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the attention of our readers to Mr. Stewart's definition of virtue, and to his views respecting the foundation of Moral Obligation. What his definition of virtue would be, may be inferred from the following observation: “a man whose ruling or habitual principle of action, is a sense of duty, may be properly denominated virtuous.” This we acknowledge appears to us to be the correct, and the only correct view of the subject. Almost all the other definitions which have been given of virtue, are, we think, either erroneous, or not sufficiently comprehensive. One has said that virtue consists in benevolence,—another “in obedience to the will of God,”—another in the “love of being in general,”—another in the “love of doing good,”—another in doing good in obedience to the will of God, for the sake of everlasting happiness,”— another in “acting according to reason,”—another in “acting according to truth,”—another in “acting according to nature,”—another in “maintaining a proper balance of the affections,”—another in “that course of conduct which best secures ease of body and tranquillity of mind,”—another “in every faculty of the mind's confining itself within its proper sphere, and performing its proper office with precisely that degree of strength and vigour which belongs to it,” &c. &c. Now if the eye was made for seeing, the ear for hearing, the memory for recollecting, and the judgment for perceiving truth and falsehood, then most surely conscience was given us to perceive right and wrong, for this is the purpose for which we are prompted by nature to use it; and it will not be denied that, when enlightened by revelation, it is a safe guide of our moral conduct. Although therefore, some of the above mentioned definitions of virtue, may lead to no error in our moral conduct, yet it is believed, it is because they coincide with the definition given by our author, Thus it is a sacred truth that we are bound to obey the will of God, but it is not simply because it
is his will, but because it is the will of a good and just Being. Nor are we bound to obey his will, merely because he is our maker and our preserver and our bountiful benefactor, for this would be resolving virtue into mere gratitude. But the truth is, his will is, in its nature, morally right and excellent, and we are therefore under sacred and eternal obligations to obey it. What then is the soundation of moral obligation? In answer to this question, our author makes the following observation, and we think it is conclusive:—‘It is absurd to ask, why we are bound to practice virtue? The very notion of virtue implies the notion of obligation.” In other words, both of the following considerations enter into our complex idea of virtue—a course of conduct which conscience or the sense of duty deciares to merit approbation, and which she also declares we are bound to pursue. Before we leave the work we must express our opinion more distinctly of its religious and moral tendency. Mr. Stewart, it appears, is a most decided believer in the truths of natural religiou, though we do not know precisely what are his views of Chistianity. He very seldom alludes to the sacred writings, though whenever he does, it is in a very becoming manner. Of the Deity he uniformly speaks with the most profound and unaffected reverence. The love of God, he considers the first of all duties. On the whole, although we should be exceedingly glad to see something more explicit from him on the subject of revealed religion, yet when we look at the moral pollution which has overspread so many of the pages of modern philosophy, and when we consider the important service he has done the science of natural theology, and thr purity of moral sentiment which runs throughout all his works, we find abundant reason to rejoice, even for the sake of our religion, that such a writer has appeared before the nuh
lic; and more especially when we remember how completely he has exposed the sophistry of such ingenious writers as Hartley, Priestley, Darwin, Tooke and Hume. The decided stand which he has taken in opposition to the sceptical conclusions of the last mentioned philosopher especially, does him great credit, for Mr. Hume, as is well known, was one of his countrymen, and indeed a cotemporary of his earlier years. “Berkeley,” says Mr. Stewart, “was sincerely and bona fide an idealist, but Mr. Hume's leading object in his metaphysical writings, was plainly to inculcate an universal scepticism. In this respect the real scope of his arguments has, I think, been misunderstood by most, if not all of his oppoments. It evidently was not, as they seem to have supposed, to exalt reasoning in preference to our instinctive principles of belief; but, by illustrating the contradictory conclusions to which our different faculties lead, to involve the whole subject in the same suspicious darkness. In other words his aim was not to interrogate nature, with a view to the discovery of truth, but by a cross-examination of nature, to involve her in such contradictions as might set aside the whole of her evidence as good for nothing.” But were there nothing in Mr.
