Imatges de pÓgina

the existence of vice and misery? How that evil is the necessary and conse-
are they to be reconciled with the quent attendant of every created being.
Divine attributes? If God be the 3. It presents a coinplete refuta-
only Creator and Author of all things, tion of the old Heathenish and reputed
which must unquestionably be allowed, Orthodox notion of inherent immor-
and therefore the Creator and Author tality; since as there can be but one
of vice and misery, how can these evils Being possessed of unlimited or infi-
be reconciled with the infinite good- nite attributes, he alone can be capa-
ness and wisdom of that Almighty ble of infinite duration : and hence,
Being, who is supposed (though erro- without entering into the intricate
neously) to have full power utterly to inquiry concerning the materiality or
abolish these evils from existence, or immateriality of the human soul, a
else to have created the universe with subject in which the loftiest geniuses
out them? These questions have often have “found no end in wand'ring
been satisfactorily and plausibly an- mazes lost,” a conclusion must be
swered, by affirming that by the in. drawn, that in order to render the
troduction and existence of evil, the existence of any created intelligence
Almighty best promotes his wise and infinite in duration, that existence must
benevolent designs upon the whole; necessarily be revived, prolonged and
and therefore uses evil as an instru- continued on to infinity, by repeated
inent in the production of general renewals and changes from time to
good. But this answer is only plausi. time, by the sovereign power of the
ble, and by no means couclusive, and one sole infinite Being ; since no cre-
rests entirely upon that faith in infi- ated existence is, or can be, of itself,
nite goodness and wisdom, which those i. e. of its own constituent parts or
attributes are calculated to inspire; properties, capable of enduring ever-
but the original difficulty still remains, lastingly, for want of the attribute of
and is alike common to all systems of infinity.
faitl, i. e. Why could not an infi- There are some other inferences of
nitely wise, powerful and benevolent minor importance, drawn from the
Being, have dispensed with the exist- foregoing hypothesis, which I have not
ence of evil, and have produced the thought necessary at present to set
same happy effects from happier forth, and wishing to see this impor-
causes? The reply to this question tant subject thoroughly investigated
has commonly been, “ The Almighty in your valuable work, I am, &c.
could doubtless have dispensed with

evil, but it is evident froin its actual
existence, that he judged its existence
best calculated, upon the whole, to pro-


May 10, 1823.
duce his benevolent designs.” But this
reply still
rests solely upon an appeal THIS

reply was given to an appeal

made to me, and I suppose to to faith in the Divine attributes, and the difficulty of the question remains tion of academical history, may not


others. The appeal, as a porthe same; but the answer to be drawn be unworthy of preservation, whatever from the foregoing hypothesis appears may be thought of the reply. A copy to be of itself absolutely conclusive, of my letter being taken and not dated, i. e. because the Almighty cannot I cannot recollect the year when this do impossibilities--because he cannot dispute happened, but am pretty sure make an infinite being or an equal, the worthy Mr. Horsey was the prin(which every being not subject to evil inust necessarily be,) and therefore cipal tutor at the time.

JOSEPH CORNISH. because, without the existence of evil, there could not have been any created Gentlemen, intelligences whatever, he could not

I have given serious attention to your have been a Creator at all.

printed letter, and am clearly of opinion, 2. It affords a demonstrable refuta. that Mr. Coward's Trustees are by no tion of the reputed orthodox doctrine acting in any degree inconsistent with

means chargeable with persecution, or of the absolute primeval perfection of the most generous principles of liberty, man, without being subject at crea- because they prohibit students the use of tion, either to moral or natural evil; written forms in the devotions of the since the foregoing hypothesis proves, family,

[ocr errors]

On requiring Students for the Ministry to pray extempore. 381 It seems to me highly expedient, and religion they do not approve, is persecualmost indispensably necessary, for every tion. But surely any individual inay de. one who takes on him the office of a vote his own fortuue or a part of it to teacher amongst any denominations of what purposes he pleases, and those who Christians, or, indeed, amongst persons choose to partake of the fortune of this of any other religion, to be able to pray private individual, ought in all reason to extempore with readiness and propriety, comply with his terms; and for any to even though forms be generally used by call him on this account a persecutor, the community to which he belongs. would be an uncharitable perversion of There are cases and circumstances to language. I do not believe it can be which no forms can be suited, and under made to appear that Mr. Coward's 'T'ruswhich the use of free prayer would tend tees in any instance act contrary to his much to excite a spirit of devotion, and will. to promote the great ends for which It is expressed in such terms as fully prayer is appointed.

