Imatges de pÓgina
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On some recente Hypotheses of the Origin of Evil. 585 him out of the reach of danger, of we have found out what God can do, error, and evil , whether he can place or what he cannot do, throughout him in a “ kingdom that cannot be eternity, with regard to the perfecmoved," and give him:“ an inherit tion and happiness of his creatures? ance that cannot fade away." If he The fairness and candour of Mr. H. can and has promised to do this, are deserving of praise, and I trust he ought metaphysical subtilties and spes will allow me still to urge, that God's culations, which are often fallacious, permitting or choosing evil, not for and which may never practically exist, its own sake, or because he was unto interfere with the glorious hopeg - der any necessity so to do, but as a of the gospel #15 Milton's Paradise means of producing greater good, to Lost, thoughs a cogent argumenta give to his rational creatures the rudigainst the Orthodox, will not do here, ments

of knowledge and virtue, to the premises. not being admissible. make them wise by experience, and Is it not a gratuitous asumption, to to fit them for a higher destiny, where contend, that

because evil exists here, all will finally be made holy and hap and is made productive of greater py, seems subject to the fewest, diffi, good, that therefore it must be equal culties, and sufficiently accounts for ly necessary for beings of a different appearances; and “ justifies the ways nature and under a totally different of God to men. And when the constitution of things, where old elementary process is finished, when things will have passed away, and all “we attain to the fulness of the star things become new,” where there ture of men in Christ, when we are shall heno more death, neither sorrow i come of age, then shall we leave the nor crying,” and “where God wilt sohool of discipline, and enter upon wipe away all sears from all eyes!} , the inheritance provided for the saints

There" moths shall not corrupt, nor in light ; and though not by nature
thieves breakthronghe and steal," infinite or equal to God, shall be
which conveys the idea that nothing " pillars in his temple to go no more
can interfere with the security and out."
happiness of the righteous: for they

DAVID EATON,
shall be incorruptible," " heirs of
God, and joint heirs with Christ,"

Lewes, and “ as her lives, so they shall live SIR,

August 14, 1823. also," "after the power of an endless lute assurance of security from“ misa upon a question which, in almost every calculation, frailty, and ill,”! “ God age, has employed the pens of the will be all in all.” Ought the cold wisest and most intelligent of men, and baseless speculations of metaphy- namely, the introduction of evil under sicians, in which no two persons are the government of a God infinitely scarcely agreed, to be permitted to chill wise and benevolent; but some of or becloud, such transporting pros- the arguments adduced, (p. 378,) by pects and assurances ? 1 May I remind your correspondent Mr. Hinton, as Mr. H. of the many persons who have well as those of Rusticus, (p. 85,) undertaken to explain and apply the to which he alludes, appear to me to Prophecies? Their theories, however involve some difficulties so insuperadifferent, seemed to themselves, at ble; some necessary conclusions so least, clear and perfect : and what ill-calculated to cherish that unlimited has been their success So also with confidence which is so justly due to the metaphysician: what greater waste the glorious attributes of the benevoof learning, time and ingenuity has lent Parent of the universe, from par. been seen, than that displayed by the tial evil stihl educing good 3" and schoolmen upon these plausible, but so unhappily tending to induce the airy nothings? After the greatest appalling suspicion that evil, natural thought and labour, it in either case, and moral, with all their devastating there be one single error in the pre-, consequences; even now, and ever mises, the glittering eastle-tumbles! will through all eternity, ravage and to the ground. With these examples deface the fair universe of God, that before us, can we feel confident that I cannot resist the temptation of offere VOL. XVIII.

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ing a few observations on the suliject. of scripture ; and where the impartial I am not vain enough to suppose that distribution of the Divine favours to my limited conceptions can throw tle creatures of his hand, who gives the faintest light upon the great oris to every man according to his deserts ? ginal question " the origin of evil," Admit bis free agency, and where is or etfeet any thing towards an elució the Divine controul over the affairs of dation of its difficulties; but there is this lower world? Where then 'shall a wide difference between endeavour- we rest?' No where can we, but in ing to trace the fallacy of human rear the-'assurance that these mysterious soning, and scanning the unsearcha points are far above the range of ble ways of that Eternal Mind' which, human thought, and known only in by the declaration of the Scriptures of the secret counsels of the Most High. truth, are past finding out. Well Perhaps the most ingenious hypothe. might our immortal bard suppose an sis, (and which lias been so ably angel's Inighty thonght unequal to stated by Dr. Southwood Smith, in the task ; and nake' even these sue his Hlustrations of the Divine Govern. perior spirits when reasoning high, ment,) 'is that which supposes the

