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of universal moral approbation. Much less would we hesitate to admit that love to God is the principle which alone can stamp human agency with the highest character of virtue. There is no doubt that it ought to be the pervading and impelling motive of all human conduct, as it most perfectly harmonizes the human soul with the eternal source of all order and moral beauty, and renders virtue no longer an abstraction, but a union and a communion, as it were, of the finite with the infinite. Still there are degrees of conformity with the relations in which man is placed, that is degrees of virtue. ... The preponderance of conscience when it just turns the vibrating balance in favour of right, because it will not be silenced, is different from a ready, cheerful, enlightened, obedience, emanating from devout love to God as the source of all moral excellence, the fountain of all moral law. In both cases the human agent would be doing right; though it is in the latter case only, that he would be doing so in the highest sense. In this case, benevolence towards man, also, would be diffused through all social relations to the utmost possible extent. On these principles, we cordially sympathise with the author in the prominence he has given to benevolence, under which he includes love to God and man. Of these two forms of the general disposition, he has given various glowing and beautiful illustrations. As our author insists largely on the claim of ‘love' to God and man to be the highest principle of human conduct, and so extensively deduces from it the duties of social life, he of course maintains the usefulness of virtue, both to the individual and to mankind in general. While, however, he recognizes the uniform tendency of virtue to promote happiness, he rejects the theory that a moral action is right merely on account of its utility; for if so, says Mr. Spalding, we should find that whenever we contemplate our own actions, or those of others with approbation, we do so in consequence of their tendency to usefulness being present to our minds, which is not the case. We approve of gratitude to a benefactor, when we witness it; we think of the martyr to truth and principle with approbation; and the emotion arises in us, instantaneously, without any immediate view of the real tendency of the actions to benefit society. We should be glad, if our limits permitted, to follow the author in other illustrations of the principle of benevolence, which he traces through a variety of duties. This development of the general principle occupies, either directly or indirectly, the larger portion of the volume, and is exhibited in numerous passages of genuine eloquence. We are bound in justice to say that the extracts we have given are by no means to be regarded as specimens of the greatest power and beauty. The delineation in the eleventh chapter, corresponding to the heading, 'Love personified in the Saviour,' and the closing pages of the volume, which treat of the “future triumphs of Christianity,' are peculiarly worthy of attention : but throughout the whole work there is an elevation of thought and of sentiment which are well calculated to recommend it to the intelligent and reflective. We can assure the reader that, although embracing the most difficult points of a difficult subject, it is anything but a dry book. The author writes with the glowing warmth of one whose whole heart is in his subject; sometimes with an intense ardour of feeling, The book is, on this account, of a more popular cast than is usual with treatises on the principles of ethics; though it often discusses principles ably and profoundly. It also exhibits more successfully, we think, than is sometimes done, the relation which subsists between Christianity and the moral nature of man : illustrating the real harmony of the Christian precepts with the genuine dictates of the moral faculty, notwithstanding all apparent and supposed discordancies. Though some of the theories advocated may be regarded as disputable, involving as they do points on which the most celebrated inquirers have differed, and though some allowances must be made for the work, as a posthumous publication, there is shown, in its investigations, a talent for philosophical discussion, an independence of mind, a freedom from prejudice, a love of truth, a freshness and simplicity of heart, a devout and benevolent temper of mind, which altogether throw a charm over the volume, and render it a valuable contribution to ethical literature. We would particularly recommend it to the attention of theological students, perfectly free as it is from all sectarian and party feeling, and avoiding as it does both the extremes which, as we have already shown, it appears to us that different writers have fallen into, on the sub- · ject of ethics. The enlarged and catholic spirit of the writer, we may add, is repeatedly manifested; and the division and strife' which are too often witnessed on the subject of religion, evidently occasioned much grief and pain to a mind so exquisitely attuned to the harmonies of moral truth and benevolence.
Art. V.-1. A Bill to Amend two Acts passed in Ireland for the better
Education of Persons professing the Roman Catholic Religion, and for the better Government of the College established at Maynooth for the Education of such Persons; and also an Act passed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom for Amending the said Two Acts. Ordered by
the House of Commons to be printed, April 3rd, 1845. 2. Resolutions of the British Anti-State-Church Association respecting .. the Maynooth Grant, March 26th. 3. Resolutions of the Committee of the Congregational Union of England
and Wales respecting the Maynaoth Grant, March 12th. • 4. Resolutions of the Committee of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and
Ireland respecting the Maynooth Grant, March 26. 5. Resolutions of the Deputies of Protestant Dissenters of the three Dene
minations in and within twelve miles of London respecting the May
nooth Grant, April 9th. 6. Resolutions of the General Body of Protestant Dissenting Ministers of
the Three Denominations residing in and about the cities of London and Westminster respecting the Maynooth Grant, April 1st.
