Imatges de pÓgina
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sequence. Unfortunately for the argument, she died the next day from the effects of the fright and suffocation. For what purpose, then, was this display of Divine energy? And are not the advocates of a particular providence bound to give a satisfactory reply? If to forewarn her of her approaching destiny, and prepare her for the event, alas! even this purpose was not ac complished, for her mind, debilitated by age and infirmity approaching to a state of childishness, was almost unconscious of her situation, and she died, as no doubt most superannuated mortals do, without either exultation or dismay; the decay of intellect keeping pace with the emaciated state of the body, and both sinking together to the house of rest.

I shall avoid entering the boundless and thorny field of controversy respecting fate, predestination, free will, or philosophical necessity. The philosophy of books which does not accord with the philosophy of common life or or of common sense, is hut unprofitable speculation, and no better than moonshine. It is impossible the multitude can ever take up these abstruse and mysterious subjects to any useful purpose, and if so, they can never be of practical importance. Morality and religion are of universal obligation; hence I infer that any system or opinions that are not within universal reach, can never be obligatory or binding on the human race. He, then, undoubtedly, who advocates the plainest and most intelligible hypothesis, is best co-operating with the Deity in teaching mankind their various duties and their future expectations. Whoever, therefore, presumes to intrude his opinions upon the attention of the public, should of all things be cautious not to undermine or to give a false colouring to the moral principle, or to weaken in the least possible degree the universally admitted feeling of individual responsibility. And such I conceive to be the pernicious consequences attendant upon the doctrine of transferable righteousness; the too easy adinission of the efficacy of a death-bed repentance, and the belief of the perpetual interference of Providence to influence the minds and actions of his crea

tures.

If, as it is said of the Mahometans and Chinese, they suffer a conflagration to destroy 20,000 houses without the attempt to arrest its progress, they perhaps act more consistently with their principles than their northern brethren. The events shew that they must have been within the range of Divine prescience, and if so, what efforts could have prevented their accomplishment? They submit in humble resignation to the decrees of heaven, whereas we with our superior intelligence, bewilder ourselves with a kind of half conviction, and struggle against our opinions to counteract our inevitable destiny. If "every bullet has its billet," which passes currently with us as a truism, the bullet must not only meet the man, but the man the bullet. He must be born to the destiny; his early habits and education, his circumstances, his connexions, his thoughts and his feelings, must all conspire to drive him into the army. The regiment must be under the same invisible agency, and be ordered to its station by a blind and uncontroulable impulsc. The war itself must be predetermined and appointed, and all this inconceivable concatenation of causes and effects, with millions upon millions of connecting circumstances, must all concur to produce the death of each individual in the field of battle.

Such, then, are the unavoidable conclusions which must be admitted before we can conceive that the whole human race is under such minute superintendence or management. Nor can we pause nor consider ourselves here at the end of the difficulty, but the same attention must be allowed to be extended to all the inferior sensitive race of animal existence; for if the life of every sparrow is the object of the care and solicitude of its Maker, so must it be with every worm of our gardens, and every gnat of the interminable desert. And still more, we cannot on this hypothesis decline admitting that every atom of inanimate matter must be subject to the same incessant and watchful regulations. If the death of certain mariners and the escape of others, is appointed in such a latitude, and at a certain hour, it inevitably follows that the vessel which carries them must be prepared for the

occasion, and the rotten plank which produced the leak, or the combination of aerial atoms which caused the hurricane, or the spark which exploded the magazine, must one or other of them have been under the special direction of infinite and momentary authority.

of an allwise and original Creator; the power and wisdom which could launch a world into its trackless path, and ordain its revolutions and eclipses for countless ages, with such wonderful precision, must convey to the human mind more sublimity of ideas, than the supposition that every recurrence of this beautiful regularity should be the act of distinct contrivance and volition. As a matter of mere speculation, and when we avoid entering into particulars which we cannot possibly understand, there may perhaps be nothing reprehensible in these conjectures, because neither statement appears to contain any thing derogatory to the honour and dignity of the Creator; but to my understanding the former seems most worthy of Omnipotence,, as infinite prescience and immutability appear a much stronger ground for confidence and attributes more intelligible to our limited capacity, than a power which we conceive as being subject to hesitation or change in his designs from any cause whatever.

