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Yet one was ever kind,
Why lingers she behind ?-
His aching eye-balls strain
That beauteous bosom heave again,-
the father shakes ;
Swells in his throat,
CIV.-THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY CONFIRMED BY ITS
Extract from Rev. Wm. E. Channing's Dudleian Lecture, delivered at
Cambridge, March 14, 1821.
BEFORE quitting the general consideration of miracles, my friends, I ought to take some notice of Hume's celebrated argument on this subject; not that it merits the attention which it has received, for infidelity has seldom forged a weaker wea. pon, but because it is specious, and has derived weight from the name of its author. The argument is briefly this,“ that belief is founded upon, and regulated by experience. Now, we often experience testimony to be false, but never witness a departure from the order of nature.
That men may deceive us, when they testify to miracles, is therefore more accordant with experience, than that nature should be irregular ; and hence there is a balance of proof against mi. racles, a presumption so strong as to outweigh the strongest testimony.
In the first place, this argument affirms, that the credibility of facts or statements is to be decided by their accordance with the established order of nature, and by this standard only.
Now, if nature comprehended all existences and all powers, this position might be admitted. But if there is a being higher than nature, the origin of all its powers and motions, and whose character falls under our notice and experience, as truly as the creation, then there is an additional standard, to which facts and statements are to be referred : and works which violate nature's order, will still be credible, if they agree with the known properties and attributes of its author ; because, for such works we can assign an adequate cause and sufficient reasons, and these are the qualities and conditions on which credibility depends.
In the second place, this argument of Hume proves too much, and therefore proves nothing. It
proves too much ; for if I am to reject the strongest testimony to miracles, be. cause testimony has often deceived me, whilst nature's order has never been found to fail, then I ought to reject a miracle, even if I should see it with my own eyes, and if all my senses should attest it; for all my senses have sometimes given false reports, whilst nature has never gone astray; and, therefore, be the circumstances ever so decisive or inconsistent with deception, still I must not believe what I see, and hear, and touch, what my senses, exercised according to the mosi deli. berate judgment, declare to be true. All this the argument requires ; and it proves too much ; for disbelief, in the case supposed, is out of our power, and is instinctively pronoun. ced absurd ; and what is more, it would subvert that very
order of nature, on which the argument rests ? for this order of nature is learned only by the exercise of my senses and judg. ment, and if these fail me in the most unexceptionable cir. cumstances, then their testimony to nature is of little worth.
CV.-TH & IMPORTANCE OF CLASSICAL LEARNING.
Extract from a Discourse delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society,
at Cambridge, Mass., August, 1825, by Joseph Story.
The importance of classical learning, my friends, to pro. fessional education, is so obvious, that the surprise is, that it could ever have become matter of disputation. I speak not of its power in refining the taste, in disciplining the judg. ment, in invigorating the understanding, or in warming the heart with elevated sentiments, but of its power of direct, positive, necessary instruction. Until the eighteenth cen. tury, the mass of science, in its principal branches, was de. posited in the dead languages, and much of it still reposes there. To be ignorant of these languages is to shut out the lights of former times, or to examine them only through the glimmerings of inadequate translations. What should we say of the jurist who never aspired to learn the maxims of law and equity which adorn the Roman codes ? What of the physician, who could deliberately surrender all the know. ledge heaped up for so many centuries in the latinity of continental Europe ? What of the minister of religion, who should choose not to study the scriptures in the original tongue, and should be content to trust his faith and his hopes, for time and for eternity, to the dimness of translations, which may reflect the literal import, but rarely can reflect, with unbroken force, the beautiful spirit of the text?
