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gressive virtue, and finally into a nobler life after death. When he has long been commanded by this influence, he will be happy to look back to its first operations, whether they were mingled in early life almost insensibly with his feelings, or came on him with mighty force at some particular time, and in connection with some assignable and memorable circumstance, which was apparently the instrumental
He will trace all the progress of this his better life, with grateful acknowledgment to the sacred power which has advanced him to a decisiveness of religious habit that seems to stamp eternity on his character. In the great majority of things, habit is a greater plague than ever afflicted Egypt; in religious character it is a grand felicity. The devout man exults in the indications of his being fixed and irretrievable. He feels this confirmed habit as the grasp of the hand of God, which will never let him go. From this advanced state he looks with firmness and joy on futurity, and says, I carry the eternal mark upon me that I belong to God; I am free of the universe; and I am ready to go to any world to which He shall please to transmit me, certain that everywhere, in height or depth, he will acknowledge me forever.
HENRY HALLAM. 1777-1859. (Manual, p. 463.) FROM THE " VIEW OF THE STATE OF EUROPE DURING THE MID
DLE AGES." 33. EviLS PRODUCED BY THE SPIRIT OF CHIVALRY. The principles of chivalry were not, I think, naturally productive of many evils. For it is unjust to class those acts of oppression or disorder among the abuses of knighthood, which were committed in spite of its regulations, and were only prevented by them from becoming more extensive. The license of times so imperfectly civilized *could not be expected to yield to institutions, which, like those of religion, fell prodigiously short in their practical result of the reformation which they were designed to work. Man's guilt and frailty have never admitted more than a partial corrective. But some bad consequences may be more fairly ascribed to the very nature of chivalry. I have already mentioned the dissoluteness which almost unavoidably resulted from the prevailing tone of gallantry. And yet we sometimes find in the writings of those times a spirit of pure but exaggerated sentiment; and the most fanciful refinements of passion are mingled by the same poets with the coarsest immorality. An undue thirst for military renown was another fault that chivalry must have nourished; and the love of war, sufficiently pernicious in any shape, was more founded, as I have observed, on personal feelings of honor, and less on public spirit, than in the citizens of free states. A third reproach may be made to the character of knighthood, that it widened the separation between the different classes of society, and confirmed that aristocratical spirit of high birth, by which the large mass of
Willian HazlitT. 1775-1830. (Manual, p. 47+-)
F2042 “ The LECTURES ON DRAMATIC LITERATURE.” 338. INFLUENCE OF THE TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE UPON
LITERATURE. The translation of the Bible was the chief engine in the great work. It threw open, by a secret spring, the rich treasures of religion and morality, which had been there locked up as in a shrine. It revealed the visions of the prophets, and conveyed the lessons of inspired teachers to the meanest of the people. It gave them a common interent in a common cause. Their hearts burnt within them as they read. It gave a mind to the people, by giving them common subjects of thought and feeling. It cemented their union of character and sentiment; it created endless diversity and collision of opinion. They found objects to employ their faculties, and a motive in the magnitude of the consequences attached to them, to exert the utmost eagerness in the pursuit of truth, and the most daring intrepidity in maintaining it. Religious controversy sharpens the understandiug by the subtlety and remoteness of the topics it discusses, and embraces the will by their infinite importance. We perceive in the history of this period a nervous masculine intellect. No levity, no feebleness, no indifference, or, if there were, it is a relaxation from the intense activity which gives a tone to its general character. But there is a gray
ity approaching to piety; a seriousness of impression, a conscientious severity of argument, an habitual fervor and enthusiasm in their method of handling almost every subject. The debates of the schoolmen were sharp and subtle enough; but they wanted interest and grandeur, and were besides confined to a few: they did not affect the general mass of community. But the Bible was thrown open to all ranks and conditions “to run and read,” with its wonderful table of contents from Genesis to the Revelation. Every village in England would present the scene so well described in Burns's Cotter's Saturday Night. I cannot think that all this variety and weight of knowledge could be thrown in all at once upon the mind of the people and not make some impression upon it, the traces of which might be discerned in the manners and literature of the age.
Sir WILLIAM HAMILTON. 1788–1956. (Manual, p. 466.)
FROM "THE DISCUSSIONS ON PHILOSOPHY." 339. MATHEMATICAL STUDY AN INSUFFICIENT DISCIPLINE. Before entering on details, it is proper here, once for all, to premise, --- In the first place, that the question does not regard, the value of mathematical SCIENCE, considered in itself, or in its objective results, but, the utility of mathematical STUDY, that is, in its subjective effect, as an exercise of mind ; and in the second, that the expediency is not disputed, of leaving mathematics, as a coördinate, to find their level among the other branches of academical instruction. It is only contended, that they ought not to be made the principal, far less the exclusive, object of academical encouragement. We speak not now of professional, but of liberal, education; not of that which considers the mind as an instrument for the improvement of science, but of this, which considers science as an instrument for the improvement of mind.
