« AnteriorContinua »
he not the true reading is erg entda Titulah yupo morial and physical evil
words are tous OIKELOUS Tn5 F15Ewg: the angels desire to look into." Dr. here, they are simply távolketov. I Price, in his Sermons on the Christian am therefore unable to consider the doctrine, p. 187, puts a question contexts as parallel. We meet with this cerning " that scheme of redemption adjective only three times in the New into which," says he, “ Paul repreTestament; and I see no authority sents angels as stooping to look.” for supposing that in the present in- Now we find that the sentiment and stance it is used elliptically. Phila- the phrascology are, in truth, Peter's, lethes * has translated the clause ex- and that the comprehensive scope of tremely well ::“ If any person provide the gospel, is the subject on which not for his own relations, and espe- the apostle of the circumcision encially for those who live in his house larges. The eighth verse is an ex
N. planation of the fourth.
1 Pet. i. 3: “- a lively hope Arguments against the supposed In
" Most of the commentators, possibility of excluding Evil fron interpret the words as meaning "the the Creation. hope of life," “ of future happi- Sir,
Dec. 9, 1823.
THE hypothesis Lorar, which onr translators have rightly followed ; although the Syriac into the universe could not possibly version has “the hope of life." I have been prevented even by Omnipobeg to suggest that the rendering tence, may appear to many of your should be, an animating hope,” and readers as of too speculative a nature that the import of the expression is, to deserve much attention, and too “a hope, which receives perpetual feebly supported perhaps, to require additions of strength, and habitually confutation. But, whatever may ingives new vigour to the mind;" ac- fluence our sentiments respecting the cording to Diodati (Not. in loc.), attributes of the Supreme Intelligence,
una, viva, sempre crescente ed ope- and whatever may tend to degrade his rante speranza de beni celesti.” This character, and limit bis benerolence, is a sense, which the Greek participle in the conception of his rational creanot only admits but often requires, in tures, ought not to be regarded as the New Testament, as well as in unimportant, nor to be treated as a classical authors. Benson (in loc.) inatter of indifference. It is impossible does not appear to have explained it in my apprehension, to establish the correctly. Living rater, John'iv. 10, doctrine advocated by your corres&e., is not so much water that giveth pondent, Mr. Hinton, (pp. 378, 529,) life, as “ water that flows without without answering the following obintermission :" living bread, John vi. jections; and though I admit that we 51, &c., is knowledge incessantly cannot attribute to them equal weight, communicated ;" living oracles, are yet when combined, they appear to me
oracles which never fail, in point to possess a degree of force which it either of duration or certainty"--and will not be very easy to invalidate or so as to other examples. See 1 Pet. overcome. The difficulties, indeed, ii. 4, 5.In the passage under re- inseparable from the subject, seem view, the apostle speaks first, of the 'to have been but very partially viewed nature of a Christian's hope it is by Mr. H.; and it is meant as no disvigorous and never-dying -- then of paragement to say, that his attempt its busigthe resurrection of Jesus to remove the few to which his explaChrist-and, finally, of its object--an nation is confined, has not been atinheritance, heavenly and immortal. tended
with success. 1 Pet. i. 12: “
1. The hypothesis in question sup
poses all superior, and even the high* See Mon. Repos. XIV. 569, &c.
est intelligences in the scale of being, + Upon this text Benson appositely and inisery; and is completely at va
to be liable to miscalculation, failure 1. 171. The poet's language is equally riance with the Scripture account of a and beautifully illustrative of 1 Peter i. 3. future state of existence. So, the Italians speak of “ vive pietre." 2. It favours the literal and popular Boccacio. Dec. 80, (Firenz, 1820). account of the fallen angels; and
of excluding Evil from the Creation.
