of ingratiating himself into some other person's favour, then he must, notwithstand- ing the highest awe felt for this transcendent satisfaction^ and the keenest wish to participate in its benefits, hold that they are conditioned^ and that his strenuously amend- ed life must antecede, before he dare entertain the small- est hope that any such higher merit may stand him in stead. Wherefore, since the historical knowledge of the atonement is part of faith ecclesiastical, the redintegration of character, on the contrary, is a branch of pure mora- lity, it follows that this last must, as condition, take pre- cedence of the other, and that repentance iftust go before forgiveness.

II. E contra^ mankind being by nature corrupt and de- praved, how can he fancy that — let him bestir himself I ever so much — he can transform himself into a new man, / acceptable to God ? Aware of his past transgressions ; still under the thrall and sway of the evil principle, and devoid of strength to extricate himself from his grasp ; must he not first of all regard the Divine Justice, which . he has aroused and set against him, as appeased by vica- \ rious satisfaction ? and then by means of this faith consi- 1 der himself as born anew, and ready to start upon an al- \ tered and amended course of life ? which life would then result from his reconciliation and union with the good principle. Unless this be conceded, there is absolutely nothing whereupon to found his hope of ever becoming


acceptable to God. Consequently bis belief in a rigbt- eonsness not bis own, wbereby be is reconciled witb God^ must go first, as a condition precedent of all exertion to«  ward good works ; and forgiveness it is tbat must go be- fore, and bring fortb repentance — wbicb, bowever, is dia* metrically contrary to tbe former statement.

Tbis contest cannot be adjusted by dint of any insigbt into tbe first causal determinations of tbe Freedom of the Human Will, u e. by any insigbt into tbe causes whence it comes to pass that a given individual is either good or evil ; for when question is made as to tbe last grounds of free optional determination, then we transcend tbe whole speculative extent of reason. But, practically, where we do not investigate the physical constitution of the will's nature, but consider morally what is first to be done im regulating our free use of choice, viz. whether we are to| begin witb believing what God has done on our behalf, or should set forthwith about doing what we have to do in order to make ourselves worthy of it (whereinsoever this gift of the Divine Benignity may consist), then, ques- tionless, the latter alternative must be adopted.

To aissume the first pre-requisite of our salvation, viz* a belief in vicarious satisfaction, is necessary noHonatty only, u e. for a theoretical behoof, we cannot otherwise de- picture to ourselves expurgation ; the latter element, how- ever, is practically necessary, and purely moral. 'Tis cer-* tain we can never hope to become partakers in the bene- fit of a foreign satisfactory merit, and so of eternal salva* tion, unless we qualify ourselves for such a blessing by unremittingly endeavouring to discharge all tbe offices of humanity ; the performance of which duties must spring from our own effort, and not from any foreign influence


whereby we are entirely passive. Again, because the ethical behest is unconditional, it follows of necessity that mankind must lay down, as a ground- work from which all ' faith must rise, this maxim, viz. that reformation of life is the supreme condition, apart from which there can be no room for any saving faith.

Ethic starts with a principle qf acting ; revelation begins

/ with a principk qf believing. Faith ecclesiastical, consi-

l dered as historical, rightly b^ns with the latter prin*

( ciple ; but then, since it contains only the vehicle toward

a pure moral religion, it results that what in ethic, as a

I practical system, is a first condition of incipiency, viz. the

Iprindple qf aetingj must also constitute the real and true

' commencement in the actual working of the other; while

i the principle qf knowing , i. 6. of theoretical belief, can tend

•only toward the confirmation and consummation of the


We add this farther remark, that, agreeably to the one principle, belief in vicarious satisfaction is represented to mankind as his duty, while the belief in his ability to do good works is because the strength is lent him from above, reckoned to be of grace. The converse holds true of the other principle. Good moral conduct is here a duty absolutely imperative, and a condition indispensable for all aspiring after the favour of God ; while the celes- tial atonement is derived purely from the Divine Benigni-* ty, or GRACE. The adherents of the former method are not unfrequently upbraided, and rightly too, with giving way to a superstitious wcH'shipping of the Deity, that is occa- sionally seen to combine together a blame-worthy and re- ligious life. Those who profess themselves favourable to the other are reproached with leaning to an infidel natu-


ralism, in as much as^ though their life is exemplary and unexceptionable, they set themselves in an attitude of indif- ference or antagonism to the claims of revelation. These epithets rather practically cut than theoretically untie the Gordian knot, — a step that, in religious questions, is some* times the only one that can be taken. Nevertheless, the following remarks may serve as some slender contribu- tion toward resolving the difficulty of this antith6tic.§

A living belief in the Son of God, considered as the pro- totypon of that in humanity which alone is well-pleasing to God, does in itself refer directly to an ethical idea, which is at once the standard and spring of conduct; consequently it is immaterial, in fact the same, whether I begin with this RATIONAL belief in the Son, or with the behests of mo- ral life ; contrariwise, a belief in this self-same archetype in his phenomenon — as God-man — ^is a posteriori and histo^ rical, and not by any means identic with the principle of a moral life, which last is purely rational ; and it would be quite a di£Ferent affidr to commence with a belief in such historic advent, and thence deduce an amended course

§ TaAV8LATO]i*8 xoTE.->^Eant might have said something more. I'he reader will find, in my Appendix to the version of the £thics, an at- tempted analysis of the particular frame or states of mind wiiich the Christian faith is fitted to awaken. With an addition I now make, viz. that the renunciation of one's own righteousness, and substitution of vi- carious righteousness in its stead, will produce the first state of will there mentioned^ or at least one very similar, and scarcely to be distin- guished from it, — the reader will, I apprehend, find the obscurities of this question vanish. It is almost superfluous to subjoin, that the total abnegation of all claim to any personal moral worth is quite inconsistent with, and indeed eubversive of, Kant's Ethical Theory. Conf. Critik d, Urtheilskrqft, p. 123, with Beck's Commentary thereon, and Morals, §11. It is remarkable that Kant has omitted to re-asseit this in the text above, where it would have been much more in place than in the C. d.


of conduct. Thus far forth, then, would there be a re- pugnancy betwixt those two doctrines; and yet in the phenomenon of the God-man, not that of him which falls under sense, but that in him which corresponds to the ethical archetype lateut in our own reason, is, properly speaking, the object of saving and justifying faith ; and such a faith is quite identic with reason's principles of a walk and conversation acceptable to God. Here, then, there are not two antagonist principles, ijor do we start in contrary directions, by setting out from one or other of them. In either case we deal with but one and the self- same practical idea, regarding it, however, first as an ideal archetype extant in the bosom of God, and emanat- ing from the essential character of his person ; while, in the other case, the ideal dwells with our own reason, — a difference of aspect that becomes altogether evanescent, so far forth as in both cases the ideal standard is deemed and represented to be our regulating rule of life. The seeming antinomy thus disappears — the very same practi- cal idea, when levelled at under two different lights, hav- ing been mistaken for two diverse and conflicting prin- ciples. Should it, however, be contended, that histori- cally to believe in the actual advent and appearance of this THEANTHROPic PERSON, is a condition precedent of and indispensable to that faith which alone can jus- tify and save ; then, indeed, most indisputably would there be two quite contrary principles — the one a posteri^ arii the other a j9reon,— and a true conflict of maxims would arise, viz. whether we were to commence with the experimental or the rational ; and this would farther be an oppugnancy which no human reason would ever be able to settle or adjust. The position, it is incumbent


upon mankind to believe, that once upon a time there was an individual, who, by his holiness and meritori- ous life, satisfied, not only for himself, but also for all others, how great soever might be the shortcomings and gaps in the morality of their deportment, before we can' hope that we can, through a course of dutiful obedience (which last, moreover, can only emanate from that faith as its source), ultimately reach to the attainment of heavenly beatitude — is a position most contrary to this other — ^man- kind must strive, with all the might of a holy sentiment, to lead a life acceptable to God, in order to expect that his benignant care (to which our own reason bears imme- diate witness) will consummate somehow or other the im- perfections inevitably attaching to the deeds of the other- wise honest-minded. To entertain the first belief is not within every one's power, e. g» the ignorant and unletter- ed can know nothing of it ; for, as to the existence of this person, reason is altogether silent. History likewise shows that all forms of religion have afforded room for this antagonism of a twofold set of principles of faith. They all delivered a doctrine of expiations of some sort or other ; while mankind^s original substratum for morality failed not ever and anon to make its imprescriptible a priori claim heard in the midst. But the vociferations of the priesthood always drowned the plaint of the moralist ; the former advanced with loud outcry to the-government to prevent the decline and fall of the ceremonial worship, which had been instituted either to conciliate the gods of the populace, or to avert mischances from the state ; the latter bemoaned the overthrow of public morals, ascribing their decay to those very means of expurgation whereby the priests enabled any one, with the utmost ease, to re-



gard faimself as clarified from the greatest vices, and the Deity as atoned. And, forsooth, if an exhaustless fund is provided for discharging all incurred and hitherto to li^ I contracted dehts, upon which we need only draw illimi- itably to regard ourselves as free and fully acquitted, I postponing meanwhile all firm resolutions of amendment I till we become assured that we are thus cleansed from / every stain of guilt ; then is it indeed much to he feared that no better results can naturally or morally flow from such a creed. Again, were it held that this belief did in itself contain such an especial efficacy, or mystic or ma- gic force, as, although merely historical so far as we can see, to be able thoroughly to transform the whole inner into a new man, provided only mankind yield himself up to it, and to the feelings it is calculated to produce ; then must such renewing faith be looked upon as a gift imme- diately sent down from heaven, along with and under cover of the historical belief — a supposition according to which the ethic properties and destiny of mankind must be, in their last resort, resolved into an unconditioned de- cree of the Almighty, " who hath mercy on whom he willy and whom he will he harden^hy^j^ — ^a statement which, taken

•f Possiblj this mighc be expounded as follows : None can certainly undertake to say whence it comes about that one is good and another bad (I speak of course comparatively), since a disposition to one or other of those characters can be traced even in new-bom infants ; sometimes also strange contingencies of life, which nobody can foresee, are cast into one's lot, and kick the wavering beam. Nor can we foretell how any one may turn out : a judgment, therefore, on this dark and impervious matter must be handed over to the Omniscient ; and this judgment, considered as pasted before any individual's birth, is looked upon as a decree ap. pointing to every one the part his destiny will one day call him to act. The Creator's fobe-knowikg of the Order of Sensible Phenomena, is when we figure him to ourselves anthropopdthicaUy^ likewise a fqre-or- DAiNiNG. But in a Supersensible Order of Things, where time is awant-


to the letter, is the scUio mortale of all human understand- ing.

It is, consequently, a necessary result of our physical and moral nature, which last is at once the support and the interpreter of all religion, that religion become event- ually defecated from tentative and experimental springs, and gradually disengage itself from all statutes authenti- cated by history, which served for a while, through the intervention of faith ecclesiastical, prcfoisionaUy to combine mankind in an ethic association, until, the pure religion of reason reigning, ^^ God may be all in aU" The swaddling bands beneath which the embryo shot up to manhood must be laid aside when the season of maturity is come. The leading-strings of sacred traditions, together with all ap- pendages, the statutes and observances, which in their time may have been of service, grow by degrees super- fluous or even encumbrances to vigorous youth. As long as mankind (the human race) was a chiMy he understood as a ckUd and thought as a child^ and spake the doctrines which traditionary legends had unawares put into his mouth ; but now, when lie is become a many he puts away chUd^ ish things. The humiliating distinction betwixt Laic and Clergy comes to an end, and from true freedom, equality without anarchy arises, every one obeying the law now no longer statutable, but prescribed by him to himself, — which, just upon that very account, he regards as the will of the Creator revealed to him by reason, conjoining

all under an invisible and common government in a Civi^

ing, and Laws of Freedom govern, it is no mozje than an ali.-s£ezn& jcNOWLEDOE, not Serving to explain to us why one man acts thus and his neighbour the reverse ; nor how such explanation, if got, could be brought into harmony with the will's freedom.


i€i8 Deif scantily represented previously by the church vi- sible. This transition is not to be accomplished by any outward revolution, that by storm and impetuous violence sweeps its hasty and rash course of innovation, where, after all, flaws in the new constitution must be retained for cen- turies, inasmuch as they cannot again be altered, at least not without — what is always to be dreaded — a fresh revo- lutionary convulsion. The ground leading toward such a transition must be found in the principles of the pure re- ligion of reason — a, divine revelation, that ha^ at all times been promulgated (though not historically) to our race. An intention to make this transit, once adopted upon mature deliberation, can be carried through the steady progression of gradual reform, into execution, so far forth as the amending of the church is a work of man : revo- lutions intended to hasten the tardy steps of reform, de- pend alone on Providence, neither can they be introduced upon any uniform settled plan, nor can the public freedom escape unhurt.

It may, however, be rightly asserted that the King- dam of God hcfs come, whenever the transition-principle above explained Eas taken public root in any country, and an observed approximation can be descried of church- faith to a rational and universal religion, although its actual arrival may be still deemed incomputably distant. The aforesaid principle affords the ground tending to this perfection, and does therefore, like a self-evolving and ever»onward forth-fecundifying seed, comprehend all that is one day to illuminate and govern the world. The Fair and Good naturally sprouting from the soil of hu- man nature, engage alike the affections and the under- standing, and never fail to gain a general spread, when


Once they have free course publicly to run. Impedi- ments arising from civil and political causes, that seem from time to time to stop and hinder their success, do in truth rather serve to draw more closely — ^and even lend an added super-exaltation to — the hearts of those united in good : which good, once seen in an intellectual apprehen- sion, can never afterwards fall altogether from the me- mory.f

f The Church Creed may, without being either renounced or impugned, be still made serviceable as a vehicle, while the imagination of its beliePs being a duty required for the due wor- ship of God, is prevented from affecting our conception of the pure and true moral religion proper. Thus a harmony of opi- nion may be caused to prevail amid the adherents of the most diverse statutable confessions, — a union of view that all teachers and interpreters of ecclesiastic dogmas ought to labour to bring about, until at length, by general consent (a uniformity result- ing from our moral freedom, and brought about by the gradual march and enlightenment of the understanding), the forms and restraints of a degrading extorted faith are exchanged for an ec- clesiastical polity suited to the dignity of a moral religion. To combine the unity of church -confessions with perfect religious liberty, is a problem, to solve which we are urged alike by an ethical interest, and by the idea objected to the mind by reason of the necessary and exclusive oneness of a priori religion, al- though that this last should ever obtain in any visible church, seems more than human nature will allow us to hope for. This idea, like all other representations of the absolute and uncondi* tioned, is one to which nothing adequate can be found as a phe- nomenon, and which yet, as a practically regulatory principle, has all objective reality, and must ever prompt us to aim at this grand end, — concord and uniformity in religious belief. The law- yer stands in a somewhat similar position with his political idea of Law IntemiUionaly so far forth as this last ought to be ac- knowledged, upheld, and enforced as a universally coercive Law



Such k the imperceptible but continual struggle made by the good principle to erect for itself, among the hu- man race, an empire and dominion according to moral laws, destined to subdue the opposing evil, and under its victorious sway to give to thiB world perpetual peace.

CosmopoUticcd. Of this, experiebce and observation cut short our hopes. A bias appears entwined about our race (perhaps intentionally) inducing each individual state, where it can, to subjugate all adjoining, and erect a Universal Monarchy on their ruins ; but this, aflter attaining a certain size, splinters itself down into lesser states. In like manner, each church advances a lofly claim to universality, but whenever it acquires a consi- derably extended sway, principles of internal dissolution are observed to distract it, after which it speedily falls asunder into various sects.

The premature and thc ^ffffp hnytfyl blending of different races (morality not having yet prepared the way for profitable intercourse), — ^if I may be permitted to hazard a conjecture, and assume in this point a design of Providence, — is chiefly prevent- ed by these two mighty agents, oppugnancy of religions, and diversity of tongues.




Of religion, no Universal History can be written : for when this word is understood in its strictest sense, and not used to signify the different religions that may have been prevalent on our globe, then it is obvious that such religion can have no public outward states; for, being founded on pure ethical science, »id the a priori faith in religion, wherein ethic issues, each individual can be con*- scious to himself alone, of the progression be may have made in it^ EcclesiaBtical faith, therefore, it is only that admits of being historically pourtrayed, when the various mutations of its form are contrasted and compared with the sole^ pure, and unchanging, ethical belief. At that point of time, when the former is made dependant o»i the restrictive conditions of the latter, and the necessity of its consent therewith becomes publicly recognized, then does the CHURCH UNiVER&AL begin to frame itself into an ethical civitas Deiy and to advance toward perfecti(Mi» under the guidance of one sure and universally valid princij)Ie. It may be coniectured beforehand, that this History can cpn- tain nothing but a narrative of. the perpetual conflicts be- twixt a god or hero-worshipping faith, 3]|e seen that he was not always a Rewarder here, men concluded this life not to be the whole of their existence. And thus a future state was t»x>ught into religion, and from thenceforth be- came a necessary part of it."


Thirdly. — So remote was the Jadaical era from being the epoch fitted for the advent of a church universal, that, on the contrary, the Mosaic econ omy rather excluded

"■•"«■■ " ■■ ""•"""*' '" •* '»«'»»^ Bill I. ^IIHHWWMIW—-

the rest of mankind from its communion ; vrhile the

>..^..^,->t •^■'WJIS*'***"

Jews, as a people specially clbosen by Jehovah for him- self, entertained a sullen disregard or even hatred of the whole human race generally, and were in turn cordially detested. Here it must be noted, that the circumstance has been greatly over-rated that they represented to them- selves as the Governor of the world the only one unseen God, of whom no sensible likeness was to be made. Most other nations held pretty much the same belief, and only by WORSHIPPING sundry inferior mighty under-gods did they render themselves suspected of Polytheisiii.§ A God who demands obedience to such laws solely as require no amended moral sentiments, is not that Moral Being need- ed by reason to support religion. In fact, religion would thrive better, when various invisible subordinate deities are pre-supposed — provided always the people understood, that, however different their respective departments, do- mains, and jurisdictions, all concurred in favouring with assistance those only who, with the whole heart, followed after virtue, — than when a single being is believed in, who places the head and front of his religion in a mere, mecha- nic worship.

General chuo;h..history, v^h^n treated systematicallyj must consequently commence with the origin of Christi- anity, which, as an entire abandonment of that Judaism

§ <' A circumstance plainly too frivolous to deserve attention — ^beiog indeed nothing more than this : whether mankind fall down before a dog, a cat, or a monkey, or whether he worship the God of the Universe.*' War- burton upon Hume, p. 866, vol. vii. quarto ed. 1788. Te.


whence it sprang, was grounded on a qu ite new princ iple, and effected a thorough revolution in points of faith. The pains taken by the a igostles to connect both together, by painting the olden order of affairs as a preparation for the new, prefiguring in types and shadows the events that had just transpired, clearly shows, that in this they studied singly the best means of introducing the true moral re- ligion proper, in room of the old worship, to which their countrymen were inveterately attached, without shocking over-violently their prejudices. The disuse of the corpo- ral mark whereby the race of Abraham were wont to dis- tinguish themselves, guides to the inference, that the new belief was detached not alone from the ancient, but from all statutes whatsoever, and was intended to ensoul a re- ligion valid for no one secluded race, but for the whole habitable globe.

From Judaism went forth Christianity, but not from the olden unmixed Mosaic constitutions. This polity had long ere then fallen greatly into decay ; its precepts of worship had insensibly become tinctured with various tenets of school morality: the otherwise uncultivated nation having from time to time imported much of Greek philosophy. Some such changes as these had doubtless greatly modi- fied their notions of obligation ; and, concurring with the diminished power of the priesthood, the populace, then smarting imder the yoke of conquerors, who regarded in- differently all foreign creeds, were prepared and ready to revolt against the heavy pressure of rites and ceremonies which neither they nor their forefathers could at any time well bear : from such elements of explosion there sudden- ly burst forth the new Christian faith. The teacher of the gospel announced himself as an ambassador from heaven,


accrediting his mission by the worthy declaration, that the servile mercenary belief in Holidays, Rites, and Con- fessions, was in itself vain ; and that a moral faith alone, which proved its reality .by good degortnaent, j;oul4 si^n c- t ify and sa v e. The narrative farther bears, that after hav- ing, by his doctrine and sufferings, even up to the point of an undeserved and meritorious death,f fully exhibited

•f AVherewith the story of kis public life concludes, at least so much of it as can be held up as a fit example for general imitation. The more secret events — the besurrection and ascension — witnessed only by his immediate friends, cannot come within the sphere of a religion with- in the bounds of reason, although, regarded as mere ideas — ^which may be done without impugning their historical reality— they would suggest to the reader the commencement of another life, and entrance into the mansions and society of the blessed. Howbeit, understood Ifterally, just as they are congruous to our sensitive mode of perception, so much the more do they encumber our intellectual belief in futurity, implying, as they do, the materialitm of all cosmical Intelligents whatsoever, and guiding, ^r^, to the psychological notion, that the svhstratum of man- kind's PERSONALITY is MATTER wMch cau coutinue identic only while the body remains unchanged ; and, second, to the cosmological no- tion of its SPACIAL PRESENCE in all worlds, the universe itself being, agreeably to this principle, nothing but an extent of room. The Hypo- thesis of the spiritualism of Intelligents is much more consonant to reason. Here the body lies neglected in the dust, while the living person still survives. The soul of the man, stripped of its sensuous ap- pendages, can be wafted to the realms of celestial beatitude, without be- ing present locally in any part of space's illimitable expanse. Nor is this the only advantage accming to the mind from this latter theory. It rids us of the difficulty of trying to figure to ourselves matter in cogi- tation, and relieves us from any apprehension of casualties that might happen to our existence after death, were l^e permanency of our Being dependent on the form and cohesion of certain particles of matter — tie perdurdbUUy of a simple substance, arising immediately from the very notion of its nature. Where the Immateriality of our Person is held, reason is devoid of any interest to find itself throughout eternity co*as- sociated with a body, whereof it never even here below was over fond, and which, how transformed and purified soever it may be, must (so long as personality is made to depend on its identity) consist of the same ma-


and delineated in his own person a tTanscript of that in humanity which alone is wedl-pleasing to God, he return* ed to the celestial mansions whence he came. Before withdrawing finally from earth, he left with his friends the declaration of his Last Will (as it were in a Nuncu- pative Testament), and assured them, that by force of the memory of his desert, doctrine, and example, ^^ He (the embodied ideal of a humanity acceptable to God) would, though gone hence, remain ever with his disciples, even to the ond of the world." The account of this trans- action, if designed to afford a historical belief in the extraction and the possibly supra-terrestrial dignity and rank of his person, would no doubt need to be supported on the buttress of miracles; and although his moral, soul- amending tenets can dispense vrith all such adminicles of their truth, still the Sacred Yolnme has accompanied and interwoven them with mirtzcles and mysteries^ whose very notification is furthermote itself a miracle ; thus founding a church'-creed on the Instoric content, which last again can only be authenticated by learning:, as well in respect of impit a. of interpretation.

