Imatges de pÓgina
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SIR, August 1, 1823. VOUR worthy correspondent Mr. Hinton, has, in your last Number, [p. 378,] favoured your readers with a very able and ingenious paper on the "introduction of evil," in which he contends for the following propositions: " Every being not subject to moral and natural evil must be infinite." And that, "it is not in the possible power of Infinity itself, to create a being not subject to moral and natural ill." That all creatures have limited attributes, the consequence of which is, "the moral certainty of miscalculation, fallibility, and error;" and this, without going a single step farther, introduces us to what is called "moral evil." "And that imperfection or necessary evil, is the necessary inheritance of all created intelligence." Something similar is to be found in a sermon on the Existence of Evil, by the late Dr. Williams, of Rotheram. Mr. H.'s theory is ingenious and plausible: by it he not only gets rid, as he supposes, of some offensive orthodox notions, but also completely exculpates the goodness of God in the permission of vice and misery under the divine government, by proving that he could not prevent it, that the Almighty could not do impossibilities." That God permits evil, or introduces it as an instrument of producing greater good, is, indeed, allowed to be "plausible, but by no means conclusive, and rests entirely upon that faith in the infinite wisdom and goodness of God, which those attributes are calculated to inspire." Now, Sir, it forcibly strikes me, as it may do some others of your readers, that a consequence of the greatest magnitude results from the above statements, which Mr. H. seems not to have foreseen, and for which he has not provided, viz. "If evil is the necessary inheritance of all created intelligence," "if every being not infinite is liable to error and evil;" how can we be sure of enjoying happiness or perfection in heaven itself? For when there, we still shall be created beings, and as finite then as we are now, consequently as liable to "miscalculation, failure and error."

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I for one could almost admit any theory or explanation of the origin of evil, rather than have a doubt cast

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VOL. XVIII.

G

London, July 8, 1823. RATITUDE to your correspondent, Dr. Jones, for the treats so frequently afforded to me, in common with other readers of your miscellany, makes me loth to take up the pen for the sake of animadverting on any statement put forth by so ingenious an author; but, as liberality appears to be one of the Doctor's leading virtues, I rest assured that he will not only make allowance for any difference of opinion which may exist between us, but also gladly allow of an opportunity being afforded to such of your readers as feel interested in the subject, to hear two sides, and thereby be enabled to judge better for themselves.

In agreeing with your learned correspondent on the inconsistency which appears in the present authorized translation of Gen. iv. 26, "Then men began to call on the name of the Lord," I must beg leave to dissent from two assertions made by him, first, that such is the exact rendering of the original according to the vowel points, and secondly, that regard being paid to the consonants only, the true version is, "Then men began to call themselves by the name of Jehovah." For,

SIR,

In the first case, as far as regards the points, there is no word whatever in the Hebrew answering to men, neither is the verb n in the third person plural; and on the other hand, whilst the word men is not to be found in the original if read without the points, there is no word or affix answering to themselves; neither is the verb in Hithpaël, or the reflective conjugation independent of all which, I challenge the Doctor to produce a single passage in the whole Hebrew Bible where the phrase

owa p signifies to call (another person) by the name of Jehovah,

With duc deference I would beg leave to refer Dr. Jones to his friend Mr. Bellamy's translation of the Hebrew Bible, in which, although by an oversight in the text (pardonable enough, you will say, in the stupendous undertaking of a solitary individual to translate the Bible afresh from the original) the verb is rendered began, the sense is fully proved in the corresponding note to be the same as in Levit. xxi. 9, and Ezek. xxii. 26, namely to prophane or pollute. Hence, the literal interpretation of the passage under consideration, both according to the vowel points and without them, appears to me to be, "Then he" (sc. Enos) 66 I caused to be prophaned" (or, simply, prophaned) "in calling on the name of Jehovah," a sense embracing the worship of idols generally, and not that of deified mortals only, as insinuated by Dr. Jones.