to justify them in doing what they have In order to pray extempore with readi- done : " Exhorting the students to exaness and propriety, the practice must be mine freely and seriously, to make the adopted early; and as it is at present, word of God their guide, and apply to and likely to be for many years to come, him for direction.” If any prove Armi. (I hope and believe for ever,) essential to nians, Arians or Socinians, the Trustees a Dissenting minister's general acceptance do not make them so. Calvinists, Triniand usefulness that he should be able to tarians and Athanasians have no dis. do this; those who have the management couragements thrown in their way, no of our seminaries are fully justified in books withheld which tend to establish withholding their assistance from those them in such principles; and however who refuse thus to endeavour to qualify Mr. Coward might occasionally express themselves.

himself, yet if he had really been the You seem to think that the considering bigot some have supposed,' he would prayer as an academical exercise, is a have fixed on very different men from profanation of it, I cannot see the mat. Watts, Doddridge, Neal, &c., as the mater in this light, or conceive the Divine nagers of his charities. Suppose a Papist Majesty is offeuded when young students should bequeath by his will a large sum for the ministry, or any men whatever, to instruct young persons " in the prin. pray on particular occasions with a direct ciples of the Christian religion,” would view to being rendered more extensively this oblige the trustees of that will, in useful, and the being enabled more effec- all after ages, to receive none but Papists tually to promote his glory. Such will into a participation of the benefit, and to have that reverence for the Almighty on exclude those who appeared likely to detheir souls, as may be humbly hoped will viate from the faith of Rome ? Should reuder such prayers an acceptable sacri- they neglect to instruct young persons in fice. If to pray extempore in public be the principles of the Christian religiou, desirable, some means must be used to then they would not be true to their improve a person's abilities, and those

Mr. Coward's Trustees are to who have the management of education educate and endeavour to qualify persous must have a right to insist (if any reluc- for the ministry amongst Dissenters, and taoce be expressed), that on some occa- though some few congregations may adopt sions those do this who are assisted in Liturgies, and others approve of written their preparatory studies. The students forms, yet, whilst this is not generally might with as much reason refuse to liked, it is a necessary part of a Dissent. compose their own sermons, under a ing minister's education to be able to pretence that they could employ their pray extempore, and the Trustees ought time better, and better promote the spi- not to be condemned, but, on the conritual good of their hearers by delivering trary, merit the thanks of every friend to the compositions of others, or even to the Dissenting interest for insisting on apply to the study of the classics or phi- the students' using proper means for losophy, that they'might be able to de- acquiring this ability. Aud should they vote more time to divine meditations. withdraw their assistance from those who

The case of the martyrs is not at all in refuse to adopt the methods they prepoint, and possibly was the hasty sug- scribe, no infringement would be made gestion of some younger student. For ou the rights of conscience. They do not any number of men to force others to require the students to declare their approfess sentiments, or to join in religious probation of extempore prayer in preservices which they do not approve, is ference to written or printed forms; they persecution. The forcing men to con- do not insist on their iutroducing any iribute the smallest part of their pro. particular words and expressions; and as perty or their time to the support of a it was ucver yet pretended, and I sup


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

pose never will, by any man in his senses, inquire, what is the genuine text, what
that extempore prayer is in itself an un the correct punctuation, what the true
lawful or unscriptural practice, the Trus. rendering and interpretation
tees have a clear and undoubted right,

Notwithstanding some important
if they think it expedient and proper, to
forbid the use of any other mode in the variations in the LÂX.,* I see no rea-

son for a departure from the reading in family of which they are to be considered

the Hebrew Bibles. Those variations as the masters and heads.

I could have said much more, but my do not, of necessity, indicate that the time is greatly taken up; however, being Greek translation was framed from a called upon, I was willing to give you different text. my opinion, and in all your endeavours The division of the words in the last to serve God in the gospel of his Son, clause of verse the sixth, is made thus you have the fervent prayers of your sin- in the Vulgate:t “ Admirabilis, concere well-wisher,

siliarius, Deus, fortis, pater futuri and humble scrvant, sæculi, princeps pacis." This puncJOSEPH CORNISH.

tuation I am disposed to consider as

correct. Mr. Kitcat, in two valuable Remarks on Passages of Scripture. pamphlets, $ has lately illustrated and July 2, 1923.