similar events, therefore, may again fection does not by any means imply frequently happen, in the progress of pain and misery, and it is, therefore, eternity
very conceivable that numerous ranks 3. If the Deity has the power of of imperfect beings, subordinate to remedying the evils existing in the each other, may exist without the universe, the same power would have necessity of undergoing wretchedness enabled him to prevent them alto. either of body or mind. It is a just gether; and if he cannot exclude evil observation of Soame Jenyns, (from at one period, he cannot, for the same whom your correspondent seems to reason, exclude it at any other, that have borrowed some of his sentiments is, he never can. But if the evils of on other points,) that the evils of imthe world be incapable of remedy, perfection are in truth no evils at all, then the benevolence of the Almighty but rather the absence of some com must, in numerous cases, be defeated, parative good." and we cannot rely upon his Provi. 8. That pleasure could not exist dence with any confidence or security. without its contrast-pain and anxiety,
4. This theory, in one point, bears and that all happiness is necessarily some resemblance to the Manichæan inseparable from evil, as maintained system, because, in each, evil is said by Mr. H., are nothing more than to originate without the appointment gratuitous assertions. Where is the and volition of the Creator, and be- proof that the tortures occasioned by cause with all his power and all his the dreadful malady of the stone, for benevolence, he finds it impossible to example, are inseparable from enprevent its intrusion into his works. joyment, or necessarily conduct to
5. The notion that the Divine Being it? Imagine the case of an atrocious is obliged to apply remedies to the and irreclaimable offender, who after defects and misery which he could enduring excruciating pain brought on not avoid at the creation, and that he by some fatal accident, at length unshould be under the necessity of re- dergoes all the horrors of death in its newing (according to Mr. H.'s state- worst form. Will any one undertake ment) the existence of those upon to prove that this condition of wretchwhom he means to confer eternal life, edness will necessarily produce its reduces him to the condition of a contrast ---- enjoyment and ease? If human mechanist, who, having con- the natural tendency of evil is to prostructed some complicated machine, duce good, then the greater the evil, is compelled frequently to repair the and the longer it lasts, the more indefects which his skill could not, in tense will become the happiness rethe first instance, prevent, and to sulting from it, whether of body or wind up the spring at certain inter- mind. And as this theory must apply vals, in order to continue the requisite as well to morul as to natural ill, the movements.
more profligate and iniquitous a man 6. We see numerous instances in may be, the more exalted will be the which men pass through life without ppiness, to which, as its contrast, incurring those severer maladies of his conduct will lead'; which, in truth, body and mind to which others be- is nothing less than saying, that vice come martyrs; and if the Supreme ought to be recommended as the Being could exempt one individual, surest and the shortest path to virtue. he must possess the same power with 9. So far from having any proof respect to every other, should his will that all pain is, from its own intrinsic prompt him to exert it. Hence we nature, productive of happiness, we may conclude that where it is not have reason to believe, froin what thus exerted, it does not arise from we observe of bodily suffering, that his inability, but because he has ap- unless counteracted, controlled, and pointed that, for wise purposes, these made the instrument of good, it would sufferings should take place. Any increase and become more intense. other supposition would lead to the That it should spontaneously dimipreposterous belief that though the nish, seems contrary to all experience Father of mercies may will the happiness of his creatures, he cannot effeet his purpose.
* Free Inquiry into the Nature and 7. The negation or absence of per. Origin of Evil, Letter H.
and just reasoning on the subject; either of these qualities. But since for, it is perfectly clear that nothing Mr. H. supposes the portion of councan undergo any change in its nature teracting evil, necessary in a future without an adequate cause. Pain, state, to be infinitely refined, or ditherefore, cannot alter its essential minished, the happiness resulting from attributes, and be transinuted into this counteraction must likewise be pleasure, unless it be made to do so, infinitely small;-a conclusion preby some superior and countervailing cisely contrary to that which he means influence. If then, the Deity possess to establish. the power "f effecting this beneficial With respect to Mr. H.'s remarks change, I might by an exertion of on the infinite duration of future hapthe same energy, have prevented the piness, as long as he admits the power original intrusion of pain; but if, on of the Deity to carry bis promises the contrary, he has not this power, into execution, it is certainly not a then pain inust continue its progress, matter of essential importance to and will admit of no remedy, either mankind to ascertain the precise nahere or hereafter.
