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from facts or propositions.” “Reason (says Isaac Taylor,) is the mind acting upon its own ideas."* "It is distinguished from instinct by the knowledge of relations,-or cause and effect."† To have reason is, therefore, to be rational, moral, and accountable being, that is, to be a man. But while all men are thus rational, it must be remembered that he only is reasonable who acts according to the principles of right reason.

Reason, then, is that sublime spiritual or intellectual nature, by which man is enabled to know truth, and to obey it,-to examine the validity of the testimony brought before it, -to separate the false from the true,-give assent according to the evidence, and thus arrive at the certainty of knowledge when the evidence for truth is unexceptionable,-at probability when the evidence for the truth outweighs objections or difficulties, and at conviction of falsehood when there is a plain and positive disagreement.

To receive nothing as truth but what is thus made certain by sufficient evidence, to judge and act only upon such rational grounds, to believe and do nothing but what he is convinced by the proper use of his reason, and the full, candid and impartial examination of evidence, he ought to believe and to do, is to act as a rational being, and to be, in fact, a reasonable being.

Man is commonly spoken of as made up of distinct and separate faculties, each independent in its power of action from the rest. But while such a division may be necessary and important for general purposes, it is most delusive, regarded as any thing more than an abstract classification of the various exercises, attributes, faculties and powers,-call them what we may, -of THE ONE rational mind. Vith a capacity to discern relations, causes, and effects, to deduce conclusions, to act from motives drawn from the past, the present, and the future, and to arrive at convictions of the existence and reality of invisible, spiritual and everlasting things,—this REASON or MIND of man, is just that intelligent, moral and accountable nature which God has given him. And, although common language ascribes a variety of faculties to the soul, imputing one action to the blindness of passion, another to the evil of our tempers, another to the heat of imagination, and another to the calmness of our reason, yet, in reality, THE SOUL IS ONE, and every thing that is done, is done by man under the active and controlling power of this rational and responsible nature.The body, with its animal spirits, desires, and propensities, and its nervous and physical energy, is made to be subject to the soul, to be its servant and helper, to co-operate in the furtherance of every good word and work, and to be restrained from every thing that is evil in thought, word and deed. The body, except for the preservation of animal life, cannot act except as it is acted upon. Passion is passive until it receives power from the will, and permission from the reason. Emotions can only suggest, they can not determine our conduct. The impulses of our nature can only be gratified when the soul, the mind, the reason of the intelligent man concurs in allowing their indulgence, and in securing the means necessary for it. They are intended to be as absolutely under the controul of reason as are the hand, the feet, the eyes, and the other senses.

*See Elements of Thought, by Isaac Taylor, p. 134, and Brown Philosophy, p. 313, 1 vol. ed.

* Ditto, p. 102.

It is on this account that man is capable of vice and virtue, morality and immorality, purity and impurity, sin and holiness. He possesses, and the brutes do not, a knowledge of God, of God's law, God's will, and of his own duty, and of all that is required and prohibited under the penalty of God's wrath and curse. But all this knowledge man possesses by his reason, which is, we have seen, that intelligent nature which distinguishes him from the brutes. The same actions which in brutes have no moral character, in man become morally right or wrong. It follows, therefore, that since the actions of men are only regarded as right or wrong, blamable or commendable, when they proceed from one who is considered to be in the full possession of his reason,—that every thing that is imprudence, baseness, villany or sin, in man, however it may require the co-operation of the body, must be the act of his rational nature, otherwise it would have no moral character whatever.

I do not mean to condemn the language which speaks of the several faculties and passions of the soul as if they were as distinct and independent as the governor, officers and citizens of a commonwealth. These distinctions are necessary for mental analysis and general comprehension,-give life and beauty to all language and discourses,--and indicate the particular motive and medium by which, in every action, the intelligent nature of man is induced to judge and to act as it does.

Considered, however, in this light,--that is, as a faculty of thinking and judging, --reason has no moral character. It is neither good nor evil, proud nor humble, presumptuous nor vain. It is merely a faculty or power, and only becomes moral when regarded as under the direction of the intelligent moral nature of man, actuated by motives, arriving at certain ends, subject to the moral law of God, and guided by certain principles. Morally speaking, reason is just what man is. Man įs under authority to God's law as the rule of duty,—to God's will as the supreme and final judge,--to God's testimony,—in whatever way imparted,-as the ultimate, final, and infallible evidence of what is true or false, good or evil. Reason, therefore, becomes morally good or evil, holy or unholy, humble or proud, presumptuous or vain, just as it is employed in faithfully ascertaining God's law, God's testimony, and God's will, and in implicitly obeying them, or, on the other hand, as it follows the desires and devices of a wicked heart, and under its influences will not come to the light, lest its deeds should be reproved.

