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Review. ---Report of the West Riding Tract Society.
603 pays over the collection to the Loca! be thus revised and improved from yeat Treasurers, and the Local Treasurers to 10 year. the General Treasurers. This is the The Catalogue contains several imprincipal machinery of the Society; portant Works scarcely to be conand it appears sufficiently simple and sidered as Tracts, unless the example efficient. The Rules are of two of Mr. Locke and the late Bishop classes ; the first containing the funda. Watson sanction this use of the term. mental laws of the Society; the second It presents, however, a selection and containing regulations proposed to the union of such useful and well-known adoption of the Local Auxiliary Asso- publications, as are calculated to in ciations. These Rules do not admit of crease piety to God, and practical abridgment, though perhaps they might godliness; and to give just views of te simplified. We shall conlude this the character, government, and rearticle with giving a copy of them. vealed will of the God aud Father of We cannot however conclude without our Lord Jesus Christ. recommending the plan to the serious We subjoin the Rules : and dispassionate consideration of our “ Rule 1. That the following Congrereaders; and especially of such as have gations of Protestant Dissenters in Yorkthe direction of our Tract Societies, shire, be united into a Society for the and are desirous of spreading their distribution of Religious Tracts : viz. ramifications, and of extending their The Congregations assembling in St. Sabenefits into the several neighbouring viour-gate, York;. Mill-Hill, Leeds ; congregations with which a Tract So Westgate, Wakefield; Chapel-lane, Bradciety may be surrounded.
ford; Northgate, Halifax; Lidyate ; and The Report before us modestly says, South-End, Elland ; and such other Pro“ This Society has only been es
testant Dissenting Congregations, as may
be disposed to join this Union.
“ Rule 2. That this Society be denomi-
two Auditors of Accounts appointed for the
“ Rule 4. That the Rer. Henry Turner
“ Rule 5. That the Snbscription to
“ Rule 6. That Tracts be allotted to
« Rule 7. That the Depository of
in the West the Secretary. That it be open during Riding of Yorkshire." This will give the whole of the week following the rise to pleasing and important discus second Sunday in the montlis of June, sion. The Catalogue and Rules will September, Decciuber and March : and
that all applications from Subscribers for “2. That the first Quarterly Meeting Tracts be made at those tiines ; and that in each Congregation, be held on the the. Secretary is not bound to give an Sunday evening uest following the Annual immediate attention to applicatious made Meeting, when a Committee shall be at any other time.
chosen, consisting of not less than five • “ Rule 8. That it be recommended to members, for attending to the concerns of the Congregations above mentioned and to the Society within the respective Congre others which may be farourable to this gations. Society, that, for the purpose of carrying 3. That the Committee appoint its objects more completely into effect, the Secretary to keep the Minutes of the promembers of this Society in each Coogre- ceedings of the Committee and of the gation form an union amongst themselves, Quarterly Meetings of the Members, and and observe such local regulations as may to correspond with the Society's Secretary. appear suitable to their respective circnm- “ 4. That the Secretary in each com stances ; and that where nothing of the mittee shall draw up an account of the kind is, practicable, the individuals sub- proceedings of the year in each Congrega. scribing to the Society, be requested to tion, and shall transmit the same to the communicate with the Depository through Society's Secretary, not less than fourteen the medium of the nearest Congregation days before the Annual Meeting; insertin which this plan is adopted.
