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OF THE OPINIONS OF PHILOSOPHERS ON THE SUBJECT OF A DIVINE INTELLIGENCE IN THE HUMAN MIND.
Authorities in support of the view now taken.
I PROCEED next tc treat of Instinct in its moral relations—a subject involving the highest privileges of man.
And here I shall not stop to inquire whether that principle, which constitutes the glory and establishes the preeminence of human nature, be more fitly denominated an Instinct, Power, Faculty, Sense, belonging intrinsically to the creature as a natural endowment; or a spiritual emanation, divine intelligence, supernatural gift, freely bestowed by the Creator's bounty. As we proceed, this point will be gradually elucidated. But in the course of my speculations, if any of the terms above noticed, as Instinct,
Sense, Faculty, Power, &c. should occasionally be applied to this principle, I hope it may not be thence inferred that I regard them as altogether suitable: for, I shall only use them, while the subject is under discussion, for no other reason than this, that I may not appear to prejudge the question.
We have, I conceive, attained to one important step in this inquiry, namely, that the principle or power in brute animals, as well as in man, which directs physical events not under the creature's control, is far superior in efficiency to that which he himself is accustomed to exercise for the purpose of regulating his ordinary conduct in life. I take it for granted that this point must be admitted by every one who compares the operation of Instinct with that of Human Reason, in the true sense and fair acceptation of the terms.
It follows again, as a natural consequence from the preceding views, that Human Reason, as a guide and director of human conduct, in a variety of ways manifests its weakness. Through all ages down to the present time, it has been found insufficient either for the attainment of true knowledge, or, in its ordinary influence over mankind, to promote human happiness. We see its weakness in its effects. And it was even acknowledged by the wise ancients, who were ignorant of a divine, or rather an extraordinary revelation, to be incompetent of itself to lead man to the perfection of his Being.
Now, "when we consider," in the words of Boyle, "how exquisitely the Great Creator has supplied his animated works with means admirably fitted to attain their respective ends, we cannot but think it highly probable that so wise and bountiful a Being has never left his noblest visible creature man, unfurnished with means to procure his own welfare, and obtain his true end, if he be not wanting to himself." And the same author concludes, that "Man is very credibly informed, that God hath actually been pleased to discover, by supernatural means, what kind of worship and obedience,-which by Reason alone he could but guess at,-will be most acceptable to him."*
I have taken occasion to notice the preceding pas sage from Boyle, not only to point out the opinions of that illustrious author, but to show them in connexion with the views I have adopted. Indeed it has been to me a source of satisfaction, after I had pursued this inquiry to some extent, embracing, as I proceeded, very important considerations, to find, that in looking over some of the writings of eminent men upon the subject, I was in some degree anticipated. For I discovered that I had been following the same natural association of thought which seems to have led others before me from the instinct of brutes to revelation or the inspiration of man. The allusions these writers have made, as I appre
Boyle' works, vol. 2. Christian virtuoso, page 244.