« AnteriorContinua »
beings of limited attributes, constitutes an essential part of the Deity; and thus confounding and identifying the supposed first great Intelligent Mover with the second causes and countless motions of that universal machine, which is supposed to be but the mere effect of his infinitely energetic agency, we are here presented with a perfect system of Pantheism; but the difference between this and Atheism must, I should think, be regarded as merely nominal."
ment of the universe he has formed; dares to usurp his throne; wield his sceptre, with the puny arm of flesh; arrogate his power and his other at tributes, to flatter the vanity and feed the fancied importance of the insects of a day. I scarcely know whether to call this tendency Polytheistical, Atheistical, or Pantheistical, but one of these it certainly is; since freeagency necessarily supposes the existence of many beings, possessed of perfectly independent power, sufficient to controul the causes which give rise to their motives and actions, independently of any other being or cause in existence, which necessarily constitutes them nothing short of the Deity itself: and here, rank Polytheism is the inevitable result. Or, in another and still more applicable point of view, to suppose a variety of beings possessing this uncontrolled power, must necessarily be, as far as it goes, an infringement upon, and an exclusion and denial of, that all-pervading and universal power which is essential to the existence of one Almighty and universally controlling Agent, who is supposed to be the Author of all causes, without the smallest exception, and who is described as being 'a jealous God, who will not give or share his glory with another and therefore in supposing a variety of beings, with limited attributes, possessed of this uncontrolled power, and sharing this glory, horrible Atheisin is the unavoidable inference; because the possession of such a power in a variety of beings, with limited attributes, utterly denies, or at least circumscribes, and is therefore absolutely incompatible with, the power, agency and existence of that Being who if he exist at all, must necessarily possess unlimited attributes, and be the universal Ruler and Agent, and have all other beings subject to his absolute controul; and whose unlimited and allpervading power and agency must be utterly incompatible with the free-agency or independency of any other being or beings. Prove then the reality of finite free-agency, and the non-existence of a being with infinite attributes will become certain. Or if we take another view of the subject, the possession of such an independently controlling faculty, in a variety of
2ndly. I beg to assure Mr. J., that if he had so thoroughly understood the nature and basis of my hypothesis as he might have done, it would not have appeared, in his estimation, such a frightful monster as he, through mistake, supposes it to be many of his observations, for instance, are grounded on the assumption, that the hypothesis denies or lessens the ultimate felicity of the righteous, whereas it in fact proposes to constitute that felicity. Such expressions as the following can be grounded only upon this assumption, and which I should think a perusal of the foregoing will convince him to be utterly fallacious, i. e. the hypothesis "denies the power of progressive improvement of the human soul, destroys the efficacy and lessens the motives to repentance, annihilates the value of the Saviour's admonition to strive after perfection, and damps the fondly cherished aspirations of the sainted pilgrim, by inducing the fearful and chilling apprehension, that there is no ultimate haven of repose, no security from ill, no not even when enjoying the presence and smile of his Creator in his promised heaven." "An arm allpowerful must secure, without possibility of failure, the ultimate felicity of the whole intelligent offspring of God." Had Mr. J. rightly understood the hypothesis, he would not have suffered his rhapsodical feelings, and poetical style, to have made such manifestly groundless charges against it, and brought positions and arguments in opposition to it which are in fact in perfect unison with it.
3dly. Mr. J. says, "Upon what ground we must conclude that because the knowledge of created beings is not infinite, they must be subject to natural and moral ill, I am at a loss
to conceive." I would request Mr.
remarked, the degree of error and
I believe I have now replied to all the assertions and objections of this gentleman, since those of them to which I have not specifically and distinctly alluded, have received from their similarity to several of Mr. Eaton's observations, their answers in my replies to that gentleman: and in taking my leave of Mr. J., while I cannot compliment his metaphysics or his closeness of reasoning, I must express my admiration of his warmhearted piety, his evident goodness of heart, and even that honest zeal for his pre-conceived sacred prejudices, which has hurried him unintentionally, I doubt not, into several illiberal expressions. Had he been a little more guarded in some of his observations, it would certainly have been more pleasant to the feelings of a fellowinquirer after truth, who, publishing his sentiments from as pure motives and with as pious impressions and as sincere a desire for the attainment of pure theological knowledge as those of Mr. J. himself, expects to be opposed in the enlightened columns of the Monthly Repository, only by liberality, calm and patient inquiry, and unprejudiced and temperate investigation.
