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66 What

and beautiful writer, is, we think, remarkably just. “The practical bent of his [Dr. Paley's] nature is visible in the language of his writings, which, on practical matters, is as precise as the nature of the subject requires; but, in his rare and reluctant efforts to rise to first principles, becomes indeterminate and unsatisfactory; though no man's composition was more free from the impediments, which binder a writer's meaning from being quickly and clearly seen.” Uncertainty and vacillation are so inseparable from the morality of Expediency, as to make it unworthy of the confidence of any, who seriously intend to be the followers of Jesus Christ. ever is expedient is right,” say the utilitarians.

66 Whatever is right will be found to be expedient," is the faith of the Christian. The two propositions are far from being coincident. “Strictly speaking,” says Paley, “that cannot be evil from which good comes.

This seems to us to be speaking very loosely. Had the learned Archdeacon forgotten, that the sovereign disposer of events can bring good out of evil? Or would he have us believe, that a wicked action will be exonerated of the divine displeasure, because, in the providence of God, beneficial consequences may have followed from it? “ It must needs be," said our Saviour, “ that offences come, but woe unto that man by whom the offence cometh.” The Almighty has sometimes overruled the worst intentions, so that they have become instrumental to the most desirable ends. In the history of our race, there are some remarkable illustrations of this peculiarity of the divine government. For example, the conduct of Joseph's brethren, in selling him into slavery because they hated him for his father's partiality, was a detestable deed. It was nevertheless made conducive to his preëminence in the Egyptian court.

The trials and sufferings, to which it at first introduced him, humbled his pride, invigorated his virtue, and prepared him for the station he afterwards occupied, in which he was the blessed agent for rescuing from famine his father's family and the people of a vast empire. But was the deed of his brethren any the less evil in itself, because so much good came from it? Again, the treachery of Judas, and the unrelenting malice of the Pharisees, will ever be adduced as signal exhibitions of human depravity. Yet their wickedness gave the occasion for Jesus Christ to confirm the truth of his doctrines by the sacrifice of his lise, and to illustrate in his own conduct the power of that N. S. VOL. XIII. NO. I.



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faith, which he enjoined upon his followers. By “wicked hands” he was crucified and slain; but his death was followed by his resurrection, that event which brought “ life and immortality to light.” Now, if the beneficial

the beneficial consequences of conduct are to be the measure, by which we estimate its moral worth, the unnatural sons of Jacob, and the ruthless murderers of our Lord must be accounted preëminently good. But such a decision would outrage common sense.

Our readers, no doubt, by this time perceive how cordially we agree with the author of these Essays in his opposition to the doctrine of Expediency. We have long since deprecated the tendency of Paley's principles as subversive of evangelical righteousness, —“the righteousness which is by faith.” Yet these are the principles, which are inculcated, we believe, in most of our seminaries of learning, where attention is paid to the subject of moral philosophy. Would it not be far better to bring our youth to “the feet of Jesus”? Are they not called to be holy as he was holy? But how can we expect them to become so, if we do not early impress upon them bis precepts, as the rules by which they should regulate their conduct and temper in all the relations and under all the circumstances of life? Are they not applicable to all these relations and circumstances? We mean not to imply, that specific rules are given by our Saviour for every instance of duty. But are there not enough to make known to us the nature, the spirit, of true righteousness ? Surely there are. And be, who becomes possessed of this spirit, will be indued with wisdom sufficient to guide him always aright. It is not “a very learned, nor a very subtile, nor a very ingenious thing to be a good Christian ;” though it may require a great deal of learning and subtilty, to answer all the questions, and resolve all the difficulties, which “ the wise and the prudent (as the world counts wisdom and prudence) may raise in the way of our duty. Any man of common sense, and of as much information as all now-a-days may, if they will, easily acquire, can very soon learn from the sacred Scriptures “ what the Lord would have him do,” that is, if he sincerely desires to know. There is an excellent and characteristic chapter, in the work under review, on “the mode of applying the precepts of Scripture to questions of duty;" from which, however, we have room to give but a single paragraph.

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“ Of the rule, not to do evil that good may come,' Dr. Paley says, that it is, for the most part, a salutary caution.'

A person might as well say that the rule 'not to commit murder' is a salutary caution. There is no caution in the matter, but an imperative law. But he proceeds : -'Strictly speaking that cannot be evil from which good comes.' * Now let the reader consider Paul says, You may

