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cause it was not, strictly speaking, moral. | principally in not needing the stimulus of His son, indeed, calls him "a very hero practical ends. He generalized and raof morality;" but by this he only means tionalized the ingenuities which they put a moralizing hero, a devotee of practical into operation. A philosopher of a very sobriety. Even his practical code of ethics, different school has laid down as the prolike his thought, was by no means of a per standard of morality, the rather vague fine texture, fitting close to the average test of "conformity to the fitness of things." life of the day rather than rising above it If you take it, however, in the most literal -practical therefore, but also very me- and physical sense you can imagine, that chanical. He respected morals and poli- is exactly what Paley's intellect was so tics chiefly as divine "contrivances" for acute to discern. He loved to note how preventing fatal collisions between indi- the universe pieced together. He did not vidual happiness-seekers; yet though di- search out the deeper meanings and exvine, surely from this point of view, con- pressions which these "fittings" of the trivances much less effective than various world were really intended to convey; he human contrivances of similar aim. Hap- only asked if they were obviously and inpiness-seekers might perhaps-had that tentionally the furniture of this world, and been the divine purpose-have been more of no other-if they were contrived to fit successfully saved from collision, either by its various niches, and contrived also to ampler supplies of that desideratum, or correspond and look symmetrical inter se. by far more "violent motives" restricting Like a child over its dissected map, he each seeker to his own peculiar line of scarcely looked to see whether the whole happiness, than any with which we have picture grew in unity of color, depth, and been in fact supplied. Paley's lengthy import, as it grew towards completeness; treatise on morals would scarcely have so long as the bits suited, he thought but been either needed or written had the little of the new hints which might be human-happiness-regulating machine an- derived from each successive touch and swered as well in holding society together tint with regard to a solution we will not as the instincts of the beaver or the bee say but rather a just appreciation of the answer with the settlements of those well- great problem of creation. It was the one organized communities which he disposes great faculty of his mind to detect coïnciof so succinctly in other works. How- dence. He carried about with him, as it ever, he has the great merit of expressing were, in his mind the shape and measure what almost all other people then thought, of all apparently dislocated things and and that too in its most bare and uncere- facts; and no sooner saw a trace of some monious form. corresponding thing or fact than he descended swiftly upon the phenomenon, and investigated the apparent connection. This is the one great talent displayed in his "Horæ Paulinæ ;" it afforded him all the best illustrations for his "Moral Philosophy;" it was, on a somewhat larger and vaguer scale, the faculty which is remarkable in his "Evidences:" and this keen intellectual tact, as we may call it, culminated in the really wonderfully able and ingenious work on "Natural Theology?"
If we have dwelt long on the personal character of Paley, it is in the belief that, however well his writings may characterize the age in which he lived, the man himself characterizes it and its social deficiencies more accurately far. But before leaving him, we must briefly examine the great train of thought which he worked out in a book of far more permanent and sterling value than his "Moral Philosophy;" in a line of thought, too, certainly not less strikingly representative of his day and of the mind of his generation. The great acuteness of Paley's intellect was, as we have indicated, chiefly shown in detecting the various fittings of the world. It differed from that of other practical men
larger sum than now-for his "Moral and Political Philosophy," though it was his first work. His son tells us that his father met with a copy of the second
edition before he was aware the first was out of the
publisher's hands. It would be difficult to get £1000
now for any volume on such a subject.
The exclusive bias towards "evidences"
towards the study of means rather than of ends-which Paley's mind thus gave to the religious thought of his day, was, for two principal reasons, remarkably unfavorable to the social side of religion, nay, even dissociating: first, because in persuading men that they knew much more about the means and machinery of God than about his final ends, character, and life, it overshadowed the only center of Unity; next, because in representing the
creation of sensitive existence as a mere machine for producing and accumnlating a great sum of happiness, it necessarily suggested as it in fact suggested to Paley that God's care for the individual was merged in his care for the species; and consequently that individual ends and general ends might come into direct collision. On both these tendencies we must dwell with a few illustrations, as they seem to us most characteristic of the religion of the age.
