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to man in another state. As well might it be argued, that the happiness of heaven hereafter cannot be perfect, because there, we are informed, there is neither to be marrying nor giving in marriage, and, consequently, there cannot be the same field as there is here for domestic enjoyment, and no employment in the rearing of offspring, communicating knowledge to the young, &c. It is absurd to argue in this way. From the known wisdom and goodness of the Creator, we may be quite sure that, in the original state of man, while he continued perfect and sinless, he must have possessed, as he will possess in heaven, every thing necessary to gratify his faculties. Now, that we are made subject to death, and that some enjoyments have been consequently taken away from us, others have been mercifully provided, which, in some respects, console us under these irremediable evils; but it does not follow from this, either that death was originally a necessary and indispensable condition of our existence, or that it is not an evil after all.
There is one natural law of which Mr Combe has taken no notice, namely, the law of Compensation. It is one of the characteristics of God's dealing with his creatures, that when he deprives a race or an individual of any enjoyment or of any privilege, he bestows a double portion of some other gift to compensate for the want. The lower animals are deprived of the enjoyments of intellectual and moral intercourse; but they are not sensible of the deficiency, and those they possess, limited as they are, are rendered sufficient for their happiness. Sheep and cattle are exceedingly stupid, and seem to possess very few ideas; but to make up for this, they are so constituted as to be almost continually either feeding or ruminating, so that with them, all the time they are awake, there is almost no end to the pleasure
of feeding. Carnivorous animals eat more rapidly, and despatch their meals more quickly, but have abundant employment for their faculties in seeking their prey. The law of compensation also takes place in man. Men who are deprived of sight, are gifted with extraordinary sensibility of hearing and touch; and so in every thing else. In the paradisaical state, man's greatest privilege and highest enjoyment must have consisted in an intercourse with God-an intercourse sufficient to occupy and to gratify all his faculties to the utmost. When that intercourse was withdrawn, other objects were mercifully accorded to him; and while banished from the divine presence, lying as we now do under the universal sentence of death, provision is wisely made for a succession of beings, who are born, grow up, continue a few years, and die, each in its little hour receiving and contributing something towards mutual enjoyment. All this is abundantly wise and merciful, and no other arrangement would have agreed so well with the condition of man as a fallen creature; but it is utterly unphilosophical to conclude that it is necessary, or that Omnipotence itself could not have devised another suited to man in a different and more perfect state of being.
Mr Combe conceives, that, if man would only obey all the natural laws, death, during the earlier periods of his existence, would be abolished, and the only instance of it remaining would be death from old age.
He observes, that, "In every country, individuals are to be found, who have escaped from sickness during the whole course of a protracted life. Now," he adds, "as a natural law never admits of an exception, this excellent health could not occur in any individuals, unless it were fairly within the capabilities of the race."
Let us consider this argument of Mr Combe's, and see to what conclusions it may lead.
There have been instances, in many countries, of men growing to the height of eight, nine, or even ten feet. Now, if a natural law never admits of an exception, this exalted stature would never occur in any individual, unless it were fairly within the capabilities of the race : therefore, there is nothing to prevent the human species from becoming a race of giants.
Instances have been known of twins being born attached to one another by a natural ligature, like the Siamese youths lately exhibited in this country. Now, as a natural law never admits of exceptions, this would not occur even in one solitary case, unless it were fairly within the capabilities of the race. Thus we may have a whole nation of Siamese twins.
What idea Mr Combe may attach to a natural law, in cases like the above, I know not; but certainly these and similar cases are generally looked upon as exceptions to the ordinary course of nature's operations. He is the first, I believe, who has denied such exceptions to exist, and he has also the merit of being the first who has adopted the exception as the rule, and attempted to convert the rule into the exception.
No doubt it may be true, that in every country, among the many millons of inhabitants it contains, there may be insulated cases of favoured individuals who have escaped from serious sickness during a protracted life. But is it not true, that such instances are extremely rare, about equally rare as the cases of giants and other preternatural productions? By far the greater number, indeed the great mass of mankind, find themselves at times liable to bodily pain and sickness. That is the general rule; the other is the exception, or, it may be called, an extreme case. Some are less liable to disease than others, and of those who are so, there may be some so little affected by it, that we may say, they have never
There are extreme cases, but all
suffered from it at all. cases cannot be extreme.
But Mr Combe says, there is no occasion for this being the rule; men suffer sickness because they disobey the natural laws, or because their fathers or their progenitors have disobeyed them before they were born. Well, let us take it in that Most menway. -nay, we may say, all men-disobey the natural laws. Their fathers have disobeyed them, universally, before they were born, and, therefore, the race is afflicted with pain, disease, and sickness, leading to early death. For the disobedience in time past, that is beyond remedy. But who shall say, that looking to the present condition of the race, and the known weakness and waywardness of our nature, they will be universally, or even generally, obeyed in time to come.
From the consideration we have already given this subject, we think we are entitled to conclude, that human reason is utterly incompetent to devise means for producing so great a reformation-that physical and moral evil are far too widely spread and too deeply rooted to admit of being removed by any means or motives which philosophy is capable of presenting to us-that the natural laws, even though universally known, will never be perfectly obeyed in the sense intended by Mr Combe, and that, consequently, pain, disease, and death, at the earlier, as well as the later periods of our existence here, must remain part of the lot of humanity, as long as the race remains in the present world.
But what is, perhaps, the most objectionable part of Mr Combe's speculation, is the attempt to take away all the moral effect of the contemplation of death, and to place man, in regard to this institution, on a level with the beasts that perish, by endeavouring to reconcile us
to that institution on grounds equally applicable to them as to us, having reference solely to the present life, and turning away our thoughts altogether from the only point relating to it that is really of importance,—the prospect of a life to come.
"Let us inquire," says he, "how the moral sentiments are affected by death in old age as a natural institution.
"Benevolence, glowing with a disinterested desire for the diffusion and increase of enjoyment, utters no complaint against death in old age, as a transference of existence from a being impaired in its capacity for usefulness and pleasure, to one fresh and vigorous in all its powers, and fitted to carry forward to a higher point of improvement every beneficial measure previously begun. Conscientiousness, if thoroughly enlightened, perceives no infringement of justice in the calling on a guest, satiated with enjoyment, to retire from the banquet, so as to permit a stranger with a keener and more youthful appetite to partake. And Veneration, when instructed by intellect that this is the intention of the Creator, and made acquainted with its objects, bows in humble acquiescence to the law. Now, if these powers have acquired in any individual that complete supremacy which they are clearly entitled to hold, he will be placed by them as much above the terror of death, as a natural institution, as the lower animals are by being ignorant of its existence."
If any argument were wanting to prove the utter insufficiency and hollowness of Mr Combe's principle of the supremacy of these feelings, which he chooses to call exclusively the moral sentiments, this passage would be sufficient of itself to prove that insufficiency. Who could ever be fortified against the terrors of death by considerations like these? He tells us what Benevolence