I pass over all consideration of the written treasures of an. tiquity which have survived the wreck of empires and dynasties, of monumental trophies and triumphal arches, of palaces of princes and temples of the gods. I pass over all consi. deration of those admired compositions, in which wisdom speaks, as with a voice from heaven; of those sublime ef. forts of poetical genius, which still freshen, as they pass from age to age, in undying vigor; of those finished histories which still enlighten and instruct governments in their duty and their destiny ; of those matchless orations which roused nations to arms and chained senates to the chariot-wheels of all.conquering eloquence. These all may now be read in our vernacular tongue. Ay, as one remembers the face of a dead friend, by gathering up the broken fragments of his image--as one listens to the tale of a dream twice told—as one catches the roar of the ocean in the ripple of the rivuletas one sees the blaze of noon in the first glimmer of twilight.
CVI.-DEATH OF ADAMS AND JEFFERSON.
Extract from the same Discourse.
ADAMS AND JEFFERSON, my countrymen, are gone from us for ever-gone, as a sunbeam, to revisit its native skiesgone, as this mortal, to put on immortality. Of them, of each of them, every American may exclaim :
“ Ne'er to the chambers, where the mighty rest,
We may not mourn over the departure of such men. We should rather hail it as a kind dispensation of providence, to affect our hearts with new and livelier gratitude. They were not cut off in the blossom of their days, while yet the vigor of manhood flushed their cheeks, and the harvest of glory was ungathered. They fell not, as martyrs fall, seeing only in dim perspective the salvation of their country. They lived to enjoy the blessings earned by their labors, and to realize all which their fondest hopes had desired. The infirmities of life stole slowly and silently upon them, leaving still be. hind a cheerful serenity of mind. In peace, in the bosom of domestic affection, in the hallowed reverence of their coun. trymen, in the full possession of their faculties, they wore out the last remains of life, without a fear to cloud, with scarcely a sorrow to disturb its close. The joyful day of our Jubilee came over them with its refreshing influence. To them, indeed, it was a great and good day.
The morning sun shone with softened lustre on their closing eyes. Its evening beams played lightly on their brows, calm in all the dig. nity of death. Their spirits escaped from these frail tenements without a struggle or a groan. Their death was gen. tle as an infant's sleep. It was a long, lingering twilight, melting into the softest shade.
Fortunate men, so to have lived, and so to have died. For. tunate, to have gone hand in hand in the deeds of the revo. lution. Fortunate in the generous rivalry of middle life. Fortunate in deserving and receiving the highest honors of their country. Fortunate, in old age, to have rekindled their ancient friendship with a holier fame. Fortunate to have passed through the dark valley of the shadow of death to. gether. Fortunate, to be indissolubly united in the memory and affections of their countrymen. Fortunate, above all, in an immortality of virtuous fame, on which history may, with severe simplicity, write the dying encomium of Pericles, “No citizen, through their means, ever put on mourning.”
CVII.-THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRDE.
Extract from Mr. Pitt's Speech. delivered on the 2d of April, 1792, in
the House of Commons, on a motion for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
Mr. Speaker,–I TRUST we shall no longer continue this commerce, the African Slave Trade, to the destruction of every improvement, on that wide continent; and shall not consider ourselves as conferring too great a boon, in restor. ing its inhabitants to the rank of human beings. I trust, we shall not think ourselves too liberal, if, by abolishing the slave. trade, we give them the same common chance of civilization with other parts of the world, and that we shall now allow to Africa the opportunity, the hope, the prospect of attaining to the same blessings which we ourselves, through the favora. ble dispensations of Divine Providence, have been permitted, at a much more early period, to enjoy. If we listen to the voice of reason and duty, and pursue, this day, the line of conduct which they prescribe, some of us may live to see a reverse of that picture, from which we now turn our eyes with shame and regret.
We may live to behold the natives of Africa, engaged in the calm occupations of industry, in the pursuits of a just and legitimate commerce. We may behold the beams of science and philosophy breaking in upon their land, wbich, at some happy period, in still later times, may blaze with full lustre; and joining their influence to that of pure religion, may illuminate and invigorate the most distant extremities of the immense continent. Then may we hope, that even Africa, though last of all the quarters of the globe,