Stewart's writings which has a direct bearing on religious subjects, still every friend to religion should rejoice to see the boundaries of human knowledge extending, and the cause of truth enlisting on its side so able advocates. It is too late to think of extinguishing the light of science that religion may do her work in the dark. She prefers the open day—nay, she courts it, and could one of her most servent wishes be gratified, the torch of science would burn on every mountain and in every valley; for then she would exhibit her excellence to the best possible advantage. The world would then be attracted by her loveliness; they would be awed by her solemn realities; they would throng
to her sacred temples for instruction and devotion. The song of angels would rise to a higher strain, and he who was once the light of the world, would bend his eye towards this once dark mansion, with a new and livelier interest. We will conclude our remarks with a brief account of what Mr. Stewart has already done for the world, and of what we may perhaps expect from him hereafter. The plan of his lectures has been in the first place to treat of man considered as an intellectual being, and in the second place to treat of him as an active or moral being, and in the last place to treat of him as a member of political society. His lectures on all of these great subjects, it appears, are written, and two volumes of them, which treat of the “Intellectual Powers” of man, as is well known, have been published. A third volume on this subject is yet unpublished. It contains some. thing on the subject of language, of imitation, on the varieties of intellectual character, and on the faculties by which man is distinguished from the lower animals. Of his lectures which treat of man “considered as an active and a moral being,” and as a “member of political society,” he has published nothing except these outlines. It appears however that they were all ready for publication seven years ago, except that “much remained to be done in maturing, digesting, and arranging many of the doctrines,” contained in them, and he adds (in the year 1813) “if I shall be blessed for a few years longer, with a moderate share of health and mental vigour, I do not altogether despair of yet contributing something in the form of Essays, to fill up the outline which the sanguine imagination of youth encouraged me to conceive, before I had duly measured the magnitude of my undertaking with the time or with the abilities which I could devote to the execution.” Besides the works abovenientioned, he has published, as is well known a volume of ‘Philosophical Essays' and two long “dissertations on the History of Metaphysical, Ethical and Political Philosophy;’ the former of which works was written in the interval which elapsed between the publication of his two volumes of the Philosophy of the Mind, when it appears “the state of his health” was such, that he was induced to attempt “the easier task of preparing for the press a volume of Essays.” A fine medicine, one would think, for a sick man! The latter work was published in part about four years ago, and a part of it is yet to appear.]
A Sermon delivered at Lee, Dec. 22nd, 1820; being the two hundredth anniversary of the landing of our ancestors at Plymouth: By Alvan Hyde, D. D. Pastor of the Church in Lee, (Mass.) The character and sufferings of the Pilgrims. A Sermon delivered at Pittsfield, Mass. Dec.22nd, 1820.: By Heman Humphrey, Pastor of * Congregational Church in Pittsield. A Discourse on the settlement and progress of New-England: delivered in Farmington, on Friday evening, Dec. 22nd, 1820: By Noah Porter. A tribute to New-England: A sermon delivered before the New-England Society of the City and State of New-York, on the 22nd of Dec. 1820. Being the second centennial celebration, of the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth: By Gardiner Spring, D. D. Pastor of the brick Presbyterian Church in that city. 4 Sermon in commemoration of the landing of the New-England Pilgrims, delivered in the second Presbyterian church, Albany, Dec. 22nd, 1820: on the completion of the second century, since that event: By John Chester, Pastor of the second Presbyterian church, Albany.
Some of the most delightful and improving emotions, that the heart ever experiences, spring from recollections connected with our Father's sepulchres. We cherish with the tenderest interest, the memory of our departed ancestors. The places where they lived and toiled; where they wept and prayed; where they fought and conquered; are dear to the sweetest efforts of memory, and the most sacred and most noble affections of the heart.