Of all our intellectual pursuits, the study of the mathematical sciences is the one, whose utility as an intellectual exercise, when carried beyond a moderate extent, has been most peremptorily denied by the greatest number of the most competent judges; and the argu: ments, on which this opinion is established, have hitherto been evaded rather than opposed. Some intelligent mathematicians, indeed, admit all that has been urged against their science, as a principal discipline of the mind; and only contend that it ought not to be extruded from all place in a scheme of liberal education. With these, therefore, we have no controversy. More strenuous advocates of this study, again, maintain that mathematics are of primary importance as a logical exercise of reason; but unable to controvert the evidence of its contracted and partial cultivation of the faculties, they endeavor to vindicate the study in general, by attributing its evil influence to some peculiar modification of the science; and thus hope to avoid the
loss of the whole, by the vicarious sacrifice of a part. But here, unfortunately, they are not at one. Some are willing to surrender the modern analysis as a gymnastic of the mind. They confess, that its very perfection as an instrument of discovery unfits it for an instrument of mental cultivation, its formulæ mechanically transporting the student with closed eyes to the conclusion; whereas the ancient geometrical construction, they contend, leads him to the end, more circuitously, indeed, but by his own exertion, and with a clear consciousness of every step in the procedure. Others, on the contrary, disgusted with the tedious and complex operations of geometry, recommend the algebraic process as that most favorable to the powers of generalization and reasoning; for, concentrating into the narrowest compass the greatest complement of meaning, it obviates, they maintain, all irrelevant distraction, and enables the intellect to operate for a longer continuance, more energetically, securely, and effectually. The arguments in favor of the study thus neutralize each other; and the reasoning of those who deny it more than a subordinate and partial utility, stands not only uncontroverted, but untouched — not only untouched, but admitted.
The mathematician, as already noticed, is exclusively engrossed with the deduction of inevitable conclusions, from data passively received; while the cultivators of the other departments of knowledge, mental and physical, are, for the most part, actively occupied in the quest and scrutiny, in the collection and balancing of probabilities, in order to obtain and purify the faets on which their premises are to be established. Their pursuits, accordingly, from the mingled experience of failure and success, have, to them, proved a special logic, a practical discipline - on the one hand, of skill and confidence, on the other, of caution and sobriety: his, on the contrary, have not only not trained him to that acute scent, to that delicate, almost instinctive tact, which, in the twilight of probability, the search and discrimination of its finer facts demand; they have gone to cloud his vision, to indurate his touch, to all but the blazing light and iron chain of demonstration, leaving him, out of the narrow confines of his science, either to a passive credulity in any premises, or to an absolute incredulity in all.
THOMAS CHALMERS. 1780-1847. (Manual, p. 465.)
FROM "THE BRIDGEWATER TREATISE."
340. The Joy of Good, AND THE MISERY OF Evil AFFECTIONS.
God is the lover, and, because so, the patron or the rewarder of virtue. He hath so constituted our nature, that in the very flow and exercise of the good affections there shall be the oil of gladness. There is instant delight in the first conception of benevolence; there is sustained delight in its continued exercise; there is consummated
delight in the happy, smiling, and prosperous result of it. Kindness, and honesty, and truth, are of themselves, and irrespective of their rightness, sweet unto the taste of the inner man.
Malice, envy, falsehood, injustice, irrespective of their wrongness, have, of themselves, the bitterness of gall and wormwood. The Deity hath annexed a high mental enjoyment, not to the consciousness only of good affections, but to the very sense and feeling of good affections. However closely these may follow on each other, — nay, however implicated or blended together they may be at the same moment into one compound state of feeling, – they are not the less distinct, on that account, of themselves.
In the calm satisfactions of virtue, this distinction may not be so palpable as in the pungent and more vividly felt disquietudes which are attendant on the wrong affections of our nature. The perpetual corrosion of that heart, for example, which frets in unhappy peevishness all the day long, is plainly distinct from the bitterness of that remorse which is felt, in the recollection of its harsh and injurious outbreakings on the innocent sufferers within its reach. It is saying much for the moral character of God, that he has placed a conscience within us, which administers painful rebuke on every indulgence of a wrong affection. But it is saying still more for such being the character of our Maker, so to have framed our mental constitution, that, in the very working of these bad affections, there should be the painfulness of a felt discomfort and discordancy. Such is the make or mechanism of our nature, that it is thwarted and put out of sorts by rage, and envy, and hatred; and this, irrespective of the adverse moral judgments which co ience passes upon them. Of themselves, they are unsavory; and no sooner do they enter the heart, than they shed upon it an immediate distillation of bitterness. Just as the placid smile of benevolence bespeaks the felt comfort of benevolence, so in the frown and tempest of an angry countenance do we read the unhappiness of that man who is vexed and agitated by his own malignant affections, eating inwardly, as they do, on the vitals of his enjoyment. It is therefore that he is often styled, and truly, a selftormentor, or his own worst enemy.
THE FORCE OF CHRISTIAN EVIDENCE STRENGTHENED BY THE
CHRISTIANITY OF THE WITNESSES.
Tacitus has actually attested the existence of Jesus Christ. Suppose that besides attesting his existence, he had believed in him so far as to become a Christian. Is his testimony to be refused because he gives this evidence of his sincerity? Tacitus asserting the fact, and remaining a heathen, is not so strong an argument as Tacitus asserting the fact and becoming a Christian in consequence of it. Yet the moment the transition is made, a transition by which, in point of fact, his testimony becomes stronger, — in point of impression it becomes less; and by a delusion common to the infidel and the believer,