Every belief that, as faith historical, is rested upon books, demands a learned public for its surety, whose contem- porary writers, beyond any suspicion of lending them- selves as accessories to the report, or of being in any se- cret understanding with the first publishers of the narra- tivjB, can check and control tlie rumours spread. The ethi-

terials which constitute the basis of its organization. Besides, why the dust and clay whereof our body is composed should be carried into hea- ven — a region of the universe where probably totally diverse materials

are required for the existence and preservation of animated beings is

altogether incomprehensible.


cal faith of reason needs no such confirmation, but does, on the contrary, give evidence to itself. Now although, at the epoch of the religious revolution above alluded to, the Roman people who then governed Palestine, and were even scattered throughout Judsea, did really possess a lite- rary republic, who, through an uninterrupted series of writers, have handed down to our own day the political events affecting the policy and the constitution of the realm ; still it is to be noted, that no writer of that day makes mention either of the alleged miracles, nor yet of the public change produced by them in the religious opi- nions of their eastern neighbours. A generation had al- ready expired before later inquirers proceeded to investi- gate what their contemporaneous progenitors had omitted to ascertain. Speculation was now set on foot touching the essence and nature of this hitherto unknown faith, which bad not spread without considerable public commotion ; but it does not appear that any inquiry was instituted into its historical origin, in order, out of the Jewish an- nals themselves, to detect its falsehood or confirm its truth. Consequently, from the first beginning of Christi- anity to the period when the church constituted a learned body of its own, the narrative is obscure ; and we cannot even tell what effect the doctrines of Christ had on the morality of his followers — ^npr whether the first converts were really morally superior to their neighbours, or just people of the ordinary run. Howbeit, from the time when the Christian Church first figures in the history of the empire, it is past all doubt that the effects it produced are by no means of that beneficial character, justly ex- pected from a moral religion : — they arc certainly very far from recommending it.


History teaches how mystical fanaticism gave birth to swarms of monks and hermits, who, for the sake of some fancied sanctity in celibacy, rendered themselves useless to their species. Connected with this abuse, were hatch- ed a brood of pretended miracles, that fettered the nations with the shackles of a blind superstition ; while at the same time a Tyrannical Hierarchy, uttering the dreadful voice of Orthodoxy, obtruded itself on the free con- science of mankind, and did, by the mouth of presumptu- ous chosen interpreters, convert the whole Christian world into the embittered partizans of conflicting articles of faith — where, indeed, unless pure reason sit as umpire, no general concord can ever be attained. In the East we see the state making itself ridiculous by mixing itself con- troversially up, with tjke statutes and brawls of faith sa- cerdotal, instead of rather compelling churchmen to abide within the due limits of their post, and preventing them from doing that to which they always have betrayed a strong bias, viz. exchanging the character of Prceceptor for that of Governor. While thus distracted, we observe the Asiatic division of the empire become the booty of enemies who ultimately abolish the dominant belief and its disputes. In the West, faith erects its own throne. The 9oi'discait Vicar of God shakes himself loose from, and sets himself above, all worldly dominion, and allows civil order, together with the sciences (which last alone can truly watch and preserve a community), to fall in ruins to the ground. Finally, we perceive how both the Oriental and Occidental States of Christendom, now far gone in decay, did,— like those diseased plants and ani- mals that attract loathsome vermin, to hasten and com- plete their decline, — ^become over-run with barbarians.


The kings of those barbarous savages are from time to time chastised like children by the spiritual head, and kept in awe by an enchanted wand, — the threat of excom- munication. Now crusades lead them forth to distant wars, that devastate remote regions of the globe, while anon subjects are exeited to revolt against their rulers, and taught to hate their fellow Christians of a different denomination. The root of this multiform turmoil flou- I rishes in the soil of despotically-commanding church- i^h, and would even now vege^e into the like excesses, did not political interests and force suppress them. Who- ever puts these things together, might well be justified in exclaiming,— Tan^m religio potuit suadere malorum ; did not the original intention most transparently shine through the page of the original record, visL that the design of the Author of Christianity was to introduce a pure religious faith, touching which there can be no contradictory opi- nions or disputes ; whereas that whole hubbub, whereby humanity has been and still is distracted, arose entirely hence, that, owing to some perverse bias of our nature, what was primarily intended as a mere introductory tran- sit from antiquated faith historical, to religious faith pro- per, became afterwards mistaken for, and incorporated with, the foundation of reli^on universal.

Were any one now to ask, " What period during the whok known history oflMchwrch is to be esteemed the best f* the answer may confidently be, — " the present:" a prin- ciple of true religious faith has now been publicly rec<^- nised in Christianity, which, though long dormant*, needs now only to be roused and set free, in order to bring about a continued approach to that all-containing church, which is the visible likeness of the invisible kingdom of God on earth.


Reason at length, — in all moral and soul-amending mat- tiers, — withdrawn from the load of arbitrarily interpretable creeds, has now estab lished these two maxims, wh ich are in this quarter of the fflobe universally, aIthou£:h not publicly, received by ^1 true ^^^.^SSSS&JS&Ji!^^^^* First , the prin- ciple of an equitable reserve in speaking of all matters that concern revelation. Seeing that no one can successfully im- 1 pugiTtBelcIaim of the Scripture to be (even in respect to its historic content) divine revelation, its practical part being in all points most God-worthy ; and seeing furthermore that a religious community can hardly be established and rendered permanent without some Holy Book and corre- sponding church-creed founded thereon ; it does seem the most prudent and reasonable course that can be pursued, to continue to use,thia.Wokf> isj^as the Jext-book of ecclesiastic educatio n . Again, since no one will now-a- days expect a. new revelation ushered in by miraculous credentials, it is obvious that the authority of the existing volume ought not to be lessened by petulant or fastidious cavils, — while at the same time (owing to this modest dovbt? Tr.) belief in its contents is never to be represented as a condition precedent of and indispensably requisite for salvation. The s econ d principle is, that since the Sacred Narrative exists merely for the behoof of Faith Ecclesias- tical, and never can or awght to have any influence on the moral maxims we adopt — being subjected to the Church- Creed, with the express view of more vividly delineating the true and real object of all ethical associations (viz. a virtue that presses after holiness), it results that every interpretati(yj^of-.ilie_Sc^^ entirely moral,

and that it never can be too strenuously inculcated, — the unlettered betraying a constant bias to lapse into a mere-



ly PASSIVE faithjf +-that true religion consists not in know- ing and confessing what God does, or may already have done, for our salvation, but in ourselves doing what must be done in order to make ourselves worthy of this benefit.'^ Indispensably incumbent pursuits and avoidances can be those actions only that do in themselves possess an un- doubted UNCONDITIONED WORTH, which cau consequent- ly aJbm render us acceptable to God, and whereof^tj^e practical necessity is self-evident to every man, and fully certain, quite apart from any Scripturary doctrines. The Government is bound not to oppose these principles, nor to lett nor hinder their striking root among the public. It is, on the contrary, a most perilous, indeed audacious under- taking, and one whereby heavy responsibility is incurred, (when the Regent tampers with the course of the Divine Provideneej)and does by Test or Corporation Acts, passed out of courtesy to the prevalent Church-Creed, tcmpt,ff

•f One of the causes of this bias lies in the following supposed PrincU pie of Security y viz. that the faults of a religion in which I was bom and brought up, quite independently of my own option, and whereof the doc- trinal entierty I neither make nor mar, are faults not chargeable upon me, but upon my teachers and other publicly installed instructors. ' This is doubtless also the reason why, in general, a conversion from one form of faith to another is not looked upon with much iavour ; although here another and a deeper ground may be assigned, viz. that, owing to the uncertainty inwardly felt by every man, which of the Historical Beliefs is the really true, whilst the Ethical Belief is alwa^'s and everywhere the same, people deem it a matter of unconcern what vehicle their neighs bours may think fit to prefer.

•f-f- When governments pretend that conscience is not coerced, inasmuch as they only forbid the subject to state publicly his opinions on religion, but allow him privately to thine what he likes, one is provoked to smile, and to say that no freedom is hereby conceded by the magistrate to the people — to stop the current of their thoughts being beyond his power. And yet this mental co-action, which cannot be wielded by the temporal authorities, is actually put upon mankind by the clerical, who


by putting up to opeii auction, the conscientiousness of the subject, oiFering or withholding civil offices and emo- luments, the common right of all, according as individuals accept or decline those tests which, at the very utmost, can have no more than a learned probability in their fa- vour. Even when no regard is had to the detriment thence arising to the sacred cause of freedom, it is worse than doubtful how far such a mode of dealing can procure good citizens to any state. Who is he of those, thus impeding the free development of God's originary ar- rangements for the welfare of our race, that would wil- lingly, — conscience being consulted, — stand surety and

are at all times ready to put an effective veto upon independent liberty of cogitation, and oftentimes succeed in imposing even on the legislature the shackles of this subtile yoke, barring them from so much as thinking otherwise than they prescribe. Mankind's propensity to a mercenary and worshipping religion, and bias to prefer it before the ethical worship of the Deity, is so strong, that they are even prone to regard a ritual of form and show as a matter not only of the utmost magnitude, but as alone of sufficient efficacy to compensate for every other shortcoming ; and hence render it most easy for those Soul-Preservers — the Guardians of Orthodoxy —to instil into their flock so pious a dread of swerving, even

n the least, from the Articles of a Creed supported upon History, that

they never venture, even in thottghty to allow a single doubt as to their accuracy to gain footing in their minds, for this would be tantamount to lending ear to the Evil One. True ; to rid one*s self of this oppression, a man has but so to will (a statement that cannot be made with regard to the statutably-ordained confession of the country) ; but unfortunately this volition is precisely what clerical co-action clogs with its drag. Bad as is this forcing of conscience (which tempts to hypocrisy), it is not so bad as suppressing outward liberty of belief; The warped understanding gradually regains its elasticity as the man advances in moral insight, and awakes consciously to freedom, whence alone true reverence for duty can spring. But the other, which passes an interdict on the press in favour of a given creed, puts an end to all voluntary efforts that might willingly be made by the ethical communion of believers (in which last alone con- sists the essential of a true church), and makes the church formally sub- servient to political ordonnances.


guarantee for all the damage that he may, by such violent invasion of free rights, entail upon his country. For al- though the predestinated growth of good, pre-appointed by our Creator, never can by any human power or stra- tagem be altogether frustrated, still it may, by thus fore- stalling mankind of a free market for opinion, be long stunted, or even forced to retrograde.

^ -^Touching the superintending guidance of Providence, THE HISTORY gocs ou to represent the ki ngdom of hea- VEN no longer as for a while postponed, or merely ap-

I proachins:, but discloses to us its actual advent and ing^ress. We may regard it as merely designed to animate the hope and courage of those who strive to enter thereinto, when, toward the close of the volume, we impinge upon a pro- phecy where, dark as in Sybilline books, are foretold the ultimate consummation of this grand cosmical revulsion, and painted as come a visible kingdom of God on earth (under the rule of his Vicar, — once more descended from on high), together with the happiness enjoyed even here under his sway. After the rebels who attempt a fresh revolt are quelled and cast out, the Apocalypse an- nounces their final doom, viz. to be hurled with their leader to destruction; and the end of the world concludes the scene. The Teacher of the Gospel, however, exhibited to his disciples the Kingdom of God on Earth only in its glorious, soul-exalting, tnoral phase ; i. e. he showed them wherein that worthiness consisted whereby alone they could become citizens in the divine state, and what they had to do, not only to enter in themselves, but also to work hand in hand with all others similarly minded, and even if possible with the whole human race. As for hap- piness, — an inevitable object of mankind's wishes, — he



told them beforehand not to count upon it during this earthly life, but rather to be prepared to submit to the greatest sacrifices and tribulations. Again, since a total renunciation of physical enjoyment cannot well be ex- pected from any living man, he qualified this prospect by saying, " Refoice and be exceeding glad^ for great tviU be your reward in heaven.'^ The above-cited Appendix to the History of the Church, containing the account of its fu- ture and last destination, unfolds to. view the church at last TRIUMPHANT ; t. €. after having overcome all hin- derances, crowned even while on earth with happiness. The separating the good from the wicked (which, while the church was advancing to perfection, would have been inconsistent with the idea of its end, — the very mixture be- ing needed, partly to test and whet the virtue of the one, and partly by that bright example to draw over the others from vice) now takes place, as the next effect of the completed establishment and institution of the Divine State. The last proof of its stability and fixity, viz. its victorious over- throw of all outward foes, — where the state infemcU is finally dashed by the might of the state celestial^'-^iB now added ; this terrestrial order of things has drawn to a close, and fled away, while " deaths the last enemy (of the good), being destroyed^** either party enter upon an immortality, of weal to the one — of woe to the other. The very form of a church is now abolished, mankind, as Citizens of Heaven, assuming that equal rank with the stadtholder and vicarious head, to which he himself has raised them, and God becomes all in all.f

t An expression that may be thus understood (when abstraction is made from its mysterious import, which last, transcending the range of ail possible experience, belongs only to the sacred History of Huma-


This Sketch of a History of Futurity, which is after all no History, is a beautiful Ideal of a distant epoch, fore- seen IN FAITH, that must one day take place, owing to the introduction of the true religion universal. The pe- riod of its actual arrival we do not yet descry ; but only LOOK FORWARD TO the day, when, through a constant pro- gression and approximation, the highest good realizable on earth may be attained ; a prospect in which there is no^ thing visionary or mystical, but where everything pro- ceeds according to the principles and laws of our moral nature. The Appearance of Antichrist— the Milennium — the End of the World — may receive from Reason excel- lent symbolic interpretations. The coming of the new heavens and new earth may, just like the uncertain dis- tance or nearness of death, be very easily understood to express the necessity of our being ever ready for so mo- mentous a change; and does in reality, when we lend to such symbol its intellectual meaning, invite us to regard ourselves as at all times the called citizens of a divine ethi- cal state. " Wheuy Hwrefare^ cometh the Kingdom of God ?^* — The Kingdom of God cometh not in visual form ; FOR be--

nity, and is therefore pbactically devoid of ethical purchase on the will), viz. that the historical belief, which, being a church-creed, required a sacred volume for conducting the education of our race (which volume, however, obstructs the unity and universality of the church), w^Uone day become evanescent,* having finally merged in a uniyensaU^usdi^vi. dencing pure religious fkith : to bring about which transit we ought most

sedulously to labour, by constantl}^ ^^^^^^^^S.^EH^ ™P^1 ?l*^l!ff<'iLfr?'" a concomitant vehicle t)^s9jm^j^:s^ijQ6^silL\^SS^e;t thrown aside.

  • [In the second edition Kant has appended the following addendum to

the above Note — ^Tr.] Not exactly that it should cease (for, as a ve- hicle, it may at all times be useful and necessary), but that possibly it may do so ; a contemplation that denotes only the internal fixity of one's pure moral faith.


HOLD THE Kingdom of God is within you ! {Luke, xvii. V. 20, 21.)

Thus have we represented a kingdom of God on earth> not according to a particular covenant — not a Messianic, but a mo- ral kingdom, cognizable by pure reason. The former (Regnum Divinum PacHiium) must draw its proofs from history, and is subdivided into the Messianic kingdom, according to the old and the new covenant. Here it is worthy of remark, that the Jews, who lived under the elder dispensation, are still extant, and, though scattered over the whole globe, still preserve their ancient character ; while, on the contrary, nations professing other creeds generally lost their primitive belief, and adopted the current persuasion of the country they were in. , To many this phenomenon seems so extraordinary, that they deem it impossi- ble to have happened by any usual course of events, and one im- mediately arranged by the Deity for certain ends aimed, at by Supreme Wisdom. But, on more mature consideration, we ob- serve, that no race possessing a Written Religion (i. e. Sacred Book) mixes itself with another (e. g. the Roman) that has none. In truth, it rather gains proselytes. And this is the rea* son why the Jews, who, previous to their captivity in Babylon, were prone to idolatry, abstained subsequently from this vice ; since after that catastrophe their sacred books became, for the first time, matter of general and public study. In exactly the same way the Parsbes, attached to the religion of Zoroaster, preserve up to this very hour their written creed, notwithstand- ing their dispersion, and are thus kept together by the Zenda- vesta, which remains under the sacerdotal guardianship of the Desturs. The Hindus, on the other hand, who, under the name of Gypsies, are scattered far and wide, have been in great measure swallowed up by their neighbours. Their native creed, at


all events, has perished ; since^ being Farias — the very dregs of the people — they were interdicted from reading their Sacred Volumes. Furthermore, what the Jews in themselves might have been unable to accomplish was done to their hand, first by the Christian, and then afterwards by the Mahometan reli- gions, inasmuch as both sprouted from the old stock of Judaical Belief, and presupposed an acquaintance with the Sacred Books in question ; the force of which remark is not impaired by the circumstance that Mahometanism declares the Jews to have vi* tiated their Writings* Should at any time the Jews, in the course of their peregrinations, have lost all taste or skill in deciphering the text of their earlier history, they could always revive these studies, and procure copies of their sacred documents from Chris- tian communities, that had originally emanated from themselves* Hence also it happens, that, in regions unknown to Christianity and Mahometanism, no Jewish wanderers are to be met with, ex- cept a few on the coast of Malabar, and a single colcxiy or so in China. The former are in constant commercial intercourse with their brethren settled in Arabia ^ and the very circumstance that colonial vestiges of thi& race are to be met with among the Chi- nese, places it past all doubt that they must have dispersed them- selves, at some period or other, throughout that wealthy empire ; and that the major part of them, finding no points of sympathy or cognationship betwixt thehr own and the Chinese creed, be- came ultimately oblivious of their peculiar tenets, and were swal- lowed up and absorbed into the great indistinguishable mass around them. Edifying remarks upon this national peculiarity of the AbrahamideSf and the long survival of their religion, while they themselves are destitute of habitation, country, or interna- tional connexion, are but of doubtful use, since either party draw inferences consolatory to themselves. The genuine descendant of Abraham sees, in this long preservative against extinction, a promise on the part of benignant Providence that his race is yet destined to the splendours of terrestrial rule ; Christians, again.


behold only the warning ruins of a state desolate, because it en- deavoured to oppose itself to the advent and spread of the Hea- venly Kingdom, which Providence still upholds in being, partly to keep in memory the olden Messiah-Prophecies, and partly to gibbet up in terror to the rest of the world the almost lifeless carcass of the nation, as a dreadful instance of avenging justice ; the Jews obstinately persisting in framing to themselves a poli^ deai instead of a moral notion of their foretold Messiah.


In all religious forms of faith, we do, when searching \ narrowly into their interior texture, invariably arrive at somewhat mysterious, i. e. at something holy,) which may be indeed known by each single individuaL but cannot £E i^asjeij^nown by him to others, t. ^.. which does not admit of being publicly communicated. As some- thing HOLY, the OBJECT must be moral. It must conse- quently fall under Reason, and be sufficiently cognisable for every practical purpose, while, at the same time, as somewhat hidden, it is impervious to any theory of our speculative understanding : for were the case otherwise, then it would be communicable to every one, and admit of being imparted and made known, as well outwardly as publicly.

Belief in what we consider to be a holy mystery, may [ be regarded either as divinely infused, or as a purely-/ rational belief. Unless constrained by some urgent necessity to assume the former, we shall Lay down the maxim of abiding singly by the latter. Feelings are not knowledge. Upon the same account they teach and indicate


no mystery : consequently, since this last stands imme-* diate]y connected with reason, and is moreover incommu- nicable generally, it results that each person must search for this mystery (if perchance there be at aU any such) within the circuit and extent of his own Reason.