I shall now conclude by summing up the hypothesis in the words of your enlightened correspondent, Mr. Luckcock, (p. 522,) as being a most concise and admirable epitome of it; and for which, and the favourable notice he has taken of the subject, I feel obliged-" All inferiority implies imperfection; and as all creation, material and intellectual, must necessarily be inferior to its great and original Creator; it must consequently partake of some qualities, both physical and moral, which our limited views lead us to express by the term evil.”
G. P. HINTON.
4thly. Mr. J. asks, in what light the hypothesis will appear if applied to Christ; "Shall he who was without sin be subject to miscalculation, error and guilt? The supposition is too preposterous, if not too profane, to be admitted for a moment." most willingly meet the application of the hypothesis to our Lord Jesus Christ and here I would ask Mr. J. whether he supposes that Christ was without the liability to sin, or was a being of more than finite or limited attributes; and whether his being without sin signifies any thing more, than an abstinence from actual transgression of the moral law? And I would remind Mr. J., that the Scriptures describe Jesus as being a man, in all points tempted, like unto his brethren; which, I should suppose, proves beyond all question that he was by nature a mere man, and, like his brethren, subject to miscalculation and error, unless Mr. J. can shew that by office our Lord was raised above this subjection and made infinite, for it could be nothing less. But here, Mr. J. has overstrained the doctrine of the hypothesis, for the purpose of caricaturing it by adding guilt. Preposterous and profane then as it may seem to Mr. J. to suppose our Lord Jesus Christ to be by nature subject to miscalculation and error, I shall not hesitate for a moment, to be preposterous and profane" enough, until our Lord Jesus Christ can be proved to be the infinite Jehovah himself, to assert, that he was, and ever will remain, with all his finite brethren, subject to miscalculation and error; although, as I before
Correspondence in a Washington Newspaper on the College established in the Vicinity of that City.
'I believe, when the founders of the Columbian College applied to Congress for a charter of incorporation, they met with unexpected difficulties, arising from its being understood that the Institution was likely to be directed chiefly, if not exclusively, to the interest of a particular religious sect. A majority in Congress would not vote for it on that ground, and it was not until the most earnest, solemn and repeated assurances were given, that nothing of a religious nature was contemplated, and that the Institution was to be purely and exclusively for literary purposes, that at length the charter was obtained. Even then a clause was introduced with special care, rendering it unlawful for any person to be hindered or excluded from any office or benefit of this institution, either as governors, professors or students, &c., on account of any particular religious sentiments they may entertain. That the College in question is commonly styled the Baptist College, and that its President and principal officers are of that denomination, are facts that every one knows. But, for that same reason, let it not be called a National College; for our friends on the Hill at Georgetown might, with as great propriety, call theirs the National College. And out of friendship to the Baptists, I would caution them not to be too loud in boasting of their jurisdiction, lest Congress should happen to think that they have forfeited their charter by converting it to sectarian purposes.
"I am informed that the Directors have an agent in London, soliciting donations for the College; this is all well if they apply as a sect, in forma pauperis, but if they, at the same time, say it is a National College, I must, as an American, say it has a very beggarly look. We shall have, I hope, a National University in time; but it will be of a very different description from this, and be raised without foreign aid. If I had connexions in England, I should like to have this matter better understood there than it seems to be.
(See p. 350 of the present volume.)