1. There is nothing that tends to do away so quickly and completely with the social power of any religion, as the merging of the divine life and character in what are supposed to be the mere means or instrumentalities of the divine agency. Every sacerdotal corruption, and every dreary mechanical philanthropy, every philosophical dogmatism that has strained faith and dimmed the light of inspiration, has been founded on this false and depressing notion. The priest has never ceased to tell men that the "means of grace are mercifully made more distinct to our poor limited human vision than the divine life which it is their purpose to impart; and we must be content to adopt the one, and rest in hope that we shall have the other." The external philan'thropist has ever preached "that there is more dependence to be placed on judicious habits formed early in life than on any impulses of devotion or fanciful illuminations of conscience; and that if we will but have sufficient confidence in the educational means, the well-known and providential laws of human growth must result in the moulding of a sober and well-disciplined character as the end." And so, too, we have seldom been without the presence of some "enlightened" philosophy, teaching us "that of the absolute and eternal principles of things we can know nothing; that it is the wisest as well as the most humble course to acquaint ourselves with the processes of creation which we may understand, and to exchange the fruitless study of divine ends for the study of nature's means and man's limitations." In all these cases we believe the very reverse to be the truth; that we know, or may know, through the voluntary self-revelation of God, far more of his real and intimate character than we can ever know of his mere methods of action, whether natural or ordained. And we not only may know this, but need
to know it, in order not to misread entirely and cloud with selfish dissociating meanings these subordinate methods. We need to have ever before us the purifying vision of his character, that we may not misinterpret the processes of nature by mistaking the mere ingenuity of the scaf folding for the beauty of the building; in order that we may not misinterpret the institutional side of religion and education into selfish and unintelligible ordinances, which either crush, or stupefy, or corrupt the life of society.
And it can not be denied, that to such misinterpretations the thoughts predominant in Paley's works have not a little contributed, in so far as they severed completely the reasons for belief from the object of faith; marshaling his arguments, both with regard to nature and revelation, in long array, without ever introducing us to the Being to whom they should lead. The only source of social unity is in God himself. Paley, like the high ecclesiastical school, the high Calvinistic school, and the rationalistic philanthropic school, in their very different ways, exhausted all his strength in pointing out the admirable adaptations of the approach to God. There are, no doubt, certain points both of his "Natural Theology" and of his "Evidences" where he allows a single ray of the divine character itself to shine through the crowded indications of mere intelligence and capacity which He displays: where, for instance, he dwells on the solicitude for weakness and helplessness evinced in the parental instincts of animals; still more, perhaps, where he shows the anxiety for symmetry and beauty which is displayed in the animal universe-the most unsymmetrical and unsightly and unexpressive organs being closely "packed" and covered-in in so fair symmetrical and expressive a frame; most of all, perhaps, where he shows that the limitations of human and animal life appear to be provided for in the great system of celestial astronomy itself-sleep implying night as its correlative, so that the periodic exhaustion of bodily and mental powers is closely linked with the arrangements of the planetary system. In all these cases we seem to get a glimpse of foundations of society which lie beyond mere ingenious mechanism-of provision for social disinterestedness-of an external justification for the love of beauty-of the law of alternate growth through labor and
through rest in the life of man. And in all these cases Paley's argument rises above its ordinary level, simply because it allows us to see some deeper aspect of the divine character than mere intelligence in helping us to see God's care for helplessness, his care for beauty, his care to show us that a creature's energy needs constant renewal-his greatest strength coming out of perfect and unconscious rest-Paley really helps us to see the character of God, and not a mere contriver. But in the main, Paley's argument fixes our attention painfully on the limitations of nature, instead of on the character that shines through. A means may be ingenious; but if it expresses nothing in itself—if it be a mere scaffolding or step-ladder to something else-it is rather what we should at first term an indication of a finite mind than of an infinite mind. The most divine of God's works are never mere means, they are means and end at once. The eye is useful, and so far only a means; but it is spiritual and expressive, and so far an end. But when you come to be told about the stomach of the camel, the folding poison-tooth of the serpent, the valves of the thoracic duct, the rings of the trachea, the bandage at the ankle, and so forth, you feel that such contrivances, argued from alone, would rather impress you with the limited ingenuity of a finite mind than the perfect wisdom of an infinite spirit. These instruments of life, as such, are not adequate revelations of God: all the works of his that we fully understand are like a human society, in which each element lives for the rest, and yet has a life of its own; in which all means are ends, and all ends means. That we can not often discern this in the organic mechanism of the body, is one reason, we believe, why physiological even more than mechanical science has so often had an atheistic influence; it displays intelligence rather than intellect, design rather than purpose, contrivance without character.