Our Fathers, where are they The land they conquered is ruled by their sons. Their fields spread their beauty to other eyes, and yield their harvests to other generations. That narrow spot, is all the possess. The stone that marks it, is o ready hoary with moss—the foot of time has worn out the inscription, that filial affection had written. As individuals, few of them had any memento; though as a community, the history of their selfdenial and valour, their wisdom and patri. otism, will be cherished as long as their descendants shall inherit their spirit, or grateful affection shall exist.
These are justand striking thoughts, though not perhaps the most favourable specimen that might be given of the author's style and manner. The Fathers of New-England, were indeed men of no ordinary stature. No other wilderness was ever subdued, by such a race of adventurers. They loved the country that gave them birth, and would gladly have been buried there, in the tombs of their ancestors. But they loved their Saviour more, and rather than submit to ceremonies and impositions of Popish invention, they determined to hazard the loss of all things. They came hither bright from the surnace of persecution, and singularly fitted by the hardships which they had endured, to encounter “perils in the sea, and perils in the wilderness.” Brave, enlightened, pious; the ardent friends of liberty and literature, strict observers of the holy Sabbath, having the highest reverence for the bible and all religious institutions, and cordially embracing the doctrines of the most enlightened reformers, they proceeded without delay, under the smiles of a protecting providence, to lay those deep and broad foundations, on which some of the best institutions in the world, have rested for two centuries. Surely such men.
ought to “be had in everlasting remembrance;” and however they may be slandered, or ridiculed by some of their degenerate offspring for a season, their memorial will go down with increasing honour, to the latest posterity. With these impressions on our minds, we were highly gratified to learn, in the early part of the last summer, that the associations of Connecticut and Massachusetts, had recommended the religious celebration of the landing of the first colony at Plymouth, on the then approaching centennial anniversary. It struck us as a tribute, that was eminently due to the memory of those persecuted and suffering pilgrims, and as promising much good, to the present generation of their descendants. As the ever memorable twenty-second of December drew near, we honestly confess, that we became more and more interested in the proposed celebration; and were much gratified by the excellent proclamation of the Governor of Vermont, appointing the annual thanksgiving upon that day. We did not doubt, that the recommendations of the ecclesiastical bodies above mentioned, would be cheerfully complied with, and were ourselves not a little animated with the persuasion, that the prayers and thanksgivings of a thousand congregations, would ascend up at once to the God of our Fathers, who brought them to this western world, sustained and protected them in the wilderness, and into whose labours five generations of their children have already entered. It is needless to say, that our expectations have not been realized; and it would be quite unavailing to express our regret, that so many have permitted the golden opportunity to pass out of their hands without improvement. It will never return to the present generation; and though the 22nd of December, is no better than any other day of the month, and 1820 was no better than any other year, still it must be admitted, that
there is great power in associations. To avail ourselves of these, when they offer their aid in the cause of virtue and religion, is at once the part of wisdom and of duty. What were the reasons, or objections, which in the opinion of so many, rendered it inexpedient to observe the centennial thanksgiving, we are at a loss to conjecture. Perhaps if they were stated we should be constrained to admit their force. But for the present we must say, that we think the orthodox churches and congregations in NewEngland, we mean those that adhere to the doctrines of the forefathers, have lost an opportunity of strengthening the weak, instructing the ignorant, and confirming the wavering; by showing what sort of men the pilgrims were, and how God owned and blessed them; and by contrasting their faith and practice, with that liberalty, “falsely so called,” by which some of their descendants affect to be distinguished. It is true, that such a contrast may be exhibited at any time; but then was the time to have done it, with peculiar advantage. The omission, however, was by no means universal;-perhaps it was not so general, as our inquiries have led us to suppose. In many places we are happy to know, that the landing of the pilgrims was celebrated in appropriate religious exercises; and we believe, that wherever public worship was held, an unexpected degree of interest was manifested by the people. The day was also observed, by many of the sons of New-England, who have emigrated to other states. Some of the sermons which the occasion called forth, have been given to the public. The titles of those that we have seen, stand at the head of this article; and we propose to present our readers with such extracts as our limits will allow, accompanied with a few observations and reflections of our own. The passage selected by Dr. Hyde, as the soundation of his discourse, is Psalms xliv.1—3. Mr. Humphrey preached from the same text; Mr. Porter selected Deut. xxxii. 7; Dr.
