Imatges de pÓgina
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ture are repressed from infancy, and that the most unnatural means are used to bring out the most injurious propensities; in short, that the utmost pains are taken to make that which by nature is the most delightful compound for producing excellence and happiness, absurd, imbecile and wretched. Such is the conduct now pursued by those who are called the best and wisest of the present generation, although there is not one rational object to be gained by it. From this principle of individual interest have arisen all the divisions of mankind, the endless errors and mischiefs of class, sect, party, and of national antipathies, creating the angry and malevolent passions, and all the crimes and misery with which the human race has been hitherto afflicted. In short, if there be one closet doctrine more contrary to the truth than another, it is the notion that individual interest, as that term is now understood, is a more advantageous principle on which to found the social system, for the benefit of all, or of any, than the principle of union and mutual cooperation. The former acts like an immense weight to repress the most valuable faculties and dispositions, and to give a wrong direction to all the human powers. It is one of those magnificent errors, (if the expression may be allowed,) that when enforced in practice, brings ten thousand evils in its train. The principle on which these economists proceed, instead of adding to the wealth of nations or of individuals, is itself the sole cause of poverty; and but for its operation, wealth would long ago have ceased to be a subject of contention in any part of the world. If, it may be asked, experience has proved, that union, combination, and extensive arrangement among mankind, are a thousand times more powerful to destroy, than the efforts of an unconnected multitude where each acts individually for himself, would not a similar increased effect be produced by union, combination, and extensive arrangement, to create and conserve? Why should not the result be the same in the one case as in the other? But it is well known that a combination of men and of interests, can effect that which it would be futile to attempt and im

*

possible to accomplish by individual exertions and separate interests." In another place, Mr. Owen, with reference to this question, observes, "Wherever the experiment has been tried, the labour of each has been exerted cheerfully. It is found that when men work together for a common interest, each performs his part more advantageously for himself and society, than when employed for others at daily wages, or than when working by the piece. When employed by the day, they feel no interest in their occupation beyond the receipt of their wages; when they work by the piece, they feel too much interest, and frequently overwork themselves, and occasion premature old age and death. When employed with others in a community of interests, both these extremes are avoided, the labour becomes temperate but effective, and may be easily regulated and superintended. Besides, the principles and practices are now quite obvious by which any inclinations, from the most indolent to the most industrious, may be given to the rising generation."

It cannot be denied that human nature requires a stimulus to excite its exertions; but unless it be maintained that no stimulus short of wretched poverty will suffice to this purpose, and such a proposition stands opposed to the most notorious facts, then it becomes possible that men may be excited by the desire of advancing in the acquisition of those objects which conduce to the embellishment and refinement of the human character, and we may set our minds quite at ease as to the danger of sinking into inactivity for want of suitable excitements, so long as any single good, real or fancied, remains to be attained, that is to say, to all eternity.

The habits of those who will compose the first associations, will have been formed by the usual motives by which men are now actuated; so long as the projected associations are surrounded by ordinary society, they will naturally be actuated by a desire to outstrip it in excellence; and when, if ever, society at large shall come to be resolved into similar communities,

* His Public Address, dated 25th July, 1817.

one establishment will serve to excite and stimulate another. As this is one of the most important questions connected with the scheme, I have been led to dwell more upon it than I should otherwise have deemed necessary but I know that many men of very benevolent and liberal sentiments have entertained a fear, lest men associated on the plan of a community of interests should degenerate into drones. If this be probable, what a dull place must heaven be, where we at least expect to find abundant means of subsistence, angels' food!

The last objection which I shall here notice, is that which founds itself upon the doctrine of Mr. Malthus respecting population.

I have studied his celebrated Essay with a strong feeling of anxiety, and am happy to say that we have nothing to fear upon the score of an increase of numbers. It is true, he sets out with affirming that the geometrical ratio of human increase, and the arithmetical ratio of the increase of the means of subsistence, are inevitable laws of nature, of sufficient force to destroy the most beautiful state of society which the imagination of man can conceive. But when we advance towards the close of the Essay, we find to our joy, that the inevitable law of human increase is a power as tractable and docile as our hearts can wish. 66 Thus," says Mr. Malthus, "it appears that we possess a great power, capable, in a short time, of peopling a desart region, but also capable, under other circumstances, of being repressed within any, the smallest possible limits, by human energy and virtue, at the expense of a comparatively small amount of evil."

But if the ratio of human increase be thus variable at the will of man, as admitted by the very person who professes to be the most deeply learned upon the subject, we have the satisfaction to be quite certain that be the rate of increase what it may, there can be no insuperable difficulty to the production of the means of subsistence in a corresponding ratio, until the period shall arrive when the whole of the habitable earth shall have been fully peopled. We know that other animals, and the vegetable

tribe, multiply their numbers still more rapidly than man; and that an agricultural labourer can raise ten times as much as he can himself consume. We have moreover the satisfaction to know, that under the projected arrangements, with the aid of machinery, a large portion of those who are at present engaged in manufactures may be liberated and enabled if necessary, to cultivate the earth; and that the women and elder children may also assist in the lighter parts of husbandry and gardening.

