Imatges de pÓgina



fact,” says he, “ beyond reasonable which Franklin translates, contradiction, that Luke here asserts; The happiest fate of man is not to be ; that Jesus was thought to be the son And next in bliss is be who soon as born, of Joseph, and was so in truth; and From the vain world and all its sorrows thus by one single unequivocal ex- free, pression, he has set aside the story Shall whence he came with speediest foot of his miraculous birth as false, and the two disputed chapters as a forgery With which may be compared Potter's of a subsequent period.” See Sequel, version :p. 241. Note.

Not to be born is Heav'n's first grace, Thus, Sir, I have laid before you if born, extinguish'd soon the vital filame ; the steps by which I have arrived at Back to return from whence it came, my present views, and hope they will Is heav'n's next blessing to man's wretchbe as satisfactory to your correspond

ed race. ent as they are to myself.

I am here reminded of a note in
I am, Sir,

Wakefield's Matthew, 4to. p. 367, on
Yours, &c.

the Case of Judas (xxv. 24). That
scriptural critic, who brought his va-

rious learning, as a glad offering to St. Ardleon, Oct. 30, 1815. the Sanctuary of Religion, remarks

on the expression had not been born, SIR,

that it is “ a proverbial sentence, THE following lines, in Prior's Solomon, (B. iii.) have, I believe, would he attended by very calamitous

ineaning in general that this action been much oftener admired than examined, as to the justness of the sen- adds, citing a couplet from the Greek

consequences to the criminal." He timents they express :

Epigrams, that “it is common for Happy the mortal man, who now at last Has through this doleful rale of mis'ry had never been born;" and subjoins

unhappy people to wish that they past, Who to his destin'd stage bas carried on

from Maimonides (Mor. Nev. i 32, The tedious load, and laid bis burden Buxtorf ) this Jewish sentence, “Who

ever does not spare the glory of his Whom the cut brass and wounded marble Creator, it were better for him not to shows

have come into the world." Victor o'er life and all her train of woes. It is remarkable that Mr. Wake.' He happier yet who privileg'd by fate field, who has here qualified the force To shorter labour and a lighter weight, of the phrase, had not been born, apReceiv'd but yesterday the gift of breath, pears to have forgotten that at p. 361, Order'd to-inorrow to return to death.

of the same work, (on Matt. xxv. 46) Bat O! beyond description happiest he, he had taken it strictly as an arguWho ne'er must roll on life’s tempestuous ment against the hypothesis of the Who with blest freedom from the gene

final happiness of the wicked," which ral doom

he, with evident reluctance, conExempt, must never force the teeming cludes to be “ unscriptural, because womb,

then, in no instance, can it be better Nor see the sun, nor sink into the tomb. for a man never to have been born: a Who breathes must suffer, and who thinks case, which the N. T. not only supmust mourn:

poses, but exemplifies"-aliquando And he alone is blest who ne'er was born. bonus dormitat. Gilbert Wakefield

I am not aware that the Pagan ori- (of whom I had some knowledge) had gin of these lines has ever been con

considered the divine attributes and jectured. Prior appears to have had the perfectability of man with too in his recollection not so much the much attention to have easily become passage iu Ecclesiastes (iv. 2, 3) as the a consistent advocate for the dreary following verse of Sophocles in his doctrine of human destruction. (Edipus Coloneus :

R. B.
Μη σύναι τον απαντα νι-

American Proclamation of a Fast-Day.
κά λόγον το δ', επεί φανή,
Bναι κείθεν όθεν περ ήκει,

[It is perhaps to be regretted that ,

in any country, Religion should be Πολυ δεύτερον, ώς τάχιςα. associated with War, which is seldom

down ;




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American Proclamation of a Put-Day. on any side justifiable. The different the will and authority of the whole manner, however, in which governo people, and guaranteeing to each inments appeal, in their quarrels, to the dividual security, not only of his Lord of Hosts, is characteristic of the person and his property, but of those spirit of their institutions. In this sacred rights of conscience, so essenview, we have been considerably im- tial to his present happiness and so pressed with the following Proclama- dear to his future hopes :--that with tion of a Day of Humiliation by the those expressions of devout thankfulPresident of the United States, during ness be joined supplications to the the late uubappy contest with this same Almighty Power, that he would country; and venture to insert it in look down with compassion on our our Repository, wishing it to be read, infirmities, that he would pardon our as it surely may, now that the two manifold transgressions, and awaken countries are at peace, not as a po- and strengthen in all the wholesome litical manifesto, but as a State Cu- purposes of repentance and amendriosity. Ed.)