With regard to the Doctor's version of the opening of the sixth chapter of Genesis, he will perhaps also pardon me if I again prefer Mr. Bellamy's translation to his, where both actually differ. It will be seen that the Doctor virtually follows Mr. B. in his version of the phrase 'b', although his adoption of the plural Gods, does not appear to be sanctioned by a single passage in the whole Bible, and notwithstanding Mr. Bellamy's text again exhibits a mistake in the fourth verse, in printing "children of God" for " children of the God;" but I cannot persuade myself that Dr. Jones is fortunate in his choice of the word marauders for ', which Mr. Bellainy has rendered apostates, and which in the LXX. is given by yyártεs, i. e. earth-born. As reference only is made to gross idolatry in the preceding verses, and nothing savouring of violence or violent proceedings is intimated therein, (for the Doctor will hardly pretend that because the children of the God admired the daughters of Adam, therefore they made a violent seizure of them, a meaning by the bye which assuredly does not attach to the original p,) I must own, I, for one, feel inclined to side with Mr. Bellamy, whose quotation of different passages, e. g. Micah vii. 8, and 2 Kings xxv. 11, appears conclusive as to the significa tion frequently given to the root

which is that of deserting from, or apostatizing.

Your reverend correspondent lays much stress on the propriety of rendering the word 17 shall remain, in which he is certainly backed by the translations which he quotes; but, even admitting that they and he are correct, which, from the general context and sense, may reasonably be doubted, there does not appear any necessity for the etymological conjectures in which he indulges, since a mere reference to the Hebrew root

would have sufficiently warranted his version as far as mere etymology goes. Indeed, if the reader will turn to that old standard of Hebrew literature, the Epitome Thesauri Linguæ Sanctæ Autore Sante Pagnino Lucensi, he will find the following sub "Hinc deducunt quidam illud," Gen. vi. 3, "Non erit detentus tanquam in vaginâ spiritus meus ;" but I venture to submit that the sense which Dr. Jones gives to this passage, namely, that the principle of life should not remain in man, but that his days should be shortened to one hundred and twenty years, is not authorized by the narrative. Even supposing that the account of Cain's violent death, prior to the occurrences narrated in the sixth chapter of Genesis, may not bear upon the case, surely the number of deaths detailed in regular course by Moses, in the fifth or preceding chapter of Genesis, cannot warrant that legislator's putting as something new into the mouth of Jehovah the words here quoted. The number of years moreover fixed by Dr. Jones for the days of man, appears at variance with history and experience. Thus in the very same book, in which, according to the Doctor, man's days are limited to a hundred and twenty years, we are afterwards informed that several of the patriarchs of the second order, between Noah and Abraham, lived above four hundred years, and none under one hundred and forty; and whether we consult the average rate of the life of man or the utmost extent of his duration in “our degenerate day," we shall still find ourselves either below or above the Doctor's standard; for in the former case we dare hardly reckon on more than sixty or seventy years, and in

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the latter we know that within a very recent period some have lived to the age of a hundred and sixty, and upwards. Hence, Sir, I apprehend that the whole of the latter clause of the third verse of the sixth chapter of Genesis, relates to something very different from the mere duration of man's temporal life.

Ere concluding these hasty remarks, I cannot refrain from slightly adverting to what Dr. Jones has said respecting angels, by which he understands a race of supernatural beings or spirits, and to whom he says, the Jewish Scriptures apply the term 12, sons of God. On this and other subjects of a similar nature, it might perhaps be as well to remain silent; but the Doctor and your readers will perhaps once more pardon me if I candidly own that in the numerous passages of the Old and New Testaments which I have been able to consult respecting the of the original, or the ayyeλ of the Septuagint and the New Testament, I cannot find one to which any idea of a spirit or supernatural character seems to be attached. It is, in fact, one of those terms which it were to be wished might be wholly exploded from our translation of the Bible, as no where bearing in the original the meaning we now assign to it, and the retention of which only serves to throw an air of romance on what is, in the strictest parlance, the word of God.

fast approaching when this and other incongruities are likely to be disposed of, when the lover of truth and the Christian may expect to find many of those stumbling-blocks removed which have long annoyed him, and when our version of the Holy Scriptures shall be purged of anomalies and inconsistencies, which although sufficiently in unison with the style of an oriental tale, it is consolatory to know are not to be found in the original Hebrew.

