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will hear the unbelieving libertines in apparent concert with those raving declaimers, flily complimenting the established clergy upon their desera tion from the primitive evangelical standard, and profefling, as openly as themselves, an unbelief of its fundamental doctrines.
The declared rebels against the laws of God, ordained to regulate their conduct, indignant now at the statutes enacted by a wise government, to restrain their exorbitances in practice and discourse, appear like a torrent partially confined, impelled to break forth in another direction. Their insults are the more open and daring against the divine majesty. In these they madly fancy they may, with present impunity, indulge their utmost licence. Be at all times prepared to meet and resist the boldest attacks of these traitors, alike to an earthly and heavenly fovereign. May your clerical profession, the cause of humanity and of sacred truth, with a firm . trust in Almighty succour at your call, infpirit, and give success to all your loyal and pious endeavours. That you may properly discharge your duty, in opposing these dreaded foes to our excellent establishment, be careful to acquire first an exact idea of their distinct, yet often, strangely, blended characters."
This is properly followed by a “ Distinct View of Modern Infidelity, and of Antinomian Methodism;" — subjects which cannot be too closely and minutely considered by Clergymen at the present moment, when infidelity and fanaticism appear to be advancing palibus æquis.
I am, gentlemen,
ΧΦ. . [Note. We concur with our correspondent in his opinion and recommendation of Di. Duncan's very judicious and leatonable publication ; and we hope that the admonitions of this venerable Divine, will have abundant effect upon those to whom they are particularly addrefled. It was our intention to have reviewed this excellent pamphlet, but the infertion of the above letter, with this note, now renders it unneceffary.]
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
ĠENTLEMEN, 1 REQUEST the favour of you to insert the following letter in your very valuable Miscellany.
I am, gentlemen, Remptone, ,
Your's, &c. Nov. !i, 1802.
E. PEARSON. TO THE REV. DR. PALEY, Rev. Sir, IT having repeatedly fallen to my lot to animadvert on some parts of your “ Principles of Moral and Political Philofophy," the publication, which formed the foundation of your well-deserved fame, I feel an inclination to express to you the satisfaction, which I have experienced, in the perufal of your late production on Natural Theology. No employment can be more proper for a human being, than to contemplate the Creator in his works, to “ look through nature up to nature's God," and thence to derive those sentiments, which are adapted both to ennoble his mind and to regulate his conduct; and in this employment, I doubt not, you will be the means of engaging thousands, who would otherwise have never been either disposed or able to engage in it. If there be any thing further
Rev. E. Pearson, to the Rev. Dr. Paley.
on the subject, which I should have wished for, it is, that you had carried on your observations from the material to the intellectual world, and afforded us, in addition to the chapter on instincts, a chapter on the faculties of the human mind, as being the most express image here discernable of the Divine Nature. Where, however, we have received so much, there is but little reason to complain of not having received more. From the
perufal of your book, those might well suppose, who do not know the con
you had bent on it the whole force of your mind, and that the ftudies of your life had been directed with a particular view to its subject. By your happy mode of illustration, you have unveiled the face of nature, disclosed a vast variety of those wondrous beauties, to which the generality of men are blind, or which, at least, they are negligent of referring to an intelligent cause, and thus powerfully atlitted in driving atheism to take refuge in the lowest regions of ignorance or folly. I am happy also in observing, that you have provided a caution, and I hope it will prove a lifficient one, against the danger, which is fupposed, not perhaps without reason, to be attendant on the study of Natural Religion ; I mean, that of so resting in the conclusions derived from it, as to render the mind leis sensible of the neceflity, and less attentive to the evidences, of Revelation. This, if we may judge from the experience of the present age, is the common fault of philosophic minds; though it is doubtless more peculiarly so, where, as in Roman Catholic countries, Christianity is not presented to acceptance in its original purity. This, therefore, is a fault, against which the student, who is invited to survey the works of nature with a philosophic eye, can scarcely be too ftri&tly guarded. Amidst his admiration of those works, he should frequently be reminded, that there are many difficulties concerning man, if not concerning all the sensible inhabitants of our globe (involving, of course, difficulties concerning the moral attributes of the Deity) which can only be explained, as they are explained in Scripture, by considering him as a fallen creature.