ture of the means adopted for the To these formidable objections, Mr. purpose. At the same time, I conH. has not attempted any regular sider his assertions (for reasoning it answer, except to the first, and in can scarcely be called) respecting the this instance, he has so qualified his impossibility that the Almighty should meaning, and so completely reduced confer absolute irnmortality on any the force of his position, as to make of his creatures, as nugatory, and it amount to a mere nullity. After destitute of evidence. If the great admitting that “the perfection of the Author of nature can continue human righteous in a future state may be existence for one year, (for example,) far more exalted than perhaps even what is there in the range of physical the highest intelligence can' now pos- causes with which we are acquainted, sibly conceive,” he observes, that to disable him from protracting it,
some small degree of alloy must be for an interminable series of years. admitted, since it is contrary to the If renewal be necessary at all, it must hypothesis upon which these inferences be as necessary at the end of a day, are drawn, that any created intelli- an hour, or a second, as at the end gence can exist without some portion of any longer period; and, indeed, of evil; although the portion of evil the vital principle, (as far as our liwhich may then be necessary by its mited faculties will allow us to reason counteraction to produce pleasure, on so obscure a subject,) must require may be so almost infinitely refined as the unintermitted support of the Di. not at present to be capable of con- vine energy as well in one part of our ception as distinct from purity and existence as in another. Should any bliss." Really after this concession, one consider it as an assistance to his his whole theory seems to vanish like conceptions, this continuation of susa summer's dream. It is, indeed, taining energy may be regarded as a totally destitute of proof, and can be perpetual series of impulses or reregarded as nothing more than a fic- newals, similar to the notions entertion of the brain. "But the statement tained by philosophers respecting the itself involves a contradiction of which power of gravitation. From Mr. H.'s Mr. H. is evidently not aware ; for, mode of arguing, however, we might adınitting for one moment that the almost imagine that he believes the hypothesis is' founded on fact, then Divine Being unable to exclude from the axiom recognized in Natural his works the ravages of death; bat Philosophy respecting matter, may be surely the same exertion of power regarded as equally applicable to the which can ward off its' approaches in present case : -" That action and re- any human being for seventy or eighty action are equal and contrary,” that years, can with equal ease produee is, the greater the action, the greater this effect for any indefinite period of must be the re-action, and the con- time. Nor is it possible to say, why verse. Hence it is clear that accord- his vivifying influence should ever ing as the action of evil is powerful experience any other limits than or weak, in the same degree will the those which his irresistible will may re-action of its opposite good possess prompt him to assign.
Mr. J. Johnston on Foreknowledge and Free Agency. 703 The difficulty attending the occur- direct contradiction in terms? Whatrence of the word arwylow, in the 25th ever is foreknown, whether it be the chapter of St. Matthew, in senses of act of a inoral agent, or any other different extent, adverted to by Mr. event, must necessarily come to pass ; H., will not in any degree affect the and all that chain of causes and efforce of the preceding observations; fects (for there can be no effect withbut, in my apprehension, it is suffi- out a cause), which lead to a necesciently answered by remarking, that sary result, must be necessary, too. this identical term is used in a similar I conceive it will be no easy task (to manner, that is, with two different say the least) to controvert any of the significations in the same sentence, foregoing propositions; but in acin other parts of the Sacred Writings. knowledging their' validity, what is CLERICUS CANTABRIGIENSIS, admitted but the very sum and sub
stance of philosophical necessity; as
Lewes, well as the incompatibility of the Din Sir,
Dec. 8, 1823. vine foreknowledge with the unconPEELING myself in some measure trolled agency of mun? I must conjectious advanced by your correspon- reasoning on which the doctrine of dent Mr. Spurrell, (p. 649,) to a po- Necessity is founded, (although atsition of mine, that it is beyond the tended with much difficulty as to mofinite powers of man, to reconcile ral accountability, ) appears to me the Divine Prescience with the perfect more solid and unanswerable, than freedom of the human will; and judg- any that can be adduced in favour of ing that a total silence on my part the Libertarian system. Man cannot might be construed either into a want act without a motive; his motives of argument or neglect ; I amn induced must invariably have their origin in once more to intrude upon the co- the circumstances by which he is surlumns of your valuable miscellany, rounded, and over which he can have though not without fearing lest thic no possible controul: while his faculspeculative and abstruse discussions ties of retrospection, comparison and lately introduced should be considered anticipation, considered by the Liberas having already occupied too many tarian as proofs of a self-determining of its pages.
power, may be shewyn by similar deAs to the point in question, I can- ductions, to form prominent links in not conceive but that the more pro- that chain of causes and effects, which foundly and intensely the mind dwells in every period of his existence neupon the subject, and the more it cessarily determine his volitions. Shall endeavours, by close reasoning and I then presume to affirm, that man, philosophical deductions, to bear down with regard to his moral character, is every obstacle and reconcile the two not the author of his own happiness principles at issue; the more strongly or miscry; that he is not responsible inust the conviction be felt, that à for his actions; or that, being the degree of intelligence widely differing unhappy victim of predestination, the in its powers from the limited con- finally wicked could never have been ceptions of man, must be necessary virtuous; and that with regard to him, to the comprehension of their com- the paternal solicitations of Divine patibility with each other.