Let, then, the imagination of man, feeble as it is, soar to its full capabilities, and contemplate myriads of worlds created by the same Omnipotence, each of them perhaps, like our own, containing its 800,000,000 of inhabitants, endowed with reason and responsibility, all existing under the same Almighty fiat, and governed by the same energy and design. What adequate idea can possibly be formed of such minute and incessant attention being necessary to uphold the harmony and good order of the whole? The human mind is bewildered on the very threshold of the conjecture. Is it not, then, presumptuous to pronounce that such are the design and operations of Omniscience? It is out of our reach, and therefore diffidence becomes us better than assurance. It is no trivial arrogance that we should presume to dictate to Infinite Wisdom, or even to scan its operations; as well may the blind mole who scrats his passage through a few yards of the surface of the earth; as well may he attempt wisely to pronounce on the size, the use and the duration of this scene of his existence. Let us remain satisfied that infinite power and goodness must be inseparable; and while we possess not the means of scrutinizing our own essence and importance in the scale of created intelligence, or even of comprehending the structure of a blade of grass, we should be cautious how we attempt to dive into the inconceivable arcana of Divinity itself.

Of one thing we may rest assured, that it is our duty to strive by every means in our power, to promote the general welfare and happiness of our fellow-creatures, and to disseminate those principles we think best calculated to produce so desirable an end. Abstruse and speculative opinions ought never, then, to, be ranked in importance with plain and practical truths. They may lead to erroneous conclusions, and these in their turn to indifference or depravity in the moral conduct, while on the other hand we cannot err in the opinion, that what was intended by Supreme Intelligence for the general good and pursuit of mankind, should be so plain and intelligible, as that no sincere inquirer should mistake his way. If the common intuitive principles established human excellence, must be the stand-by our Maker in the human breast, or the first ideas of justice conveyed by education; if these are insufficient for our general guidance, neither doginas, nor mysteries can ever supply the deficiency, because the majority of mankind can never be decided as to their reception; and whatever may be a subject for universal doubt or contention, can never be proposed by Omniscience for our belief. On these grounds I heartily approve of the sentiment of one of our ethical writers,

Whatever we admire or venerate in

ard of our ideas respecting infinite perfection; the same in quality though differing in degree. Which mechanic, then, should we deem to possess the most consummate skill; he who made a watch, perfect in its kind, which nevertheless should require winding up at stated intervals; or he who had succeeded in the construction of one whose motions should not only be as correct as the other, but perpetual? And so with respect to the operations

SIR,

that however we may plunge ourselves in unavailing disputes, we should do

well to inculcate it as a practical and AT page 17 of the Preface to Dr.

Carpenter's excellent Work, in reply to Dr. Magee, is the following just and highly-merited eulogium of Mr. Wright, late Unitarian Missionary.

"6

universal rule, that human life is like the game of backgammon, in which though we have no controul over the cast of the dice, yet that the subsequent movements are at our discretion. I perceive at a little distance a loaded waggon approaching me; it is altogether independent of my will or choice that it should continue to advance, the laws of nature and my experience teach me to provide for my safety by avoiding it, and I feel responsible to myself and to the Author of my being for my self-preservation. Under such circumstances, it can hardly be admitted that mere theoretical reasoning or metaphysical subtlety should subvert the conclusion; and to allow myself to be a passive sufferer under such false principles, must be an act as culpable as positive selfdestruction. Again, I see a man with powers and capacities in general no ways superior to my own-I see such an one fix the weather-cock on the top of a lofty spire, and descend in safety, and I feel that I have the option or liberty to make the same attempt; but I feel also the conviction that it is my duty to ponder and deliberate as to the probable danger. I calculate why he should succeed, and why I should be likely to perish; and I forbear the attempt, as being the undoubted master of my own will and actions.