The government of Sir Robert Peel is in some respects the most extraordinary which has ever ruled this country. Its distinction, however, is not of a proud and ennobling order; it does not consist in the possession of pre-eminent ability, in the breadth and capaciousness of the views entertained, or in the consistency of its measures with the principles avowed and the professions with which it took office. The least scru. pulous of its advocates will scarcely venture to found its claims on these grounds. They are manifestly foreign from the merits of the existing administration, which, nevertheless, possesses an unenviable notoriety, a character sui generis, which will separate it from all others in the judgment of an impartial and discriminating posterity. We can readily imagine the perplexity of some future student of political history who shall employ himself in the investigation of these times, with a view of doing justice to the men by whom their course has been shaped. Commencing with the advent of Earl Grey to power, and passing onward to the period when Lord Melbourne finally resigned the seals of office, he will meet with an active and organized party, stealthily adapting its phraseology to the altered aspect of the times, renouncing the title by which it had been known, discarding, in words at least, some of the dogmas long deemed essential to its creed, and seeking, under the guise of popular sympathies, to regain its forfeited power and resuscitate the spell by which the popular mind had for generations been bound. Assisted by the hesitancy and aristocratical prepossessions of the Whigs, he will find this party steadily gathering strength, recruiting itself by desertions from their ranks, adroitly availing itself of their blunders, obstructing many good measures, and rendering cordial support to every bad one, until at length, their rivals having worn out the patience of a deluded people, the triumph was completed in their own accession to power. * Such an investigator will naturally look to the subsequent history of this party for an illustration and enforcement of the views advocated in opposition. It would be deemed an insult to their memory—an indignity and a wrong, to suppose that in the one case they would belie all the professions they had made in the other, that their passion for office could be so intense, their recklessness of principle so marked, as to induce them to do the work of the free-trader, or to fraternize with the dissenter, the jew, and the catholic. And yet, what other conclusion will he be able to form after a patient and laborious examination of the facts of the case. The elements composing this party consisted of the modern representatives of the old Tory school, and the pledge they gave to the country was that of protection to monopoly, whether in the senate, the market, or the church. This pledge was uttered in every form of speech, and was reiterated on all occasions. Every possible sanction was given to the faith of their credulous adherents. Men of the highest note and of the most authoritative position amongst them, those who were known to be in the confidence of their leader, nay, that leader himself, at sundry times, when he deemed it befitting to disclose his purpose, bound himself hand and foot to work out the policy which had cramped the industrial energies of the people, and fed the bigotry and intolerance of a protestant hierarchy. These were the professions made, the good tidings which cheered the drooping spirits of the squirearchy and the priests. There was a revival, in appearance at least, of ancient loyalty; not, indeed, to the person of the monarch, but to those interests for the maintenance of which alone the monarchy was deemed important. Sir Robert Peel and his associates were summoned to a special vocation. It was theirs to arrest the revolutionary course of events, to throw back the tide of democracy, to protect the home market from foreign competition, and above all to guard the established church from the profane hands of infidels, dissenters, and catholics. They took office on these conditions; their advent to power was hailed on this account. They were to be the regenerators of their times, – the honest, unflinching, and always-consistent friends of the agricultural interest and of the protestant ascen
dancy. And yet what have we seen? How have these promises been fulfilled, these pledges redeemed, this line of policy worked out? What has been the result of the vast and costly efforts which were made to secure their triumph 2 For the honour of our common nature, we are ashamed to reply to our own inquiries. There was little faith in public men left amongst us, before this last and most disgraceful defection; but he must be strangely ignorant of the universal conviction of the people, who now ventures, with a grave countenance, to descant on the integrity of politicians, or to calculate on public virtue interposing any barrier to their possession of power. The great mass of the people would laugh to scorn the man who should so attempt to delude them; or would deem him so simple-minded and uninformed, as to be fit only for the regions of the moon. We are far from thinking this a light matter. It weighs heavily on our spirits, and throws a shade over the prospects of our country which we would gladly see removed. The reputation of our statesmen is public property, which cannot be damaged without the nation being a loser. It is no mere personal thing, but a deep fixed inherent evil, which will show itself in a thousand morbid forms throughout the body politic. Whatever impairs the credit or destroys confidence in the integrity of our rulers, weakens public morals, and facilitates the progress of anarchy and scepticism. The national mind resents in such circumstances the semblance of virtue as an insult to its common sense, and either ceases to feel interest in public affairs, or looks about it for a new and more trustworthy set of political leaders. There is much to incline it to the former course, in which case its liberties are sacrificed to an unprincipled oligarchy: whilst the latter requires an enlightened estimate of its rights, and a conscientious determination to maintain them. That some of the measures of Sir Robert Peel have been in a right direction we freely admit, but this admission impairs not the force of our regret, at the irreparable injury he has done to the reputation of public men. The benefits of his administration are his disgrace as a tory minister. The boon which he confers is bestowed at the cost of his official integrity. He has not the manliness either to abide by his former professions, or to avow the change which circumstances have forced upon him, but is content to exercise the dictatorship of a party, at the price of carrying the measures of his opponents. A singular illustration of this is afforded in the Bill which he has just submitted to parliament. To this measure, then in prospect, we referred last month, and now recur to the subject with feelings of earnest solicitude to discharge our duty as public journalists in what we deem a momentous crisis.