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waive, at present, the consideration of any religious establishments that have ever existed, or of our national establishments as they exist at present.
Another paper, written partly in short-hand character, and too imperfect to be printed, sketches the argument which he would have employed. It shows that he considered the principles of Dr. Smith fatal to establishments, and that he regarded the reasonings of his own Professor on this subject not consistent with his other views. Here, however, it is my duty to leave the matter. The following is the only other fragment I shall pre
ON THE LOVE OF FAME.
"And seekest thou great things for thyself?" &c. JEREMIAH.
I have often thought it peculiarly interesting to compare that morality which is to be found in the systems of ancient philosophy, with the morality which is contained in the Bible;-to see the heart of man still reflecting, though dimly and imperfectly, that image which was stamped upon it at first;-to observe the harmonious accordance which obtains between the law that is written in the heart, and the law which has been revealed
to us by the Spirit of God, and thus to identify that God who hath formed the heart of man, with that God, who, in times past, spake unto the fathers by the prophets; and who hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.
Some of these theories of the ancients are so beautiful, and so perfect, that we are apt to feel disappointed that their practical influence was not extensively and powerfully felt. But we shall not wonder at this, if we consider how difficult it is to arrest the attention by abstract truths;—and how little of practical efficacy there is in such truths, even when most fully apprehended. To cultivate any feeling, we must not look to the feeling itself; but to the object which naturally excites it. And in this point of view we may behold the vast superiority of the Christian religion, to every other, as a system of practical morality.
Here the abstract principles of natural religion are embodied in facts: and all that we have to do is to direct the attention to these facts, and the proper state of feeling is the invariable and immediate result.
But not only are the symptoms of the ancient philosophers deficient in practical efficacy; they are even imperfect as theories of morality. Pure and elevated as they appear, when viewed abstractly and in themselves, they cannot stand a comparison with that purer system which has been given us by revelation.
To most of the precepts which are given us in the Bible, we can find some counterpart in the writings of heathen philosophers; but there is one virtue which we hesitate not to say, is more frequently inculcated in the Bible, than any other;for a counterpart to which you may search the
whole writings of ancient philosophy, and find nothing that bears to it, the most distant resemblance. Never did there come from the pen of a heathen, sentiments like those contained in our motto: "Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not." It is a very striking fact, that, in the language of Greece and Rome, there is not a word to express humility as a virtue:-those words which are generally used signify rather meanness, and that crouching to power, which is the feeling not of a humble, but of a dastardly spirit. On the other hand, pride and haughtiness were considered as the concomitants of prowess and bravery; and hence the heroes of ancient poetry are generally furnished with an abundant portion of both.
Yes; that vice which we inherit from the author of our misery, lurks too successfully in the recesses of the human bosom, to be discovered by the light of reason alone;-it requires a more searching scrutiny to drag it from that place, while it has taken up its abode in the inmost penetralia of our souls. In the present depraved state of the human heart, it is difficult to distinguish between those desires and propensities which may have once been pure; but which, at the fall, were perverted; and those which are radically evil, and which could not have existed in the heart of man, in his state of original purity. Without hesitation, we would class pride in the latter division, as a feeling altogether of demoniacal origin; and which could not exist in the mind of a pure and holy being.
But though we can thus give a most unhesitating deliverance with regard to this vice itself, there are some of its modifications about which we cannot pronounce so decidedly. The desire of fame, and the desire of power, and all that is described
in our text by the seeking after great things, have so often been declared by our theological writers to be innocent, if not laudable propensities, that we almost feel as if it were presumption for us to give it as our opinion, that they are inimical to the spirit of true religion.
It may be true, that such feelings existed in the bosom of our first parents, before their expulsion from the blissful abodes of Eden; and that they vied with each other to gain the favor and applause perhaps of their God. And it may be true, that there is among the angels a generous emulation, to provoke each other to good works;-but still we think it true, that in our present condition, it is extremely dangerous, if not sinful, to give way to this propensity.
It may be argued, indeed, that the love of praise operates as a very powerful principle in, restraining many of the fiercer passions, and that without it the moral world would soon become a scene of wild confusion and disorder; but in the same manner might we plead for anger and selfishness, and even avarice itself. These are all very powerful checks in restraining many of our grosser propensities, and to them we are indebted for many of the decencies which adorn civilized society; but who would make this a plea for their virtuousness?
There is one circumstance which makes the love of fame a very dangerous propensity;—it is the very low standard of virtue which generally prevails in the world. Were the standard a perfect one, then would the case be different. He only would be praised, who was truly virtuous, and the love of fame would be identical with the love of virtue. But this, alas, is not the case. The men
of the world have fixed on a standard of virtue convenient for themselves; and whoever by his actions goes beyond this standard, tacitly pronounces condemnation upon them, and most assuredly will meet with their hatred and disapprobation. It is thus that the most virtuous in all ages have been met with ignominy and contempt. And it is thus that this deference to the opinion of the world has diverted many from the conscientious performance of what they knew to be right.
Thus, even in a worldly point of view, and considered merely as an abstract question in morals, would we consider the opinions of our fellow-men a most improper standard whereby to regulate our actions. But when we add yet another element, and consider the subject as it bears upon our religious character,-when we consider it not only as it affects our duty to our fellow-men, but as it affects our duty to God, we shall feel that to make the praise of men the standard of our conduct is still more dangerous.
The love of praise is, perhaps, an original principle of our constitution; and if it be, then it were vain to attempt its annihilation. Nor is this required of us. All that we are bid do in the Bible, is to give it a new direction. And the condemnation of the Pharisees of old, was not that they loved praise, but that they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
We know of no feeling in our constitution which is stronger, which is more difficult to overcome than the love of fame, or the love of praise, for we hold them to be very nearly the same. So strong is it, that it is capable of carrying us through the greatest difficulties and dangers, of enabling us to persevere in the most unwearied