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REM A RKS.
* The first condition of success is, that in striving honestly ourselves, we honestly acknowledge the striving of our neighbour ; that with a Will unwearied in seeking Truth, we have a Sense open for it, wheresoever and howsoever it may arise.”—Edinburgh Review.
It is an imperfect statement of a fundamental principle to say that truth carries with it its own evidence. Evidence relates to the understanding. Whereas, under certain plain and natural conditions, moral and religious truths possess the power not only of convincing the understanding, but of impressing deeply the noblest affections of the human bosom.
When the mind is swayed by any inveterate bias, by a pride of opinion or of party, by an excessive veneration for what is already established, or a passion for novelty, by a conceit of intellect or the indulgence of vicious habits, then the most important principles of religion and morality may fail entirely not only of awakening any sensibility in the heart, but of gaining the faintest assent of the understanding. It is not for minds in this unhappy state
that these pages are designed. If they are likely to fall only into the hands of those in whom exists no candid and generous love of truth, to which I may speak, I may well lay down my pen ir despair. I cannot forget that the greatest of teachers, speaking as never man spake, and performing works of unprecedented power, entertained no hope of acting directly upon those whose affections were in captivity to earthborn prejudices and selfish passions. But to the true-hearted—to whatever of truth and candour dwelt in the hearts of those around him, he appealed with the greatest confidence. “He who doeth the will of my Father, shall know of my teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." one that is of the truth heareth
voice.” Whereever any conformity to the Divine Will had been attained, there he looked for a commanding influence.
If our various faculties and affections have been cultivated according to their opportunities and the intent of their nature-if the will of the Creator, signified in their very constitution and by his providence, has been complied with, in the degree to which this is the case, they are in a sound and healthy state; and there is a strong affinity between them and all truth. This is the condition, with reference
to which I observe, that it is not doing justice to į truth to say, that if truly presented it will prove †
itself. It will do infinitely more. It will send forth a light which will not only paralyse, if it do not destroy, all speculative difficulties, but enter and fill all the chambers of the soul. If it be truth relating to the Divine Nature, it will kindle our sentiments
of awe, veneration and love. If it concern human things, human endeavours, sufferings and obligations, it will call out our active human sympathies. Its influence will not stop, content with gaining the assent of the reason; it goes farther,-it reaches and sets in motion all the primary and most powerful springs of our being.
Such I conceive to be the power of truth, when presented in a true form. The modes of presenting truth are various. There are the essay, the argument, the poem, the history or narration, and so on. And there is a truth that pertains to these various forms, as well as to the subjects they are employed to exhibit. That is, there is a true way of expressing truth, a way distinguished by certain marks or signs which belong only to truth, and which, when perceived, carry with them all that power, the power of deciding the understanding, but more especially of touching the heart, which, as I have just said, is the essential and active property of truth. Every story, in its peculiar characteristics, affords us materials for determining its truth, and in great abundance when it is eminently historical, containing a variety of details; when numerous circumstances, places, and persons, are specified or alluded to.
A true story of this description has a certain air-its different parts have a keeping or consistency one with another, which every intelligent and ingenuous mind feels deeply, even when it is wholly unable to analyse and define it.
I do not undertake to give a complete account of the traits by which the truth of any statement or