It is impossible to tell a priori^ from an investigation of the object, whether there be sacred mysteries or no. We . are thus constrained diligently to ransack our inner man, in order to see whether, from the Stdffective of our ethical economy, some imperscrutable may liot rise. Here we most assuredly will not class the last grounds of mo- rality along with the Holy Mysteries; for the whole theory of ethic is publicly communicable, although the supersen- sible causality lying at the bottom of moral conduct is neither known nor given. That alone, therefore, which may be an object of possible, but incommunicable know- ledge, will we regard as possessing the dread character of the SACRO'SAKCT. Upon this account — Freedo m^ a"^ property revealed to mankind from the determinability of his Will by the unconditionally commanding Law, is \ no mystery whateverTTor it admits of being publicly pro- pounded and communicated to every one. But t he last unsearchable G^round and root of this property is mysterious. I not being the object of any possible human inquest, and J so quite incommunicable. Again, just this very freedom alone it is, that does, when transferred to the last object of practical reason, viz. the realizing the idea of our chief moral end, issue inevitably in those holy roysteries.f

-f* In like manner, the cause of gravitation is unknown, so much so, that we are even able to perceive, that it never can become an object of our knowledge ; its very notion presupposing a first motive force as a property unconditionally belonging to matter. Notwithstanding, there


Seeing that mankind cannot by himself alone realize that idea of the Sovereign and Supreme Good, which is an inseparable concomitant of a pure and moral senti- ment ; and since he can neither confer upon himself the requisite share of physical happiness, nor cause to come to pass a general union of mankind, aiming at this moral end, and does nevertheless deem himself bound to endea- vour after its accomplishment; the consequence is, that he finds himself impelled to believe in the co-operation or disposing guidance of a Moral Governor of the World, by whose superintending aid this last end may be put within his reach. Here there opens to his mental gaze the unveiled abysses of a mystery, viz. what — hem much^ or if indeed anything at all, is to be ascribed to God, as done by him for this behoof: for, in all the offices of humanity, we know only what we ourselves have to

is here no mjstery : for attraction can be made patent to every body, its LAW being amply cognizable. When Newton represents the attraction of gravitation as the phenomenon of the Divine Omnipresence, he does not thereby attempt to explain it (the local presence of God in space involv- ing a contradiction) : all he suggests to us is a Sublime Analogy, where, by subjecting the physical system to an immaterial cause, all corporeal entities are conjoined into one mundane whole. It is equally difficult to '| comprehend the last substratal ground combining all finite Intelligents I in an ethical state. All that we recognise is our duty to become mem- bers of such a society ; although the possibility of fully realizing this union, even when we obey the dictate of our reason, lies beyond the li- mited insight we enjoy. There are in Nature arcana — and in politics there are secret* which ought — not to be divulged ; but both may possi- bly become known to us by observation and expetience. Touching that which it is every one's duty to know, no secret or mystery obtains : only touchinff that which God alone can do, and to co-operate wherewith, transcends our power and therefore also our duty, can there be a mys- tery proBeriy^so^ called, viz. a Holy Mystery in "Religion, concerning which it seems Plough for us to be aware that there is such a thing— to comprehend it, might perhaps benefit us nothing.


do, in order that we make oarselves worthy of this un^ known— at least incomprehensiUe-^supply.

To fix and define this Idea of a Moral Governor of the World, is a problem proposed to us by practical reason. What we are concerned «Jbout knowing^i^ not what the Nature of God maybe in itself ^Jbut^irfiaLhe^is in refe- rence to M9. as J^oral Agents. For this latter behoof, we must so cogitate and represent to ourselves the Divine Nature, as to exhaust all those relations obtaining betwixt our Idea of Him (as Unchangeable, Omniscient, Al- mighty, &c.), and that entire perfection requisite on our part for thoroughly executing his Will — and, without re- garding him under this relative aspect, no fixt or pre- cise moral notion of the Godhead can be framed.

Cogitated conformably to this practical necessity of our reason, the True Catholic Relij^ous Belief must be ex- plained to be THE BELIEF IN GoD, FIRST, as the Omni- potent Creator of Heaven and Earthji. e. morally as a Holy Lagegixfir ; secondly, as the Preserver of the Human race, i. e. their BEiiix^iiUKTJGovernor.iind Moral Guardian ; THIRDLY, as the administrator of his own Holy Laws, J. e. asja^iCLlJXiaElJudge.

Mystery here there is none, for this threefold belief expresses merely the moral relations understood to obtain betwixt God and the human race. Furthermore it objects itself to every one^s thoughts, and hence comes to be met with in the religion of almost every nation above barba- rism.f The same notion occurs in Constitutional Law,

t In the narrative^ conveyed to us by the history, of what takes place after death, the Judge of the World (strictly he who separates for him- self, and takes under his own dominion, those who belong to the kingdom of the Good Principle) is said to be not God, but the Son of Man. This


where every commonwealth must be figured as swayed by such a threefold order of AtMoriHes. Only, in the ethic government contemplated, the sovereignty is purely MORAL ; whence the re-union of all three functions may take place in the undivided person of the one ethical le- gislator of our race , whereas, in every civil polity^ the le- gislative, executive, and judicial functions, must be figur- ed as wielded by three several juridical personages.*

seems to intimate, that human nature, inwardly conscious of its own in- firmity, would choose such a Judge to x>^s^„ sentence — a favour whic h, though g^n^di^ jy^THl Tot oS^Hfl laigainflt jf "ft^^**- — ^The Divi ne Judg e of his intelligent cre ation {the Holy Ghott) can only be cogitated as pro- nouncing^ doom accocdiofr«t . rigour o£.law, ahdgiving/orce to tiie sentence already passed upon us by conscience, when reckpning up Che account of our misdeeds. The reason is, that since we do not know what deductions may equitably be allowed us on the score of hu- man frailty, and are acquainted only with the amount of our deliberate transgressions, we have no data whence to claim any mitigation of the seyerity otherwise to be dealt out to us as our future lot.

  • It is hardly possible to assign any cause why so many nations of an-

tiquity have concurred in holding this opinion, unless it spring from some common principle in reason, namely, the idea of a government, whether obtaining in a single country, or throughout the universe. Zoroaster^s creed has these three divine persons, Ormuzd, Mithra, and Ahriman, The Hindus have Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva (with this difference, however, that the Persians figure to themselves the third Person, not merely as causing those evils which are punishments, but as caunng those very mo- ral ills for which mankind are to suffer, whereas in Hindustan he merely judges and hands over to vengeance). The Eotftiaks had Phia, Kneph, and Neith, where, so far as we can collect their meaning through the obscure glimmering of ancient history, the first person was an in- corporeal spirit. Creator of the World ; the second was a principle of sustaining and ooverking benignity ; the third a principle of wis- dom limitary of the second, who therefore was conceived to administer a JUDICIARY function. The Goths revered Odin (Attfather), Freya (or Freyer, kindness), and Titor (the punisher). Even the Jews seem, to- ward the close of their polity, to have imbibed these notions ; for, when the Pharisees accused Jesus of terming himself the Son of God, the


Again, since t his belifi f> which adapts the moral rela- tions obtaining betwixt the Supreme and his Subjects to the uses of religion generally, purging our conceptions of a hurtful anthrc^morphism, and shaping them to a meet- ness for the true morality of a People of God, was first em - hndiftd^jn thfl r!%iatiaq Trft ed. and was thus'singly by it publicly propounded to the world; it re sults that su ch

F'omuWtion may not unaptly be styled the revelation of that whichj.ih.rniigh man.lrin.d'a.-O.wn fault, had hitharto lain hidden from him as a mystery.

The Christian Faith teaches, FIRST, th e Supreme la w- giver is, as such, not to be regarded by us as clement, and consequently indulgent, to the frailty of our race, — ^nor yet as despotic, imperiously commanding by dint of his absolute and unconditioned right : neither are we to es- teem his behest arbitrary, and unrelated to our notions of morality, but as bearing directly upon the hallowing of our nature : SECONDLY, His B enigni ty is not to be placed in an unqualified good-will toward his creatures ; as if he did not first test the morality of their sentiments, and only then — in proportion to his well-pleasedness with their conduct — supply their inability to become fully commensurate to His Holiness : T hirdl y, in the Ad- miniRtratini^ ^f TT^ Jiiatifift^ as he cannot, on the one hand, be figured to be deprecatory by entreaty (for this were to hold a contradiction) ; so neither can he, on the other, come to judgment clothed with nothing but the holiness of the Lawgiver (for then no man ever could be justified). His Righteousness must rather be regarded as ajmnciDle limitiDg_jamijeatrai. n]Dg the exe msejof His JBgnjgriit^

weight of the accusation seems not to be, that God was said to have a Son, but that Christ individually laid claim to be this Son.


the prior condition of our conformity with his Holy Law, — so far fort h as we Sons of Men are capable of harmonizing with its demands. In a singfle word, we

III III i -- | "'" ^^ ' " I " ' ! "' II I i iirn'inim D '

have to serve God under a Triad of specific^lly *4jff<^'*f "t moral aspec ts, to indicate which, the term of a threefold ln(^ physicaLbut moral) personality of the same one Being^ is no improper phr ase. This symbol may fitly suggest to us the whole of pure moral religion, which, apart from this tripartite division, might easily degenerate into a mere servile anthropomorphism, — mankind being extremely prone to cogitate the Deity pretty much as they do a temporal regent, where occasionally these three- fold functions are not duly separated, but crudely mixed up and confounded.

Should, however, this belief in a tri-une God be un-*

derstood, not as a mere delineation of a practical idea,

""• " " - II I ^ II II III I |||,W

but as setting forth what God in Himself is, then would this be a mystery transcending all grasp of thought, quite unsusceptible of being made level even by reyelation to our comprehension ; and would therefore be properly re- presented as a surd and incogitable Mystery. To be- lieve this tenet as one adding to a man's theoretic know- ledge of the Divine Nature, can be nothing more than a confession of an utterly unintelligible Church-Greed ; or, should any think he understands it, then he professes an anthropomorphous symbol of faith ecclesiastical ; neither of wldch can benefit in the least his moral amendment. That only, admitting of being practically understood and comprehended, while, in a theoretical respect, surpassing all our notions when we attempt to fix its nature as an object, — ^is, in one sense, a Mystery, that, in another sense, can be revealed. Of this latter kind is the first above-*


mentioned tri-form faith, which serves as ajgrouiidvgprk, whence thrft g^ynyateriftB, yevealed to us by oar own reaso n, take their rise.

I. The '"X°^^^3L0.^^g!!!'j(;fJ^y^ ^ '^^) ^^V'^^^' — ^ ^®" come the citizens of an Ethical State. — We can only de- picture to ourselves our unconditioned subjection to the Divine Law, by regarding ourselves as God's crea- tures ; exactly in the same way as God can only be re- garded as the author of the laws of the material universe, when he is regarded as having created all physical en- tities. But reason cannot by any means comprehend how any being should be so created as to be endowed with the free use of its powers, seeing that, according to every Principle of Causation, no substance can have any in- ternal ground of agency other than that implanted by its originating cause ; but then its every action would be al- ready fixed by this inward determinating ground, t. 6. by its foreign cause, and so the being itself would not be free. ConsequentlyaHoly Godlike Legislation, addressed to

Intel 1 jgftgtfi ftndf^wpH with Spnnfanftity^ \fi \rrei^Qi}q}l^^^j

upon any ground of .^"^, r^^°^l!U,^ZJlh tJhf} liot^^^ ^^ thai*' C reatio n. We are consequently to be regarded JS^^Mtee Agents already ex tant^ called^ n ot by any natura l depen- dency arising from our creation, but called^ by a purely moral co-action, agreeably to Laws of Freedom — to a citi - zenship in the Divine State. Our vocation is consequent- ly, moraUy^ quite clear; but, speculative ly, the possi bility of such a call is an imPCT.etrable, noiystery.

IL The Mystery of Redemption. — Mankind is corrupt, and far from tallying with God's holy law ; nevertheless, if the divine benignity has called him into being, and in- vited him to become a member of the heavenly kingdom^


tliere must be some mean patent to God's Supreme Wis- dom, for supplying, out of the fulness of His own holi- ness, the want of our requisite qualifications* But then all the moral good or evil that can attach to mankind must necessarily be brought forth by his own spontaneity, i and consequently no moral good can flow to him from an- other, but must, if it is to be imputed, emanate from him- self. So far, therefore, as all human insight reaches, no\ one cajuhvajavsurpltis of desert, come vicariously in our I room — at least, even were we to concede the possibility I of such a substitution, still it is only, for a moral practical I behoof, an indisgensable^ssumption ; theoret ically, it is a / m^ry ^uXtfi^nfathomaWe^^^

III. The Mystery of Election. — Even after vicarious satisfaction has been admitted as possible : still a believing acceptance of it is a determination of will toward good, presupposing in the man a cast of thinking well-pleasing to God, which, however, owing to the depraved bias of his heart, he cannot have produced in himself. Now, that celestial grace should bring about this effect within, not according to any works of righteousness that the man has done, but according to an unconditioned decree, adjudg- ing this mighty aid to one, and withholding it from an- other, — thus foredooming one portion of our race to bliss, and the remainder to eternal reprobation, — is a hypothetical | idea of a go vernm ent, conveying jo u s go notio n jttjTbf I r^ ne Justice ; but one that would require, in the last re- } sort, to be referred to the Standard of a Wisdom, where- / of the Rule^ is for us a most inexplicable mysteryT '

Concerning those mysteneTwEcE^epTy pervade the moral history of each man's life, viz. whence it happens that moral good and moral evil are to be met with in the


world,-^how the one can be developed from the other,-— and how mankind's re-establishment in good can be brought about, — why, while this redintegration of character obtains in some, others remain unchanged; — touching, I say, those various mysteries, God has revealed nothing, and can in fact grant us no such revelation ; for we could not UNDERSTAND it.* With equal reason might we attempt to EXPLAIN, by help of the idea IPreedcm^ the phases of the human conduct. God's will as to this last is, doubtless, amply revealed to us by the moral law ; but what those LAST GROUNDS are, by dint whereof a free act is in time performed or avoided, is a point wrapped in uttermost obscurity. Nor can any sifting research, instituted by man, bring light into these tortuous windings of his his- tory, which derives its double source at once from freedom and from the enchainment of causes and eiFects.f The objective rule of behaviour is {]by Season and in the Scrip-

  • People not unfrequently demand that tjros in religion should as-

sent to mysteries, because, being incomprehensible, we are no more en- titled to deny them^ than to denj the generative power possessed bj organized beings — a thing likewise comprehended by none — ^but which must still be admitted, although an arcanum that must ever remain hid- den. Howbeit we thoroughly undekstand what we mean when we talk of the growth and generation of plants and animals ; and we pes* sess an apotteriori notion of those objects, and are perfectly aware that they involve no contradiction. Of every mystery offered to our belief, we may insist upon understanding what it means : which is not the case, so long as we merely understand each individual word of the formula under which the mystery is couched. — Th at God can convey to us a mysteri ous knowledge by intpiratumj is Ju3tCfigi.table ,• for pvu:.]||MeJr8tendiinfl„ia to jfcS nature unfitted for such a deposite.

-f Hence, what freedom is, is in a practical point of view thoroughly understood ; but in a theoretical, the physical constitution of such a causality cannot be thought of, without involving ourselves in contra- dictions.


ture) sufficiently revealed ; and this revelation is, more- over, intelligible to the whole world.

T^t we, mankind, are by the moral law called to a good life ; that, by the inextinguishable reverence felt to- ward this behest, and engraven upon our^ soul, we bear within a promise, leading us to trust this good spirit, and to hope that somehow or other we may satisfy his de* mand ; lastly, that, from combining this expectation with the stern edict, we must constantly examine ourselves, as were we legally summoned to account, — these are points alike strenuously inculcated by Reason, Heart, and Con- science. It were intemperate to seek for farther manifes- tations ; and were any farther disclosures to take place, they could not be regarded as addressed to the general needs and wants of human nature.

Although that Grand Cardinal Mystery, comprising all the rest under its general formula, is made by each man's own reason thoroughly comprehensible, as a practically ne- cessary idea of religion, it may, nevertheless, be said that it was then first revealed, as the moral groundwork of re- ligion, when PUBLICLY taught, and made the characteristic of an epoch in religion altogether new. A solemn for- mulary is usually couched in peculiar, sometimes mys- tic phraseology, not understood by every one, and inter- preted only to those, who compose a particular guild or union. Out of deference, it is seldom or never used, save when some public solemnity is transacted, such as the re- ception of a new member into the select company. The highest grade of the moral perfection of Finite Creatures — ^at all times unattainable by man — is the love of the LAW — conformably to this idea, this would become a prin- ciple of religious faith, " God is Love/' In him man-




kind may revere the lovine: Father (his love beine^ that of moral complacency in creatures^ so far fo rth as thj conform themselves to his Holy Law) ; farther, in him they can venera^;e, in so far as he exhibits himself agreeably to the idea of his all-preserving character — the beloved an d self-begotten archetype of humanity — ^the Son ; and last- ly, inasmuch ^ as he te jaapers .Iujb. j^omplagen cy by re gard had to mankind^ coincidence with the conditions limitary of that complacential love, and does thereby demonstrate that his Benignity is sustained by Wisdom, they may far- ther revere in him the Holy Sp irit.* Thus they may

  • This spirit, whereby Love toward God as our Benignant Sa-

viour, making us partakers of his eternal bliss, is combined with awe felt toward him as lawgiver, is the true Judge of Mankind before his own conscience. Judgment may be pronounced in a twofold character. Sentence may pass as to the presence or ab- sence of good-desert^ and it may also decide upon innocence or guUt, The Godhead, regarded as love {in the Son), passes sen- tence upon mankind so far as to determine whether, beyond what is of mere debt, any ulterior merit can accrue to them. Here the verdict is worthy or unworthy. Those he selects as his own, to whom such a supplementary good can be adjudged. The rest are sent empty away. The righteous judgment pronoun- ced according to the utmost rigour of law (by the judge pro- perly so termed — the Holy Ghost), affects those to whom' no foreign merit has been imputed. The sentence here is guilty or not guilty, t. e. condemnation or acquittal. Judging signi- fies, in the former case, se^^arating the deserving from the un- deserving, who both strive for the prize of eternal bliss. By^e term merit or desert, is not meant a swjdus ofmoraUty super- erogatory of what the law commands (for no accumulated dis- charge of duties can ever pass beyond what is of mere debt) ; all that is meant is, that when mankind are compared together, some are, by their moral sen'timents, more deserving than others. Worthiness has, consequently, no more than a negative im -*


INVOKE him, not in his t hreefold capacity (which would import a difference of entities, whereas th6~ilhiscjLi&.but one and single), although they may do so in the name of that idetzl which is revered and loved by God himself be-^

port, viz, no t unworthy to rece ive a benefit from God's benig- nity. The Judge in his former capacity acts as Umpire betwixt twope/sons or parties contending for a prize ; but in the second capacity^ where he really does administer a judiciaty function^ the sentence is passed upon one and the same indwidtialf tried at the bar of heaven and his own conscience, and is final either in favour of the prosecution or defence. Now, on the hypothesis that all mankind are laden with the guilt of sin, and that some of them are notwithstanding susceptible of an imputed desert, then we have a case, admitting a sentence from that Judge who is love ; which failing, the suppliant's application is rejected as incompetent before this tribunal. Thus he falls into the hands of Justice, where sentence of condemnation must inevitably fol- low. It is thus that, in my opinion, the following seemingly con- trary passages may be reconciled : " The Son will come again to judge the quick and the dead;^' whereas elsewhere we read, John, iii. 17, <* God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the worlds inU thatt^te world through him might be saved ;" while both are like<<> wise brought into harmony with what immediately follows (verse 18), ^' He that believeth not on him is condemned already,^ viz. by that Spirit, of whom it is written, that he will reprove the world because of sin and of righteousness. The anxious solicitude with which such distinctions are made in the fields of pure reason^ in whose behalf alone they are here instituted, may seem to some useless and irksome subtilty ; and so indeed would it be, were they intended for any analysis or inquiry into the Divine Nature^ But since mankind are always prone, in matters of religion, to appeal, on account of their transgressions, to the divine benignity, and yet perceive that his j ustice cannot be baffled or circumvented^ they frame to themselves the notion of a benignant j udge. Again, since this notion of a benignant judge is a contradiction, it is quite obvious that the opinions commonly current respecting


yond everythiDg; to come into moral, union with which ideal is at once our wish and duty. T his theorem of a

threefold aspect of Jhajdixioaj^^

Formula in Faith Ec clesiast ical, serving as a criterion wherebjTjto diatinguish one given Church -Creed from ptber forms of belief derived from different historic sources. Few men are able to frame to themselves a just and de- finite conception of the meaning and import of this for- mula (for it lies open to many a misapprehension) ; and its investigation would seem rather to devolve on those Teachers who, as philosophical or learned expounders of Holy Writ, endeavour to settle the boundary and line of demarcation obtaining betwixt their respective faculties, in order to arrive at a mutual good understanding touching its true import and intendment. In these ancient formu- lae some things are past the range of ordinary comprehen- sion, and are no longer adapted to the necessities of the present time : while an empty belief in their letter tends rather to corrupt than better a cast of thinking truly reli- gious .

this practical concernment of humanity must be extremely fluc- tuating and incoherent; wherefore, to correct and accurately define them, must be of the last possible moment and practical importance.













The Good Principle's sovereignty has then begun, and the advent of the kingdom of God is at hand, whenever the principles of its constitution have been set publicly abroach; for, in the world intelligenlial, that has already come, whereof the efficient causes have generally taken root, al- though their full development as phenomena in the ivorld sensible may yet be infinitely remote. We saw, in the former book, that to become members of an ethical society, was a duty of its own kind {qfficium sui generis). It like- wise appeared, that, although when each individual exe- cuted his own private duty, and an accidental association of some men in good might then arise, without any spe- cial ecclesiastic institution ; still the universal concur- rence of all mankind could not be expected, unless the erection and spreading of an ethical commonweal were systematically gone about as a particular work ; where, combined under moral laws, the conjunct force and virtue of our species is brought to bear against the invasions of the evil principle, — ^apart from which joint coUectedness




of opposition, maDkind even do, by mutually tempting one another, render themselves the ready tools and in- struments of their inward enemy. This ethic state, as A KINGDOM OF GOD, could Only be founded on religion. Religion, again,' could subsist publicly (which publicity is of the very essence of every commonwealth) only when the moral community framed itself into the sensible shape of a CHURCH : to institute which church, was consequent- ly represented as a duty incumbent upon our race, and as one that, although handed over to our own convenience, could most justly be imperatively demanded from us.