We proceed to remark that this rational nature, and of course this faculty or power of judging, is limited. All men, in distinction from the brutes, are by nature intelligent and rational beings, by which, and not by instinct, they discover what is right or wrong, good and evil.

Not that all men are alike in their intellectual, any more than in their physical, nature. There is, in both respects, perfect individuality and endless variety, and yet, at the same time, one and the same general nature.

This intelligent and rational nature of man, however exalted it may be in its highest manifestations, it is nevertheless inferior to that of angels, both in its capacity of thought, and in the extent of its knowledge, and it is infinitely inferior to the reason and knowledge of God. Man is endowed with that degree of reason, and that capacity of knowledge, which was proper and necessary for his condition here and hereafter. His glory, therefore, must be to act in accordance with the order and perfection of his being. And to sink below it, and prostitute his powers to earthly, sensual, or devilish pursuits, or, on the other hand, to attempt to exceed the powers bestowed upon him,—is equally irrational and sinful. The one is self-destruction, the other presumption, folly and rebellion. There is a line which no created understanding can pass, and that line is fixed to every class of beings according to their own order, even as there is one glory of the sun, and another of the moon, and another of the stars.

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And, as there are doubtless many beings superior to ourselves, who are able to discover more truths than we can do, so it is reserved for God alone, to have a perfect and universal comprehension of all possible truths.

"When, therefore, reason refuses to submit to God's guidance, or assent to what has all the inward and external marks of God's infallible testimony ;-when it will deny, only because it cannot comprehend and fathom the depths of God with its own short line,—or, when it attempts to give reasons, and account for things which God has not thought fitting to explain,—then it transgresses the bound of duty, and, instead of a guide, becomes a deceiver and destroyer of those who follow its directions." It is the light of a candle employed to discover that which is irradiated by the light of the sun. It is arrogant profaneness, a wanton encroachment upon the prerogatives of Heaven, and an impious challenge to our Maker, why he has made us as he has. Reason, in such a case, is the ignis fatuus which leads its bewildered followers into fatal paths; or, it is like the lightning flash to the lost traveller, which only discovers the immensity of the trackless waste before him.

But further, human reason is as certainly limited in its field of observation, as in its capacity to judge. We inhabit but a spot in the creation of God. By our connection with the body, and the subjection of our reason to the senses as the inlets of all our original perceptions, the mind cannot go beyond the conclusions drawn from what it is capable of observing.

Reason, in its popular acceptation, is nothing but a faculty. It is not knowledge, but only the capacity or power of obtaining it. When observation, instruction and education are denied, this power lies dormant. When that observation and instruction are erroneous, reason only confirms us in ignorance and error. Reason, in and of itself, is therefore insufficient to discover and practise what is necessary for the ordinary duties even of the present life.

As our Saviour has taught us, reason or understanding is, spiritually, what the eye is physically. The one is capable of seeing, and the other of knowing. But the eye cannot see without light, nor reason without instruction. Reason is not the light, but the organ which acts by the light imparted to it. Even in reference to the world around it, reason knows infinitely less than it is ignorant of; and the little it does know, is known as the result of close observation, diligent study, and ages of experience and discovery.

The relations and dependencies of the system of our globe, not to speak of our planetary system, and that of the visible universe, are almost entirely beyond our observation and knowledge. So are all the essences of things. How much more certainly and necessarily, therefore, must this be the case, in reference to every thing that is beyond the visible world, all that is invisible and incapable of observation,-all that is supernatural and infinitely removed from the sphere and capacity of our finite and limited reason.

Whatever we can know by the use of our faculities of observation and understanding, is properly within the bounds of rea

Whatever objects are beyond these, must either remain unknown, or become known only by clear and sufficient testimony, in which case they reasonably claim and secure the approbation of our reason. In reference to such objects, the testimony must be supernatural, and the evidence must be Divine, in order to be infallible. Reason perceives the truth and certainty of the testimony, in whatever way it is revealed, just as it perceives God's testimony to what is true in all the phenomena of nature,—and knowing that God will not deceive and cannot lie, it regards the evidence as infallible, and arrives at a most rational assurance of the truth. This is FAITH, that is, knowledge founded, not upon observation or intuition, but upon testimony.

The things which are objects of this knowledge, that is, which are above and beyond reason, were by the ancients included under that part of knowledge termed metaphysical, that is, after or above what is physical.

"In this case, Plato ranges the contemplation of all Divine things; such as, the first being or cause,—the origin of things, —the wonders of providence,—the worship of God,—the mysteries of religion,—the immortality of the soul,—and a future state. He never pretended one of these to be discoverable by reason, but always ingenuously confesses them to be learned by traditions brought from the Barbarians, viz: the Jews, &c. They were frequently termed wonderful things, as being neither discoverable nor demonstrable by reason."

Such is the nature and limits of human reason, considered apart from any moral obliquity that may attach to it,-clear, and upright, and ever ready to approve and follow that which

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