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he was created in the image and in the likeness of that great Being who is all perfection?) or the supposition that he was, at the first, the same weak, wavering, and imperfect being that he is now; or rather, much more weak, and much more imperfect, but containing within himself the elements of improvement, which it was left to time to evolve and bring to maturity? Which of these is most in accordance with the analogy of nature, the facts of authentic history, and all the evidence we have been able to collect of the past and present condition of the human race? Most assuredly the former. All the productions, either of the vegetable or animal world now existing upon the earth, or which we have any evidence for believing to have existed at any former period, appear to have received, at the first moment of their existence, from the hands of the Creator, the full and complete definite constitution assigned to them, in all its perfection; and, as far as we are able to trace, they existed in the remotest ages, in as perfect a condition as they do at present. Not an atom of evidence can be produced, to shew that there has been any progressive improvement in any one of them. We have, therefore, the analogy of all nature for concluding that man also, at the period of his creation, received his definite constitution at once, in all its fulness, and in all its perfection.

The earliest accounts we receive of the human race, lead to the inevitable conclusion, that in the first ages of the world man possessed all the powers of body and mind, in at least as great, or more probably in greater, perfection than he does at present; and the most ancient relics of human genius, as well as the most ancient indications of cerebral development, confirm this conclusion in its fullest extent.

If, then, in the present case, we are to be guided by

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the ordinary rules of evidence, we can only come to one conclusion, namely, that the statement in Genesis, having all analogy, and all the evidence of fact in its favour, must be held as proved to be true; and, e contra, that the theory of Mr Combe, having all the presumptions of analogy, and all the evidence of fact against it, must be held as demonstrated to be false.


Holding it then as proved, that man, like the other works of the Almighty Creator, was made, at the first, with all his powers and capacities perfect, is the second part of the statement true, or is it not, that the world, thus created perfect, "fell into derangement?" here, I think, we shall not have occasion to go into any long argument, for if we assume original perfection, the doctrine of a fall from that state of perfection, by whatever means produced, follows as a necessary consequence, all parties being agreed that at present the human race is very far from being in a state of perfection. Mr Combe himself, upon this point, admits all that is any where contended for; for what is the whole aim and object of his book, but to shew that the world, and every thing in it relating to man, his faculties, his moral feelings, and his relations to external objects, is now in disorder, and has always been so? "Man," he states, “ignorant and uncivilized, is a ferocious, sensual, and superstitious savage." Have any of the divines spoken of by Mr Combe, who in their total ignorance of the elementary qualities of human nature, and of the relations between us and external objects, "condemned the natural world," ever made any assertion stronger than this, with regard to the depth of that degeneracy and degradation to which man has been reduced from his primeval state? The disorder both of the mental faculties, and of the relations of men with their Creator, with their brethren of the human race,

and with other objects, is too obvious to admit of dispute. I shall afterwards examine more particularly wherein that disorder consists, (a point on which Mr Combe seems to entertain views that are extremely imperfect and erroneous,) but I may hold the general fact as undoubted. It is admitted by Mr Combe, as well as by divines. The only remaining questions are, How has this admitted disorder been caused, and how is it to be remedied?

I may here take notice of a passage which occurs almost at the outset of Mr Combe's introductory chapter. "The sceptic has advanced arguments against religion, and CRAFTY DECEIVERS have in all ages founded systems of superstition on the disorder and inconsistency which are too readily admitted to be inseparable attributes of human existence on earth.”

Who are the crafty deceivers here meant? I am unwilling to admit the supposition, that it was intended by Mr Combe to include under this description our Lord and his disciples, whose system is expressly founded on the "disorder and inconsistency" which is throughout all Scripture asserted to be "an inseparable attribute of human existence on earth;" but if this was not his intention, he has not sufficiently guarded himself against misconstruction. He is certainly bound to explain what was his meaning.

Mr Combe will doubtless ask, How do we, who maintain the original high perfection of man, account, upon our principles, for the introduction of evil and disorder into the world? As to the mode of its introduction, we can only refer to Genesis; but as to its cause, I answer, we do not attempt to account for it at all. We have no data furnished to our understandings, upon which any philosophical, rational, or even intelligible account can be given of this phenomenon. We have


sufficient data to lead us to the conclusion, and even to what may be considered demonstration of the fact, that man was originally created perfect-we have but too abundant data around us, and within us, to prove that he has degenerated from that perfection; but how this degeneracy was caused, what was its origin, or what is to be its issue, are subjects upon which we have not even a glimmering of natural light to direct us, nor an atom of evidence upon which we can repose the smallest confidence. And can we wonder that this is the case, seeing that our faculties merely make us acquainted with certain facts and their relations, but are not fitted to give us information either of the intimate nature of any one object, or of the real and efficient cause of any one event or phenomenon in the universe. We know by observation some of the external qualities of objects, but of their real nature and internal structure we know nothing. We do not know our own nature, still less the nature of God; and what other beings or principles may exist in the vast extended universe around us, we may conjecture, but we never can possibly know. We know not the cause nor the manner of the production of a single green leaf: what presumption, then, to suppose that we are capable of comprehending or developing the plan of the universe!

We hold, then, this question respecting the origin of evil, as one of those inscrutable mysteries into which the reason of man attempts to penetrate in vain. We consider that it lies on the other side of that boundary which separates the known from the unknown, the knowable from the unknowable; and we are contented to take the account of what is related, or rather obscurely indicated respecting it in the sacred writings, as containing all that is necessary for us to know, and all that it is possible for us to learn on the subject. We are satisfied to take

the facts there stated or indicated, as facts, without presuming to scan them too narrowly with the imperfect lights of human reason, or, more properly speaking, to mix them up with the vain and unprofitable speculations of human folly. This is the correct, and the only philosophical mode of treating a subject like this, where no data exist accessible to us, for enabling us to form a safe and certain judgment. This is following the rule so wisely laid down by Lord Bacon, and "giving unto faith that which unto faith belongeth."

Adhering to this path, the only one that in such a case can be trodden with safety, the teachers and expounders of our holy religion have carefully examined the sacred volume, and there they find, or think they find it stated, that God at first made man perfect and upright—made him "but a little lower than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honour;" but that man in honour abode not that he rebelled against God, and disobeyed him in the only point on which he was laid under any restraint that he was consequently expelled from Paradise-cut off from that intercourse with God which he had originally enjoyed, and sent forth into the world with the command to people and to subdue it, and the doom (in which justice is so admirably tempered with mercy) that from thenceforth he should eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. We read farther, that man, being thus left in a great measure to his own devices, soon fell into all sorts of irregularities and crimes; that the firstborn of our first parents was a murderer; and that wickedness multiplied so rapidly, that the earth was filled with violence, and that the thoughts of men's minds was only evil continually; so that at last God determined to destroy the world by a flood, only interposing to save one family who had preserved in some degree the knowledge and the worship of his name.

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