Deity to have a perfect controul over "Of providence, foreknowledge, will aud the inoral creation, through the me

fateji Fix'd fate, free-will, foreknowledge ab- lating the state of the material world,

dium of secondary causes, by so regusolute;" To find " No end in wandering mazes

ás to ensure a consequent effect upon lost."

the moral: but surely this as com

pletely destroys the free agency, and These perplexing questions of "fix- consequently the just responsibility of ed fate, free-will," I am aware are in man, as any other Necessariau proposome measure distinct from, and have sition. But to return. Thata know only a relative bearing on the primary ledge of their former existence, if one; although they must be intimate not the past experience of natural and ly connected with the existence, if moral ill, with the necessary state of not the origin of moral evil in parti- trial and discipline connected therecular. : But how easy is it (if I may with, may be an essential mcans of be allowed the digression) to shew in enhancing that future bliss which we a few words, that in themselves, they may rest assured will ultimately be are far above the measure of the hu- the portion of all, it is very easy to man understanding ; not only from conceive ; and that the all-wise and the contradictory arguments adduced benevolent God perunits or ordains by the strongest minds, but by a both for this end, (for the end with simple statement of the opposing con- him must be benevolent, be it what it clusions, necessarily attached to either may) is not only a rational, but I system! For instance, to reconcite think a safe conclusion: but to sapthe free agency of man, with the pose it beyond the power of the Alstrict and unlimited omniscience of inighty to counteract and ultimately the Deity, appears to our finite minds expel the sinful passions, the follies ar , impossibility, a contradiction in and the crimes, resulting from iguoterms, nor have all the arguments of rance and miscalculation, in any one the ablest inch upon the subject yet created being throughout the endless made it comprehensible. While to ages of eternity, when at the same reconcile the Necessarian: hypothesis time the declaration of his will, his with., moral accountability, must II chastisements and his rewards, hare think be allowed (in spite of the all this declared end in view, is to inmost ingenious attempts to prove that dulge a supposition, to which many they are not necessarily inconsistent baneful consequences must be neceswith each other) to be equally inpos. sarily attached. First, it leads us to sible and absurd. Do away with the place no confidence in many of the moral responsibility of man, and express promises of his sacred word, where appears the consistency of those which assures us that a time will strong appeals to luman hope and coine, when sighs and tears shall be fear, contained in the exhortations, knowa no more, when his saints shall the threatenings, and the promises be brought forth withi everlasting jay On some recent Hypotheses of the Origin of Evil.

587 upon their heads, when death, viz. ledge of a created being is not infinite, the first and second death, shall be it must be constantly subject to paswallowed up in victory, and God tural and moral ill, I am at a total shall be all in all. Secondly, it coin- loss 10 conceive. Surely there inay pletely denies the power of progressive be beings of a higher order in the improvement in the human soul , de- scale of intelligence than man, though stroys the efficacy, and consequently at an almost infinite distance below. lessens the inotives to repentance; the absolute wisdoin of the Supreme, annihilates the value of the Saviour's who may bave a perfect and counadmonition, to strive after perfection, manding knowledge of all the relaeven the perfection of him whose tions and circumstances connected image we bear, and damps the fondly- with the inmediate sphere in which cherished aspirations of the avayworn they are placed ; blessed with a corbut sainted pilgrim, by inducing on poreal frame incorruptible, and exhis mind the fearful and chilling ap, empt from disorder and decay; and prehension, that there is no ultimate still more blessed with the bright sunhaven of repose; no security from illi shine of an unspotted soul, engrossed no-not even when enjoying the more only with the boundless perfections immediate presence and approving of its glorious Creator ; and absorbed sınile of bis benevolent Creator, in in aduring gratitude for those blessthe mansions of his promised heaven; ings, which are too highly placed but that through eternity temptation above the reach of either will beset him; and by leading him