ing therein any facts or suggestions “ Rule 9. Tbat a Cata guc of the appearing to deserve the attention of the Tracts placed in the Depository and the Society; and that the Society's Secretary prices at which they are sold to Subscri- shall embody these into a general Report bers, he forth with printed, and that a to be read to the Annual Meeting. copy be sent to each Subscriber, in order “5. That the Minister be, ex-officio, that he may select such Tracts as be pre- a member of the Committee. fers, to the amount of his Subscription ; “6. That in cach Congregation, for and that this Catalogue be rerised and every ten members the Committee shall receive additions at each Annual Meeting. appoint a Collector, who shall collect their
“ Rule 10. In case the Local Societies Subscriptions either weekly, montbly, or neglect to claim Tracts to the amount of otherwise ; but if otherwise than weekly, their contributions within three months that the Subscriptions be paid in advice. after the Annual Meeting (notice of the “ 7. That conformably to this Regulaamount of such clains baving previously tion it shall be the duty of the Collectors been given by the Society's Secretary to to bring to the Quarterly Meeting in each the Local Secretary, at least fourteen days Congregation a Statement of the Tracts before the expiration of that period,) the required by their Subscribers, along with claim shall lapse to the Society."* the Amount of Subscriptions; and that
the Secretary shall unite these into one “ The following Regulations are RECOM- Statement, which he shall immediately
MENDED for Adoption, as far as may be transmit along with the money to the deemed erpedient, in the Congrega. Depository at Bradford. tions forming the Union,
« 8. That the Quarterly Meetings in “1. That the members of this Society each Congregation bare power to modify in each of the Congregations hold a Quar- these Regulations in any way that may be terly Meeting for the dispatch of busi- deemed expedient, provided there be noness.t
thing contradictory to the fundamental
Rules of the Society." * « Local Societies or Subscribers may transfer their claims, in favour of the Art. III.--An Essay on the Existence Vestry Library or Sunday Schools, on
of a Supreme Creator, possessed of signifying the same through the Local
Infinite Power, Wisdom and GoodSecretary to the Society's Secretary." + “ It is recommended that at every
ness, &c. &c. Quarterly Mecting some one of the So
(Concluded from p. 586.] ciety's Tracts be read : and likewise any Tracts which it may be the wish of any ment of the difficulties regarding member to propose to the Society. And the Wisdom and Goodness of the the Society's Secretary shall send a copy of Deity, Dr. Brown treats briefly of the each new Tract to the Secretary in each Spirituality and Unity of God. With Congregation that he may circulate it regard to the Divine Unity his concep. amongst the members."
“ Note. It is recommended to form general to lend Tracts, rather than to Congregational or Vestry LIBRARIES in give them; as a Tract lent is more likely the respective Congregations; and also in to be read than one given."
Review.- Brown's Prize Essay.
606 tions are clear and just, sueh as must conduct. him through the labyrinth , be suggested to every enlightened mind and we are much deceived if the pera by the contemplation of the works of plexities of a thinking mind will not ereation and the study of the testimony be increased rather than diminished of Scripture : nor for any thing that by the perusal of this Essay. appears in this work is there reason to In repelling the objections against believe that the creed of the worthy the Divine wisdom and goodness, PrinPrincipal is burthened with the con- cipal Brown proposes, p. 272, 1. To tradictory notions which generally ascertain the proper notions of perfecprevail on this subject. His language tion and evil, and then to evince that is plain, decisive and unqualified : the permission of this last, is not only “ There is only one Being to whom is in some measure necessary to its
not inconsistent with the former, but all the perfections already considered, and highest displays; that is, that the allevery other belonging to Deity, can be perfect nature of God required that a ascribed. God is self-existent and infinite certain portion of evil both natural and and the original cause of all! Those moral should be permiited. 2. That qualities and attributes exclude tlie supposition of plurality. Self-existence extends many evils which are produced as every where and admits im limitation. evidences against the wisdoin of Provi kufinity implies both unlimited essence and dence, are grossly exaggerated' and for unlimited perfection, and this excludes the the most part exist only in the irregu. supposition of two or more beings of whom lar imaginations of men. 3. That these can be predicated. The wisdom and these evils to which the human race is power of each of such beings must be exposed, could not be excluded from limited by the wisdom and power of the the wisest and best system of the others ; and therefore they cannot all be world, but are so controlled and die infinite or supreme beings. The notion of rected as to be productive of the two or more first causes is absurd in itself, greatest sum of good. And 4. That and involves contradictory notioos. It the present state of man is adapted 10 supposes that there is one original to the his present faculties and powers. others, and at the same time denies this
With regard to the nature of persupposition."-P. 245.
fection, Dr. Brown says, p. 276: There are many appearances in “ We call every thing perfect which nature, and many occurrences in hu- possesses all that is necessary to its naman life, which seem absolutely inex- fure, or has been brought to a higher plicable upon the principle, that there degree of improvement than belougs to is seated at the helm of affairs, a Being, individuals of the same kind, but in an of infinite wisdom and benevolence, absolute sense nothing that is subject to who ordains and regulates all the trains any defect or privation, or is circumof events that happen to all creatures. scribed by any limits, nothing but the And those difficulties have excited the Divine nature can be denominated perattention of reflective persons from
fect." very early ages.