vindicated it: por, whatever has been

insinuated, does he “stand exposed - o ter et quater beatos illos, quo. rum ita est affectus animus, ut nusquam evidently possesses the inclination and

to the charge of plagiarism,” since he suavius, quam in his studiis conquiescat. ability to examine the Scriptures for


himself. PSAL

SALM lvii. 8. “Awake up, my I receive, in the main, this gentle

GLORY."-On the translation and man's translation : “ his name shall the import of this clause a few obser- be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God, vations may be made. The noun is Mighty, the Father of the Age, the justly rendered in the English Bible, Prince of Peace.” It is remarkable

my GLORY; no other version of it enough, that, for the word here renseems admissible. This word has, dered God, Luther has held' (hero). accordingly, been employed, I believe, Such, I had long thought, is the most by the majority of translators, cer

exact and proper version ; but I should tainly by the best; by the LXX., the have spoken very diffidently of it, bad Vulgate, Luther, Diodati, Castalio, not I met with the sanction of so great Rosenmüller, Geddes, Mendelsohn, an authority. The appellation.God, " not to speak of many others. It re- even in the confined and inferior sense mains then to inquire, what is the which it admits, and indeed here remeaning of the term ? Several com- quires, has a singular and incongruous mentators explain it of the tongue; position among the epithets and titles some of the soul, or mind; to which in this clause, and manifestly breaks interpretation I give my humble suf- the climax. frage. I am not acquainted with any I am inclined to believe, that the passage in which the original substan- Messiah is the personage to whom the tire bears unequivocally the sense of prophet now directs the attention of tongue: it is a very different noun by his readers : had the prediction been which the Hebrews express that mem- cited by our Lord, by the evangelists, ber of the body. The tongue has or by the apostles, its meaning would indeed been styled, by later writers, have been determined, beyond the pos*the glory of our frame;' and justly sibility of doubt. enough, if the corporeal structure be Matt. vi. 10. “Thy kingdom come." intended, and nothing more. To the The kingdom of God, or the kingdom whole frame of man, considered as an of heaven, is the dispensation of the intellectual and a moral being, the remark, most assuredly, is not applicable. Nor is there the slightest evi.

* Owen's Enquiry, &c., pp. 48, 49. dence, that the Psalmist designed to

of Ed. 6th, V. &c. use the word in that limited significa

Mon. Repos. XI. 240 ; XVII. 630. tion upon which I have animadverted.

S“ Critical Examination of Isaiah, Isaiah ix. 6, 7. Criticism, when ix. 6,” (2d ed.) and “ A Reply to the directed to this famous passage, should Rev. S. Slocock," &c.

[ocr errors]

Remarks on Passages of Scripture.

383 gospel, in its different stages ; in its quick ? which are the dead? Sure progress, from the commencement of nature, all nature, is departing with it, under the ministry of Christ and her Creator.This, whatever else it his inspired followers, to its final and be, is not scriptural theology. most glorious issue, in the universal Matthew xxviii. 19. teach and everlasting ascendancy of know- (14:2OTTEUTATE) all nations.” There ledge, truth, holiness and bliss.* This cannot be a reasonable doubt as to definition of the phrase, this view of the just rendering, viz." make discithe subject, appears to comprehend ples of,” &c. It is true, we may be and reconcile the varying, and even unable to produce from the classical opposing, sentiments of expositors. writers an example of this verb being

Matt. xxvii. 25. “ Then answered used transitively. But that authority all the people, and said, His blood be is not requisite, and sometimes may on us, and on our children!There even mislead us, when we are interis one sense in which the destruction preting the books of the New Testaof the Jewish temple by Titus, and inent. In the present case, Acts xiv. the overthrow of that state, became a 21, “ when they had tanght many,” judiciul punishment of the nation ; [had made many disciples], is suffitheir ambitions desire of a temporal cient and decisive. Suppose that in Messiah, led them to reject and crucify these two instances the translation Jesus of Nazareth; and it was exactly was, “ act (or conduct yourselves] [or the same disposition that brought on they acted or conducted themselves] their downfal, by means of the rest- as disciples,” what becomes of the lessness and tumults,f which provoked accusatives [warta ta corn skavous] the Roman einperor beyond endu- which immediately follow? rance.

Acts xix. 5, 6. “When they heard Matt. xxvii. 51. behold the this, they were baptized in [into] the vail of the temple was rent in twain," name of the Lord Jesus. And when &c. From the wonders accompany- Paul had laid his hands upon them, ing the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus the Holy Ghost [Spirit] came on Christ, it has been argued, that his them,” &c. We cannot reason, in nature was superhuman. The argu- fairness, from this case to the effects ment is utterly destitute of foundation. of Christian baptism in ordinary times. Who then was the author of those Nor does the New Testament supply miracles ? Almighty God, and he an example of the gifts of the Holy alone. For what purpose were they Spirit having been communicated to wrought? Doubtless, in attestation the members, and, among these, the of the mission and the character of his infants, of households, the heads of beloved Son. An extraordinary, and, which received that initiatory rite : no it would seem, a miraculous appear such gifts were imparted to the family, ance, marked the removal of Elijah # of Lydia, none to the family of the from the world. Shall we, therefore, gaoler at Philippi. In one word, the conclude, that Elijah possessed a super- doctrine of baptismul regeneration human nature and a pre-existent soul? finds no support, but the contrary, in Yet such an inference would justly the apostolic practice and doctrine. follow from the reasoning brought The recent, if it be not the still-existunder our notice. Consistency, in- ing controversy on the subject, has deed, requires the advocates of this not perhaps engaged all the attention opinion to go much further. Why do which it deserves. There is a large they stop short in their imaginations, class of readers who satisfy themselves and not exclaim, at once, with Sir with smiling, or frowning, on the Richard Steele,Ş “ The earth treme claims of those who take the affirmables, the temple rends, the rocks tive of the question. Biit, whatsoever burst, the dead arise: which are the be thought of the nature and basis of