ment; that in this season of trial and

calamity, he would preside in a parUnited States, by a joint re- cils, and inspire all citizens with a solution of the two houses, have sig- love of their country, and with those nified a request that a day may be re- fraternal affections, and that mutual commended, to be observed by the confidence, which have so happy a people of the United States with reli- tendency to make us safe at home gious solemnity, as a day of Public and respected abroad ; and that, as Humiliation and Prayer ; and where he was graciously pleased, heretofore, as in times of public calamity, such to smile on our struggles against the as that of the war, brought on the attempts of the government of the United States by the injustice of a empire of which these states then foreign government, it is especially made a part, to wrest from them the becoming, that the hearts of all should rights and privileges to which they be touched with the same, and the were entitled in common with every eyes of all be turned to that Almighty other part, and to raise them to the Power, in whose hand are the wel- station of an independent and sovefare and destiny of nations : Ido, there- reign people ; so he would now be fore, issue this my proclamation, re- pleased, in like manner, to bestow commending to all who shall be his blessing on our arms in resisting piously disposed, to unite their hearts the hostile and persevering efforts of and voices in addressing, at one and the same power to degrade us on the the same time, their vows and adora- ocean, the common inheritance of all, tious to the great Parent and Sove- from rights and immunities, belong. reign of the Universe, that they as. ing and essential to the American semble on the second Thursday of people, as a co-equal member of the September vext, iu their respective great community of independent nareligious congregations, to render him tions; and that, inspiring our enethanks for the many blessings he has mies with moderation, with justice, bestowed on the people of the United and with that spirit of reasonable acStates ; that he has blessed them with commodation, which our country has a land capable of yielding all the ne- continued to manifest, we may be cessaries and requisites of human life, enabled to beat our swords into with ample means for convenient ex- ploughshares, and to cujoy in peace, changes with foreigo countries ; that every man,the fruits of his honestindus. he has blessed the labours employed try and the rewards of his lawful enterin its cultivation and improvement; prise. If the public homage of a peothat he is now blessing the exertions ple can ever be worthy the favourato extend and establish the arts and ble regard of the holy and omniscient manufactures, which will secure with. Being to whom it is addressed, it in ourselves supplies too important to must be that in which those who remain dependent on the precarious join in it are guided only by their policy, or the peaceable dispositions free choice, by the impulse of their of other nations; and particularly that hearts and the dictates of their couhe bas blessed the United States with sciences, and such a spectacle must e political constitution, founded on be interesting to all Christian nations;

as proving that religion, that gift of will finally rejoice “ in hope of the
heaven for the good of man, freed glory of God."
from all coercive edicts, from that There is every reason to believe,
unhallowed connexion with the pow- quite independent of any intimation
ers of this world, which corrupts re- we might receive on the subject from
ligion into an instrument or an usurp-

our own observation or from revelaer of the policy of the State, and tion, that, as there are no chasms making no appeal but to reason, to or breaks in the chain of being from the heart and to the conscience, can man down to the lowest reptile, so spread its benign influence every in like manner a similar enlargement where, and can attract to the Divine of intellect may gradually take place Altar those free-will offerings of hum. in the various orders of beings that ble supplication, thanksgiving and rank above him, up to the highest praise, which alone can be accepta- excellence that created Intelligences ble to Him, whom no hypocrisy can can ever attain. Infinite benevolence, deceive and no forced sacrifices pro- united with infinite power, seems to pitiate.

require that which appears actually Upon these principles, and with to take place; namely, that sentient these views, the good people of the beings capable of some degree of hapUnited States are invited, in confor- piness should pervade and fill every mity with the resolution aforesaid, to part of habitable space : and if this dedicate the day above-named to the be the fact, there must have been in religious solemnities therein recom- the intermediate gradation between mended.

the creatures governed by mere inGiven at Washington this twenty. stinct and those next above them, to third day of July, in the year of our whom the power of reason is superLord 1813.

added, a creature such as man;*--a J. MADISON.. creature at first, impotent, and wholly

governed by present objects, subject York, Jan. 4th, 1816. during a series of years, if uot through Sir,

the whole of his probationary state N a former paper I endeavoured to to innumerable errors and follies, but

state to you some thoughts which capable, if he gain the victory over had occurred to me with increased then, of attaining to very high deemphasis, after reading the enlightened and consolatary treatise of Dr. Cogan, in farther illustration of the following passage on this subject from a