The knowledge of With regard to the nature of evil, nature " which philosophy has dis- he
says: closed; the just way of conducting • Evil bas been divided into natural inquiries of this kind which is now
and moral, the one implying and caused pursued, and above all the clear light by some derangement of the corporeal of revelation, guiding the effects of system, the other implying and caused by intelligence and piety; have removed some disturbance of the mental frame, much of the obscurity in which this considered in a moral point of views interesting and important subject was To these two, a third species of evil bas, javolved : art in a work, to which was been added by metaphysicians, aud has adjudged a prize, instituted on purpose' obtained the name of metaphysical evil.. to clear away this darkness, it was It expresses the absence or priva:ion of natural to expect at least a lucid and certain powers, faculties and capacities, consistent statement of all that the ablest and of the felicity which these are the writers had advanced. Never were
means of obtaining." we more disappointed than in this And with regard to this last he expectation. The author is always in addsa mist; it is only now and then that 46 That the permigsion of metaphysical he seems to have a rapid and indis evil, or of a certaiv deficiency in created tinct glance of the only clue that can beings, can imply nothing repugnant to this
Dirine perfections, must appear on the motives, or in opposition to motives, smallest consideratiou. The Divine good- or without any motives at all.”* This ness suggested the communication of is an admirable account of the doc. happiness. But without creation no hap- trine of philosophical liberty, and we piness could be coinmunicated. But what cannot but regret that Dr. Brown was erer is created is limited : whatever is in no auspicious moment inspired with limited is so far imperfect. Thus, not
an equally clear and just conception even Omnipotence itself could prerent
of it. metaphysical evil, because it could not
But though Principal Brown caneffect contradictions. It could not render
not define as well as some, he can that which is finite ioguite, nor therefore create any being which should not be assume as well as any of bis predesubject to defect. Absolute perfection it cessors : and we give the following could bestow on none of its works. Meta- passage as a very curious and edifying physical evil must therefore hare existed, example of the argument called by or the power, wisdom and goodness of logicians the petitio principii. God, must have remained inert, and no
" All beings possessed of intelligence creation bave been produced. There is and reason must also enjoy freedom of then in the very nature of created being, will. Indeed to will and to act, imply an absolute necessity of metaphysical evil to will and to-act freely. To will and to or defect."-Pp. 276. 280. 281.
act necessarily involves a downright conAfter these observations the author tradiction, because necessity is applicable proceeds to state, that from this ne- to what is passive and cannot be predi-, cessity of defect or of metaphysical cated of volition and action. From this evil in the very nature of every crea
it appears that tbe genuine notion of ture, we shall be gradually led to liberty consists in the power of acting or apprehend that the permission of the abstaining from action, and of electing two other classes of evil, namely, among various modes of action. A free moral and physical, is not incon agent cannot choose whether he shall have sistent with the Divine perfections of tion is necessary, and by this be to whom
rolition or not. For to free agency voliwisdoin and goodness; that it may be it belongs is disposed either to action or proper to consider first moral evil, to rest. In a word ubererer will exists because natural evil proceeds in a there is freedom.” great measure from it; and that as moral evil has been defined the abuse that the contrary of which involves
Dr. Brow'n defines necessity to be of free agency, it becomes necessary to shew that men are free agents and to
a contradiction, and can neither exist explain and illustrate the specific na
nor coalesce in one idea." p. 295. And ture of free agency itself. P. 286.
this is the only necessity of which he In doing this the learned Principal speaks: But he adds, "Certainty of
event is often confounded with neces. defines liberty,
“ the power of perceiving, choosing and pursuing some
sity of existence, although these terms object:" and adds" But the term
express very different notions." p. 295. liberty when used to signify the power tain a constant series of independent
“Those," he says, p. 297,“ who mainof executing volition, is employed in a lax and popular sense.
canses and effects, by which the human
Its more will is influenced without any interaccurate meaning is that of volition nal principle of motion and action, and choice. Whoever wills to move or to act, is mentally as free as he who maintain an eternal series originating really moves or acts. His mind exer
no where" !! cises its energy even when his body is
“Still it is urged," adds the Doctor, chained." P. 290.