J. J.

SIR, N

publishing their Yearly Epistle. But, Sir, when I compare it with various communications which have appeared in the Monthly Repository, respecting the doctrines of that people, I am surprised at the difference between the statements of some of your correspondents, and what now seems to be the avowed creed of the Quakers. I thought it had been hinted by some, whose acquaintance with the Friends could not be doubted, that their real tenets were those of Unitarianism, that many had actually confessed it, and that we were likely ere long to see them advancing in a body as the advocates of "rational religion." With such statements, how am I to reconcile the contradiction apparent in the Yearly Epistle? (which you have no doubt correctly copied). Here they come forward, publicly acknowledging their belief in the Divinity of the blessed Saviour," who before the world was, condescended, in order to effect our redemption, to come down from heaven, and take upon himself the nature of man." The Yearly Epistle, I believe, is considered as the voice of the whole body; but, perhaps you, Mr. Editor, can give some explanation of the enigma which has puzzled, Sir, your constant reader,

A FRIEND TO THE QUAKERS.

for this

[page 405,] I observe with plea sure, that you have again brought before the notice of your readers, the respectable society of Quakers, by

Clapton, July 4, 1823.

SIR,
TR.

not appear to have recollected that Mr. Lindsey closed his "Historical View," published in 1783, with the case of Mr. Ross; whose "declaration" as it "C stands upon record in the books of the Presbytery of Stranraer," he has thus quoted:

"I, Andrew Ross, minister of the gospel in the parish of Inch, (for the exoneration of my conscience, more particularly with respect to the terms of ministerial communion enjoined by this church,) hereby declare, that I firmly adhere to the fundamental principles of the Protestant religion, namely, that the Holy Scriptures of

Testament are the

the Old and only rule of faith and practice; that the exercise of private judgment is the undoubted right and duty of every Christian, and of every Christian

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"Some Letters, which passed between a Young Gentleman, designed for Holy Orders, and his Uncle, a Clergyman, concerning Conformity to the Church of England. With an Appendix, by the Editor." 1758. This anonymous editor I have supposed to be Dr. Benson, partly from the circumstance of my having this correspondence in a volume containing other pieces by Dr. B. and which a former possessor (who was, I believe, a Dissenting minister of Marlborough, named J. Davies) has let tered "Benson's Tracts." In the Editor's Appendix, (p. 161, note,) after quoting from Whichcot, to profess and not believe, this is high dissimulation, and a horrible indignity put upon God," he adds,

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"See the very different sentiments, expressed in a Sermon, entitled, 'A Defence of the Subscriptions required in the Church of England:' preached before the University of Cambridge, on the Commencement Sunday, 1757. By W. S. Powell, D. D. Fellow of St. John's College."

The Editor professes to have received" the original letters" from ་་ an intimate friend," the son of the elder brother of the nephew in the correspondence, "under an engagement" to conceal "the names sub

scribed to the letters," and not "to date them." The initials of the uncle are J. M. and those of the nephew, who is called Harry, are H. M. There are two of the letters, the first and the concluding, from the uncle, who "a few days after he wrote his second letter, was seized with a vio lent disorder, which soon carried him off." His nephew, who wrote six letters, " died within two years after him." That this was a real correspondence, I see no reason to doubt, though it be impossible now to ascertain the date of the letters; except that they were written after 1736, when Warburton's "Alliance between Church and State" first appeared; for the nephew (p. 94) refers to that work as the "most unnatural and monstrous, most senseless, and bowelless production, that ever the brain of man was delivered of." If the notes be not by the Editor, (and he does not appear to claim them,) the letters must have been written later, for there is a note on bowelless, referring to the " canons of criticism," (Can. vi. Examp. viii.) which did not appear till 1748.