* The writer is tempted to subjoin the strong presumptive evidence which

volume of Discourses chiefly on practical arises from a careful examination of subjects, recently published. P. 8, When the known phenomena of the human

we reflect," says the author, " that' the mind, compared with the leading ob- springing grass, the opening flower, the jects of divine revelation, that both spreading tree, are each of them the hahave the same great Being for their bitation of innumerable living things, all Author: and I now beg leave to oc- of them enjoying the utmost perfection of cupy a few of your pages by the in- their natures, rejoicing in the liberality of sertion of some additional reflections an unknown God; when, from these mi. tending to corroborate the still more

nute and invisible objects of bis bounty,

we raise our eyes and indulge our memory important truth, closely connected and imagination, and extend our view indeed with the former, that the great more widely through all the regions of and benevolent object of both, is the the earth, the waters and the air; of the, ultimate perfection and happiness of stagnant'lake, the flowing river and the the whole human race. We would restless ocean, on every climate, under even presume to go further, and add, every sky; on the lonely forest, the barren if creatures so ignorant and liable to bills and uncultivated vales; when we error might indulge in a speculation find them all inhabited by their proper so vast and magnificent, that all things people ; every element replete with life; not only in this world but throughout of his creation but where some happy be

not a corner of the world, scarce an atom the boundless Universe, “ are working ing is rejoicing in his goodness; our souls together for good," for the produc are elevated with diviner transports, we tion of the greatest general perfection seem to sympathize with the whole creaand happiness, so that every rational tion of God, and in some measure to enboing, from the highest to the lowest joy the happiness of the world !"

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Mrs. Cappe on the ultimate Perfection and Happiness of Mankind. 81 grees of mental and moral excellence, through snffering. And it may be and eventually of being fitted for a true, for any thing we know to the very exalted place, when this life contrary, that every order of created shall be over, in those celestial abodes, being from feeble man to the glorious where dwelleth everlasting upright- Archangel that stands before the ness.

the throne of the Most High ; may Now it is clear, that in addition to all of them have previously passed the faculty of reason, he who forms through a scene of probation ; or, in this link in the immeasurable chain, other words, may from very small must possess the power of deliber- beginnings have made continual adating and choosing between two con- vances from one degree of perfection trary modes of action, (call it free- to another. will, or being influenced by motives, But be this as it may, in respect to

or by whatever other name you please) ourselves at least, that this is actually for otherwise he could not be deemed the fact, is suggested by reason, and an accountable creature, or gain those amply confirmed by revelation. If permanent habits by a long series of the amiable, diligent child will evenconscientious self-government and vir- tually become the intelligent, virtuous tuous exertion, which are requisite man, is it probable, is it at all analofor the formation of a finished charac- gous to what we certainly do or may ter, and essential to his being fitted know of the power, the wisdom, and for heavenly happiness.

the goodness of God, that when the If it should be inquired, why man man thus disciplined and prepared, was not originally endowed with such shall have fully attained to all the superior faculties as should have ef- wisdom and all the knowledge of fectually preserved him from every which in this mortal state he is casinful deviation ;- with views so just pable; when the great object of his and extended of his duty to God and life, it may be for a series of succeedhis own happiness, as should have led ing years, shall have been to devote him unerringly forward in the plain himself faithfully to the service of tranquil paths of piety and virtue? God and the good of his fellow-creait is obvious to reply, that this in fact tures; that, at the very moment when would be to inquire why such a crea- these rare endowments, obtained with tare as man should ever have been so much labour, and fostered with so formed. Besides, had he been created much care, appear to have formed a impeccable, without the possibility of complete habit, that they should then transgressing, or even had he been in an instant be for ever extinguished; placed in a situation where the temp- lost and eternally buried in the silence tations to transgress were less frequent of the tomb ?-Most happily, howand less powerful, he might indeed ever, for the sincere believer in the have remained innocent, but could gospel of Christ, what reason intihardly have been called virtuous; mates and piety most fervently deand although his existence might still sires, revelation demonstratively conhave been a blessing, yet surely not firms. There we are fully apprized a blessing compared with his, who that the present life is but the seed" by patient continuance in well do- time of human being, that “whating," has at length formed a charac- ever a man sows, that shall he also ter which may in some measure be reap," and that those who overcome deemed his own ; and who has there the temptations to sin, shall finally by become fitted, through the infi- attain the prize of the high calling nite mercy of God, for “honour, in Christ Jesus our Lord." glory and immortality." How do we But the interesting, important quesknow that the previous discipline tion will be asked, If those only who arising from great imperfection with are Christians in deed, as well as in in, and multiplied temptations from name, shall attain to this blessedness, without, may not have been indis- what must be the portion, not alone pensable to the attainment of that of the incorrigibly wicked, but of the firmness and stability of virtue, which myriads on myriads in every age and the future exalted stations to which in every country who unhappily fall such happy persons will be promoted, far below this Christian standard; and may absolutely require? We know this, through all the various stages of who it was that was made perfect imperfection from mere harmlessness,




