Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 6 (1833), 237–39.

Instinct, Reason, and Revelation

R S, Halsted


Short Fiction—Introduction; Dialogue


Reading, Instinct, Reason, Progress, Religion, Superstition, Natural Theology, Biblical Authority, Ancient Authorities

    Charles, having 'read a small volume of natural history, in which the author had treated of the nature of instinct', seeks clarification of the distinction between reason and instinct from his father (237). His father explains that, unlike instinct, reason is progressive and enables its possessor to learn from experience. Charles is surprised that people should not therefore have all learned to be religious and virtuous. His father tells him that 'Reason here has become blinded, either through ignorance or superstition', making a revelation necessary. Charles whether 'the philosophers of old' had 'some just notions of a Divine Being, of the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body, although they were without the revelation contained in the sacred scriptures'. His father asserts that their notions 'were very incorrect and debasing to the Divine Character', and that they needed 'something beyond what nature testified of the existence of a supreme Being'. (238)

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