love, were never more than tantaA moral agent, according to the lizing aggravations of his miserable Libertarian, has the free and uncon- destiny? Or shall I on the other hand trolled choice of two or more courses presume to limit the stupendous atof action. He will doubtless admit, tributes of Him who inhabiteth eter(indeed he must admit, to be consist- pity; and whose Spirit, infinite and ent with his own principles, that there incomprehensible, pervades all time is an uncertainty as to which of the and space? God forbid! How that different courses that agent will pur- Eternal Spirit may embrace the whole sue. Now whatever is uncertain may
connected inass of circumstances, reor may not take place; this no one lations, and events, whether detercan deny. But is not a foreknow- mined or contingent, throughout the ledge of what may never occur, a boundless universe, it is not for a
finite creature to explain. I am, regions of light and bliss, where it therefore, still compelled to believe, will shine with unsullied brightness, that it is far beyond the powers of the as the stars for ever and ever. human understanding to reconcile by
JOHN JOHNSTON. any thing like conclusive and satis factory arguments, the difficulties at
I padron pe Stapleton, tendant upon either of the opposing SIR, December 5, 1823. systeins. As to the practical tendency of the I CANNOT but think that if your
correspondent Clericus Cantabria principles held by the Necessarian, giensis, (pp. 526-528,) had deeply and which your correspondent is of considered the subject of my hypothe opinion must
sap the very founda- sis, on the introduction and inevitable tion of morals;" I conceive the only existence of evil, he would not have just ground of such apprehension to confounded it with the hypotheses of be in the danger arising from a mis- Archbishop King, Soame Jenyns, or conception or perversion of those Dr. Southwood Smith; since I apprinciples. Here it must be granted prehend that the sentiments of all that " a little knowledge is a dangerous these gentlemen, as well as of all the thing;" and should a superficial view other enlightened writers on this subof the argument lead to its abuse, the ject, will be found to amount only to demoralizing consequences that must this—that, while they assert that evil necessarily ensue, need neither illus- is made by Infinite Wisdom subsertration nor cominent. But whether vient to the production of good, and actions in themselves are necessary therefore necessary for its production, or otherwise, all parties agree that inasmuch as they suppose it could not the consequences which follow (either so well be prodnced without its agency, of pleasure or of pain) are necessary they nevertheless freely admit the too. This conviction acting upon the power of the Creator to have dispensed strong natural desire in man to se- with the existence of evil in creation, cure happiness and avoid misery, if he had thought it best so to do must, I should think, in general bea whereas it is the principal object of sufficient safeguard against the abuse my hypothesis to assert the very conof any theoretical principles, when trary, and to prove that this power buch abuse must inevitably be attended could not possibly exist, eril being an with disgrace and infamy. After all, inevitable consequence of, and attenthere is an instinctive principle in dant upon, creation itself. Cantabria man, closely interwoven with the mo- giensis may, however, rest satisfied, ral sense, which seems to tell him that any claim I may have to novelty that he can refuse the evil and choose in the suggestion of this hypothesis, the good, and that he is responsible is but of very little importance in my to his Creator for his actions : a prin- estimation; and I beg to assure him, ciple which our holy religion is evi- notwithstanding the manner in which dently framed to work upon, and he has expressed himself in the outset which is wisely planted in the human of his letter on this subject, that I breast, by that Being who sees what should not have the least objection to degree of insight into the mysteries be indehted to either of the writers of his Providence is essential to the he mentions, and particularly to my happiness and welfare of a rational valued friend Dr. Southwood Smith, and moral agent. Metaphysical reason to whom chiefly I owe the present ing and moral perception are very dif- constitution and frame of my mind, ferent things : the one may lead us theologically, metaphysically and mointo perplexing labyrinths, into which rally; in whose own admirable words, it was never intended man should when speaking of a friend, “ It was wander and be lost : the other is the he who first led me into that train of vicegerent of God within the soul, a thought which directed the future purspark of celestial origin, which, if fan-suits of my mind; made me what I ned by the breath of gratitude and am, and (thus) determined what I am piety on the altars of devotion, soon to be;" (see Divine Government, p. rises above the noxious atmosphere 47;) and to whom most gladly wonld of moral contamination, towards those I trace the hypothesis in question;