"GENTLEMEN. In perusing an
English publication, put into my hands the other day by a friend, which is called The Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature,' for June, 1823, I was struck with a passage in a communication to the Editor of that work, that I think requires some explanation in this district. The writer of the passage in question is a Mr. Reuben Potter, of Rhode Island, Editor of the Gospel Palladium,' a paper of a religious cast, published once a fortnight. It seems this Mr. Potter writes in reply to some questions forwarded from England, relating to the state of the Baptist denomination in this country, and he gives a very flattering account of the progress and prospects of that denomination. He describes, indeed, a considerable part of them as rapidly going over to Unitarianism; in this, perhaps, he is mistaken, but whether or not, is not material to the present object. The passage I adverted to above, is in a part of his letter concerning the Seminaries of Learning among the Baptists. He says, The National College, at the seat of Government, is under their jurisdiction.' Now, I have lived long at the seat of Government, and I did not know till now, that we had a National College. And if we had one, I believe and hope it would not be under the jurisdiction of the Baptists, or indeed of any other religious denomination. Our excellent constitution, (may it live for ever!) prohibits Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, and, consequently, no National College or University can have a religious character, or patronise a sectarian theology. The exclusive influence of religious sects on the great seminaries of learning in Europe, has been productive of such incalculable mischief, and operated so partially, unjustly and oppressively, on large portions of mankind, that we cannot be too jealous of every attempt to accomplish the same pernicious objects in this land of liberty.
"Messrs. Editors: I observed, in your paper of September 17, a com munication, bearing the signature of Fair Play,' the purport of which seemed to be to solicit explanations on some points connected with the Columbian College, in this District. No reply has yet appeared, from which fact l'infer that the more immediate friends of the College have not thought it necessary either to take any notice of complaints grounded on so slight authority, or to express their gratitude for the gratuitous counsel which your correspondent has bestowed.
"The patriotic sensibilities of 'Fair Play' appear to have been unpleasantly affected by the discovery that an individual in this country had thought proper, in a letter directed to a friend in England, and there published, to employ the term National College,' in reference to the Columbian College in this District. This does not seem to be a very serious offence; and, if it were, the proper question would be, how far the managers of the College were answerable for it. The individual who used the expression is, I presume, entirely unknown to these gentlemen. He is not a Calvinistic Baptist, and has no connexion with the great body of Baptists in this country. His remark, that they are rapidly verging to Unitarianism, was shaped rather by his wishes than by fact; and it conclusively indicates the degree of importance which should be attached to his statements and expressions on the subject before
"The term alluded to is certainly an improper one; and it has never, to my knowledge, been used by the authority of the Trustees of the College. If any one acquainted with the character of the institution has at any time employed it, it has been applied in that general sense in which the Intelligencer, and other newspapers, have assumed the title of National. Its location at the seat of government, and its prospects already partially re-' alized, of becoming a resort for young men from every quarter of the Union, may have led some to apply to it an epithet, not correct in point of official character, but deserved precisely in proportion as the institution shall perform the functions and afford the ad4 Y
vantages of the National' Seminary, contemplated by the vaticinations of Fair Play. Nevertheless, his own implied confession that he had never before heard of this appellation, although a resident in the immediate vicinity of the College, proves that it has never been assuined.
"I have thus replied to the only material part of your correspondent's remarks. He has bestowed some sound instruction respecting the constitution of the United States and the charter of the College, accompanied by a few hints by way of advice, all which the friends of the College, who doubtless are quite as much attached to these instruments as himself, and probably understand them nearly as well, will, I presume, take into serious consideration.
"Before I conclude, permit me to quiet the apprehension of your correspondent, by assuring him that the proceedings of the Agent of the College, while in England, have had no tendency either to nislead in regard to its character and title, or to implicate, in any degree, our national honour. "K."
Clapton, December 6, 1823. FIND that I very imperfectly examined Whiston's Memoirs, for some account of the Collet family (p. 650). He, no doubt, designs the physician, who is the subject of N.'s inquiry, when he speaks (p. 420) of "Dr. Collet's very Serious and Seasonable Address to the Jews; or a Treatise of their Future Restoration. Printed 1747. This book," he adds,
though containing, I think, many mistakes which want to be corrected, does yet give a particular and wellattested account of the goodness of the country of Judea, and of the Jews' happy condition there, upon their restoration, when the Messiah will establish his kingdom at Jerusalem, and bring in the last glorious ages." I have found also, in a volume of inaugural medical dissertations, one, de Peste, delivered at Leyden, in 1731, for his Doctor's degree, by Joannes Collet, Anglo-Britannus."