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of character to the sad extremes of laws of which we have any knowledge,
profligacy and vice? Alas, shall they this mutual subserviency does actually
all perish for ever? Or where and take place. We know that the same
how must the line of demarcation be sun which gives light and heat and
drawn? On this subject, reason has animates the principle of vegetation
but little to depose, and the page of in our little planet, dispenses in like
revelation is not explicit. Of this, manner similar advantages and bless-
however, we may rest assured, ings to other planetary worlds, which
though it is not for us to know the like our own, move around him; that
times and the seasons, that the judge the ebbing and flowing tides of the
of all the earth will do right. But if ever-changing ocean are regulated by
we have no data from which to rea- the immediate influence of the friend
son accurately, and no explicit de ly satellite, which monthly completes
claration from scripture, perhaps from her revolution around its shores, and
analogy some little information may which may probably in her turn be
be derived on this perplexing subject, curiously connected with and depend-
remembering, however, that in the ent upon our globe for multiplied
region of conjecture, even when aided phenomena essential to her welfare,
by this borrowed light, we ought al- of which we have no knowledge. We
ways to proceed, if not with timid, perceive likewise that even the fixed
yet with wary, cautious steps. stars which illuminate immeasurable

If then it is highly probable, as we space, and are probably so many suns
have seen, that in the various orders that like our own dispense light and
of beings superior to man, the ascent heat to systems of revolving worlds,
above him should be regular and gra- do not refuse their friendly assistance,
dual, in like manner as we see the de- notwithstanding their inconceivable
scent below him, and especially if it distance, to the bewildered mariner,
be requisite that all must equally pass who, without their aid, would infal-
through a state of probation before libly perish.
they are fitted for durable, complete What then is God? How trans-
happiness; may it not be, that those cendantly glorious is the small glimpse
who have not duly improved the op- we thus transiently obtain of Him,
portunities of the present state, may“ in whom, and through whom and
be destined to occupy some of those to whom are all things ! Well might
intermediate stages in a future life in the pious psalmist of antiquity ex-
which greater and more severe disci- claim, “ Whither shall I go from thy
pline may be employed to remove the spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy
deep stains of guilt ; contracted, not presence? If I ascend up to heaven
· merely by ignorance and folly, but thou art there, if I make my bed in
by pride, sensuality, ambition, cruel- hades behold thou art there! If I
ty and revenge?

take the wings of the morning and
In corroboration of this suggestion remain in the uttermost parts of the
it may be observed, that every thing sea, even there shall thine hand lead
we see or witness around us, whether me, and thy right hand shall hold
in the material, the vegetable, the me!" Of what infinite importance it
animal, or the intellectual creation, is that we should desire above all
are parts of one great whole, evi- things to impress this great truth up-
dently subservient to each other, and on our minds, and should make it our
working together (as we continually most ardent endeavour to live always
more clearly perceive in proportion to as in his sight!
our advancement in knowledge) for If it be indeed true, that God is
the greater good of all. In this world every where, at all times present,
nothing is of itself complete ; and from what a subject of alarm to the impe-
analogy may we not conclude that, nitently wicked! What a source of
as the whole universe is equally de- trust and confidence and consolation
pendent upon the great Creator and and triumph, to the godly and up-
Sovereigu Lord of all

, the same ge- right! Surely, Mr. Editor, Unita-
neral law extends to other systems rians beyond all others, they who
and other worlds, and that all have profess a purer Christianity, should
a mutual relation to, and act and re- especially labour to cultivate this de-
act upon each other? In fact, we are votional spirit; they, whose belief is
certain, that in respect of the general so simple and sublime ; so perfectly

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