But then, to found or set a church agoing, so far forth as it is a commonwealth regulated upon Laws of Religion, is a proposal that would seem to require more wisdom, depth of insight, and morality of intention, than is either to be met with or expected among our race, especially when it is considered, that the very morality aimed at, in such an institution, would seem to be of necessity pre- supposed as already extant in those who are to become its members. In effect, it is not a little incongruous to say, that MEN ought to FOUND a kingdom of God — (as were they about to found the dynasty of an earthly potentate)— God himself must be the author and founder of his own kingdom. But, since we do not know what is imme- diately done by the Almighty, in order to exhibit, in the way of real fact and event, the idea of his kingdom, where- in to become subjects and citizens, we find within a mo- ral call and destination, and are fully cognizant and aware of that only which it behoves ti8 to do, in order to render ourselves thereof the fit members, it results that this idea — be it current, whether by Reason or by the Scripture-— must serve as the pattern of our combination ecclesiasti-


cal : where, no doubt, should the latter alternative be re- ceived, God himself is the Founder and Originator of the Constitution: we, mankind, howeyjBii.jaaJthe free .deni- zens and called repr^sentatiyes-oflhe state,.. are^.juider any circumstajgcesj. .authors of itR aRfiANi,aA.Xlpy> Those, again, who manage the public interests of the society, con- formably to that its organized framework, do, as fn'MSm tera of the church, £oiopose the administration : the rest of the ethic confederation, who are merely subject to the laws of the federal leafirue, constitute the congrega- tion.

A public religious^beli^f, consisting, singly of the pure reli&rion of reason, admits nothing more than the bare i<l^ea of a church (viz. invisMe) : the visible church, found- ed upon tradition, alone it is, that can require or receive any orsfanization from man. The worship under the do- minion of the good principle, in the church invisible, cannot be regarded as a church-service ; and the pure a priori religion has no installed ministers as the officials of an ethical commonwealth, — each member receiving im- mediately for himself the behest of the Supreme Law- giver. Again, since we are at all times in the service of God when we unremittingly discharge all our duties (fit- ly regarded as imposed upon us by Divine Command- ment), it follows that pure rational religion has for its ministers every honest-minded person, though not OFFICIALLY ; upon which latter account, they cannot be deemed the officiating servants of a church (viz. of one visible, touching which alone question is here made). Furthermore, since any church rising upon statutable laws can only designate itself the true church, so far forth as it contains within, the germ of a principle indu-


cing it perpetually to approach the creed taught by pure reason (this latter belief, being that in any other, alone constituting thereof, the practical religion), and in due course of time finally to depart from fsdth ecclesiasti- cal; we may hold that the true service (ctUtusloi the

sist herein, that its ministers shall so adjust their doc- trines and ritual as to endeavour to bring about that last end, viz. the dispensing with faith historical, as super- fluous, and resolving it into the pure faith intelligential, now at length become generally public. Shou ld, on th e contrary, the ecclesiastic officers of a church not^only entirely overlook this end, but pyen denounQj^ the^^rin- ciple of aiming and aspiring after it, as damnable, declar- ing, on the contrary, the historical and statutary. part of the church creed to be the alone saving, then would they, with all justice, be accused of supporting a spurious^er- vicE, in the ethical republic, combined under the govern- ment of the good principle. By a spurious service {Jalse toorship)^ is understood that delusion, whereby such ac- tions are proffered to another, as, instead of forwarding, actually frustrate his views. In a commonwealth, this perversion takes place when what is only a mean toward satisfying the Will of a Superior, displaces, and is thrust into the room of, that which makes us at once and di- rectly his acceptable servants — 2l delusion whereby the ends of the government are defeated.





Religion, subjectively considered, is the acknowledg- ment and recognition of all our duties as if they were divine common <i[i^ ^tg. f When I must first of all beTold

f This definition serves as a guard against erroneous significations, sometimes put upon the word relioion : FirH, Touching what we therein theoretically profess to acknowledge, nothing whatever is asserted, not even the existence of God. In fact, our insight into supersensible mat- ters is so scanty, that confidently to assert such a position, might in many cases be little short of hypocrisy. Our definition contains nothing more than that plausible hypothesis problematically assumed by our un- derstanding when speculating upon the probable first cause of all things, which hypothesis, however, with respect to that chief end whitherward our legislative reason directs our aim, becomes a free, assertive, practical belief, promising the realization of that ultimate object. This practical faith demands no more than the idea of a ood, — a conception upon which eyery morally serious mind must inevitably impinge ; but without pre- tending that it can, by any theoretic speculation, ascertain that any ob- jective reality corresponds to this idea. For such an end as can be re- presented as imperative upon all mankind, even the minimum of infor- mation ought to be subjectively sufficient, t. e, the possibility that there may be a God, is enough. Second^ By this definition of religion in genere, we guard against the equally erroneous copception, that by religion is meant an aggregate of certain fixed duties to be rendered toward God, and thus enter our caveat against the imagination that there are offices of divine worship, which last, however, are not unfrequently supposed, and that, too, of such efiiciency, as to supply what is wanting in our dis- charge of the everyday offices of humanity. In the true Catholic reli- gion there are no special duties toward God, for God can receive nothing from us, and we Y:annot act upon him, nor yet for him. Were the awe owed him to be called such a specially incumbent and indebted feeling, then what is overlooked in this assertion is, that tliis mood or frame of the sensory is not any particular religious act, but is that religious and


that any given edict is a divine commandment, before I can recomiise and acknowledge it to be my duty; then is such religious behest revealed, or, at least, one standing in need of a revelation to authenticate it* On the con- trary, that religion where I first know what are the in- cumbent offices of humanity, and then, upon that account alone, admit them to be divine behests, is the religion of nature. Whoso declares Natural Religion alone to be morally indispensable, i. e. duty, is a rationali st (in matters of faith). Does he, moreover, deny the actuality of any preternatural divine revelation, then he is a natu- ralist. Should he, however, admit a revelation as pos- sible, but contend that an acquaintance with, and accep- tance of, it as real, are no necessary constituent elements of religion, then might he be appropriately called a pure

BATiONALisT. But wcrc he to maintain that a belief in

  • ^ ^

suclT reveTation constituted a necessary part of religion universal, then ought he to be styled a pure supernatu- RALiST in affairs of faith.

Rationalists must, by their very assumption of such a name, confine themselves within the bounds of all human insight. Hence they cannot dogmatize as do the natu-

reverential cast of mind that ought to pervade the observance of every duty. The sajing, " God ought to be obeyed rather tlurn man,^* merely implies, that when any human law collides with duty, the former must give place to the latter. But were this maxim to be so interpreted as to make points of obedience, where God not man is to be obeyed, those commandments which a church gives out as laws of God, then would such a dictum scarcely differ from the notorious church-in^danger outcry, by which hypocritical and despotic churchmen usually excite the subject to seditious outbreaks against his government. Allowed actions, when commanded by the civil magistrate, become by his ordinance undoubt* ED duties. But that any licit action has been enjoined by God in a spe- cial revelation, is in the highest degree uncertain.


ralists, nor dispute either the internal possibility of a re- velation generally^ nor yet the necessity of a revelation regarded as a divine mean toward the introduction of true religion. Upon these points, no one can by any ransack- ing of his understanding expect to expiscate anything. The controversy must therefore turn on the conflicting positions of the pure rationalists and supernaturalists, and will affect those particulars deemed by the one party ne- cessarily pertaining to the true and alone religion, but held by the other accidental concomitants of a doctrine, complete and sufficient to all moral and religious ends without them.

From the first origin and inward ground of the possi- bility of RELIGION — ^giving birth to its division into natu- ral and revealed — we may totally abstract ; and consider that its property singly, whereby it is fitted for public outward communication. Contemplated under this light, Religion is either natural — whereof, once extant, every one can become convinced by his own reason — or else a learned religion, whereof we can convince others exclu- sively by learning, in and by which last they must be led. This distinction is of extreme importance ; for, from the bare original of a religion, nothing whatever can be inferred as to its fitness or unfitness for being the univer- sal religion of our race ; although such an inference can very easily be drawn from the characteristic of its being communicable only locally and partially, or communi- cable universally, which latter property is of the very es- sence of a religion obligatory upon all mankind.

Agreeably to what has just been laid down, although a religion be natural, it may notwithstanding have more- over been revealed, always provided the revelation exhi-


bit nothing that mankind could not, and indeed should not, have arrived at by the natural exercise of his own powers, although very possibly he might not so soon and in such wide extent have attained this knowledge. To promulgate religion, by a revelation locally and specially given at a certain time, may consequently have been a wise and salutary measure; and yet when the religion thus ushered In has fairly struck root and become public- ly known, conviction of its truth is to be drawn from its own self-evidencing certainty in reason. A religion of this kind would objectivelt be natural, and only sub- jectively revealed ; wherefore its appropriate style and title would be that of Natural Religion ; for even if, in the sequel, it were to pass to oblivion that a preternatural pro- mulgation of it had ever taken place, still would it not on that account lose one tittle of its certainty, its facility of I comprehension, or motive force upon the mind. The very contrary holds true of that religion whose inner structure is such as to render it essentially revealed : were it not carefully preserved by accurate traditions, or entrusted to that guardian document — ^a sacred book — it would pass from the world, and must then from time to time be pub'^ . licly renewed ; or else, privately a continuous preternatu- ral revelation must take place in each individual, since otherwise the faith could neither be spread nor kept alive. To a certain extent, however, every, even a revealed re- li^on, must present the lineaments of a natural religion* It is only by force of reason that the idea revelation can be superadded in thought to that of religion ; which last, being derived from the idea of our subjection to the Will of a moral lawgiver, is a pure rational conception* Hence, even revealed religions must be open to examina*


tioiTj^rst as naiur al^ an d, seco nd, as learned ; so as to en- able us to test and discover what and how much from ei- ther source have concurred to make up their constitution* Now that we are about to treat of revealed religion — at least of what is generally deemed a revelation — ^it may be advisable to select an instance proper for this purpose s we shall therefore take for our example a case such as we find it in the history of our globe : otherwise necessary il- lustrations must be invented ; but then the possibility of such supposed occurrences might not be granted. The best course to pursue, will consequently be to take some book or other that has interspersed its story with moral doctrines allied to the notices of reason, and make this volume serve as a handle whereby to make more readily prehensile this our idea of tevealed religion. Being one of the many books treating of godliness and virtue that have long obtained currency under the garb of a re- velation, its dissection will clearly and lucidly set forth that most useful and needful process of extracting from its multiform details what is therein to be found of pure, and therefore rational religion universal. It must, how- ever, well be noted, that this experiment does not in the least intromit with the occupation of those to whom the interpretation of the book, as a collection of positive reveal- ed institutes, is entrusted ; neither does it attack that ex- position which by force of erudition they have drawn from the document. In truth, an essay in the following man- ner is rather advantageous than otherwise to the church ; both revelation and philosophy having but one common end, viz. forwarding the culture of the moral good ; only the philosopher proposes by the natural operation of each man's own understanding to bring him to that goal, reach-


ed ecclesiastically along the diverse, though not contrary, road of revelation. The book in question shall be the New TESTAMENT,_the fountain of faith Christian. Con- sistently with the plan just sketched, let us scrutinize the principles of Christianity, first, as natural, and then, se- cond, as a kamed religion.



Natural religion, consisting as it does of two parts, FiBMT, morals (based upon the freedom of the human will), taken, however, HBCQ^ni^Yy in connection with ideas^ by pre-Bupposing or assuming the reality whereof alone, can the last end of our ethic being be figured as att^n- able, viz. the idea of God as the moral author of the world : together with the representation of such a dura- tion of our existence (immortalUy) as is congruous to such destination ; — ^natutal religion, thus understood, is, I say, a pure practical, and moreover rational conception, which, notwithstanding its incomputable ethical fertility, de- mands so scanty a grasp pf speculative understanding, that every person may, to all practical intents and pur- poses, be amply certiorated of its truth ; and the efi*ects of this belief may be expected to tell upoii the actual per- formance of our duty. This natural religion possesses undeniably the first requisite of a true church, viz. a qua- lification fitting it for universality, so far forth as, by this latter term, we understand that validity for every man (tmiversitas vel omrdtudo distributiva) which brings with it


an absolute and exceptionless mutual understanding. To preserve and spread the religion of nature as a general cosmical religion, would, no doubt, require Servan ts, bu t no t Offt^ Sj of the church inyisible, i, e. Te achers, b utnot Di gnitarie s ; seeing that, through the religion intelligent tial of each singular individual, no Church, qwa general association (omnitudo coUectiva), exists, nor is indeed even intended to be brought forth by that pure a priori idea* Again, since a common and jointly clear understanding in religious matters cannot maintain itself by its own self-regulating and perpetuating action ; and, in fact, since general concord and uniformity in religion cannot be upheld and spread unless the church become visible, »• 6. can be upheld only then when a collective or corpo- rate body — consolidating the society of believers into a church visible, regulated upon the principles of pure re- ligion intelligential — ^has been erected ; and no such cor- poration can spontaneously arise from such bare parallel- ism and consent of views — nay, what says far more, since, even were a corporate society of this sort once set agoing, still (as was seen above) it could not be brought into a condition of permanency as a standing congregation of the faithful. Since, I say, all this is the case, it is perfectly manifest that, unless above and beyond the natural laws cognizable by naked reason, there be superadded sundry statutable authoritative edicts, something will be still awanting requisite to bring about a permanent and abiding union of mankind in a visible church universal ; which union we represented in the former book as a peculiar duty, 8ui generisy and a mean toward attaining the high- est and last ends of our moral destination* This super- /



added authority can only flow from the Founder of an Ec- clesiastical Polity; and here we must needs HmlGBgc^qpon a FACT, over and above the naked idea of pure reason.

Although it were conceded, that once upon a time there had appeared a teacher, of whom history— or at least a current opinion not satisfactorily overthrown — relates that he promulgated a universally comprehensible and pene- trating religion; jret, so far as the fragments of his tenets have been handed down to us, we are quite in a condition to judge for ourselves of the spirit of his doctrines, and can hence more readily assent to what is asserted of him — viz. that he first openly insisted on this moral faith, and that, too, in despite of the dominant church-creed, which was irksome, devoid of every moral content, and consisting in a merely mercenary and servile ritual (which, by the way, may serve extremely well as a specimen illustra*- tive of all other, in the main, merely statutable beliefs- different varieties whereof filled up, at that time, the whole known and civilized parts of the earth) ; — ^all this, I say, being conceded, then, although to his moral religion universal, which he represented as the necessary ground- work, and insisted on, as the supreme and irregressible condition, of every other form and sort of religious faith whatsoever — ^he went on to affix one or two injunctions, containing forms and observances; still, because those last were intended merely as rivets, to keep and fasten together the church, grounded on the aforesaid principles, we cannot dispute nor deny the claims of this his insti- tution to be the true catholic church, nor yet his own claim to carry off the high prize of having then first sum- moned his fellow^men to rally and combine under its


Standards, notwithstanding the contingency and arbitra- riness of those appended ordinances ; for it does not ap- pear that he intended these to be amalgamated with the faith)' nor that the performance of that slender ceremo- nial was to be mistaken for a holy act, in itself obliga- | tory, and a constituent element of religion.

The description just given can leave no one in doubt as to the person fitly venerated as the founder, not by any means of that untraditional religion primordially insculpted on the hearts of all, but as the founder of the first true church based thereon. In attestation of the dignity of his divine mission, we will cite a few of his sayings, containing passages that undoubtedly authenticate themselves as parts of religion in genere. Be it then with the narrative as it may, the ideas do, in themselves, afford ground enough to render them worthy of all acceptation^ being in truth decrees of pure reason ; and these are they alone, that not only prove themselves, but even lend part of their evidence to accredit the foreign doctrines in whose company they appear.

First, he contends that no observance of statutable church-duties, but only a pure, honest, moral mind, can make mankind acceptable to God {Matth. v. 20-48) ; that transgressions by thought are deemed by God equal to those perpetrated in deed (v. 28) ; e. g. that* inwardly to hate is tantamount to murder .(v. 22) ; and that generally, upon the whole, holiness is the grand object toward which the end of every action should be directed (v. 48). In- juries inflicted by us on our neighbour can only be re- dressed by making him due reparation, but not by any ceremonial or ritual of temple or divine worship (v. 24). As for veracity, he teaches, that the common forensic in*


strument for extorting it — THEOATHf — derogates from the reverence due to truth itself (v. 34-37). We likewise ready that the naturally perverse bias of the human Ibeart must be entirely retroverted, — the appetite for secret re- venge give place to placability (v. 39, 40), and the hatred of our enemies make a transit to beneficence (v. 44). By such deeds as these he declares his intent of coming to fulfil the whole Jewish law (v. 17), where, however, he obviously must mean to make, not bopk-learning, but pure rational religion, interpreter of the code ; since, taken to the letter, the Pentateuch allowed, and even ordained, the very contrary of most of the above*

By the difference obtaining betwixt the strait gate and the broad way^ he next calls attention to that misconstruc- tion of the law whereby the Jews allowed themselves to

  • f* It is difficult to account for the little attention paid to this plain pro-

hibition directed against the usual forensic mode of extorting truth — a mode based entirely upon superstition, not upon conscientiousness. That superstition is what is here counted on, may be certainly inferred fcfixn this circumstance, that although we assume of a witness that he isJtoW trusted when he solemnly affirms somewhat touching, the rights of his fellow-men (the most sacred object that we 'mankind can deal with here below), we do nevertheless hold, that by the Formul^jafjin^Oath his statement becomes credible, although the oath does not differ in any re«  spect from the solemn asseveration, except that he calls down upon him- self the divine judgments (which, in any event, he cannot evade) if he swerve from truth, just as if it depended upon him to undergo or avoid the ethical vengeance impending over those who violate the rights of their neighbour. In the passage of scripture cited in the text, this prac- tice of swearing is represented as an absurdity void of rhyme or reason, as if we attempted by uttering spells to bring to pass what lies beyond our power. But when the wise teacher says that a communication' sur- passing the simple yeA) yea — nay, nay, cometh of evil, it is obvious that he calls our attention to the bad consequences arising from oaths, viz. that their imagined greater weight and importance almost seems to Jend a sanction to common every-day dog-trot lying.


overlook real moral duties, and to fancy they compensated for such violations of integrity by a diligent observance of church-duty (vii; 13).f

- The only admissible proof of pure morality within, are those good works which are its fruit (v. 16 and 20). He consequently cuts short the fraudulent hope of those who imagine they can make up for their want of good deeds by invocations and hosannahs of the Heavenly Lawgiver in the person of his Ambassador, and think by thus fawn- ing and crouching to ingratiate themselves into the So- vereign's favour (v. 21). These good works ought far- ther to be so performed, that the observed motives whence they sprang, may induce others to glorify God in like manner (v. 16) ; and that too with a cheerful mind, not as actions sadly and servilely extorted (vi. 16). By the communication and interchange of morally re-acting sen- timents and deeds, a commencement of religion will be made, which, however small at first, will, like mustard- seed scattered through a field, or leaven hid in meal, gradually swell by its own inward and augmenting power, till it attain the full size and growth of a kingdom of God (xiii. 31-33). Finally, 'he compendiously comprises all the offices of humanity, firsts under a rule universal (embracing at once the inward and outward moral rela- tionships of humanity), viz. discharge thy duty from no spring other than an immediate estimation of its worth,

-)- The ST BAIT GATE and narrow way leading unto life, is the path of good moral conduct. The wide gate and broad way, trodden by th6 majority, is the church : not that the church or its traditions are the effi- cient causes why mankind are lost, but that the going in thereat, to- gether with confessing the articles of the creed, and celebrating its multi- form rites, is mistaken for the mode in which God wills to be worshipped*


I. 6. Love God (the ethical Legislator) above all ; and, secondly i under a rule particular, treating singly of the special outward relation obtaining betwixt man and man, viz. love thy neighbour as thyself, i. c. promote his well- being out of immediate unselfish benevolence. These two commandments are not merely laws of virtue, but be- hests of holiness; our unremitted wrestling and strug- gling after which last, is what is properly called vir- tue. They who, with shut eyes and folded hands, wait slothfully for the moral good as a gift to be passive- ly received from above, are informed, that their ex- pectation is no better than the dream of a sluggard. In like manner, whoso leaves uncultivated the original sus- ceptibility of his moral nature toward good (». e. suf- fers, as it were, his confided talent to rust), in the idle confidence that some higher moral power will supply his thereby begotten moral shortcomings and defects : him doth Christ threaten, that even that good which may ne- vertheless have sprouted from the original stock of his nature, will just, on account of that very neglect, stand him in no stead, but be deducted from his account (xxv. 29).