these claims, the matter should not • Matt. iii. 2, v. 19, viii. 11; 1 Cor.

he so lightly treated. Unscriptural xv. 24.

tenets have sometimes been employed † Joseph. D. B. J. lib. vi. cap. ix. as weapons against religious freedom. (Hndson).

If baptism be indeed the channel | 2 Kings ii. 11.

through which spiritual or moral $ Christian Hero, (Oxford, 1802,) 71. regeneration flows; if the rite be

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

cssential for this purpose; if it can my forefathers, and confess the truth only be administered" by legitimate of that which Bonnet vindicates.successors of the apostles; and if a And, assuredly, were this my opinion, certain order of men are considered as and could I ever be base enough to sustaining that character exclusively, let prudence enter into my considerawhat will be the consequences? Some tion in connexion with integrity and of the inost disgusting, arrogant and the love of truth, I should, in this pernicious exertions of ecclesiastical case, find them all in the same scale. dominion.

I am fully convinced that this act of 1 Peter v. 8. “ Be sober, be vigi- yours has sprung from a pure source, lant: because your adversary the devil, and I can impute to you none but as a roaring lion, walketh about, seek- amiable and philanthropic motives. I ing whom he may devour.” I regard should be worthy of no honest man's this verse as having, in substance, the esteem, if I did not answer, with a same import with Ephes. v. 16, “Re- grateful heart, the friendly dispositions deeming the time, because the days you manifest towards me in the dediare evil.” The passages are identical, cation. But I cannot deny it, this in respect of the exhortation which writing from you strongly surprises they contain, and of the state of things me. I could have expected any thing which they describe ; namely, an age sooner than a public challenge from of persecution, the existence of an Lavater. Since you still recollect accuser, a calumniator, an informer, the confidential discourse I had the whose violence, and whose stratagems, pleasure to hold with you, and your endangered the temporal safety of the worthy friends, in my chamber, you early Christians.

cannot have forgotten how often I N. sought to turn the conversation from

religious to more indifferent subjects; Letter of Mendelsohn to Lavater.

how much you and your friends were [We have received this letter in print, brought to open my mind on a ques

forced to press me, before I could be with an introduction, evidently from

tion of so much importance to the some Jewish pen :-“ The follow

heart. ing letter from the learned Men

If I do not mistake, assurances were delsohn to his celebrated friend La

at that time given, that no public use rater, not having been hitherto in should ever be made of any thing then extensive circulation in this country, said. Yet I would rather suppose has been republished for the more general perusal of those who have myself in an error, than impute to been induced by either mistaken you the violation of a promise.

But if, in my chamber, and among feelings of kindness, or by inter

a small number of worthy persons of ested misrepresentations, to inter- whose good intentions I had reason to fere with the religious opinions of be persuaded, I so sedulously avoided an the Jews."!

explanation, it was easy to guess that REVEREND Friend of Man,

I must be extremely averse to a public YOU have thought proper to dedi- one, and that I must be embarrassed

into the Evidences of Christianity," not be deemed contemptible. What, which you have translated from the then, could induce you thus, contrary French ; and, in the Dedication, to to my will, which was known to you, conjure me, in the most solemn man- to force me into the arena, which I so ner, before the eyes of the public, to heartily wished never to enter? And refute this writing, as far as the essen- if you even ascribed my aversion to tial arguments by which the facts of mere timidity and bashfulness, does Christianity are supported appear to not such a weakness deserve the toleme ill-founded; but so far as I find ration and indulgence of an amiable them just, to do what prudence, love mind? But my scruple against enof truth and integrity command me tering into religious controversy has to do, and what Socrates would have been neither weakness nor timidity. done, had lie read this work, and found I can say that it was not of yesterday it unanswerable.

I began to examine my religion. I That is, to abandon the religion of very early felt the duty of trying my

« AnteriorContinua »