appears (Mem. 296), that Whiston's " great and good friend, Mr. Samuel Collet," whom I mentioned p. 650, was a Baptist," and a most
punctual attendant on the "Society for promoting Primitive Christianity," which met at the Primitive Library" at Whiston's house in Cross Street, Hatton Garden," from 1715 to 1717; and to which "Sir Peter King, Dr. Hare, Mr. Benjamin Hoadley, and Dr. Clarke, were particularly invited; though they none of them ever came." (See Mem. 202, Hist. Mem. of Dr. Clarke, 66-74, Ed. 3, 1748.) In 1735, Mr. Collet, being "very ill," and, as he supposed, "in danger of death," desired Whiston "to anoint him with oil, according to the injunction in James v. 14-16." Whiston "hesitated and durst not venture; not then remembering that the Apostolical Constitutions appoint a form for the consecration of oil, and in want of oil, of water, for the healing of the sick, and the casting out dæmons, nor recollecting" Tertullian's relation of "the cure of Severus the Emperor by Proculus Torpacio, upon his anointing him with oil;" other wise he was inclined to "have consecrated some oil, and anointed him." His friend, however, recovered, notwithstanding the omission from " in voluntary ignorance on both sides.”
versation, arguments arose concerning the Arian scheme: and the author, for several good reasons, declining to enter into the controversy, was pleasantly told by him, that his unwillingness proceeded from a consciousness of the badness of his cause, which, indeed, was the only reflection that could have roused him, or provoked him, to engage at all in this debate; not being willing to enter the lists with a gentleman to whom he stood greatly obliged." Of this gentleman, who appears to have died before the publication of the Two Letters, he further says, (p. ix.,) that "he was, in truth, a man of great ingenuity, learning, humanity, charity and good sense: but was so particularly emipent for his Arian sentiments, (which he was far from endeavouring to conceal,) that had the author leave, and was he so inclined, it would be altogether needless to publish his name." The 66 Country Gentleman," thus challenged, now borrowed his Arian friend's MS., and "after some considerable time" sent the first letter, to which he received " a very short letter, which did not contain an answer to any one of the author's arguments, but instead thereof, a pamphlet came with it, bearing the name of one Chubb, for its author." This_pamphlet was, no doubt, "The Supremacy of the Father vindicated," with a dedication "to the Reverend the Clergy; and in particular to the Right Reverend Gilbert [Burnet] Lord Bishop of Sarum." (2nd edition, 1718) Whatever Chubb may appear in his later writings, he is here as strictly Christian as Dr. Clarke in his "Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity." Yet the " Country Gentleman" says of him, (p. 73,)" What he drives at, I am well aware of; and by that way of reasoning, we may bring ourselves into downright Deism, which, I think, the Arian, scheme naturally leads to." "the pam He, also, there mentions phlet wrote by Philanthropus," sent to him by the author of the MS., as a full answer" to his first letter. The " Country Gentleman" soon sent the second letter, to which his friend," being much indisposed, caused a sort of answer to be wrote hy another hand." Neither of these letters was he permitted to publish.
The "Country Gentleman" having
Whiston mentions again (p. 355) "Mr. Collet," with whom he was at Newbury in 1748," where he "heard Mr. Mace preach in the same Meeting-house where he had heard Mr. Pierce preach before he went to Exeter." There was also a Rev. Joseph Collet," of Coat, in Oxfordshire," on whose death, in 1741, a sermon was preached there by the father of the late Dr. Stennet.
In the conversation which I noticed p. 650, Dr. Toulmin informed me that Governor Collet, who had held an appointment in the East Indies, and of whom I promised a further account, was, he believed, the person addressed in a pamphlet, now before me, entitled, "Two Letters to a very eminent and learned Gentleman, attempting to subvert the Doctrine of the Arians. Being Animadversions on a very famous Arian Manuscript, wrote by Him, some Years since, in India. By a Country Gentleman. 3rd Ed. 1751."
In the preface we are informed, that "the author of these Letters, and the learned Gentleman to whom they were addressed, being occasionally, in con