And, unhappily, this is just what human nature is too prone to take advantage of. If it may make its own God, it will adopt almost any mode of proving him, or any mode of worshiping him. Liberated from the vision of the divine life, it eagerly accepts the arguments or the institutions commonly reckoned religious, and wrests them to its own selfish purposes. The happiness-theorist recog
nizes the marvelous contrivances of the universe, sees in it a happiness-manufactory, and infers a doctrine of selfishness. The education-theorist recognizes the same marvelous mechanism, sees in it a repository of fixed habits, and infers a speedy millennium through the moulding influence of classes, tracts, and schools. Each interpolates his own end, accepting at once the divine" method." And so, too, in dealing with Christian teaching, the method of Paley has only been too closely followed out. The "means of salvation," as they are called, absorb all attention from the meaning of the end. When you come to ask what salvation is, you get the most opposite answers, and are even told you are asking an irrelevant question. The "appointed means" are more distinctly revealed, it is said; rather say, they are more pliant to human purposes than the divine end. By the Calvinist we are told that the whole essence of revelation consists in the discovery to man of a new means by which, without any previous eradication of sin, sin may be pardoned. By the Romanist we are told that even repentance, or the putting off of sin, would not avail without adopting penance-the appointed means of absolution. In both cases a contrivance for reaching God, be it acceptance of a doctrine or obedience to an ordinance, is substituted for the end; and the true end itself is left unguarded from the disfigurements of human dogmatism, selfishness, and pride. Only a faith which keeps ever in sight the personal character of God keeps ever in sight the one true bond of human society that can subdue selfish ends, harmonize jarring purposes, unite in one life the members of one body. Any system which, like Paley's, elaborately distracts the attention to the subordinate machinery either of divine agency or human belief, opens a direct way to the interweaving either of such purely selfish ends of action as he himself proposed, or of other ends of more complex nature, with the methods of divine agency, and thus eventually opens the way to the multiplying discords and ultimate disorganization of all social life. That which accounted for the coïncidences of the universe, he recognized; that which constituted the coherence of human society, he passed by.
2. But Paley's rationale of the world. as a great happiness manufactory held
within it another still more dissociating | the increase of the gross sum of happiness principle. In regarding sensitive happi- appears to involve the constant sacrifice ness, or pleasure, as the "pulse of the of hosts of sensitive creatures. There it machine" as the one aim of God in is involuntary. But men, having a will of producing it—he measured by a standard their own, might not like to resign in that set society and individuals at vari- favor of "an average of happiness ;" and ance. For if the object of the universe consequently society which involves that be the production of a certain gross sacrifice is always liable to destruction. amount of the article "pleasure," it is im- Paley, therefore, has to find a new motive mediately obvious that the individual for consulting the "general consequence," creatures which feel it are of no account, rather than the "particular;" and he except in proportion to the degree in finds it in a promise as to a future life. which they swell the total of enjoyment; Here society and individuals would be and individual interests may thus come constantly at issue; until you come to into immediate conflict with general in- look into the revealed future "general terests. For instance, to sacrifice one rules," and "general consequences," the sentient being for every two created, regard for which alone opens the way for would produce the same gross result, and positive law and impartial justice, would therefore be as agreeable to the divine have no claim over us. Nor, indeed, is method, as the creation of one only; yet, it as general rules that they do establish clearly, to the individual sacrificed it a claim over us, but simply because their would not be the same thing: and thus observance is to be rewarded with a perthe selfish principle inevitably introduces petuity of private blessing in time to a conflict between social principles and come. The society, therefore, which by individual principles of action. Society this artificial compromise is established can not be held sacred, as grounded on a as a compact whole here, dissolves again divine unity, by those who regard social after death into an infinite number of good as the average result to which the private individuals, enjoying each his own sacrifice of their own being might at any perpetuity of private happiness. The time be justly required. Paley, gazing social "compromise" is but temporary, on the mechanical side of the universe, and could not have been binding at all and principally on the lower orders of without this divine offer of a high reward creation, thought he saw this principle, in the next life for postponing particular and did not wholly shrink from it. He happiness to the general happiness in this. saw Nature "so careful of the type, so Clearly, then, Paley saw in society only careless of the single life;" he saw that another "contrivance" for securing a "of fifty seeds she often brings but one to larger amount of happiness than could bear;" and he drew the conclusion that otherwise have existed within the same it was "general happiness or pleasure" area-an amount secured frequently at that was the great aim of the universe. the immediate expense of individuals, and When he came to the human world, he giving, therefore, a clear title to comwas obliged, therefore, to admit that pensation." "general happiness" is God's end, private happiness the right end of every individual, and the two by no means identical; extricating himself from his difficulty by the hypothesis that "everlasting" happiness will set the balance right, by more than repaying in another world the sacrifice of private happiness in this. The whole theory of his moral philosophy rests on the importance of keeping "general rules," even when the particular result is evil; and he reconciles us to the sacrifice, only by crediting with an infinity of future happiness those who thus act. Thus his theory of society is, as it were, formed on the observation of the lower world of involuntary animal life, where
In short, Paley was not a thinker to sound the intellectual depths even of his own age.