Touching the expectation naturally entertained by all men, of a happy lot proportioned to the deserts of their moral conduct (especially when worldly comforts have been renounced for the sake of duty), they are met with a promise (v. 11, 12) that a rAwprrl q,\yaitg fiiAm in a. fiiture worl d. This allotment varies according to the difference of motive, whereby each party's conduct has been actuated. Duty discharged for the sake of reward, and with the view of escaping punishment, is not so recom- pensed, as where the law has been honoured for its own



sake. TLe Utilitarian, whom self-interest, the Qod of this world, governs; and who, without renouncing his solipsism, merely extends his selfish calculations beyond thQ circumscribed boundary of present time, is represent- ed as such a steward {Luke xvi. 3-9) as makes that his Lord {setf'inJtered) cheat and circumyent himself. For, on reflecting that he must speedily quit this world, and that he cannot take hence what he possessed below, he resolves to make a sacrifice of whatever sums he (or his master — utilitarianism) might legally have exacted from the indigent : for what the needy debtor is permitted to subtract from his account, bills, or acknowledgments of this fancied beneficence, payable in another world, are taken in return ; a method of procedure rather cunning than MORAL, at least when regard is had to the inward spring of such seeming good* will. The beneficent act is, however, outwardly conformable to the law, and so al- lows him to hope that his refined and self-seeking charity may not go unrewarded.f Let this parable be compared with the one (Jfa^^. xxv. 35-40) where the Sovereign Judge of the World declares those who help the needy, without so much as ever thinking that their services me-

•f Of futurity we know Dothing; and ought indeed to expect no &r. ther information than suffices to assist us in the discharge of duty, or to explain to ub our last and chief end. To this class belongs the hypothe- sis, that every good action done in this world will be met retributively with corresponding good results in another. Now, if this be so, then at the close of life, let a man be found ever so reprobate, still his vicious career ought not to deter him firom doing at least one good action should it be in his power, as he may thereby hope, that in proportion to the honest-mindedness of his intention, this act will be of some more worth than those deedless penances and expiations, which, without deducting from his guUt, are supposed to compensate for the defects of one's mo- rality.



rit a reward, or bind heaven to recompense, to be the true elect of his kingdom ; and, irom this connected compari- son, it will be amply obyious, that the Teacher of the Gospel, when speaking of rewards in a world to come, did not intend tkem to incline the will to action ; but aimed only at making such soul-exalting representations of the consummated completion of the dii^ne benignity and wisdom, an object of high moral and reverential com* placency to that understanding which contemplates the last and chief destination of Agent-Intelligents*

Thus have we found in Christ's tenets a finished sketch and outline of a religion that can be brought home to the convictions and conceptions of every one ; and that, by force of his own reason, the practicability whereof has been set forth by an example, making intuitive the possi- bility and necessity of adopting that ideal prototype as the standard of our manners. The truth of those doc- trines, and the authority and dignity of their teacher, re- quire no foreign confirmation, such as miracles or biblical lore, which are not within the reach of all. When ap- peals are made to the legislation of an earlier age, and a secondary meaning given to the oracles of the Jewish sages, these are not to be understood as if they were in- tended to bear witness to the truth of his doctrines. They are designed only for an introduction or vehicle, procuring them an inlet among people blindly attached to what- ever was ancient. To convey truth to those whose heads are besotted with the statute-articles of a creed, and consequently numb to the religion of reason, is always a far more difficult task than to impart instruction to un- derstandings, which, though uninstructed, are unbiassed and disengaged. Hence we need not be surprised if a


mode of exposition, adapted to the prejudices of the day, should now seem enigmatically dark, and stand much in need of a cautious and elaborate exegesis, although a reli* gion everywhere shines through, that demands no effort or learning to become alike intelligible and convincing.



Religions that propound certain credenda as necessary, although these statute-articles of faith can by no means be recognised as such by reason, must be regarded as sa- cred goods entrusted to the guardianship of the learned, of the very essence of whose office it is continually to pro- pel the uncorrupted faith through all present and future times ; and apart from their unintermitted agency, it would be requisite to assume the standing miracle of a perpetual revelation : for, although the miraculous events by which it was AT FIRST ushered into the world, may have ob- tained for such a system a general and cordial reception, even in those its more questionable points, touching which reason is altogether silent ; yet, in the sej^uel, the very narrative of those events, and still more the peculiar doc- trines founded on them, would need to be fortified by some written institute, affording to subsequent ages the guaran- tee of unchanging and official documents.

Adopti ng the principles of a religion is called faith, xar i^(%nv (fides socroj? whence Christian faith will fall under investigation, partly as pure rational faith, and partly as revealed faith (fides stoMaria). The former


will appear, under the light of one freely and universally assented to (fidts elicitaj; the latter, as one statutably or* dained fjides imperata). Thus, that a germ of evil lies

deeply rooted in the heart, from which perverse bias no

man is free ; that it is impossible to regard our actions as justifying us before Ood, and yet indispensable that we

possess a righteousness valid in his sight, which no church

j rite or ceremonial can impart ; likewise that it is an im- mediate and inexorable obligation to become better men : these I say — ^all these, are points patent to the scrutiny of each man's own reason, and it is an essential part of na- tural religion, that each individual satisfy and certiorate himself of their truth*

At that juncture, howeveiv where the Christian doc* trines rise not upon ideas of pur^' reason, but upon histo- ric facts, there Christianity ceases to be called Christian RELIGION, and becomes Christian faith, serving for the ground-work of a church. Church-worship, founded upon such a bi-form belief, will of course present a twofold aspect, the one pourtraying the lineaments of the historie narrative, the other exhibiting the phase of the pure a priori ethical belief. Both are intimately blended in the Christian church, nor can either be regarded as subsist- ing apart : the former cannot be severed from the latter^ inasmuch as the Christian faith is a religious faith, neither can the latter be detached from the former, because the Christian faith is furthermore a learned faith.

Christianity, considered as a learned faith, rests upon history ; wherefore, so far forth as erudition constitutes an element of its composition, it is not in itself a free be- lief, spontaneously emerging from a rational and con- vincing insight, into any sufficiently established theoretic



argumentation (fides elicitaj. Were Christianity nothing but a pure rational belief, then would it undoubtedly— al- though the moral laws whereon it as belief in a divine lawgiver is grounded command unconditionally — be ne- cessarily regarded as a free belief, under which character, indeed, we treated of it in the former section. Nay, we may even go a great deal farther and say, that had not assent to it been enjoined upon mankind by some, as a duty, then would Christianity as a historical belief be fur- thermore a free theoretical faith — provided every one were learned. But are we to be told that it is imperatively bind- ing upon every one, even the unlettered, then would it be not only a commanded faith, but also a blind and servile faith, obsequiously obedient to a commandment, although no previous investigation have been made as to whether this alleged commandment really contain a divine behest (fides servilisj.

Christianity, considered as a revelation, cannot possibly commence with an unconditioned assent to occult docrj trines, said to be communications from on high, and then call in the aid of literature and history to ward off ene- mies who skirmish on the rear of the revealed truths ; for in this case, too, would the Christian faith be not merely fides imperata; but, moreover, and in very AeeA^ fides ser^ vilis. Consequently, it must at all times be taught and propounded as fides historic^ elicUa; i. e. erudition and moral science must lead forward the van, not skulk as the rear-guard of the Christian revealed faith. Were this system of ethical tactics inverted, then would the order of the clergy — {fhe Biblical Literati) — albeit they cannot dispense with profane learning, bring after them the long train of unlearned laics, in which illiterate company, even


the Head of the State may at times be seen to figure. Are we intent that this shall not take place^ then must historical erudition retire to the second place, and reason % and natural religion be recognised and honoured as the supreme dominant principle in Christianity ; while those revealed tenets upon which the church rises, and that have learning for their interpreter and preserver, may very well be cherished and cultivated as a highly valuable mean : but still no more than a mere mean, for assisting

(the propulsion and permanency of the former, and at the same time bringing its doctrines to the smoother level of general comprehension.

This is the true church-service under the dominion of 1 the Good Principle ; but when the matter is reversed, and revelation placed before religion, then is the church-ser- vice a false and spurious worship ; that which is merely a mean, being insisted on absolutely, as were it in itself the end. Belief in tenets, whereof the uninstructed can know nothing either from writ or reason (the writings stand- ing in need of erudite authentication), is now represented as an unconditioned and immediate duty (fides imperata) ; and, together with a suite of concomitant observances, a mercenary upstart worship is elevated, though its services are voidbf moral springs, to the rank of the alone justify- ing and saving faith. A church established upon such statute-articles of belief does not contain ministers, for they are exclusively peculiar to the other, but high eccle- siastic officers. True, they may not, as in some Protest- ant churches, shine in the splendour of hierarchs, and ap- pear arrayed with the trappings of external power ; nay, they may even in words protest loudly against such abuses : they are notwithstanding ecclesiasticks, who wish to be


holden the sole fit interpreters of Holy Writ : pure mo- ral religion having previously been stripped of its dignity and robbed of its title to sit in inappellable judgment on the import and intendment of revelation ; while Scripture- learning is thrust into its rooAi, and ordained to make all usurpations tell in favour of the Church-Creed. Thus is the service {ministerium) of the Church turned into a lord- ing (imperium) it over the flock^ although, to conceal the usurpation and encroachment, the former style is sedu- lously retained. But this sway, easy had it been admi- nistered by Reason, becomes extremely costly, and la- vishes the resources of much book-learning. For, igno- rant of human nature and the sciences, divines have pul- led antiquity about their ears, and lie now nearly smother- ed beneath its rubbish. The course of matters once brought to this pass has been, and is, as follows :

The interpretations of the ancient legends, wisely sug- gested by the first preachers of Christianity as a strata- gem for weaning their countrymen from inveterate pre- judices, were subsequently declared integrant elements of religion ; so much so, that one would almost be led to sup- pose each Christian wa^ first of aU a Jew whose Messiah had appeared; a hypothesis, however, standing in open con- tradiction with the fact, that Christians are expressly ab- solved from every law of Judaism, although they receive the Sacred Writings of this people as divinely inspired, and as containing the narrative of matters in which the whole world are concerned.* And yet the authenticity of I

  • Mendelsohn haa dexterously availed himself of this weak side of the

common view of Christianity, to repel aU proposals made to any descend, ant of Israel for abandoning the faith of his forefathers. Why, says he, agreeably to your own showing, Judaism is the ground-floor above which



the Books is loaded with many difficulties. Previous to the advent of Christianity, the Jewish records were un- known to the literary world. Hence we have no check upon their accuracy, nor corroborative testimony to their historic truth. Again, even >rere all those doubts waived, still it is not enough to become acquainted with the text in vernacular translations. The Church-Creed founded on such a volume can only be guarded by learned watch- men, thoroughly versant in the Hebrew tongue (if indeed such knowledge be attainable of a language where only one volume remains extant) j^and this preservation of the text affects to be regarded not merely as an inquiry in the fields of antiquarian research, but as an investigation of such moment as to be inseparably connected with the sal- vation of our race ; wherefore there must, at all times and in all nations, be a body of men sufficiently read in orien- tal letters to guarantee to the world what is to pass cur- rent as the true religion^

Similarly defective are the evidences of the Christian religion ; the sacred events are no doubt reported to have

Christianity is erected ; wherefore to leave it is pretty much the same as if one were to pull down his sunk stories in order to sit more commo- diously in the attic* His real meaning is tolerably transparent. What he suggests is this : ^' Do ye first purge your religion of its Jewish leaven, and then we will deliberate upon the nature of your proposal.** (In truth* were Christianity thus clarified, a pure unmixed moral religion would remain.) ** Our yoke is not lightened by exchanging a cumbrous ritual for a professed fiiith in sacred traditions, which last hamper conscience far more grievously.**

The sacred books of this race will always be highly prized and studied by the learned, but not for the sake of their religion. No history ascends with even a semblance of credibility to such remote epochs of pristine time as the Jewish, dating, as it does, downwards even from the begin* ning of the world. The enormous gap left by the profane writers must necessarily be filled up by something.


occurred before the very eyes of a learned nation, and yet one generation passed away before the alleged facts were put in possession of the literati of the day ; the conse- quence is, that the credit of the narrative is unsupported and unconfirmed by the concurrent evidence of any con- temporary witnesses. Christianity, however, possesses one signal advantage over Judaism ; it was promulgated from the lips of its great Author, not as a statutable, but as a moral religion. Hence it goes hand in hand with pure Reason, and can be introduced by it, quite apart from any historic learning, and can be presented on the strength of its own 8elf-e%ddence to every nation, even to the re- motest times. Howbeit the founders of the early con- GRE6ATIOMS found it advisable to weld up therewith the Jewish history; and this amalgam, probably prudent, or even necessary in their day, has been handed down to us along with other sacred RELIQUES. Those who sub- \ sequently combined the congregations into one catholic CHURCH mistook this introductory and recommendatory vehicle for an essential article of belief. They next con- nected it with traditions or expositions, to which Councils gave the force of law. Thus was a Church-Creed fabri- cated ; now hermeneutically treated, either by learning, or by this last's antagonist — the inward light. These put various constructions on the meaning ; and as every layman can provide himself with the magic lantern above mentioned, it is impossible to foresee what changes of con- figuration may still await the forms of faith ecclesiastical, a thing indeed quite inevitable, so long as we seek the well-springs of religion not within but without us.




The true and alone Religion contains nothing but Laws, L e. practical principles, whose unconditional ne- cessity we are conscious of, "and which therefore we re- cognise by Reason ; not a posteriori as revealed. Only for the behoof of achurch (whereof there may be variousyoriw*, all alike good) can there be statutes, u e. alleged divine commandments, which are in the eye of ethical judgment arbitrary and contingent. This statutable faith (confined to one particular race, and incapable of being represented as the catholic religion of our globe), when deemed es- sential to the worship of God, and made the supreme con- dition of the divine complacency, is a main delusion-|- in

•f Delusion (imagination, whimsej, conceit, or fiincy, — Germanicey Wahn, Tr.) is that deception whereby a man regards the representa- tion of a thing as equivalent to the thing itself. Thus the miser is blinded and befooled by the avaricious imagination, viz. to hold the re., presentation that he can use his treasures when he pleases, as an equi- valent and indemnity for his never doing so. Fantastic imaginary ho- nour places in the praises of others, which at bottom are no more than the outward representation of an esteem (perhaps not at all inwardly felt), a worth attaching only to that esteem itself. It is upon this fancy that the thirst for titles, stars, and garters arises, these last being no more than the outward representations of excellence. Even the whimsical are only so called, and held crazed, because they are in the custom of pursuing empty whims, as had they real objects corresponding to them, i. e. of so acting as if they mistook representations for realities. Now, the consciousness of possessing means, to an end is prior to actual


re1i|gpp, and the actiog upon it a superstitious worship, by which, in fact, the true real service demanded from us by God is counteracted.



Anthropomorphism can hardly be avoided by man, and is, so long as it does not influence his ideas of duty, quite harmless, for then it affects only our theoretic mode of figuring to ourselves God and his essence. But when an- thropomorphous fancies begin to vitiate our notions of the practical relation obtaining betwixt us and God's holy will, it then threatens to become highly dangerous to our morality, in as much as we frame to ourselves such a God*

use of them, the possession of that end only in a representation : conse- quently, to content one's self with the latter, as if it could stand in room of the former, is a practical delusion or craze (wahk) ; which latter sort of whimsej is what we are about to treat of.

  • Doubtless it sounds odd to say that we frame to ourselves our God : I

the expression is, notwithstanding, perfectly correct. In truth, every person must, according to his moral notions, such as they are, figure to himself a Supreme Illimitable Moral Agent, able to bend and control the course of the physical system, so as to make it harmonize with moral ends, and whom he then learns to revere as his Creator. No matter how others may have described God, each individual must first compare this description with his own idea, in order to see if the Being represent- ed, be fit to be acknowledged and worshipped as a Deity. Even were God himself to appear (supposing such n manifestation possible), the same test would still require to be applied. Wherefore, bare revelation, when not based upon that idea previously laid down, could not furnish us with a religion, and, whatever worship it might give rise to, could only be idolatbt.




as is most easily won over to our advantage, and imagine that we may dispense with the arduous unremitting exer^ tion to advance the inward intensity of our moral senti- ments. The position usually laid down hy mankind touch- ing this practical relation is (supposing that the assumed position does not militate against morality, but merely tends in nowise toward it), that what we do with a view to please God, exhibits our readiness to serve him, as obe- dient, and so his acceptable servants, — by all which God is in potentia served. It is not always by sacrifice that mankind fancies he can accomplish and discharge this worship : solemnities, games, as at Greece and Rome, were often resorted to for this purpose. They are, in- deed, in some places, still resorted to, to propitiate the God- head. However, the first kind (penances, formal castiga- tions, pilgrimages, &c.) has usually been held the more powerful to gain the favour of Heaven, and to expurge sin, because they shew forth the more unbounded though not ethical subjection to God's will. The more senseless such self-castigations obviously are, and the less they point at the moral amelioration of the man, so much the more sanctity do they seem to have ; which they do, upon this reason, that, since they are useless, and cost merely trouble, therefore their whole end can be singly to shew devoted- ness to God ; for, say they, although in all this God is iu no wise served, yet he sees a good will, and regards chiefly the heart, which is too weak to keep his command- ments ; but which does, by its willingness shewn in this manner, make up for its defects. This discloses a prone- ness to a procedure which has in itself no moral worth, except as a mean to exalt the sensory, so as to accompany the intellectual idea of the end, or perhaps to depress the


sensory should the ideas re-act against it.f This artifice i of stirring or compelling our sentient framework, in or- der toward a certain end, becomes a procedure that is made to stand in room of the end itself; or, which amounts to the same thing, we attach to a frame of mind which has susceptibility for sentiments of godliness (called Devo- tion) 9 the worth of that last itself; all which procedure is just a fancied delusion in religion, that may assume all kinds of forms, in some of which the delusive imagina- tion may have a more ethical aspect than in others, and yet is, throughout the whole of them, not a mere inad- vertency, but a fi xed maxi m, to as cribe to the means th e wort h j)fjthe end^-^'a p eryjKrfifiJmafia.natiQn equally absurd in all those formg^^i^nd oWectionable.ja*^, latent, hiagto self-deception.

-|- For the sake of those who, not being quite at home in the distinc- tions betwixt the sensible and intelligential, think they constantly im- pinge upon contradictions in my writings, I here remark, that, when I talk of sensible means forwarding the intellectual growth of good, or of hindrances thrown by sense in the way of our morality, the action of those heterogeneous principles on one another must never be figured to be direct* As sentient beings, we so know and judge of the phenomena of reason's supersensible causality, i. e, the determinations of our physi- cal powers by free voluntary choice, as if cause and efiect were perfectly homogeneous. As intelligents, again, the subjective principle of morality within, must be placed in that unfathomable property of our nature, free- dom. Of this last we know only the regulating law ; and its connection with visible effects is quite beyond our insight. Consequently we can- not EXPLAIN those physical events which are imputable to us as our deeds fi'om that ethic peculiarity of our nature. The full rationale of all occurrences must at all times be sought for in the sensible system.







I lay down the following preliminary position, as one requiring no proof. ErERYTHiNG MANKIND FANCIES


FALSE WORSHIP OF THE DeitT. I say, whatever man fancies he can do; for that something, beyond all our ex- ertions, may lie in the mysteries of supreme wisdom, pos- sible to be performed by God alone, and making ns ac- ceptable in his sight, is not denied by me. But even if the church were to promulgate, as revealed^ any such mys- tery, still the opinion, that to believe in this revelation, as taught in the sacred volume, and to confess, whether in- wardly or outwardly, such belief, were in itself anything rendering us acceptable to God, would be a dangerous de- lusion in religion. For this belief, considered as the in- ward self-confession of one's stedfast conviction, is so cer- tainly AN ACT, extorted by fear, that an honest upright man would rather accept any other condition ; because all outward ceremonial worship mankind need only regard as something supererogatory to be gone through ; whereas here he violates his conscience, by declaring in its pre- sence what he is not convinced of. The confession, there- fore, with regard to which, he persuades himself, that it {as tlie acceptance of a proffered boon) will make him ac- ceptable to God, is something he imagines he can do, in addition to the moral conduct that the law ordains him to


execute in the world, nDd which is done for the worship of God singly.

First. — Reason does not leave us without consolation with respect to the want of our own righteousness. Rea- son says, that he who exerts his whole powers in the dis- charge of duty, so as constantly to approximate toward the law, may hope, that what lies beyond his power will be supplied by the Supreme Wisdom in some way, with- out pretending to investigate what that mode may be ; which may be so mysterious that God can perhaps only show it forth in a symbolical representation, the practical part of which may alone be intelligible to us ; whilst the theoretic relation subsisting betwixt God and man may be such, that we could connect no notions therewith, even were such a mystery thoroughly divulged. Sup- pose, now, a particular church were to undertake to say, that it knew the exact mode how God would supply man's moral defectibility, and were to consign all men ignorant of this foreign principle of justification (a prin- ciple indiscernible and unconfessed by reason) to eternal reprobation, who, I ask, were, in such event, the un- believer ? He who trusts, without knowing how, that what he hopes for, will be effected ; or he who insists upon knowing, wherein lies this redemption from evil, and with- out this, despairs of it ? — Properly speaking, the latter is at bottom not intent on knowing the mystery (for even his reason tells him, that it is altogether profitless to be instructed in what lies far beyond his ken, and his prac- tical ability to reach). He insists on an acquaintance with it, mainly that he may make out of its belief a wor- ship, in the acceptance, confession, and lauding, of all this revelation ; which worship is to procure him the fa*


your of Heaven, prior to any use of his own exertions to^- ward a moral life. Possibly this worship may even aim at preternaturaliy producing an amendment of his inner man, or otherwise, when this latter project fails, make up and compensate for all bis violations.