not do evil that good may come : Ay, but, says the philosopher, if good does come, the acts that bring it about are not evil. What the Apostle would have said of such a reasoner, I will not trust my pen to suppose. The reader will perceive the foundation of this reasoning. It assumes that good and evil are not to be estimated by the expressions of the will of God, but by the effects of actions. The question is clearly fundamental. If expediency be the ultimate test of rectitude, Dr. Paley is right; if the expressions of the Divine will are the ultimate test, he is wrong. You must sacrifice the one authority or the other. If this will is the greater, consequences are not : if consequences are the greater, this will is not. But this question is not now to be discussed : it may however be observed, that the interpretation which the rule has been thus made to bear, appears to be contradicted by the terms of the rule itself. The rule of Christianity is, evil may not be committed for the purpose of good : the rule of philosophy is, evil may not be committed except for the purpose of good. Are these precepts identical ? Is there not a fundamental variance, an absolute contrariety between them? Christianity does not speak of evil and good as contingent, but as fixed qualities. You cannot convert the one into the other by disquisitions about expediency. In morals, there is no philosopher's stone that can convert evil into good with a touch. Our labors, so long as the authority of the moral law is acknowledged, will end like those of the physical alchymist : after all our efforts at transmutation, lead will not become gold, - evil will not become good. However, there is one subject of satisfaction in considering such reasonings as these. They prove, negatively, the truth which they assail; for that against which nothing but sophistry can be urged, is undoubtedly true. The simple truth is, that if evil may be done for the sake of good, all the precepts of Scripture which define or prohibit evil are laws no longer; for that cannot in any rational use of language be called a law in respect of those to whom it is directed, if they are at liberty to neglect it when they think fit. These precepts may be advices, recommendations, 'salutary cautions, but they are not laws. They may suggest hints, but they do not impose duties.”

pp. 52, 53,

This uncompromising morality needs to be insisted on.

* Mor. and Pol. Phil., B. ii. c. 8.

It is the morality of the Gospel, but as yet is scarcely known among men. We rejoice that one has at last been found, able to appreciate and expound it so clearly as Mr. Dyinond has done, and to vindicate so forcibly its claims to the entire obedience of all who would be Christians indeed. Of course there is much in his volume, which will be unpalatable to the sensual, the ambitious, the pharisaical, and the otherwise worldly-minded. It could not be an exposition of Christian morality, if it were not so. The corrupt maxims of statesmen, the base artifices of politicians, the chicanery so frequent in legal practice, and the unfair principles of trade and of pecuniary transactions, are exposed with great discrimination and apostolic fearlessness. Ay, many things which pass without reproach, and some that are even highly esteemed among men, are shown to be abominations in the sight of God. Those persons, who wish to be at ease in their sins, who “hate the light because their deeds are evil,” will quickly turn away from these radiant pages. But those, whose anxious inquiry is “What lack I yet?” those who are seeking first of all things “the righteousness of God,” who “count all things loss that they may win Christ,” will not be content with a hasty perusal of this volume, but will keep it as their Vade mecum. To all, who are living for time alone, many of our author's sayings will seem too hard to be borne. But those, who are living for eternity, will find the yoke, which he imposes, easy, and the burthen light.

We are particularly earnest in our endeavour to press these Essays of Dymond upon the attentive consideration of our readers, at this time, because of the increase of infidelity in our land. We are persuaded it is because iniquity abounds among those calling themselves Christians, that the faith of many has waxed weak and their love cold. “What do ye more than others ?” in what respects are ye better? is a question, which those, who have renounced Christ, may without impertinence put to many, who profess to be his disciples, who eat and drink at his table, and do many wonderful works in his name. Let the church therefore be purified, let the light of believers shine unsullied, and others will then see the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, and turn and glorify God.

We pass to the second Essay; where we have, without regard to systematic arrangement, the Christian principles of


morality faithfully applied in the determination of various
questions of personal and relative duty. The first short
chapter is devoted to the consideration of religious obliga-
tions. In this our author has given us some very discrimin-
ating remarks on “factiticus semblances of devotion,"
ligious conversation," "sabbatical institutions,” and “cere-
monial institutions and devotional formularies." We hearti-
ly concur with him in most of his sentiments upon all these
topics. Yet we think, with his American editor, that his
language is in several instances not guarded enough. One
might infer from his course of remark, that he considered the
outward forms of religious worship as of no use. But this
cannot have been his meaning. He was a Quaker, and un-
doubtedly conformed regularly to the manner in which Chris-
tians of the sect to which he belonged, conduct publish wor-
ship. He was fully persuaded that theirs is a more excellent
way, than the way adopted by other Christians. And we
think he has pointed out some very common and lamentable
abuses of our ceremonial institutions and devotional formu-
laries. We are constrained to acknowledge more than this.
He has suggested some serious objections to some of the in-
stitutions and formularies themselves. We have not room
here to discuss this subject as it deserves, and will dismiss it
with the following extract from our author.

“To religious feelings, as to other things, the truth applies, -
* By their fruits ye shall know them. If these feelings do not
tend to purify the affections from debasing attachments, if they
do not tend to form the inclinations to piety and virtue,' they cer-
tainly are not devotional. Upon him whose mind is really pros-
trate in the presence of his God, the legitimate effect is, that he
should be impressed with a more sensible consciousness of the Di-
vine presence; that he should deviate with less facility from the
path of duty ; that his desires and thoughts should be reduced to
Christian subjugation ; that he should feel an influential addition
to his dispositions to goodness; and that his affections should be
expanded towards his fellow-men. He who rises from the sensi-
bilities of seeming devotion, and finds that effects such as these
are not produced in his mind, may rest assured that, in whatever
he has been employed, it has not been in the pure worship of that
God who is a Spirit. To the real prostration of the soul in the
Divine presence, it is necessary that the mind should be still :
* Be still, and know that I am God.' Such devotion is sufficient
for the whole mind; it needs not, -perhaps in its purest state it


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