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M'Culloch, has issued a dictate which is in direct opposition to the instruction and dictate delivered by the Divine founder of the Christian religion.
There is no human desire or passion more strongly denounced by the Divine communicator of religion, and the indulgence of it warned against, than that of the love of wealth, or of the world, as he denominated it. The denunciation was so strong, and so comprehensive, as to excite astonishment in the minds of almost all who heard it. Now, Mr. M'Culloch, taking for his position the principles advocated by the modern school of Political Economists, has issued a denunciation in direct antagonism with the denunciation alluded to. He has censured, in the strongest terms, the warning and instruction thus given to mankind. He has declared, reversely, that the love of wealth, the unremitting and ardent pursuit of wealth, and of the things of the world, are not only not deserving of censure, but are absolutely deserving of all commendation. To show the way out of this conflict between the Divine and the human judgment, we have to look on the grounds upon which the Divine founder of our religion rested his judgment. Men who are truly and fully enlightened are enabled to see that throughout the whole region of science that which is wrong and unscientific, and therefore injurious, is so, because it contravenes that due arrangement of things which is ordained to arise under a fulfilment of natural law, or because a frustration of the Creator's design is brought about by reason of a bad arrangement or unjust distribution of created matter. Hence the judgment delivered by the founder of revealed religion, against the practice of covetousness, was derived from the fact of the exercise of this passion being preventive of that diffusion or distribution of wealth and property which the law of the Creator, that is, natural social law, ordains the
fulfilment of. This is scientific-this is exemplification of right knowledge this is supreme or all-comprehensive wisdom this is the perfection of justice or goodness, because it is in accordance with that law and course by which the sustainment of all who are created is provided for. But Mr. M'Culloch, speaking in his own name, and also in the name and under the authority of the school of Political Economists, discerns not the sense of this. Unable to discover, or to comprehend, the natural social law by which property or wealth is constituted, and by which it is so created as that the diffusion or distribution of its advantages shall be placed within the power of enjoyment by all men who are willing to make the due exertion and control of their faculties; he and his fellow schoolmen have been led to deliver a judgment adverse to that delivered by the founder of revealed religion. Being in darkness, and knowing too, and having declared too, that they are in darkness, they have, nevertheless, proceeded to give judgment, as though they had attained, and were enjoying, the full light of science.
In the one and only religion which the world possesses, the school of Political Economists had to see that covetousness, worldliness, or an inordinate love of the things of the world,— that is, desires not controlled, moderated, or governed, by a love of relative duty, or a recognition of the necessity of sacrificing self-love or self-indulgence for the purpose of realising social law, (this sacrifice alone constituting an obedience to, and an observance of, natural social law,) together with many social courses, all strongly denounced as immoral and sinful, the reason of course being, as I have before declared, that most mischievous and destructive results issue from them, for, whilst by these courses, the few succeed in enlarging their possessions, increasing their enjoyments, and gratifying their lust, by making a large addition to their luxuries, the larger number of the members of all communities or
nations are, by the operation of these courses, prevented from acquiring sufficient enjoyment, and are thus consigned to a condition of most distressful want, and reduced to a total inability of getting their labour demanded, — is that destructive social course which is to be especially avoided.
All this was seen to be in direct opposition to the worldly system of Political Economy which the modern school of writers and statesmen, finding most convenient for their intellect and their hand, had invented and set up. It was a matter in course that the whole of this social law and doctrine should appear to the Political Economy schoolmen, at the time when they wrote, and it must appear up to this day, and to men holding the principles and opinions which they hold, it must ever appear to be,-utterly nonsense and foolishness. By the low, false, and bad character of their principles and system, they were under the necessity of omitting or of obliterating from their view, from their doctrine, and from their reasoning, all considerations and arguments of a high class and of a true character. The sphere of matter had been the only sphere into which they could penetrate. Having entered this sphere without possessing the light necessary for guiding them to a due estimation and appropriation of the elements contained in this sphere, they became mystified, and stupified, and were lost; and so in their advancement they perverted, abused, and contaminated the material sphere. To the sphere of moral truth - moral rectitude and action—they had not been able to rise; hence the moral and social character of their labours is such as I have now shown it to be.
The larger number of all classes of the people being accustomed to receive, and to hold, doctrines and a system under the influence of authority-mere authority- that is, without knowing, and without endeavouring or caring to know, the true character of the substance upon which the authority is based or its merit and to be charmed into belief and
action by the talismanic sound of mere names on being shown the false character of the luminaries by which they have been guided, will be apt to exclaim and to ask, “Where, upon this great and important subject, are the beacons constructed by our university lights and guides? Have not the studious men the men specially devoted to science and learning the men of Oxford, of Cambridge, of Edinburgh, of Glasgow, and of Dublin, or those connected with the seats of learning of foreign nations, exerted their high faculties on this great sphere of social and political philosophy?" They will say, "Surely, works, and most valuable works too, emanating from the large and varied classes of schoolmen must be extant somewhere? We have been continually hearing and reading that these studious men have been labouring in the great field of Theology. We have heard them denominated Theologians, Professors of Theology Theology' that — great term by which is meant the word or the truth of God, the Designer, the Creator, and the Sustainer of all things." Alas! for the interests of mankind, the special seats of science and of learning have been allowed to remain almost barren regions. Uniform dulness has there reigned. If, in later years, a few efforts have been made and some attempts have undoubtedly been made-to cast off the depressing and ignominious lethargy-yet the efforts have been of a most unhappy character for the professors, instead of analysing faithfully the contents of the poisoned cup which has been handed about for the intoxication of the world, have themselves drunk of the intoxicating draught, and so have become beguiled and blind-hence the offspring of their feeble and falsely-directed efforts are such only as sparkle on the surface. Attracting and satisfying the minds of those men only, who, by reason of superficiality and weakness of intellectual power, are unable to examine deeply and com
prehensively, and to judge, they collapse and perish under the first discriminating touch to which they are subjected.
Upon the point now under notice, a few instances may be usefully adduced for consideration. Thus Dugald Stewart, acting in his capacity of University Professor, ventured to bring into juxtaposition and collision, the principles advocated by the school of modern Political Economists, and the principles delivered and transmitted through revealed religion. He upheld the human philosophy as sound and true, whilst he denominated the divine philosophy a prejudgment, a prejudice, or false; though at the same time that he ventured on the delivery of this his own judgment, he was well aware, for he himself had discovered, and put on record, the weak and false manner in which the chief writer on Political Economy, he who is called the father of the science, as well as other writers, had treated the subject.
A second instance. The case of a man possessing great genius so great as to be one of the most remarkable men of the present age, I mean Dr. Channing. This professor gave his entire assent, by word, to the doctrines of the school of modern Political Economists; and yet, after having thus assented, he so far doubted and retracted as to allude to the working of these free doctrines in the following manner :- "There is another dark feature in this age. It is the spirit of collision, contention, discord, which breaks forth in religion, in politics, in business, and private affairs; a result and necessary issue of the selfishness which prompts the endless activity of life. The mighty forces which are this moment acting on society, are not and cannot be in harmony, for they are not governed by love. They jar; they are discordant. Life now has little music in it. It is not only on the field of battle that men fight. They fight on the Exchange. Business is war, a conflict of skill, management, and too often of fraud; to snatch the prey from our neighbour