Why these political economists should be so alarmed at the effect which Mr. Owen's plan is to produce on the population of the country, I cannot conceive, since by far the greater number of instances in which men have been associated on the principle of a community of interests, those persons have practised celibacy. I have no idea that any such restrictions will ever be imposed upon the union of the sexes; but well we know, that, if prudence should require so painful a sacrifice, there is nothing in that form of society to prevent its adoption.

Having thus adverted to some of the leading objections which have been raised against the scheme of Mr. Owen, I shall now slightly touch upon some of the beneficial consequences which it is calculated to ensure to mankind.

Its tendency is to fix the lowest numbers of associated individuals, at such an amount as shall be competent to raise within themselves almost every thing that is primarily necessary or desirable for the comfortable subsistence of mankind. Each of these families will compose a little state, and a nation will therefore be made of a vast number of small corporate bodies. When once the superior efficacy of combined, over individual exertion, for social purposes, comes to be understood and to be fully experienced, the principle of co-operation will be acted upon by all the communities as respects the aggregate interests of the nation, as effectually as it will be by the members of a single association; national enmities will gradually melt away, and eventually all mankind become one great family.

I am aware that the sacred prophecies lead us to expect further wars and commotions before this blessed

state of things shall be established upon earth; but, as Christianity itself first throve and spread in spite of political convulsions, may we not hope that arrangements destined to assuage all the fiery contentions of mankind, may grow up even while these are raging, so as to be ready to take advantage of a lucid interval to bring rulers and people to the paths of peace? If, as I firmly believe, Christianity be destined to make wars to cease throughout the world, it must be genuine, primitive, uncorrupted Christianity, real, practical Christianity, and not the sort of thing which has but too long passed under the name of that holy and powerful religion.

SIR,

August 6, 1823.

THE

HE public are incalculably indebted to the learning, taste, and industry of Dr. Jones, in supplying what all but merely prejudiced scholars have long regarded as a desideratum in lexicography. The meaning of Greek words, in their nice distinctive shades of signification, is in numberless instances conveyed loosely and ambiguously to the apprehension of the English student, through the interposed medium of Latin terms. This tribute of an humble individual to the author of the

Individualized man, and genuine Christianity, are so separated as to be utterly incapable of union through all eternity. How highly, then, is it incumbent upon us who are anxious to restore the lost lustre of our faith, to take the lead in a scheme which is so congenial with its spirit, which indeed is but a revival of the very order of society (though under far more favourable circumstances) which was established by the first Christian church!

Yes, Sir, I do hope that the Moravian brethren will not long remain almost the only specimen among us of Christian union; but that the Unitarians will promptly, after mature consideration, exhibit to the world a still better and more illustrious display of the power of Christianity to ensure human happiness. Your missionaries will then, indeed, preach glad tidings to the poor, and carry comfort and delight wherever they go, by shewing "that godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of this life, as well as of that which is to come."

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Greek-English Lexicon, cannot be your journal, as among the striking judged foreign to the purposes of and incontestable advantages which the dictionary in question offers, may be accounted the light which it reTestament. flects on the phraseology of the New

Dr. Jones himself would perhaps be one of the last to feel any surprise at the detection, even in this his fucid and elaborate work, of some of those macula

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SIR, Islington, Aug. 7, 1823. N N reading the Rev. Mr. IRVING'S impressive volume, entitled, Orations for the Oracles of God, and an Argument for the Judgment to come, I find that he descants very copiously upon the eternity of hell-torments. It is indeed, a favourite topic, pervading the work from its commencement to its conclusion. He, however, advances nothing more than the usual arguments, and deems the contrary belief, that of universal restoration, pregnant with mischievous consequences. He no doubt writes under the full conviction of the truth of his sentiments, and of course discharges this part of his ministry with fidelity. It is pleasing notwithstanding, to meet with his memorable conclusion, which shall be transcribed.

torment, in this ocean of sorrow and suffering, which shocks the faculties of reason, and distresses the powers of belief." (Pp. 393, 394.)

