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The True Messiah; or, The Old and New Testaments, Examined According to the Principles of the Language of Nature

Boston: E.P. Peabody, 1842


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INTRODUCTION.

of creation by means of man, a free agent, though under the influence of a Providence which never loses sight of him. Neither the form nor the color, then, of any object in nature, can have been chosen without a reason. Every thing we see, touch, smell ; every thing, from the sun to a grain of sand, from our own body with its admirable organs, to that of the worm; every thing has flowed forth, by a supreme reason, from that world where all is spirit and life. No fibre in the animal, no blade of grass in the vegetable kingdom, no form of crystalization in inanimate matter, is without its clear and well-determined correspondence in the moral and metaphysical world. And if this is true of colors and forms, it must, by a still stronger reason, be said of the instincts of animals, and the far more astonishing faculties of man. Consequently the most imperceptible thoughts and affections which we imagine we have conceived by our own power; the compositions which we consider our own in the regions of philosophy and literature; the inventions which we believe we have made in the arts and sciences; the monuments that we think we are erecting; the customs that we fancy we establish in the things which men consider great, as in the most insignificant transactions of civil and animal life; all this existed be-fore us; all this is simply given to us, and given with a supreme reason, according to our different immediate wants. An infinitely little degree of consent to receive, which forms our moral liberty, is the only thing that we have for our own. And merely by an inspection of the objects by which a man is surrounded, or of some of the customs which he has adopted, a superior intelligence can undoubtedly determine the moral worth of his being; for according as moral beings (for whom alone inferior. nature exists) modify themselves, that nature must admit emblems analogous to the new perfections or degradations.

And, indeed, but for all these emblems of life which creation offers, there would be no appreciable moral idea or moral sentiment, no possible means, we fear not to say it, for God to communicate a thought, an affection, to his creature, any more than for one feeling creature to communicate it to another. Above all, there would be no possible communication between the present state of man and his state of trans-formation; all is annihilated, all is broken up in feeling or thinking nature; the most interior life of the intelligent being is effaced and re-turns to nothing.

This truth may be rendered palpable by examples. If there had never been a father according to nature, could you form any idea of that portion of the goodness of God which corresponds to the tenderness of a father for- his children ? Could you ever know anything of what paternal tenderness is? If there had never in nature existed a generous man, could you form any conception of what generosity is? If you had never loved anything upon earth, would it be possible for you to have the least idea of what love can be? Or, (to choose our own examples in the descending order,) could you, without the defects, the maladies, and the defilements of the human body, represent to your-self the shameful vices which are analogous to them in the moral man?

If you had never seen animals tormented, killed, devoured, could the idea of cruelty and barbarity be communicated to your mind ? In fine, if you had never heard anything of the persecutions, the treacheries



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