Second. — If mankind depart in the least from the above preliminary ethic principle, then superstition has NO LIMITS ; the ancient boundary and landmarks of pure reason disappear : and everything superadded besides and beyond, is quite optional and arbitrary (always, however, with this single proviso^ that it contradict not morality). From the sacrifice of a man's lips, which costs him little, up to the sacrifice of his estate, which might be better bestowed to the use of his fellow-men, — ^nay, even to the offering up of his own person, as in the Hermit, Fakir, or Monk's caste, where the man is lost to the world ; everything is presented to the Deity, only not the man's moral sentiments; and when he says he gives God his heart, he does not mean the sentiments of a walk and conversation acceptable to God, but his hearty wish, that these offerings may be accepted in lieu of the alone ethic acceptable service. {NcUio gratis anhelans^ multa offemhf nihil agens, — Phjbdrus,)

Lastly. — Whenever mankind has made a transit to the maxim of a supposed worship, which may be in itself acceptable, or, if need be, propitiatory, in the sight of God (the worship supposed not being purely moral), then is there no essential difference in this kind of mechanic service which could give one sort of it a preference over any other ; they all are alike worth, or rather worthless. 'Tis but the fantastic manners of ^ the exquisitely fasti- dious, when the bigot deems himself more select or choice


^ — by virtue of a more refined and studied apostaey from the alone and single intellectual worship of the Deity, — than they who fall into the more coarse and crass apos* tasy of sense. Whether the devotee take his statutable walk to Church, to Loretto, or to Palestine ; whether he pronounce his forms of prayer by the lip, — ^inscribe them upon flags to be unfurled, and thence wafted by the winds, — fire them from a blunderbuss, — or, like the un- tutored Thibetese, whirl them heavenwards from a wheel ; or, indeed, whatever the surrogatum of the ethic wor- ship of God be, is quite immaterial, and rested on the same groundless flams. Nothing depends upon the dif- ference of the outward ceremonial, but all upon adhering to the only principle of becoming acceptable to God by moral sentiments, so far as these can be made exbibitive in actions, their phenomena, or else abandoning that principle, and then attempting to please him by pious drivelling and doing nothing.f — Js there not, then, some one may ask, a giddy virtuous delusion, exaggerating it- self beyond all limits of man's power, that ought, together with the delusion in religion, to be ranked among the class of self-deceptions ? No ! virtue occupies itself with some- thing real, that is in itself acceptable to God, and in

-h Here we may note a psychological phenomenon : Those who attach themselves to a confession in which there are but few articles to be believ- ed, feel themselves thereby ennobled, when comparing themselves with others whose creed deals more extensively with details. The reason doubtless ia, that they perceive themselves somewhat nearer pure moral religion, although they may have been unable to shake themselves, en- tirely free from the imagination that this religion requires to be propped up by pious rites, — a circumstance that, were it a little more pondered, might prevent Protestants from looking down upon their Catholic brethren as they do.


from this accidental circumstance, that what is but a mean, is regarded as the immediate object of (rod's com- placency. Howbeit the fanatical delusion is the death of moral reason, apart from which last, neither religion nor morality, both which rest on principles, can be supported. The Principle latent in Faith Ecclesiastical, guarding, preventing, and eventually extirpating all delusions in religion, is therefore this, viz. that over and above the statute-articles of creed, which thg Ch nrch-F^ ^th cannot as yet" dispense with, this last mi;i«t.jCimJtai]l Jan^inwjapt germ, whereby jt is continuaJly urged to forth-form itself into the pure religion of a moral life, whichjjn^gpfiiuand

last end once gained—- every other religiaa may Jjiss^^foi"** ward be discarded.



The worship of mighty invisible beings first arose from helpleks man's consciousness of bis own WJG^akaess? and

  • This term (Pfaffenthch, which may also be rendered Pofeky

or Papistry, Tb.), denoting the authority of a spiritual father («-««-«), suggests the still farther idea of spiritual tyranny, and does consequently carry with it a certain amount of blame. This despotic sway pervades more or less every church, however unassuming and popular its preten- sions. Although I use the word, I do not mean, either here or in the text, to throw any despite upon the very various sects whom I contrast. All those various modifications of belief are entitled to equal respect^ so


was literally extorted by the fear that naturally springs from acknowledged imbecility. Hence rel igion was no t first ^ut rathe r^a dread of demons led A^^ until at

length this slavish god*, hero-, or spirit-worship, receiving an offidal^aj)4je&tahUfihed.«J^ consolidated itself into a TEMPLAH. .sfiaxJSfiE ' this last again, c oncurri ng wit h the moral mar ch of the human understanding, did by degrees transform itself into aT church-worship. Both church and temple rise upon faith historical : until now at length, in these latter days, it has been begun to be perceived that the historical belief was but of prooisumal use, being in fact only a symbolic exhibition, auxiliary to the spread of a pure morally religious faith.

Betwixt a Tungusine Shaman— -and a European Pre- late domineering it at once over both State and Church, there is no doubt a most enormous gap ; or if, instead of the heads and leaders of the party, an example be prefer- red from the common herd, then it still holds equally true, that from the rude, rough Wogulite, who, day by day, as he rises from his couch, places a bear's paw on his pate, and ejaculates, ^^ from this sudden death. Good Bear! deliver wic," up to the supra-subtile puritan or sublimated independent in Connecticut, there obtains a most portentous distance in the fashion, but none what- ever in the principles, of their belief : as for their prin- ciple, both belong to one and the same class, viz. the class of those, who place the worship of the Deity in those outward rites that cannot morally amend our species ; such as the

far forth as they are attempts of us poor mortals to realize a kingdom of God on earth ; but then they are all open to the same objection, viz. that they give out some particular visible transcript of that idea for the thing itself.


belief in sundry statutable dogmas, and the observance of arbitrary ceremonies of form and show. Those only who make their worship of the Supreme Being consist in having and upholding the sentiments of a walk and con- versation morally acceptable to God, are th^eby widely separated and distinguished from the former class ; inas- much as they have made a transit to a principle totally diverse from, and inoomputably advanced above, the other, viz. a principle whereby they profew themselves members of the one invisible church, containing within its pale all the honest-minded, and whereof the inward essential pro- perty is such, as to render it alone, the True Church Uni- versal.

To bias the unseen power that governs the world to their own private advantage, is a design that all spurious worshippers aim at accomplishing; but then, how this un- known being is to be propitiated, is a point concerning which they differ. When this Supreme is figured as en- dowed with will and understanding, then are all the ex- ertions of mankind directed towards propitiating so mighty an agent, on whose will depend their lot and destiny in life ; and for this purpose different and contrary modes may appear at different times and in diverse countries the more eligible. Should, however, the governor of the physical system be deemed a moral person, then is it self- evident at once to every human understanding, that the only condition under which we can recommend ourselves to his favour, is the performance of good moral conduct, at least where such correct and irreproachable deportment springs from purity of sentiment, as its subjective principle and wellspring within. Howbeit, fancy can very easily depicture to us, that the Supreme Being may perchance



choose to be served and worshipped, in some yet other manner, not patent to or cognizable by reason, namely, by such actions as, though in themselves quite unrelated to morality, are perhaps commanded by him, or otherwise are, it may be, spontaneously undertaken by ourselves, in order more vividly to demonstrate our subjection to his will : in either of which events, those actions — whether optional or imperative^^would, when systematically ar- ranged into one entire whole, constitute the materials of a WORSHIP of the Godhead. Again, upon the hypothesis, I that the ethic and non-ethical services are to bd conjoined, then must either both lines of worship be figured as di- rectly rendering us acceptable to Ood, or the one must be deemed a mean or vehicle toward the other, which last alone, will then be the proper acceptable worship. That the ethical worship of the Deity {qfficium liberum) is ifti* mediately well-pleasing in his sight, is manifest of itself; but then morality would cease to be the supreme condi- tion of God's complacency in our race (which, however, is of the very essence of our idea of morality), whenever mercenary hireling services come to be regarded as able by themselves alone, to recommend us to the favour of the Almighty. Should a mechanic non-ethical worship be thus exalted, then could no one tell, when positive and moral precepts clash, which were to be preferred before the other ; and in any given collision of ethic and alleged divine behests, the judgment of mankind must remain suspended, as to which course of action, duty would de- mand; Wherefore actions that in themselves are void of moral worth, can only be admitted into religion with this proviso, that they are found means of forwarding that which in other actions is immediately and uncondition-


ately good, i. e. we may hold them not displeasing to Ood, 80 far forth as they are instrumental in aiding our per- formance of his moral worship.

Whoever imagines that he ean employ actions devoid in themselves of moral worth, as a mean fitted for pro- caring the Divine favour, and so of attaining the realiza- tion of his wishes, besots himself with the belief that he has possessed himself of an art, by means of merely na- tural causes to bring about preternatural effects : essays in this kind usually go by the name of s orcer y* But as the term Sorcerer usually conveys the accessory notion of intercourse with the Evil One, whereas the attempts now under consideration proceed upon a mistaken fancy, and originate from good moral designs ; it will be advis- able to drop the above expression, and use in its stead the more familiar phrase of Feticiesmikmfi^ f or Eeticism .S A preternatural effect wrought by man would be such an event as the /^^he-^nu^er fancies he can cause to come to pass by acting upon the Almighty, and using God as a means to realise those ends which lie alike beyond the strength of man's physical economy and the insight of his understanding, a delusion that is in its very conception preposterous and absurd.

If man, over and above the active sentiment of ethic conduct (which can alone make him acceptable to God), does, by the use of certain forms^ seek to make himself toorihy of having his ethic weakness strengthened and sup-

§ Translator's Note. Germanice^ fetischdienst, signifying hea- thenish. The word Fetitio is said to be of Portuguese origin, and most frequently applied to the superstitious rites of the African Negroes. The meaning in the text therefore is — as Sorcery with respect to the Devil, so Feticitm in r^ard of the Deity*


plied by supernatural pow^r, and does for this end adopt cbservances tending to advance that ethic sentiment, in or- der thereby to make himself stisceptible of being helped on toward the attainment of the object of his good hopes ; then does he reckon, no doubt, on some preternatural sup- ply, not, however, effectuated by him (by acting upon the Deity), only received — an eking out of his natural inabi- lity which he only hopes for, but does not attempt to con- jure up. But if he has recourse to actions that do in themselves, so far as we can see, savour nothing of mo- rality, in the imagination that such ceremonials will serve as a mean, or even be the condition of his obtaining from God the immediate accomplishment of his wishes, then does he proceed upon the practical delusion, that although for this preternatural benefit he is qualified neither by any physical faculty, nor yet by any moral susceptibility, he can nevertheless bring about this supernatural aid by a common physical operation, quite unconnected with mo- rality, and that may be performed indifferently by the worst or the best of our race ; for when any one fancies . he can work upon the preternatural by using formulas of invocation, confessions of church-creeds, and observing rites ecclesiastical, then is he scarcely to be distinguished from those who have recourse to sorcerous incantations, when he thus attempts magically to possess himself of as- sistance from above. No human understanding can frame to itself any notion of a connection or law of synthesis ob- taining betwixt a mere bodily act and a morally-working cause, according to which causal-nexus the latter can be so regulated and determined as to produce the effects aim- ed at by the former. . Wherefore, whoever declares the observation of statu- I


tary laws, cognisable only by revelation, a necessary ele- ment of reli^on, and, considering them not merely as a mean toward forwarding the growth of moral sentiments, gives them out as the objective condition of oar becoming acceptable to God, and postpones to this historical belief oar dne exertions after an amended life ; he it is that converts the worship of God into Feticism, and deals out a superstition utterly subversive of all true religion. The former, being only hypothetically well-pleasing to the Deity, must at all times be subordinated to that mo- ral righteousness which in every nation makes and has made its worker accepted with Grod. Of sach extreme moment is the order and arrangement in which these two good principles are combined. In duly prizing this weighty distinction consists the true tnoral march and insight of an enlightened understanding; and only by rigidly subordinating the elements revealed, to the a priori laws autiienticated by reason, does the worship of God begin to wear the aspect of a fre e, and consequently a MORAL service. Is the above distinction overlooked, then is there substituted in room of the Freedom o{ the Children of God, the yoke of a statutable law ; and this, because it comes hand in hand with an unconditioned necessitation to believe in what can only be histori- cally known, is a far heavier yokef for the conscientious

-f '^ That yoke is genile and that burden light'** where the duty imposed by it on us arises from our own legislative reason. Such a command- ment is willingly executed. Of this kind are only the moral laws, qtia divine behests ; and of these alone could the Founder of the first pure church say, '^ Hii commandtnentt are not grievous.** He means, *' they are not irksome,'** because every one perceives the necessity of obeying them, and is also fully aware that no authority is thereby usurped. On the other hand, despotical ordonnances (not originated by reason), even alt


than any load of ordained ceremonials. With respect to these last, it is plainly quite enough that they be perform- ed; and no one need profess, either inwardly or outwardly, belief in the rites, as ordinances of divine appointment. Of all the various possible forms of superstition, ecclesi- astical extortion of beliefs and confessions, is by far the most vexatious ; for by this oppression conscience is sin- gularly violated.

Priestdom (Papistry) obtains wherever a mal-confor«- mation of the church polity has introduced feticism ; which worship of a fetiche-god is always to be met with whenever statute-laws of the church, formulas of faith, and ceremonial observances, not principles of morality, constitute the groundwork and essentials of the worship. Some churches there are where the fetiche belief is so me- chanical and abundant as almost to supplant both mora- lity and religion, and which do, therefore, approach very near to unmixed paganism. But be the sacerdotal sta- tutes to which obedience is demanded few or many, still, whenever the free homage due to the moral law is not first and supreme, then a servile worship, based on a fetiche creed, prevails. By this last, the multitude are governed, and, through obedience extorted by the church (not ren- dered to religion), stand bereft of all mental and moral

though intended for our good, whereof the rationale and use is unknown, are, so to speak, pests that no one can away with ; and jet, in another point of view, actions imperativelj ordained by the moral law are just those mankind experience the greatest difficulty in performing ; and in exchange for these, not uufrequently undergo the most tiresome and vexatious rites of superstition, as if it were possible that such superero- gatory and worthless castigations could pass current in room of a moral life.



freedom. The constitution of such a church may be hier- archical or democratical ; that is a matter of utter indif- ference, and concerns only the mode of its organization. The administration is, under every form of fetiche creed, out and out despotic ; and wherever statute articles of be- lief are interwoven with the constitutional charters of the church, there the clergy have usurped the sway, and domineer. They think to trample on the understandings of their fellows, and even by degrees attempt to get rid of biblical learning: for, being the alone patenteed in- terpreters and expounders of the will of the Unseen Law- giver, to them belongs exclusively the right of dealing out the rules of the faith ; whence, armed with this authority, they fancy they have not to convince, but only to com- mand. Again, since beyond churchmen all else are LAICS (the sovereign head of the realm not excepted), it is plain, that in the long run the church lords it over the state, not necessarily by force or vicJence, but partly by compressing the minds, partly by air-drawn visions of the benefits accruing to the state, from those habits of blind obedience, to which spiritual discipline moulds and biases even the very thoughts of the populace. But here long and inveterate customs of hypocrisy insensibly undermine the honesty and independence of the sulgect. Even his civil duties are tainted, by being rendered with eye-service, and thus, like all false principles whatsoever, the spu- rious church-worship ends by bringing forth the v^y con- trary of what it professed to aim at.

All theaa-eyik^arfiJlijeJjiejdla^


JDj B^ and deranging the clue order obtaining ^feeji:jKi^ principles of the several religious faiths, viz. whether the principles of pure rational religion or^thQse pf r^yegled i:jb- ligion were, as supreme conditions, to be allowed the so- vereign and highest place. It is most equitable to assume, that not merely the wise or the disputer of this world, is called to be illuminated touching the nature of his true bliss : for of this believing insight the whole race of man are destined to be capable, and even the foolish things of this world — the unlettered, the most circumscribed by limited ideas — may advance a claim to be thus taught and inwardly convinced. For the behoof of those last, a po- pular historic creed seems pre-eminently adapted, espe- cially when all the notions needed for its comprehension are quite anthropological, and address themselves directly to the sensory. Nothing can be more easily spread than a simple story thus sensuously clothed ; it admits of being constantly discoursed of and imparted, together with the verbal formulas of its mysteries, wherewith it is not ab- solutely necessary that the speaker connect any sense. How repeatedly do we not perceive statements that ac- company a great and general interest acquiring a ready and almost universal reception ; and then, when the his- tory is supported by an ancient document, long acknow- ledged to be authentic, what deep roots must not the be- lief in its truths have struck. These various concurring circumstances render such a faith as is the Christian, peculiarly on a level with the most ordinary and common apprehension.. Farther, although neither the annunciation of those events, nor the belief in rules of life thereon based, may have been originally intended for, or address- ed to, the learned and noble, still they are not upon that


account excluded, much less devoid of interest, to look - into the transactions recorded. But then so many doubts RTise^ now touching their truths anm touching their nican- in&^, that it plainly is the most absurd course in the world to lay down, as the supreme condition of saving and universal faith, a historic creed, open to so many contro- versies, and to learned and scientific douhtemost^ honestly urged and as sincerely &lt. Moreover, (there is a practi- cal knowledge based entirely upon reason, needing no his^ toric authentication, lying so near every one, even the most simple, that it looks as had it been written in detail on the tablets of his heart : a practical knowledge, I say, -of a law that cannot be named without commanding uni- versal assent to its authority, and which is ushered into every one's soul with the immediate consciousness of its unconditioned obligatory force. This practical knowledge is besides sufficient of itself to guide to a belief in God *) or should this belief have been suggested aliunde^ then it fixes and defines our idea of him as a moral lawgiver; thus fur- nishing a religion that is at once comprehensible by all, and that puts on all the greatest dignity and honour that can possibly be represented : nay, the above-mentioned practical knowledge issues so naturally in this religion, that it admits of being questioued Socratically out of every person's understanding, although he had never heard of it before. | It is consequently not merely expedient to com- mence with this obvious truth, and to make the historical belief wherewith it is so much in harmony follow only as an accessory ; but is even a very duty to regard those no- tices, the birthright of every human reason, as the prin- cipal and supreme index, pointing out the only legitimate and infallible way, through which we can become partak-


ers of whatever bliss, a historical belief may promise : for, in truth, we can allow a narrated creed to pass validly cur- rent, to such extent only, as the former warrants; where- as, whenever this search into its inner texture and con- tents has been warily gone about, then is J[he ethical BELIEVER always left fullj^open to niake a transit to^s^

j^^^ > !■■■■■ ^ n » n 111 iii m ■- '«a«B^i III |-»ri ■■•-<■■■ ' n"*" ^^

much of THE HISTORICAL BELIEF as he may find condu- cive to the quickening and enlivening of his pure moral and religious sentime nts, in^w hich event alone can sucl|. belief possess any irtward , worth ,_ as it is then free, and unextorted by any threat.

There is yet another question which may be asked, whether the lectures publicly delivered in a church ought mainly to set forth doctrines of godliness, or those of pure VIRTUE? The former term, godliness^ is, perhaps, the only one still used that can convey, even in part, the mean- ing of the foreign term religio.

Godliness may be figured as containing under it two different mental moods in regard of our [relation to the Deity. Fear of God is such a cast of thinking as obtains when we observe God's Laws as subjects in his realm, t. e. from the awe of duty. Love of God, on the other hand, obtains then, when we offer him the obedience of dutiful children, L e, from a free and ingenuous appro- bation taken in his law. Either .ficaJoaa>at mind is conse- quently, above and beyond the bare moral determination, accompanied by the attendant idea of a supersensible Being, invested with such attributes as may be needed for placing within our reach that Sovereign Good aimed at by a moral mind, and eking out our inability to realise and attain i t. This Person's nature does, whenever at- tempted to be fixed by any predicate, save those imme-


diately arising out of the moral relation perceived to ob- tain betwixt our idea of Him and our duty, stand always in the greatest hazard of being anthropomorphously dis- torted, and so consequently of endangering, displacing, and even supplanting to that extent our moral sentiments. Ac- cordingly we saw in the Critiques that this idea could not be received, as of objective validity, by pure speculative Reason, and that its origin, and still more its main use, was grounded entirely on the self- begotten and self-up- holding law of our ethical economy. This _being thgjs tate of matters, what, it will naturally be asked, ought to con- stitute the first rudiments of instruction when addressing the young, or when prelecting from the pulpit ? Ought VIRTUE to be explained before godliness ? or godliness in preference to, and perhaps without even so much as once mentioning, virtue ? Both go of necessity hand-in- hand together; but a necessary conjunction of this sort can only obtain where the one is the end, the other no more than a mean. Again, the whole theory of virtue has its complete and entire subsistence by itself, dispensing even with the Idea God ; whereas tenets of godliness deal only with this idea, so far forth as it serves to depicture to us how the grand end of morality, viz. the Sovereign Oood, is to be gained. Hence it is manifest that godli- ness cannot by itse^ be the aim and end of morality, but can only serve as a mean, strengthening mankind's honest-mindedness, by ascertaining and warranting to him every good, even holiness, for which his natural ef- forts might be insufficient^ The Idea virtue, on the con- trai*y, is exsculpted, in most prominent relief, on every human soul. Each man bears it fully about within, how- ever it may for a while be partially submerged ; nor does


it need, like the religious Idea, to be arrived at through any chain of ratiocination. In the august magnificence of its purity, arousing consciousness forthwith to the dis- covery of an otherwise quite unsuspected energy, em- powering man to smite down and overthrow the greatest possible obstacles within; in the dignity of his nature which mankind has to uphold inviolate, in order to reach that moral destination after which he strives ; in this re- cognition of his excellency and purity, there does^ I say, lie something so soul-exalting, yea heavenwards wafting, placing mankind as it were even in the presence of the Deity, who merely by his holiness and legislative guardianship of virtue is an object of adoration, that every man, even though as yet far removed from giving this idea any motive-pur- chase on his maxims, gladly entertains it in his thoughts, as it then fully reveals to him, and stamps on him, the feeling of the original nobility and state of his rank. How different are the. in ward phenomena when this order is in- verted. The idea of a supreme governor, imposing upon us duties by his law, lies primordially at an incomputable distance, and is observed, when we set out with it^ to damp and dash man's courage — ^which, however, is of the very essence of all virtue — and the godliness is exposed to the risk of sliding into an abject, servile, and adulatory sub- mission to the will of a despot. The energetic valour aroused, set free, and disengaged by virtue, encouraging and enabling mankind to trust confidently to his own re- sources, is likewise capable of becoming fortified and made inexpugnably secure when followed up by a doctrine of expurgation, announcing an amnesty for that in past trans- gressions, beyond man's power to undo or counteract; whereas even here, were this ethical order transposed, then

\ \


must inevitably, doubt as to appropriation of the grace, un- nerve and break the spirits : abortive expiations to make what has been done undone then creep in ; doctrines of oar utter inability to perform of ourselves, any spontaneous ingenuous good, follow in their train ; these, by begetting anxious and uneasy apprehensions touching his possible lapse backwards into evil, transplant the unhappy sufferer into a whining, whimpering, passive moral state, inca- pable of aiming at anything either great or good — only of sighing after it with prayers or vows. In founding and uprearing a moral character, everything depends on the leading and dominant idea whereunto everything else must be subordinated. WViftn t^.tfa^ ly^rfi h i p of , Go d is allotted the foremost place to which virtue is pog|]2Qped, then is such deity an idol ; for God is then an agent not to be won by good moral deportment executed in the world, but one whose approbation is to be gained by invoca- tions and adulatory addresses : religion is qqw idolatrv. Godliness can, therefore, P^Y§? b<^ A stirtQgfftUMid yirtue, assisting us to dispense with it. Godliness canjonly be its plenary consummation, crowning it with the hope^f that ulti mate success, which will. one day put wholly within pur graspglbie ffhJPif and last. end ofjairpwr moral kbours.