to ,

• The mists of passion and of sense necessarily aggravated in proportion or of the tossing tide of chauce or pain," to his progress in his immortal career, ever to escape them. Again that and the height of virtue from which "natural and moral evil are only arhe fell: for fortunate indeed must be bitrary terins which have the same that soul, which, being ever ander meaning,” is a position, I think, that tenptation or liability to err, should cannot be maintained, nor that maintain a successful conflict with its tural evil constantly arises from moimperfections throughout an endless ral evil, and vice versa ;" for alextent of being. In what light will though the former may in most cases the proposition, that “ every being be true, in how many instances does not subject to moral and natural physical evil leail to moral good! evil must necessarily be infinite;" or How do the sacred writings abound again, that it is not in the possible with passages, teaching us that afflicpower of Infinity itself to create a tions are often sent in mercy to rectibeing not subject to moral and natu- fy and expel the inoral diseases of ral ill"-appear, if applied to our ex. the mind! No two principles, surely, alted Redeemer? Shall he who was can be more distinct ; distinct as to even in this world without sin, and their comparative magnitude as well whose exalted virtues were perfected as durability! Physical eril, we have through, suffering, and who is now every reason to believe, (I take the set down at the right hand of his Al word of God for my guide,) can ex mighty Father; shall he too, through tend no farther than the limits of this eternity, be subject to miscalculation, sublunary-scene, while moral evil to error, and to guilt. The suppo- accompanies the flight of the immorsition is too preposterous, if not too tal spirit into the regions of eternity! profane to be admitted for a moment! How deep, how lasting, may be the But the theory in question cannot ebe stain, which unrepented, viz. meracape, this overwhelming confutation, dicated guilt, may tix on the conscious but in the creed of the Trinitarian, and reflecting soul, when released and it is needless to observe that if from its tenement of clay, and what one created being can be supposed to bitter and enduring discipline may be be an exception to the views of your necessary to renew the importal mind correspondent, the whole argument to the purity of heaven, it has not falls at once to the ground. Besides, perhapslentered into the heart of upon what ground of necessity. we man to conceive : for little do Twe inust conclude, that because the know. know of the inysterious principle of

na

all."

'that intellectual ray which may have tions of the Atheist; Christianity beits origin in the source of all intellio comes a mere fable, loses all its lus. gence, even the all-pervading spirit of tre, and man is vanity indeed. Chethe Eternal Mind. This mysterious rish it, and how does it expand and nature of a never-dying soul, while it cheer the heart! Yes! as well may makes us tremble at the possible con- ' sweet and bitter water issue from the sequences of moral contamination, by unpolluted spring, as evil (viz. really no means countenances the fearful and eventually sucb) be mingled with doctrine of the infinite evil of sin; that unceasing-flow of good, whose nor' should it underinine our faith in fountain is the bosom of infinitude that glorious issue of events, when all and love! The heart rejoices in the evil, both moral and physical, shall exulting thought, and nature consecease,

crates it with a lovelier smile, “And oue unbounded spring encircle " That every bouod at length shau dis

appear,

And infinite perfection close the scene." On what foundation (it may be ask

JOHN JOHNSTON. ed) does this faith rest? On no other than the revealed. attributes of God;

foundation form as adamant, and satisfying

SIR,

Duin. Os cultuj

correspondent the glorious truth. God is love! man therefore need not fear the final re-l posing that his information respeeting sult of his paternal providence; for the grant of the Bristol Fellowship the time must come, when the clouds - Fund to the Christian Trtict Society, and darkness that now hang upon the would afford the sincerest pleasure, chequered scenes of life, will be dis- not only to your correspondents who persed by the eternal sunshine of the have lately advocated the cause of this Creator's love; when even the trials, Society, but to every one who Iras the the afflictions, and the chastisements, interests of true religion " at heart. both present and to come, as well as Our Bristol friends deserve the warmthe more immediate mercies of our est thanks of the Unitarian body, for God, will call up a universal song of having so nobly set the example in gratitnde and praise. On this im- this great and good work. l' most moreable basis rests the invaluable sincerely hope that they will be foltruth, (while it sets every difficulty at lowed by numerous others; and that defiance, that evil in his hand is it will soon appear that your correonly the instrument of good; that its spondent, " No Eutopian,” (p. 293,)