As the Christian orator is thus visited with the compunctious feelings of nature, he may be led to exercise his reason, and review the articles of his belief. And it is to be hoped that a critical and attentive perusal of the New Testament, will lead him to form a creed more accordant with the benevolent character of the Supreme Being, and more auspicious to the best interests of mankind. . He deems what he is pleased to denominate the Oracles of God, the fair subject of examination, intelligible to the common reader, and calculated to lead men into a knowledge of all truth. The Bible is not a dead letter, mysterious and unintelligible, needing another revelation from God to make it plain and useful. The preacher thus expresses himself forcibly on the subject

"Now when reason taketh this picture under her deliberation, I know not what confusion she feels, but surely she is distressed. She thinks it pitiful that a brief, transient space of time like life, should decide and determine these terrible conclusions of eternity. She could wish a taste of it, and then a chance of escaping from it. And oh! it would please her well could she indulge the fond hope of seeing all yet recovered and restored to happy seats. Hell cheated, the Devil himself converted, and the universal world bound in chains of love and blessedness! It seemeth more than terrible to think of wretches swimming and sweltering for ever in the deep abyss, preyed upon by outward mischiefs and distracted by inward griefs, tortured, tormented, maddened for evermore! There is a seeming cruelty in this quietus of

"O! I hate such ignorant prating, because it taketh the high airs of Orthodoxy, and would blast me as an heretical liar if I go to teach the people that the word of God is a well-spring of life, unto which they have but to stoop their lips in order to taste its sweet and refreshing waters and be nourished unto life eternal. But these high airs and pitiful pelting words are very trifling to me, if I could but persuade men to dismiss all this cant about the mysteriousness and profound darkness of the word of God, and sift their own inward selves to find out what lethargy of conception or blind of prejudice, what unwillingness of mind or full possession of worldly engagements, hath hitherto hindered them from drinking life unto their souls from the fountain of living waters. But if I go about to persuade my brethren against the truth of experience, against the very sense and meaning of revelation, against my own conviction, that they may read till their eye grows dim with age without apprehending one word, unless it should please God by methods unrevealed to conjure intelligence into the hieroglyphic page; what do I but interpose another gulf between man and his Maker, dash the full cup of spiritual sweets from his lips, and

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leave him as lonely, helpless and deso-
late as he was before the Lion of the
tribe of Judah did take the book of
God's hidden secrets and prevail to
unloose the seals thereof?" (Pp. 471,
472.)

This

This statement augurs well. celebrated preacher and his admirers, with this rational view of the Scriptures, may sit down to a calm and deliberate examination of their contents. The New Testament is consistent with itself. The attributes of the Supreme Being are there never libelled; and the happiness of man is held up as the end of all the divine dispensations. From creeds and from confessions of faith, as from an empoisoned fountain, have issued the tenets most inimical to the glory of God, and subversive of the welfare of mankind. Christ came to save, not destroy, the human species. And should the majority of the inhabitants of the world be condemned to eternal punishment, his mission must prove a curse, and not a blessing, to the children of men. The apostolic asseveration, that where sin hath abounded, grace shall much more abound, is realized only by the final restoration of man to undissembled felicity.

The subject is doubtless attended with difficulty. But as in a court of justice we incline to the side of pity and compassion, so let us adopt that creed from the word of God, which wars not with the feelings implanted by heaven in our breasts. The doctrine of the eternal torments of the wicked is alike irreconcileable with reason and revelation. Nor has this awfully terrific dogma a salutary influence on the mind of man. Love, rather than terror, is the predominant trait of the dispensation of Jesus. The lightnings and thunderings of Sinai have given way to the small still voice of the gospel. Persuasion in vites, denunciation terrifies and drives away. The former avails, whilst the latter multiplies the evils of transgression, by hardening the sinner against his Maker. Thus, agreeably to the well known lines of the poet,

Fear frightens minds, whilst Love, like
heat,
Exhales the soul sublime to seek her
native seat;

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I must apologize for the length of this communication. The topic is interesting, and I should rejoice to find that the most popular preacher of his day entertained more just views of the glorious gospel of the everblessed God-blessed, because he is so in himself-delighting to render the work of his hands felicitous, either in this world or in the world to come. Mr. Irving compliments the Universalists with the designation of "amiable enthusiasts," adding, that he has "no hesitation to ascribe the bias of their mind to the very best of feelings, a desire to save the mercy and benevolence of the Almighty”— whilst he confesses that "the mercy and goodness of God, exceeding great, and greatly to be adored, is sufficient for the salvation of all the earth." Of these concessions let not their author be ashamed. They are dictated by the omnipotent energy of truth, and are sanctioned by the sublimated genius of Christian charity. The great and good Dr. Isaac Watts says, If the blessed God should at any time, in consistence with his glorious_and incomprehensible perfections, release those wretched creatures (suffering future punishment) from their acute pains and long imprisonment, I think I ought cheerfully to accept this appointment of God for the good of millions of my fellow-creatures, and add my joys and praises to all the songs and triumph of the heavenly world, in the day of such a divine and glorious release of these prisoners. This will, indeed, be such a new, such an astonishing and universal jubilee, both for evil spirits and wicked men, as must fill heaven, earth, and even hell, with joy and hallelujahs!" J. EVANS.

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