But it will be said, that in either of these cases I am acting under the irresistible controul of circumstances, which impel my mind as forcibly as the horses do the waggon, and that my choice is altogether an illusory idea. I have, however, this satisfaction, if I cannot prove my opinions to be right, neither can any one demonstrate them to be wrong. Whether they are philosophically correct or not, I know not; yet this, however, I know, that they are on the safe side of the argument, that the feeling I recommend is practical and useful, and I wish to impress my own and the public mind with the controuling conviction of the rigid responsibility to himself, to society, and to his God, which every human being is bound to believe and cultivate.

JAMES LUCKCOCK.

The plans of the (Unitarian) Fund, as far as they have been carried into effect, have been principally executed by the highly appreciated services of our leading Unitarian Missionary. I need scarcely say that I refer to Mr. Wright. Exclusively devoting his time and talents to promote a cause which he values as it deserves, and to which he is attached by deep conviction produced by the serious search after truth in the Scriptures of truth, Mr. Wright has contributed, effectively and extensively, to the diffusion of Unitarian principles; and not only for his labours, but for the spirit in which he has engaged in them-the spirit of Christian love and piety, as well as of steady, judicious, active zeal,-he is entitled to, and I believe possesses, the cordial respect and esteem of every Unitarian who is acquainted with them."

I feel persuaded, that there is hardly a Unitarian in Great Britain who has ever listened to Mr. Wright, read his works, or heard of his zealous labours in the spread of truth, who will for a moment hesitate to subscribe with all his heart to the above tribute of gratitude. I honour the feelings which prompted Dr. Carpenter to hand down to posterity this testimony of his own high sense of Mr. Wright's zeal, and inestimable services, together with what he believes to be the general feeling of Unitarians towards this truly valuable and effective labourer in the cause of truth.

But, Sir, if it be true that the Unitarian public do entertain this high sense of Mr. Wright's merits, ought they to be repaid by verbal acknowledgments only? If his persevering exertions for many years have really been of essential benefit to the cause, (and surely this is undeniable,) ought they not to be distinguished by some public and general mark of approbation? I cannot anticipate dissent on this point, and beg leave to submit

That a subscription be opened for the purpose of enabling the Committee of the Unitarian Fund to present to

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Mr. Wright an honourable, and also a useful testimony of the gratitude and approbation of the Unitarian body at large. I leave it entirely to more.competent judges to regulate the mode of collecting and of applying the subscription, so as best to suit the object of the subscribers, and the feelings and wishes of their benefactor.

Solicitous to forward this design, fain would I invoke the aid of those powerful pens which have so frequently adorned the pages of the Monthly Repository. Surely the subject is worthy, and the ground inviting! Both gratitude and zeal are implicated. Gratitude for acknowledged important services; and zeal, in stimulating others to emulate so noble an example, so worthy of the cause, so nearly approaching to those of the apostles themselves, in the labours, hardships, difficulties, opprobrium, and malevolence, over which it rose triumphant. And could I flatter myself with obtain ing the aid of him alone, whose intellectual mirror holds up so bright an image of Christian zeal, and whose tribute of praise has excited me to this attempt, I should hope every thing from the co-operation of so masterly a pen, guided by so warm a heart.

As I am not aware that an appeal to Unitarian zeal or generosity was ever rejected, I will take for granted that able advocates will be forthcoming to give shape and energy to this proposal, and that the list of subscribers will be numerous. In this persuasion I request that £5 may be placed against my name.

ANTECURSOR.

On the "

Appeal in behalf of the Christian Tract Society." "Blest is the man who nought expects, says Pope, For lo! that man shall not be disappointed." PETER PINDAR.

ous inconveniences, by leading them to form wild and visionary plans, and to indulge foolish and romantic expectations. That this has been the case in the present instance, I expect to be able clearly to prove; and I trust the writer will not only pardon, but thank me for endeavouring to cure him of a failing, which might otherwise subject him to so many mortifications and disappointments. He seems to expect that Unitarian congregations will set about making collections in aid of the Christian Tract Society, and he engages in that case to contribute two sovereigns towards it. I dare answer for it that his two sovereigns are perfectly safe in his own possession, and I much fear that they will remain uncalled-for till the great day of account shall have sealed the doom of this, and every other earthly institutution. He admits that "Unitarians have many and pressing calls upon their liberality;" but he does not appear to be aware that the greater part of us stand in need of every shilling we can procure, to maintain our families in tolerable comfort; and that those of us who can advance a little beyond this, see new wants continually opening upon us, which were unknown to, and unthought of by, our forefathers. They, for instance, could sit contented and happy on a brick floor, surrounded by oaken chairs and tables; whereas it is absolutely necessary to our comfort and respectability, I had almost said to our very existence, to have our floors covered with Turkey, or at least with Brussels carpets; our walls decorated with costly hangings, and our rooms filled with the most elegant and expensive mahogany furniture. Our forefathers could enjoy