the has been a little too severe upon us, hest possible means of furthering his in supposing that we were unwilling benevolent designs; in short, that it to give up a few of the most useless was ordained because more good will of our luxuries, for the sake of adbe effected by its aid, than could pos- vaneing the everlasting interests of our sibly have been produced withont it. fellow-creatures, The nature of the existence of an om- Still, our Bristol friends will I hope but the nature of his attributes is thinking that a public congregational open to our finite minds, for in his collection is far preferable to a grant image are we made. Benevolence in from the Fellowship Pund. I know man is only different in degree ; but it to be a fact that there are many ** Infinite felicity and love, directing by persons in Unitarian societies," tó pensummate wisdom an arm all-powawhom these tracts would be an inva. to effect, must necessarily secure luable treasure, who have at present

of designed and gracious' end in view those who can searcely afford a sufthe ultimate felicity of the whole intele ficient sum to send to the parent ligent bffspring of God. Relinquishi society. Such persons would rejoice this faith, and we have no refuge but to have an opportunity of contributing in the gloomy and sickening specula- a few shillings towards a public col

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Notions of Jewish Rabbins on the Trinity.

689 lection, and to receive tracts to the Sir, de tous amount of their subscription. And IJN a late Number of the Monthly know that in many instances they Repository, (p. 277.) you inserted would be much better pleased with an extract from a paper first printed this method, than they would be within the Inquirer," on the literature receiving them as a gift from their of the Dutch Jews, which paper is richer neighbours. And if such a commonly attributed to the pen of plan was made thoroughly known and Mr. Bowring. In the concluding pasunderstood, and every person who sage Mr. B. (if I may take the liberty chose, allowed to contribute towards of assuming him to be the author) it, I would answer for it that a much states that intelligence had just been larger sum might be raised this way I received of the conversion of Da Costa than could be granted from a Fellow- to Christianity. I have just been ship Fund. And it might be left to favoured with the Jewish Expositor

of

subscriber, a letter to receive their tracts themselves, or from Mr. Thelwall, one of the London to make a present of them to their Society's Missionaries, giving an acsunday schools, or to their poorer count of this conversion, and by which neighbours. This plan would un- it appears that Da Costa has fully doubtedly be attended with a little adopted the Trinitarian scheme. It is more trouble, inasmuch as it would a very curious circumstance that Da be necessary to take a list of the

neCosta, and his cousin Dr. Abraham names, and the amount of their sub-Cappadoce, both attribute this change scriptions. But I would answer for in a great measure to patient it that in every Unitarian society that of search into the writings of the old is worth the naine, there are persons Rabbins, and the discovery of their to be found, who would gladly come sentiments respecting the Trinity and

forward, and volunteer their services the divinity of the Messiah,” though, piin such a cause, Bodybe ylsist over they add, in these truths are to be ons At the same time, there will pro-songht out of a great mixture of cabably be some persons in every society balistic absurdity and superstition."

too poor to contribute even the small. On reading this passage, I was struck froest sum towards such a collection. It by a coincidence between this stateni would be doing these persons an essen- ment and some observations made last 3atial and lasting benefit, to keep a year at a provincial meeting in aid of -Ifew sets of the tracts in the vestries I the Society for the Conversion of the ss of our chapels, for the purpose of Jews. The remarks in question were ending to these poor, but perhaps a uttered by Mr. J. J. Gurney, a revaluable members of our societies.espected member of the Society of I entirely agree with our Bristol Friends, who, it is said, is about to friends, as to the excellent effects i publish a work on the Old Testament

they are calculated to produce on the i with reference simply to the question -b poor and the uneducated, and of the li of the divinity of Christ. As the subzusgreat utility of distributing them in ject is really curious, and I do not

sunday schools. Our orthodox neigh-recollect that it has ever occupied any sqbours are every where on the alert, of your pages, perhaps I may be

to distribute publicationswhich are h permitted to transcribe, from a reSbafilled with what we deem to be gross port taken in short-hand by a person $mand mischievous corruptions of ge-idpresent, a part of Mr. G.'s observawonuine Christianity. Let us mbe at i tionscovonsa, shsat gw des soul yn least equally zealous in diffusing those wd " I must observe that in their apos which abound with the most just, d prehension of the character of their svendearing and amiable views of the own Messiah, I believe the views of a character and government of our the Jews to have anaterially altered sheavenly Father, and are caleulated and degenerated, therefore I would

to promote the sublimest devotion and have the Society not only point their Sasthe purest moral practice. 3mion is attention to the Old-Testament acSiop bitsovi anome one yoisol. He count of the Messiah, but also exhadition to yiestoqqons avsid osamine the ancient writings of the

no sovsJews, to find their original opinions

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