Spring, Psalm cvii. 7; Mr. Chester, Jer. vi. 16. More appropriate texts than these could not perhaps have been found in the Bible, and the discourses do credit to their respectable authors. It was to be expected, that as men of sense and judgment, they would naturally fall into similar trains of thoughts, would bring forward the same leading historical facts, and would enlarge upon many of the same prominent topics. Each of these discourses, upon the landing of the pilgrims, ought to contain, and does contain, a brief sketch of the causes which exiled them from their native country; of the hardships and discouragements which awaited them here; of their laws, institutions, usages and general character; and of the smiles of heaven upon their descendants. There is, at the same time, a variety in the arrangements, reasonings, illustrations and reflections of these discourses, which must be at once pleasing and instructive to the attentive reader. In confirmation of this remark, and as favourable specimens of the sermons, we have selected the following extracts, referring to the same interesting event, the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and their immediate prospects and sufferings.
Dr. Hyde. “Who can think of the many trials, privations and sufferings of these our fathers, without sighing and shedding the tear of pity! They landed in the midst of winter; they were without shelter, and were subject.cd to incessant labour and hardship, to prevent their immediately perishing with the cold. A general ...]". mortal sickness soon began among them, which in two or three months, swept off about one half of their company. Of this small number, sometimes two and even three, died in a day. They were not only destitute of comfortable accommodations, to meet such scenes of distress, but very few of them were well at a time to take care of the sick.
Mr. Humpbrey. “And ho. let us pause for a moment, and think of the situation and prospects of this little band of betrayed christian exiles. In another hen.
isphere were all the comforts, honours and emoluments, which the sacrifice of a good conscience might have purchased; but which they voluntarily relinquished, for peace within. Behind them were the chill surges of the Atlantic, darkly rolling to the solitary shore. Above, was a frown. ing December's sky. Before them, was a wilderness, such as they had never seen, inhabited by wild beasts and savage men. The sun himself was gone from these rig: orous latitudes, to cheer other climes, and not soon to return. Nor friend, nor kindred was near, to welcome their arrival; and not a single shelter prepared, to screen even the women and children, from the stern monarch of desolation, clad in ice, shrouded in storms and fiercely coming down from the seat of his empire in the north. “Such, my brethren, was the almost hopeless condition of the forefathers, whose landing on Plymouth rock we this day commemorate, and no tongue can tell the hardships which they underwent, during the first winter. The fatigues and privations of their long voyage; the severity of the weather, from which they were but miserably sheltered in their green, unfinished huts; and the want of almost every necessary, brought on a mortal sickness, which in two or three months, swept off about half their number, including the governor, and reduced the survivors so low, that not more than six, or seven, were in a condition to take care of the sick. They however persevered in the midst of weakness, danger and death— About a year after their arrival, thirty-five of their friends joined them from Holland; and assisted them in laying the foundations of a flourishing colony.”—pp. 15, 16.
Mr. Porter. “On the 22d of Dec. 1620, the pilgrims landed; and the rock on which they first stepped, is memorable, b the name of “forefather's rock” to this day. The prospects of the infant colony at #yo, planted on the border of an immense wilderness; entering upon the severities of a northern winter; without sufficient means of sustinence; without a prospect of immediate supplies, or a pledge of future support from their parent country; and surrounded by savage hordes, must, to a degree beyond our conception, have been appalling; yet they were firm in their purpose. They believed their cause to be approved of God, and committed to him the event. Long was the trial of their faith. By exposure, toil and scarcity, or unwholsomeness of food, a mortal sickness prevailed among them, by which forty-six of their number, before the opening of the spring, were numbered with the dead. And when,
“From the broad chamber of the south Look'd out the joyous spring,”