The various kinds of faith prevalent among diverse nations, impart to them by degrees certain peculiar characteristic feat- ures, which come in the sequel to be regarded as derived from the localities of the soil or climate, or from the physical tem- perament of the race. Thus Judaism being designed to keep separate the family of Abraham, isolating them by every spe- cies of rite and ceremonial from their neighbours, entailed upon


the inhabitants of Palestine the well-known charge of a misan- thropic hatred of the whole human race. Mahomet anish is characterized by the haughtiness it instils into the Moslem, — a PRIDE begotten by its looking for its evidences, not to mi- racles, but by finding the confirmation of its belief in its victo- rious subjection of many nations ; and this highmindedness is sustained by devotional exercises of a warlike and lofty-spirited turn. The Hindu persuasions have impressed upon the East a character of pusillanimity^ from causes the exact contrary of those just mentioned. — Assuredly the Christian faith is not to blame if it sometimes has given birth to characters chargeable with the like fault. These have arisen from the faulty mode in which it has been made to tell upon the mind. The vices of a false and abject humility have been superinduced upon primitive Christianity, through the mistaken views of many of its most zealous well-wishers ; who, commencing with the doctrine of mankind's corruption, despair of and cut short the mind's elastic and undecaying energies for virtue : thus placing the whole of religion in a principle of pietism, by which I mean a principle of passive resignation, where all moral good is expect- ed from above. By these portentous doctrines, mankind stand I bereaved of all self-confidence and independence : fretted with perpetual anxiety, they sigh and whine after preternatural as- sistance ; and do, even in this very self-abnegation (which is not humility), think they possess a mean whereby to recommend themselves to the favour of the Deity. The outward expression however, of pietism and bigotism (i. e. spurious devotion), does at all times amply betray the abjectness of the sentiment within.

This singular phenomenon, that the second of those classes (an ignorant, though shrewd race) should pride themselves upon ; their faith, may possibly be in part deduced from the imagination \ of its founder, that he was the grand instrument of reviving the \ belief in the unity of the Godhead, which image- worship had at that time nearly blotted from the earth. If this merit can be

r not lend I (ion, (



\ dulj ascribed to Mohammed, then doubtless may his followers I feel themselves entitled to claim the ascendant in civilization^ as / they first freed the world from the superstition of the day ; and

became the first truly successful iconoclasts, by emancipating

! I the nations they overran from the shackles of Polytheism* As for that characteristic of the fourth dass, which rises upon mis-

[ understood humility, this ought to be observed ; the estimation of our moral worth, intended to prune the overgrowths of self- conceit, should not issue in self-abhorrence, but ought rather to

[ inspire a more firm determination to press after the holiness ob- jected to our mental vision by the law, by so cultivating our con- fided talent, as to bring forth fruits worthy of the exalted dignity and high destination of our being. But then, unfortunately, vir- tue has been confounded with arrogance, and its very name banished as suspicious into the realms of heathenism. Virtue, together with its main constituent valour, has thus been for- ced to yield place to crouching superstition and craven devo- teeism. Bigotry or false devotion is rested upon the custom of placing the usages of piety, not in those moral actions that make mankind accepted with his Judge, but in exercises of re- verential homage, whereby the devotee fancies he is immediate- ly occupied with God himself. Such worship is plainly abortive (opus operatum), although it adds to superstition the fanatical dream of alleged supersensible feelings of the celestial.



The question here is not, " How conscience ought TO BE GUIDED ?" for Conscience is its own General and Leader ; it is therefore enough that each man have one.


What we want to know is, how conscience can be her own Ariadne^ and disentangle herself from the mazes even of the most ravelled and complicated casuistical theology.

Conscientiousness is a state of consciousness, which to possess is at all times our incumbent duty. But how is this to be figured as possible ? The consciousness of any representation — be it what it may — is needed only for logical purposes ; but if consciousness is needed condi- tionally only for the behoof of making our perceptions clearer or more perspicuous, then would it seem that no | state or modification of consciousness can be stated as an I unconditioned duty.

Here is an ethical proposition that stands in need of no [


WRONG (Quod dubitas^ne/eceris/ Plin.), Hence the con- \ sciousNESSs, that ANY ACTION I am about to perform is \ RIGHT, is in itself a most immediate and imperative duty* ^ What actions are right, — what wrong, — is a matter for the understanding, not for conscience. It certainly is not absolutely necessary for any one to know, touching all possible actions, whether they be right or wrong. But [ with, regard to any given action which I am reallp about to perform, I must not only be of opinion, but must be absolutely certain, that it is right; and this is a postulate conscience opposes to Jesuitical Prdbabilism^ which has for its foothold this position, that the bare opinion, that an action may possibly not be wrong, furnishes sufficient \ warrant for performing it. Conscience might be thus otherwise defined, — it is our pelf-judging moral un* DERSTANDiNG ; — ouly this definition would, I fear, stand greatly in need of a preliminary clearing up of the con-


ceptioDs it involves. Conscience does not sit in judgment on actions, so as to decide whether they are cases falling under the moral law, or beyond it ; that is determined by reason, so far forth as this last is subjectively-practical (hence the casus conscientuB, and indeed the whole of ca- suistry constitute, if I may so speak, a dialectic of con- science) ; whereas, in the former event, reason passes sen- tence on itself, to know if, with all diligence, it have sifted and tested the moral worth or unworth of certain acts ; and cites each individual manias conclusive evidence, Jbr or against himself, that such approbatory or reprobating decree, has been duly pronounced, or has unduly been omitted.

Let us take as an example an official of the Inquisi- tion, who has imbibed the inveterate opinion that his creed is the alone true, and who would willingly, in con- sequence of this belief, suffer martyrdom for its sake. Let there be brought before this ecclesiastic judge an un- offending citizen, who has been denounced as a heretic, and is now arraigned at his bar of the capital crime of mis- belief ; then I raise this query, whether or not he who dooms his neighbour to the pains of death, can be said to have acted conformably to conscience (confessedly erroneous thjough it be)\ or whether he is not to be charged with AN UTTER want OF CONSCIENTIOUSNESS, and that, too, whether he have so acted, knowing his sentence to be un- just, or in the mistaken supposition that this judicial step was right. In effect, it should seem that we might confi- dently toss the defiance in his face ; that in such a ease as the one now supposed, he could not but know that he acted wrong, in as much as it is impossible for any man altogether, to escape some inward misgiving, when pro-


tiouncing the portentous warrant for an auto daje, lest per- ad venture his judgment prove utterly iniquitous. Doubt- less the Grand Inquisitor is fully persuaded that a super'> natural revelation of the Divine will — compellite inirare—^ permits him, or, it may be, even ordains him, to extirpate^ root and branch, the infidelity of the incredulous, and to raze all unbelievers from the face of the earth. But was he then so perfectly assured that the above formula was a revelation, and so convinced of the accuracy of the inter- pretation as is absolutely indispensable, before we can hold any one justified in passing sentence of capital con*- demnation on his fellow-men ? That to put any one to death on account of his opinions in religion is a point of high injustice, is obvious to every one ; unless, indeed — to grant the very uttermost concession — the divine will have in a special extraordinary revelation ordained it other-- wise ; farther, that God ever did, at any time, communi- cate this dreadfully appalling declaration of his will, rests merely on historical documents, and is, therefore, never apodictically certain. This alleged revelation has only been received from, and interpreted by, his fellow-men ; or did any one even suppose that he got such a communication immediately from God himself, as Abraham did, to lead his son like a sheep to the slaughter, still, the possibility would remain, that in all this some latent error had una- wares crept in ; and should there be room for any such possible mistake, then would he hazard an act that might be extremely unjust. But thus to act at random, and in the dark, is of the very essence of unconscientiousness. Again, every one thus behaves, who thinks to perform acts, other- wise clearly immoral, upon the fancied ground of some authority contained, it may be, in a history or a vision.


These last may possibly be tainted by mistake;§ and if this be indeed so, then does it bewray the man's inward want of conscientiousness when he obeys a historical belief; for whoso blindly hazards the violation of one of the known offices of humanity, upon the imagined probability that perchance he may not do wrong, becomes thereby — con- science being judge — a wrong-doer. Furthermore, upon the hypothesis that an action commanded by such an al- leged positive revealed law, is in itself perfectly allow- ed, then still I desire to know if clerical superiors and teachers can venture to impose upon the people, as arti- cles of belief, their own opinions and convictions ; aud that, too, upon the pain of certain civil disabilities. The conviction in question can be grounded upon no other than historic foundations; and the populace cannot but per- ceive, if they give the subject the most slender and cur- sory examination, what abundant sources there are for error, either in the story or in the classic exposition of the text. The judgment of the unlettered can conse- quently be no other than problematic ; and yet the clergy- man would constrain his flock to confess (at least inward- ly) as confidently as they believe in God, t. e. to profess, as it were, in the presence of the Almighty, what they cannot certainly know. Thus some ecclesiastics compel their half-learned countrymen to believe in the institution I of one day in seven as a constituent element of religion I and godliness, immediately ordained by God himself, for i the public periodic celebration of his worship ; or wring

' § Beyond which, all science, and therefore ethical science, is exalted. There are only four sciences, logic, mathematics, physics, and ethics : before the demonstrated truths of these a priori knowledges, every op- posing obrtacle must of necessity &11. Tk.


from the flock a solemn confession of a mystery which it cannot so much as comprehend* Clerical superiors do, in these instances, themselves violate and bespot the conscience, obtruding upon the unlettered sciolist a belief in matters vf hereof they themselves never can become fully certain ; and here they ought to take good heed what they are about, as they it is, that will have to render an account for all abuses springing from such feigned and fictitious faith. Wherefore, there may be truth in the things be- lieved, and yet there may be insincerity in the belief it- self, u e, want of conscientiousness in the confession de- clared by the man to himself — an inward guile that is in itself damnable.

Although, as it was remarked above, individuals who have begun to awake to freedom f of cogitation, after hav-

•j* The phrase often used by sagacious politicians, ^^ such a people are not yet ripe for freedom y*^ la, I frankly admit, one with which I cannot concur. The adscripii glehce are said to be thus immature ; and in the same way we hear it strenuausly contended that the great bulk of the people are still unripe for freedom in ecclesiastical belief. Agreeably to ihi^ hypothesis, no season of freedom ever can arrive. How can any one be- come mature in freedom, unless, first of all, so placed tfiat he can ripen freely ? (the firee use of our connate powers never can be harmoniously and symmetrically developed till all clog and restrsunt are removed). The first essays at freedom may no doubt be awkward, and a nation may for a while, in consequence, find itself thrown into a more uncouth or even dangerous condition than while it stood under the authfu-ity and guar- dianship of another. Howbeit, no man ever can ripen into the full ma- turity of reason, save by his own exertions ; to make which exertions, he'inust be handed entirely over to his own freedom. I do not deny that the exigency of particular circumstances may compel those invested with authority to postpone, for a long season, the removal of domestic, municipal, or ecclesiastic bonds. But to proceed upon the principle that those subjected to their authority are unfit for freedom, is to usurp a pre- rogative of Deity, who created mankind for and unto freedom. Ques- tionless, it is much more convenient to lord it, both at home and abroad,



t •

ing long unconsciousljr slambered under the yoke of a belief (e* g. Protestants)) do straightway deem themselves ennobled, in proportion as their articles of belief are scanty; yet, singularly enough, they whose understandings still lie dormant, cling to a very different principle of safety. << Better believe too much than believe too LITTLE," is here the adage ; for whatever is done beyond and above what is duty, cannot in any event harm, but may perchance do good. Upon this delusive dream, which would make dishonesty the very spirit and soul of religi- ous confessions, is based the well-known argumentum a Mo, which obtains the more easy and extended currency, because religion compensates for every fault, and hence also for dishonesty in adopting it. If, says the sciolist, what I profess to believe concerning the Godhead is cor- rect, then have I precisely hit the very truth. Should, on the other hand, the articles contain an error, still, as there is nothing in them morally improper, then have I merely assented to something superfluous and unneces- sary, by all which I have no doubt molested, but certainly not incriminated, myself. The peril arising out of the im- probity of his profession — the lesion of conscience — necessarily undergone, when that is declared in the pre- sence of God to be certain, which mankind must never- theless know not to be so constituted as to admit of being affirmed with unconditioned certainty, are all overlooked by this dishonest maxim, and indeed pass with the HYPOCRITE FOR NOTHING, The geuuiue safety-principle of true religion is contrariwise as follows. Whatever is

over house, state, and church, where we can. — But then there is another question-^as to its justice.


a mean or condition of future bliss, unknown to naked reason, and promulgated singly by revelation, can strike root in my conviction, just like any other history ; and so far forth as it does not militate against morality, cannot be either pronounced absolutely certain, nor yet rejected as absolutely false. Besides leaving this point totally undecided, I may unquestionably trust, that whatever of salutary there may lie in the document, will stand me in good stead, provided I do not by my moral short-coming make myself unworthy of it. In this maxim, there is real moral safety, viz. that conscience be not violated ; and more cannot be demanded from mankind. There is, moreover, the utmost danger and insecurity in that lauded stratagem of expediency, whereby we think astutely to evade any disadvantageous sequents that may spring from unbelieving nonconformity. Thus tampering with either party, we destroy our credit with both.

Were the author of a creed, or a doctor in theology, or, generally, were any one, who professes inwardly to himself his steadfast belief in tenets, as of divine revela- tion ; were, I say, any such individual interrogated, if he could, before the Searcher of his heart, protest that those tenets are certainly true, renouncing his hope of every- thing dear and holy, should they, in any event, turn out to be false ; then must our opinion of human nature be low and grovelling indeed, not to anticipate, that even the boldest preacher of belief must tremble at the contempla- tion of so portentous an alternative.f But if this be so

i" Whoever has the temerity to saj, that he who refuses assent to a historical statement, as a certain truth, must infallibly be dammed, must he ready to invert the proposition, and to say in turn, I con- versely AM willing to be DAMNED if what I now tell you is un-




indeed, how can it coBsist with general conscientiousness to urge vehemently an unlimited declaration of adherence to those points of faith, and even to give out the reckless temerity, that alone is able to utter such asseverations, s^ in itself a duty, and, in fact, part of the worship of the Deity. So violent an invasion of conscience bereaves mankind of his freedom^ which, however, is indispensably needed for every moral act — (pre-eminently so when reli- gious principles are to be adopted) — and does not even al- low room for the good will that would cry, Lord, I be- lieve ; HELP THOU MINE UNBELIEF.f

true. Should there perchance be found any person, willing to emit this dreadful declaration, then would I recommend the Persian proverb, as suggesting the only fit mode of treating such a zealot. Has any one gone ONCE to Mecca on a pilgrimage, then (says the eastern adage) is it high time to quit the house in which he dwells. Has he been there twice, quit the very street. But has he journeyed thither thrice, then abandon the city, or even the very province, where he is to be found.

-j- SiNCEaiTT ! thou Afltrsea ! who hast fled this earth, and betaken thyself to heaven, by what means draw we thee down again, — thee ! the indispensable groundwork of all conscientiousness, and so by necessary consequence of all heart-felt religion. I admit — ^though I deem it mat- ter of regret— that a frank absence of ail reserve, which tells the whole truth it knows, is not to be met with in human nature. Notwithstand- ing, SIM CEBIT Y is what we are entitled to expect and to exact from all (viz. that whatever is said, be honestly declared) ; and were there no substratum in our inner man tending to this virtue, whereof the culture only lies neglected, then would the human species become in their own eyes an object of the deepest disgust and disdain. But this deside- rated and invaluable frame of thinking is exposed to many assaults of temptation, and costs many a sacrifice ; whence also it demands ethic strength, i. e» virtue for its acquisition. Again, this virtue needs to be planted and watered much earlier and more assiduously than any other ; for when once the contrary bias to self-deceit has insinuated itself, and contaminated the character, it is almost irapossiblie afterwards to eradi- cate it This being the case, just let us throw back an eye on the edu* cation given us in youth, especially in what relates to religion, or rather, to speak more correctly, in what relates to points of fidth. Here faith-



Whatever good mankind is of himself able to perform^ agreeably to Laws of Freedom, may be termed Nature, in contradistinction from that good which, springing from preternatural aid, may be called Grace. The former epi«  thet does not, however, mean any physical property dif- ferent from Freedom ; it is only employed because we know the laws of this last's causality, whence also it hap-^ pens that, in the analogy those bear to the uniform legal sequences of the physical system, Reason possesses an ^sy, conspicuous, and available gnomon as its guide : where- as, touching any effects of Grace, we are left altogether in the dark ; Reason being totally ignorant of the laws of those operations. Indeed, everything hyperphysical flees the scrutiny of our ken, among which transcendent points of cogitation must ever be ranked Morality, qua absolute ^ Sanctity or Holiness.

The conception of the supra-accession of preternatural increments to our moral but defective exertions is trans- cendent, and a bare idea whose reality no experience can confirm. And yet to admit this idea, even in a mere practical point of view, is exceedingly perilous, and al- most inconjungible with our own exertions, upon any

fulness of recollection is what is mostly prised (viz. that memory sup* plj the answers to the questions) ; but as for the faithfulness of the con- fessions uttered^ touching this last, no question is ever asked— 4i good memory is equipment enough for a good believer, although he does not so much as understand the creed to which he is solemnly pledged. With such a retrospect, why should we wonder at the inroads of insincerity, which generates nothing but a race of inward Hypocrites.



grounds of our Reason ; seeing that whatever good moral conduct is to be imputable to our account, cannot be ori- ginated by any foreign sources, but singly by the stre- nuous and unfailing use of our own energies. The impos- sibility, however, of such superadded aid cannot be evin- ced, nor can it be shown, that both our own and extra- neous exertions may not perhaps work harmoniously to- gether. Although Freedom does, in its conception, con- tain nothing supernatural : nevertheless the possibility even of this our very freedom is incomprehensible ; in truth, just as incomprehensible as the preternatural supply al- leged to concur therewith ; helping and eking out our own self-active but defective voluntary determinations.

There is, however, this very marked difference betwixt the two cases. We are perfectly acquainted with Free- dom's Law (viz. the Moral), according to which its cau- sality is determinable : whereas touching the Laws of any preternatural assistance we are left altogether in the dark ; whether any perceived moral strength within, really arise from a celestial source : in what circumstances and under what conditions this divine grace is to be expected, is un- known and uninvestigable. We can, consequently, make j no use whatever of this Idea, farther than this general hy- - pothesis, viz. that what our own natural energies cannot accomplish will be effected by Grace ; provided only we ourselves have done our utmost. Wherefore, beyond [an I earnest striving after a good life, nothing can by us be \ done, so as either to draw down hitherward a supema- ! tural operation, or yet to determine at what time, or in what manner, we may expect it. The idea is quite trans- cendent ; and it is even salutary to regard it as a semctumy not to be incautiously approached, lest, by rashly enter-


Ing in, we fall into the imagination,, either of performing miracles oarselves : or into the no less distressing delusion of perceiving fancied miracles wrought upon our inner man^ thereby unfitting ourselves for all rational use of our intellectual faculties, and even encouraging ourselves in sloth, passively waiting from above, for what is cer- tainly to be had by our own diligent and strenuously-sus- tained labour.

Means are those intermediate steps toward an end which we mankind have fully within our own control. Now in order to become worthy of celestial aid^ there is no other, and there can be no other mean than the so- lemn and earnest endeavour, whereby we better to the uttermost, our moral properties and state, so as to render ourselves susceptible of receiving that complementary sup- ply not within our reach, but which Is nevertheless needed for making us the faultless objects of the Divine compla- cency ; the assistance expected, aiming in fact, at nothing else than the forwarding of our morality. That the de- praved and insincere will look for this aid anywhere ra- ther than in industrious moral self-culture, might have been expected beforehand ; and this anticipation we find confirmed by fact. The sinner in every age has resorted to sundry sensible observances, that never yet made any one a better man, but which are intended supematurally to effect this desired transformation. Hence arises the notion of means of grace, which, though a self-contra- dicting representation, serves for a self-delusion alike common, and hurtful to true religion.

The true worship of God rendered by the ethical believer -^at once a subject in the Divine realm, and at the same time a free denizen of the moral state — is, like the hea-


Tenly kingdom, itself invisible, viz. an inward service of the heart, consisting in the spirit and truth of a real mo* ral sentiment within ; and this service can alone consist in that moral-mindedness which discharges all the incum- bent offices of hnmanity as if they were Divine command- ments, and does not consist in performing certain stated actions exclusively rendered toward God. But then things invisible, always require some sensible effigiation. This practical vehicle, though perhaps indispensable, is a mode of depicturing to us, our duties extremely open to misap* prehension, inasmuch as those ceremonials that symboli- cally suggest to us our offices as servants of the Most High, become confounded with those offices themselves. Whence mankind deem them part of the worship of ihe Deity ; by which very name indeed the institutions of a church, are not unfrequently miscalled.