IN

N reading in your last Repository, pp. 234, 235, an appeal in behalf of the Christian Tract Society, much as I gave the writer credit for the sincerity and goodness of his intentions, I could not altogether acquit him of a certain quality, which I shall here denominate Eutopianism; a quality which every one knows is very liable to subject its possessors to many seri

the affectionate and social intercourse of their friends over a frugal meal, consisting of one or two plain and wholesome dishes; and could meet and return the smiles of friendship perfectly well by the light of two candles. But (sad reverse) our eyes are grown so dim, that we cannot see to entertain a few friends without eight, ten, or a dozen candles; and our stomachs are become so delicate, that it would be an affront to invite our friends, without making our tables groan beneath the loads of expensive and unwholesome delicacies, which are now become the absolute necessaries

of life. We cannot do without two or three servants, in circumstances in which our forefathers and mothers could have gone on very happily with only one; and this not only because our mode of living occasions a much greater quantity of labour, but because our wives and daughters have been taught the all-important lesson, that their own delicate hands were made for the express purpose of―doing nothing at all.

How, under such circumstances, ean it be possible for us to spare any thing for the support of a society, which, after all, many of us are of opinion, is only calculated to promote practical religion? From this opinion, however, I venture to dissent. I am firmly persuaded that this society will eventually promote the spread of Unitarian sentiments, more than any society which at present we have in existence. And I freely confess, that rather than not contribute towards its support, I would gladly relinquish a considerable part of the above-mentioned artificial wants, provided my neighbours would enter into recognizances not to laugh at and despise me for an old-fashioned mortal-or even though they should refuse these recognizances.

Having thus gently animadverted upon the errors of the writer above referred to, may I be excused in droping a respectful hint to the Committee of this invaluable institution; and I am firmly persuaded, that if my hint is adopted, it would do more towards increasing their funds, than all the "Appeals" in the Monthly Repository; and that is, to give free admission to the ladies at their anniversary meetings. I do not mean that the ladies should be invited to join the public dinner; this, I am persuaded, they would not choose to do. But admit them to hear the report, the accounts of the proceedings, and the animated and energetic speeches which are delivered on those occasions. This would excite an ardour and an enthusiasm in behalf of this institution in the minds of that sex, who I apprehend are peculiarly formed both by nature and education for feeling an interest in an institution of this kind.

It would be gratifying to me, and I doubt not to many of the readers of the Monthly Repository, if the Editor

would have the goodness to give us a list of the congregational collections in behalf of this institution. I greatly fear it will not occupy much room. NO EUTOPIAN.

Bloxham,
SIR,
Oct. 11, 1822.
R. quotes (XVII.

M 288, 289) with approbation

the following passage from Mr. Kenrick's Sermons: "That the death or blood of Christ has no efficacy in removing moral guilt; but that when it is spoken of as procuring the forgiveness of sins, it relates entirely to restoration to a sanctified state, which in the language of both the Old and New Testament on many occasions, is expressed by the forgiveness of sins.” Sermon XIV. Vol. I.

But surely this is not correct. I. It is allowed that to sanctify, sometimes signifies no more than to cleanse a person from bodily pollution, to refit him to appear before God at the tabernacle or temple service. Exod. xix. 14; Deut. xii. 6, 7; Luke ii. 21-24. But

II. In many cases the patriarchal and Jewish sacrifices cleansed from moral guilt.

1. The patriarchal sacrifices did so. It is said, Job i. 5, "And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually."

And in chap. xlii. 7–9, it is said, "The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, my wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: And the Lord accepted Job."

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