Creation must indeed have been mechanical, man selfish, and society held together by a thread, had the ingenuities he found in the former, and the motives he discovered in the latter, been as little mixed with finer elements as he supposed. He stretched his arm but a little way into the deep waters; and fancied that the strength of the upper currents which he measured there, disclosed to him the origin of the mighty storm, and the fixed constitution of the still mightier tide. He saw deep enough to discern the ingenuity of the universe, but not deep enough to see its wonder
and its bloom. He saw deep enough to discern the prominent selfishness of man, but not deep enough to see how that self ishness was tempered, regulated, and overpowered. He saw that God had revealed fragments of his will, but did not see that his mere will could never have been obeyed without the purifying revelation of himself. But we must not imagine that the shallowness of his philosophy was a fair measure for the shallowness of his character. The mysteries which seemed to him to vanish beneath the acute gaze of his understanding, really existed for him as for us: but Paley discerned spiritual things, if we may so say, by a sense of touch, more than by a sense of vision; and he could not believe that he saw at all what he could not present tangibly to others. He tells us himself that he once fancied he felt something more in "obligation" than a "violent motive resulting from the command of another;" but on attempting to handle the matter, the mystery disappeared from his view. In truth, his eye was fitted for the outward world, not for the inward. He took society and man without demur at their own low estimate of themselves. He understood the animal creation best; and the homely humor with which he compared the instincts of animals and the "rational" selfishness of man, was probably of permanent benefit to his day. So far as his theory went, however, no man could have been further from discerning or teaching that religion is essentially social, and that the deepest root of faith grows out of the purest society. He has absolutely no glimpses of such a truth while dealing with social and political duties; very few come to him even when, in his construction of evidences, he shrewdly analyzes the motives of suffering Christians; and no doubt he had his brightest gleams of light on the constitution of the universe while he walked about his garden marveling at flowers and shells; "laughing immoderately" as he tried the hypothesis of rationality on the instincts of the sparrow and the butterfly; or giving God heart-felt thanks for the enjoyments of "shrimps," and the divinely ordered "pleasures of a healthy infant." Though, according to Paley's conception, the benignity of God shines down complacently even on the selfishness of man, yet he is conscious of a sickly glare in the contrast, which makes him
glad to turn away to the unspoiled happiness of animal life. He is half aware that it is light shining into darkness-the darkness comprehending it not.
It is like passing straight from the market-place to the mountain side, to exchange Paley's broad, rough, and businesslike familiarity with the "common things" of the universe for the delicate spiritual freedom, but too arduous and too selfcultured forms of Channing's faith. Paley can not, like Channing, be called an individualist, simply because he left no room in his creed for moral individuality at all; unraveling all characters alike into the one primary and impersonal element of a desire for pleasure. But if Paley's creed were not individualistic, still less was it social; its very first assumption being competitive self-love, the force which soonest rends the union of human society. It attempted, indeed, to assuage these otherwise inevitable conflicts; but this it attempted only by promising a liberal distribution of retiring pensions in "everlasting happiness" to all those who should waive the cravings for immediate enjoyment here. No society that had fully taken to heart Dr. Paley's system would have been able to understand why one "kingdom of God" should comprehend all men; indeed, they would have thought it a very unfortunate arrangement, quite certain to reïntroduce into the future specially appropriated for recompense those inequalities of position, and those necessities for self-sacrifice, which they had hoped were peculiar to the state of probation. But Channing's faith included the amplest recognition of the sacredness of society; and yet, as a faith, it certainly was not social but individualist. Born a generation later than Paley, the enthusiasm of the war of independence had in part already anticipated for America, and especially for New-England, that mighty social movement which changed the face of Europe during Channing's early youth. He not only inherited that profound love of freedom which-in political and practical life at least-the New-England fathers had ever cherished as the great involuntary blessing bestowed on them by their persecutors, but he inherited it at a time when political life all over Europe and America was reacting upon the most inward life of faith; when dreary conservatisms were justifying themselves by ad