This alleged worship of God, when reduced to its true spirit and original intendment, will admit of a division into four daties, recognised even by our own reason as duties tending to forward the growth of a cast of thinking hal- lowed by being dedicated to the advancement of the king- dom of God. To these duties a few corresponding rites will be associates, although standing with them in no ne- cessary connection. The forms serve as an ectifffosis^ sha- dowing forth those duties, and serve to rouse and sustain ou)* attention to what is the true worship of God. From remote antiquity the following sensible rites have been found serviceable, and aim all at one common end, viz. the forwarding morality. 1. Witfi the design of firmly grounding and settling this morality in oursdves^ priyjvt e P RAYE R has been had recourse to^ the sentiments of mora- lity being thus intentionally enlivened and revivified. ^


With the view of outwardly spreading and propelling the reign of the good sentiment anumg othersy as semblin g TOGETHER IN CHURCH has been instituted. There, on stat- ed periodic times, set specially apart for this very purpose, religious doctrines, wishes, and sentiments, are embodied by words, and mutually interchanged. ^ To propa- gate morality among posterity, the newly-born members are received into the communion of the faithful, where, by some formulary, seniors are admonished of the duty of educating and instructing their youth in the principles of the faith (baptism among Christians). 4. In order to preserve the society of believers, another public ceremo- nial — the rite of commu nion — ^is celebrated. Individuals are thus represented as members of an ethical body ; in this they are permanently combined, agreeably to a prin- ciple of equal rights, and joint participation in all the fruits of the moral good.

Every undertaking in points of religion, when not purely moral, and yet intended as a mean that is in itself to make us acceptable to God, and so through him to procure the satisfaction of all our wishes, springs from what we have called a fetiche-belief. This heathenish belief consists in the persuasion, that we can accomplish what we wish for by resorting to steps that can neither naturally nor mo- rally tend to such result, provided we steadfastly believe that those means will nevertheless bring about those ends, and then combine with this belief sundry outward cere- monials. Even in minds where the conviction has struck deep root, that everything depends upon the self-origi- nated ethic-good, still the sensuous bias of our nature in- duces an attempt at a sort of contraband morality, where- by we expect to evade the troublesome conditions of ge-


nuine int^rity, and fancy that if the ceremonial alcme be duly celebrated, God will accept ii in lieu of the deed. This would indeed be a surpassingly transcendent favour on the part of the Deity ; or should we not rather call suck an imagination a dream, that in fond and arrc^ant confidence deals with representations of grace, or perhaps even a mere counterfeit and hypocritically feigned confi- dence ? Owing to the above-mentioned causes, mankind have, in every variety of public faith, excogitated sundry usages as means of grace, although those last are not al- ways (as it has been the case with Christianity) related to the ideas of pure practical reason, and the moral sentiments it demands. Of the five great Mahometan command- ments, washing, praying, fasting, alms-giving, and pil- grimage to Mecca, not one has the slightest cognationship to morality, unless the alms-giving be excepted ; for when the needy are relieved out of a truly virtuous and there- fore religious mindedness, then might such eleemosynary arrangement not unfitly deserve the name of a mean of grace. And yet since, consistently with the principles of Mahomet's creed, the dealing out of this gratuitous bounty may very well consist and go hand in hand with an extor- tion from others of what is thus feigned to be offered to God in the person of the poor, it does not appear worthy of ranking as an exception.

The kinds of elusory belief are threefold, each over- stepping the limits and barriers of the human understand- ing in regard of that preternatural, which, consistently with the known laws of our intellectual economy, is no possible object either of theoretic or practical use. Fiyst , there may be an imaginary faith, leading us to suppose we know from observation and experience things whereof it


is certain that they cannot possibly take place according to the objective laws of the material universe (t he belie f i n Mi^A .cLEs)> Seco nd, a delusion that seems to render it necessary.&i^.u&io adopts amgngwretMcal notions, an idea of something needed for our moral welfare, although reason is unable to frJiym.e_to itself any intelligible concep- tioii of what this may be (belief in mysteries). Third, the delusion of supposing that by me rely n atural means we canj?ring about a mysterious effect within, viz^a di- vine influence operating^uBpn o ur mora lity. Of the two first-mentioned kinds of artificial belief, we have already spoken in the scholia to the second and third books. There remains by consequence to be treated of only t he mean s O F^ GRAC£> These must be distinguished from the ope- rations OF GRACE ;f for these last are preternatural mo- ral influences, where we are entirely passive, and the ima- gined experience of such an inward grace is a fanatical delusion, resting merely on some errant feeling.

L Prayer, regarded as an internal formal worship of the Deity, and so as a mean of grace, is a superstitious de- lusion. It is nothing more than an uttered wish : declared moreover in the presence of a Being who stands in need of no information touching the inward sentiments of the declarant. By prayer there is consequently nothing done ; and none of those duties, which, as were they command- ments of God, are incumbent upon us, are discharged. Wherefore, in real fact and event, God remains all the while morally unserved and unworshipped. The heart- felt wish, that in everything we compass or avoid, we may be found well-pleasing in God^s sight — i. e. in other

.f Cortf* Scholion to Book I.




wordS) the standing bent and ply of mind pervading all our actions, and inducing us to perform them, as were they done for the service of God, — ^is that spirit of prayer that can and ought without ceasing to obtain within. To clothe this wish in words or formulariesf (even were these last

-f- By tbe former wish, considered as the spirit of prayer, mankind en- deavours to operate singly upon himtelf^ viz* by enlivening his moral sentiments through means of the idea God. But on the latter wish, ver- bally uttered, he expects, by an outward operation, to work upon God, In the first case, prayer may be offered up with perfect sincerity, although the individual does not so much as presume to affirm that God certainly exists ; but in the second form, which is an addeess, the Most High is necessarily figured to be personally present ; at least the individual makes an inward feint, as if he were persuaded of the presence of the Supreme, — thinking that this little make'helieve can do no harm, but may perhaps recommend him to God*s &vour. From all which it is obvious, that in a verbally pronounced prayer, the sincerity is not so unquestionable as in one which confines itself to prayer*s spirit The accuracy of this re- mark can easily be confirmed by a hypothetical case. Imagine a pious good-meaning man, one, however, whose religious ideas are exceedingly circumscribed, caught unexpectedly by another in the act, I will not say of praying aloud, but merely in an attitude indicating what he is about ; and it is scarcely necessary for me to add, that, in the case put, every one would at once anticipate, that the supplicant would betray some awkwardness or confusion, just as liad he been detected in some situation whereof he had reason to be ashamed. What may be the cause of this mental phenomenon ? The reason seems to be, that whenever any one is found talking aloud to himself, we very naturally suspect him to be slightly crazed ; and, in the same way, a not unsimilar judgment is passed, when we find some one, though alone, performing gesticulationp that have only meaning when some one else stands before him. The Teacher of the Gospel expressed the spirit of prayer most admirably in that formula which enables us to dispense with all special prayers, and so even with the formula itself, as a mere verbal accompaniment. It contains nothing except the forethought resolve of leading a morally good life ; which resolve, coupled wi<^ the consciousness of our frailty, gives birth to the perpetual and constant wish of becoming a worthy member of the kingdom of God- There is therefore no petition pre- sented for anything that God might in his wisdom see meet to refuse ; there is only a wish, which, when earnest and active, will of itself



no more than internally depictured), can, at the very utmost, possess no other worth save that of a mean,

bring forth its own desired object, viz. our harmony with that in huma- nity which is well-pleasing to God. Even the wish for the means of subsistence, limited to one single day> amounts rather to a confession of what our animal economy wants, than to any reflex request expressing what the person himself wills. A prayer for to-morrow*s bread would convey this last, which, however, is manifestly excluded by the very terms of the petition. This kind of prayer, prompted by a purely moral sentiment (quickened by the idea God), it is alone that can be prayed IN FAITH (i. e. in the confidence that it will be heard); for it, as the moral spirit of prayer, is of itself able to render the suppliant acceptable to God. The only prayer that will certainly be heard, is such a prayer for morality, as may, by being uttered and acted on, bring forth its own object. No object, other than morality, stands in this predicament ; for suppose a solemn petition were* presented for bread for any one given day, then is it impossible for any to foresee whether or not his supplica- tion will be heard, «. e. no man can tell whether the object requested stands in such necessary conjunction with God's wisdom, as that it must of necessity be granted ; on the contrary, it may perhaps be more con- gruous to the wisdom of the Almighty to allow the petitioner to die that very day for want of food. Again, the proposal is alike frenzied and pre- sumptuous to attempt, by importunate seeking, to move God from his pre-appointed plans to our advantage ; wherefore no prayer, unless when directed toward a moral object, will certainly be heard, t. e. no object not moral can be supplicated for in faith. Nay, even were the olgect one pertaining to morality, but possible to be attained by us only through supernatural influence, then is it so exceedingly doubtful if God would find it consistent with his wisdom to eke out and preternaturally fulfil the gaps of character arising firom our own self-demerited delinquencies, that all mankind must rather see cause to expect the contrary* No man can therefore pray in faith, even for this ethic benefit, still less can he present a believing prayer iar those moral goods which it is still his un- remitting and incumbent duty himself to bring about within, e, g. the retroversion of his perverted springs of will, and the putting on of the new man, called regeneration. These remarks will farther enable us to strike a due estimate of that so-called miraculous faith, said to be able to move mountains, which, when exercised, must always be accompanied by inward prayer. That God can bestow upon man a power of working pretematuri^l effects, is impossible, for the very conception involves a contradiction. Again, man on his part can frame to himself no such clear






awakening and quickening that our moral-mindedness or intent. Directly it cannot relate to tbe Divine Appro- notions of the possible good ends that this sublunary state may admit, as to be able, even had he a supernatural gift, to co-operate with what the decrees of Supreme Wisdom may have already determined on, and there- fore could not but misapply this Almighty strength to some improper uses. Understood literally^ therefore, a miraculous faith of this sort (** If ye had faith a* a grain of mustard-ieed, and should say unto this moun- tain,** &c.) is absolutely incogltable, viz. a gift of working miracles, where it should lie within the person's own power, by believing prayer, either to possess or be without it This miracle-working faith must therefore be understood to point, if indeed it mean anything at all, to an idea of the preponderating weight of the moral destination and properties of our race ; so that should we ever attain moral perfection acceptable to God (which we never can thoroughly in this life), an ethic qualification of this sort would entirely outweigh every other motive that could be of- fered to the Divine Wisdom, and thus become a ground of confidence, Ihat, were we altogether what we ought to be, and may (by a continual approximation) become, then the material universe would be compelled to obey our wishes, which last would, however, in such a case, cease to be unwise.

Touching the edification accruing from church frequenting, it must not be fiincied that the public prayers there uttered are a mean of grace. They constitute, however, an ethical solemnity, whether by jointly chanting the hymn of faith, or by the set prayer, directed by the pas- tor in name of the whole congregation toward God, and embracing all the ethical concerns and interests of the flock. This address represents mo- rality as the joint interest of all, and sets openly forth the wish of each individual present, as united and concurring with the wishes of every other toward one common end, viz. the bringing hitherward a kingdom of God on earth. Thus may the feelings be stretched out to the highest moral enthusiasm, — whereas private prayer rather relaxes them, the i above sublime idea being awanting, and the frequent repetition wearing out the efiect ; upon which account public prayer rests upon a deeper ground of reason than private supplications. Furthermore, it clothes that moral wish which constitutes the ' spirit of prayer into a framed and set address, vf ithout needing the presence of the Supreme Being, or attaching to a rhetorical figure the force of a mean of grace. The intention is here quite determinate and given, viz. to stir with most emmotive force the inward springs of each individual, by a solemnity outwardly pourtray- ing the whole society as unitively conjoined by the mutual wish of helping



bation ; and therefore it cannot be an immediate duty incumbent upon every one, seeing that a mean can only be enjoined upon him who requires it for some particular purpose. All, however, do not feel it necessary to resort to this process (strictly speaking, of conversing in and with themselves, under the pretext of communicating more openly and directly with God) : on the contrary, every one ought, by unremittingly clarifying and elevat- ing the tone of his moral sentiment, to endeavour to reach such a facility in ethical gymnastic, that this spirit of prayer may be sufficiently animated and perpetuated by itself alone, after which its outward letter may entirely fall away. The verbal vehicle must, like every adminicle which works indirectly only toward a given end, rather weaken than strengthen the sensitive effect of the ethical idea, — which effect, subjectively considered, is called de- votion. Thus, from the contemplation of the unfathom- able wisdom observable everywhere throughout the small- est wonders of creation, as well as of the imposing ma«  jesty that invests the highest, there springs a feeling of such complex potency, as at once to transplant our race into that sinking frame of mind, bordering almost upon self-annihilation, called adoration, in which, however, there is at the same time, when referred to our moral des- tination, such a soul-exalting power, that even the words of the Royal Psalmist fall like empty sounds, in as much as: the effect arising from so marked and displayed an in- tuition of the finger of the Almighty, is one that speech cannot express. Again, since mankind readily transmute

onward the advent of the moral kingdom of God ; and this cannot more t aptly be accomplished than by invoking its Sovereign Head, at if he xvere specially present in that place.


whatever bears upon their moral amelioration into a reli- gions ceremonial, where the professed humiliations and Hosannahs are usually morally the less felt the more they are wordy and rich in sound, it is extremely neces- sary diligently to inculcate_intojchildren, even_with their earliest exercises in pi^tv^.^h^re a, verbal formulary cannot as yet be dispensed with, that all this discourse has no worth of any sort in itself; but is of value only as it tends to enliven the intent of pursuing a walk and con- versation acceptable to God. The form of prayenJg jpo more than a leading-string for tKelmagination ; and a si- milar remark holds of all efforts that a child may make for apprehending in thought the idea God, which last must be brought as near as possible to an intuition : for where this admonition is overlooked or omitted, devout demonstrations of pious homage are but too apt to slide into a hypocritical worship of the Godhead, thereby frustrating his practical and active service, which never consists in mere abortive feelings and frames of the sensory.

II. Assembling together in Church, regarded as the solemn outward worship of God in a church generally, ex- hibits a sensible delineation of the communion of believers, and is therefore not only a mean of EDiPicATiONf that may

f When a fit signification is sought for this term, scarce any other can be assigned than this: EDijpycATio^KjusuCgiE. ethical effect w&ough7 uroK ouK owK INKER MAN BY DETOTioK. This efiect cannot be the mental movement or emotion (for this is already involved in the concept tion of devotion), although the majority of the touditant devout (called upon this very account devotees) place all edification just in this sen- timental movement. Edification must therefore. be jinderstood to mean the ethical purchase^ thftt devotion takes upon the actual amend- ment and building up of the moral characters of mankind. A structure of this sort can only then succeed when systematically gone about : firm



fitly be recommended to each simple particular, but is an immediate dutyincumbent upon all, qua citizens of a divine statftiftJ)tfeiQJiMid^ .nphfild.fto earth : always, however, provided that the church contain noFgnaulary,

that by issmng.Jii..ajxai<AmYi.m^^^ e» g. adoratory invocations of God under the name of a man, figured as an impersonation of His Infinite Benig- nity, — a sensible delineation that would be contrary to that behest of reason, — Thou shalt not make unto thee any likeness, &c. But to use church-assemblies ( as a mean of celestial grace, as if God were thereby im- mediately served, and to suppose that God has connected sundry benefits and favours with the celebration of this | solemnity (a mere sensible effigiation of the all-embracing universality of religion), is a delusion that may no doubt consort with the manners and decorum of a good burgher in the common-weal political ; but that not only adds nothing, but that rather detracts from any one's quali- fications as a citizen in the kingdom of God on earth. This delusion serves only to hide the sorry content of one's moral maxims from the eyes of others, and even from his own, by danbing them o/er with some deceptive hues.

principles, fashioned after well-understood conceptions, are, first of all, to be laid deep into the foundations of the heart ; from these, sentiments corresponding to the weight and magnitude of our several duties must rise, and be protected and watched against the snares and wiles of appe- tite and passion, thus uprearing and building up, af it were^ a new man — A TEMPLE OF GOD. Evidently this edifice can advance but slowlj, but still some traces of superstructure ought to be perceptible. Many there \ are, however, who deem themselves much edified (by a discourse, ,' psalmody, or book) where absolutely nothing has been builded up, aye ! j where not even has a finger been stirred to help on the work : possibly I they think that the ethic dome will, like the walls of Thebes, rise to the | harmonious concert of sighs and yearning wishes.


III. Solemn iDitiation into charch-membersbip and the society of the faithful (into the Christian church by bap^ tism) is a highly significant rite ; imposing grave obliga* tions upon the novice, should he be old enough to take the vows upon himself, when he makes confession of his faith ; or otherwise upon his sponsors, who undertake the responsibility of his education. This ceremony aims di- rectly at something holy, viz. the building up of an in- dividual to become a pillar in the Divina state ; but it is not in itself a holy act ; nor does it possess any hallowing efficacy, as if it could procure for the infant subject ho- liness of nature and susceptibility for the Divine grace :


in the early Greek church this rite was held in such ex- travagant honour, that people supposed it could wash away all sins at once, — a hypothesis whereby this delu- sion openly betrays its intimate affinity with an almost more than heathenish superstition. - :

IV. The frequently reiterated solemnity of renewing, CONTINUING, and PROPAGATING the ecclesiastical associa- tion agreeably to laws of equality — ^the communion — pre- sents unquestionably a grand and august cogitation. The communion may, following the example of the Founder of the Church, and also with a view to keep him in' jmem- brance, be celebrated by joint participation in the same elements at the same table. It thus expa pds th e narro w, selfish^ and unsociable temper of mankind, which is no- where more obvious than in reli^ous matters,. to jhejdea of a cosmopolitical moral community ; and is a good mean, well fitted for carrying forward the congregation in the culture of that moral and brotherly love, which is there- by so prominently represented. But to hold that there


are special favours connected by the Divine Will with the celebration of this ordinance^ and to laud and extol it as such, as also to insert among the articles of creed the tenet that this action, which is a mere church-rite, is be- side and beyond, a mean ow.mbjlce* are deljisi ons in re- ligion, that must inevitably counteract its true spirit and genius. Priestdom, i, e, sacerdotal despotism under the sway of a cxeriarchy, may consequently be explained yet farther, as the usurped dominion lorded by churchmen (^er the minds of the laity ; the former having arrogat- ed to themselves exclusive possession of the means of


  • # *

All these various kinds of artificial self-deceptions in religion spring from one common source. Of all the mo- ral attributes of the Deity^ viz. his holiness, benignity, and justice, mankind commonly address themselves to the second, in order to evade the deterring condition of becoming conformable to the sacro-sanct requirements of the first. It is irksome to make one's self a good and faithful servant— for then duties must be discharged. It is more agreeable to be a favourite, for then one's short- coming<~ "vill be connived at ; or should duty have been far too grossly violated to be thus overlooked, why, then, it may be atoned for and made up through the interced- ing mediation of some one pre-eminently beloved-*-tfae unworthy favourite remaining the same unprofitable ser- vant as before. To succeed in this self-delusion, man- kind generally transfer their notions of human nature, together with all its failings, to the Godhead. And since in the case of any earthly Governor, the severity of law, benignant grace, and unbending justice, are not admiuis- ^. s


tered apart^ each for and by itself, as they ought to be, but are all amalgamated into one, when sentence is passed by an earthly tribunal, the sinner hopes to deal in like man- ner with the divine righteousness. To bias the adminis- trator of human laws, all that is necessary is to circum- vent the failing wisdom of his human will, after which the justice and law needs must yield ; an experiment that, by parity of reason, it is presumed will tell with equal readiness upon the Divine grace* To obviate a confusion of this sort demanded that wary and careful separation of the three above-named divine attributes prelected on in the scholion to our Third Book, where the tri-form re- lationship obtaining betwixt God and man^was brought more conspicuously and prominently forward by the ana- logical idea of a threefold personality. With some such view as the above, every imaginable sort of ceremonial is industriously celebrated, and, by demonstrating the utmost homage toward the divine commandments, the necessity of obeying them is supposed to be supplanted. Again, to the end that deedless wishes may compensate for deliberate transgressions, the sinner cries Lord ! Lord ! to escape the necessity of doing the will of his Heavenly Father. Hence solemnities, intended as a mode of enlivening sentiments truly practical, are mistaken for rites that are in themselves means of grace. The belief that they possess this efficacy is next given out and declared to be an essential element of religion (the common people often deem them religion it- self, and the whole duties of it), while the sinner trusts to Providence to make out of him a better man, and instead of virtue {i, e, the active exercise of his own powers in dis- charging), presses sSiev piety (i. e. passive veneration of the Divine law), although properly the combination of both


is what alone can be termed godliness^ i. e. a bent and ply I of the mind truly religions. When once the phantasms * of this supposed favourite of heaven have reached the &- natical extravaganza of feeling special works of grace with- in, and of attaining and establishing a familiar though hidden intercourse and fellowship with the Deity, then does the very term virtue become abominable in his ears, and itself the object of his most superlative disdain. Need any one, then, wonder at the universal complaint, that reli- gion contributes so little to the moral amendment of our race, and that the inward light of those elect is still under the bushel, and will not outwardly shine forth, radiant with good works. And yet the Teacher of the Gospel declared these outward fruits to be the tests whereby each might try and know himself and others. Judging of the elect by their own professions, we might expect to find them exemplary beyond the rest of mankind, who abide by the behests of natural honour ; whose religion, moreover, having been adopted, not with the view of supplanting, but of support- ing their morality, makes itself visible by a course of good and active deportment. The day has not yet come when it ever was seen that those who'^deem themselves thus signally favoured and chosen, excelled in any one point the man of plain natural honesty, upon whom we can count in society, in business, or in distress'; on the contrary, taken all in all, they can hardly stand out a comparison with their neighbours, — a sufficient proof that it is not the right course to begin with celestial grace, and thence descend to virtue ; but rather commencing with virtue, thence rise to the condonation of divine grace.



Page 31, line 1, betwixt a$ and congenite, insert mebely. Page 31, line 2, betwixt he and lookedy insert farther. Page 210, line 2, for infringe^ read impinge. Page 212, line 21, betwixt it and iOy insert not.





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KANP, Immanuel 17-^75

Religion vithin the boundary Kl^.ifree of yure reason I838

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