p. 298, “that the will is influenced by
the last deterinination of the undervolition, the learned Principal differs standing, and is therefore coustrained." volition, the learned Principal differs Constrained certainly it is in every
“ somewhat from the libertarians who have gone before him. The liberty of attaches to the term. The last deter
sense which the advocate of necessity a moral agent, Dr. Reid says, is “a mination of the understanding is, let us power over the determinations of his own will." · And Dr. Gregory aftirms that suppose, that an object which it has man possesses "an independent, self. conteniplated is desirable; that no cirgoverning, self-determining.. power, which he may at his own discretion * Dr. Gregory's Philosophical Essays. exert, by acting either according to Sec. I. P. 3.
Review. Brown's Prize Essay: cumstance exists to counteract its im- itself and the end in view : in a word, pression; that its attainment will be comprehending every circumstance im. productive of happiness, and that the mediately previous to the volition ; and means to attain it are within its reach. which in the least degree contributes This perception and determination of to generate the choice. Can volition the understanding places the mind in take place independently of motive as a certain condition, namely, in the thus defined? The libertarian contends state of desire and of determination to that in the same previous circumstances exert its power to gratify that desire. and with views and inclinatious preNow this peculiar condition of the cisely the same, a different choice may mind is termed will, or volition, and be made. The necessarian denies this, the question is, whether it could pro- and maintains that there can be no bably be different from what it actually difference in the choice without a coris. The state of the mind and all the respondent difference in the previous circumstances remaining exactly the state of the mind; that is, in the same, that is, an object appearing de- judgment or inclination of the agent." sirable and nothing occurring to coun- This is the simple question stated in teract the impression, that the attain- plain and simple language; and had ment of it will be productive of hap- Dr. Brown taken the pains to underpiness, can it avoid desiring it? And stand it, he would not have written the perceiving the means by which it can many absurdities by which this part of obtain the gratification of its desire, his work is deformed. He would not, can it avoid exerting then? If not, if for example, have defined necessity to the desirableness of an object must ex- be " that the contrary of which incite desire, and the consciousness that volves a contradiction and can neither the means of attaining it are within esist nor coalesce in one idea.” For reach must induce the determination if to the term necessity some metaphy: to excite them; then it is inost obvious sicians have affixed the notion expressed that volition and action are necessary in this definition, Dr. Brown knew, in the only sense which in this cona or ought to have known, that the troversy is meant to be conveyed by advocates for the doctrine of Philothis term ; that is to say, volition and sophical Necessity expressly distinguish action could not possibly be otherwise beiween this sense of the word and than they are, the constitution of the that which they annex to it. Dr. inind and the circumstances in which Brown takes upon himself to say, it is placed remaining the same. p. 209, that Dr. Priestley, together
What has led to so much confusion with Hobbes and Spinosa and Bayle on this subject, is the indistinct and and Voltaire and Hume, has acquired false notion which has been annexed to celebrity by attacking the doctrines of the terin will. Will is nothing but a a Divine Providence and of the freedom modification of desire, and therefore of the will. Was the Reverend Princannot possibly be excited by the mind cipal really acquainted with the writings itself at its own pleasure. liis induced of Dr. Priestley? Dr. Priestley. has by objects which the mind perceives to acquired celebrity by attacking the be good or evil, pleasing or painful, or doctrine of a Divine Providence ! And imagines to be so. The mind cannot this affirmation goes forth to the world will will; but objects appearing to it with the authority of the Reverend pleasurable excite the desire or will 10 Principal of Marischal College. To possess them, or appearing painful, attempt to justify Dr. Priestley, from induce the desire or will to avoid them: the charge of attacking the doctrine of and the question again recurs, can an
a Divine Providence were an insult to object apprehended to be thus painful his meinory and to the understanding or pleasurable, fail to induce the cor- of the reader; and with regard to his responding desire or will and the attacking the freedom of the human consequent action?
will, the most charitable opinion is The whole of this controversy turns, that Dr, Brown was utterly ignorant of as has been well stated by Mr. Belsham the writings of the man even on this on this simple question : “Can volition subject whom he presumes thus deeply take place independently of motive? to censure. meaning by motive whatever moves or influences the mind in its choice, thus Belsham's Elements of the Philosophy including both this bias of the inind of the Mind. P. 230.