Had I leisure, and were your pages less occupied, I would readily give some account of the arguments for Nonconformity contained in these letters. The nephew was evidently an Unitarian, perhaps of Dr. Clark's school, and the uncle probably an Hoadlean, who had found some liberal associates, inquiring clergymen, in his neighbourhood. One of their free conversations mentioned, (p. 52,) appears to have impressed the nephew, in whom, as Johnson says on another occasion, they kindled a flame which burned but dimly in themselves.

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Should Mr. Manning oblige your readers with any explanatory notes on the "Letters of Voltaire," I beg leave to remind him that besides what occurs at the beginning of the "Traité sur la Tolérance," all the judicial proceeding on the Calas family are detailed in the "Continuation des Causes Célèbres." (Amst. 1771.) I have only the fourth volume, which ends with the execution of Calas in March 1762, and the disposal of his family. This volume will be much at Mr. M.'s service.

J. T. RUTT.

tion of the Divinity. What leads to ignominy ought to be feared much more than what conducts to poverty. He who abandons fortune for justice, ought to be looked upon as the best citizen; but those whom their violent passions hurry on to evil, men, women, citizens, simple inhabitants, ought to be admonished to think of the gods, and often to bear in mind the severe justice they exercise against the guilty: let them have constantly before their eyes the hour of death, that fatal hour which awaits us all, that hour when the recollection of faults brings remorse, and the vain repentance of not having made all our actions subservient to equity.

"It therefore behoves all men to conduct themselves at each moment of their lives as if this moment were the last; but if an evil genius excites them to crime, let them take refuge at the foot of the altars; let them pray to heaven to remove far from them this evil genius; let them especially throw themselves into the arms of worthy people, whose counsels will bring them back to virtue by representing to them the goodness of God and his vengeance."

There is nothing in all antiquity which can be preferred to this plain but sublime passage, dictated by reason and virtue, stripped of enthusiasm, and of those gigantic figures which good sense rejects.-Voltaire, Histoire Générale.

GLEANINGS; OR, SELECTIONS AND
REFLECTIONS MADE IN A COURSE
OF GENERAL READING.

No. CCCCVI.

Preamble to Laws of Zaleucus. I would here call upon all moralists and legislators, and ask them if they have said any thing more noble or more useful than the exordium of the laws of Zaleucus, who flourished before Pythagoras, and who was the first magistrate of the Locrians.

"Every citizen ought to be persuaded of the existence of the Divinity, It is sufficient to observe the order and harmony of the universe, to be convinced that chance cannot have formed it. Every man ought to have command over his soul, to purify it and to remove from it all evil, persuaded that God cannot be served by the perverse, and that he is unlike wretched mortals who take delight in magnificent ceremonies and sumptuous offerings. Virtue alone, and the constant disposition to do good, can please him. We ought, then, to seek to be just in principle and in practice: by this means we shall obtain the approba

No. CCCCVII. Corruptions of Christianity the Armoury of Unbelief.

The Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen every man his ax, (1 Samuel xiii. 20,) and unbelievers in Protestant countries are wont to resort to Rome to whet their sneers at the Christian religion. Almost any deistical book would furnish examples of this artifice. The following is from Gibbon, (Decline and Fall, Svo. Vol. VIII. p. 123, note 14,) who was always pleased when he could escape from the gravity of his historical text to play the buffoon or worse in his notes.-" Gregory, the Roman, supposes that the Lombards adored a she-goat, which they were accustomed to sacrifice to the gods of their fathers. · I know but of one religion in which the God and the victim are the same.”

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