In one of my little publications, fpeaking of the books on the subject of Natural Religion, which I thought adapted to the use of students in the University, after mentioning, with approbation, “ Dr. Samuel Clarke's Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God,” and the first part of
Bishop Butler's Analogy,” I stated, that additional assistance in this branch of study might be expected from the appearance, thould it ever take place, of that work of Dr. Balguy, of which bis excellent treatise on Divine Benevolence was supposed to be a harbinger, as well as specimen. It has since been discovered, that the expectations, which may have been formed, of assistance from that work, are not likely to be gratified. I am the more happy, therefore, in reflecting, that you have to amply contributed to make amends for the disappointment, and furnished a work on the same subject, to which our academic youth may be referred with so much safety and advantage.
Thinking as I do, and withing for the support of your authority in what I take to be the cause of truth, there is scarcely any thing, which I have more at heart, than that you would, if the state of your health fhould permit, take a calm review of those positions advanced by you in morality and politics, which have excited a pretty extensive, not to say general, disapprobation. If I might be permitted to assume the office of an adviser, or to be considered in any degree as the guardian and promoter of your fame, I should take the liberty of suggesting, that some of the greatest
men have increased their reputation by retracting erroneous opinions. If Augustin had not written his retractations, his character would not have Itood to high as it now does. My hope and belief is, that if, on examination, you should find yourself in similar circumstances with Augustin, you would have the greatness of mind to follow his example. But, be the event in this matter as it may, you have attained to no ordinary rank in the republic of letters, and you retire from your literary labours with the glory, me juice, of having written one of the best books on one of the noblest subjects, that can employ the mind of man.
I am, Rev. Sir, with the greatest respect, Rempstone,
Your well-wither and obedient servant, Nor, 11, 1802.
REMARKS ON THE NATIONAL TITLE. TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
GENTLEMEN, I HAVE often wondered, that no one, at leaft to my knowledge, has no
ticed that folecism in fpeech, now landicned by a folemn act of the Legislature, which is coutained in the national title, the “ United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland." It is evident, that, according to the idiom of the English language, and indeed of any language, it ought to be the " United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. When the term united is prefixed to the word kingdom in the fingular number, it gives the idea of a nation, which was before divided against itself, restored to peace and harmony; not of two diftinét nations united under one legislative authority. The same objection holds with respect to the ecclefiaftical title, the “ United Church of England and Ireland.” The circumstance of their being united, makes them to be one church for the time to come; (and I hope that time will extend to the latest generations,) but it is not in the power, even of enchantment to make them to have been but one church in times paft. The reason of using the fingular number rather than the plural, in these cases, probably was, that the lameness of authority, intereft, &c. which was intended to be established and secured by the union, might be more fully exprefled; but, since this is sufficiently expressed by the term united, as in the instances of the “ United States," and thic “ United Provinces," I do not see the necessity, nor, consequently, the justification, of infringing so much on the laws of our language. I observe, and not without a secret fatisfaction, that the habitual sense of priety often leads people to say and write, “ United Kingdoms," and << United Churches ;” but I never observe it without withing, that, in doing so, they were not compelled to speak and write in opposition to legislative authority. The purity of our language is a matter not beneath the notice of our rulers ; and I am not without the hope, that it may still be thought worth while to correct this anomaly. If there should be found no inclination to make the proposed alteration, or the opportunity of making it should now be irrecoverably past, it remains to be seen, whether an act of parliament can effect a greater change in the English language, than the power of Augustus was able to do in the Roman.
I am, gentlemen, your's, &c. Rempione, Nov. 15, 1802,
AN ESSAY UPON THE NATURE OF FAITH.
by those powers which God has youchsafed unto it: it can also RECEIVE information of different kinds, i. e. such knowledge as is communicated from other intelligent beings, or is derived from analogical reasoning, The knowledge which men ACQUIRE, is, and must be certain. It arises from the operation of our own faculties, and is wholly owing to the voluntary exertion of our own powers, and if these can deceive us, truth must be unattainable. But the knowledge we receive by information from others, or from analogical reasoning, cannot in the common courle of thingz be certain. We do not, we cannot see that invariable connexion between the ideas, which is necessary to establish certain truth : we only suppole from probable evidence that there is such a connexion ; that is, we do not depend upon certain knowledge, but upon probable faith for our poffefiion of truth.
By faith then, we mean only the simple assent of the mind to such propofitions, as are grounded, either upon the mere affirmation of those who advance them, or, upon the deductions of analogical reasoning: all we can do to secure ourselves from error with respect to the first, is to ascertain the credibility of those through whose testimony we receive this sort of information ; just as all we can do to secure ourselves from error with respect to the second, is to ascertain the nature and extent of that analogy upon which our faith is to be built.
As certainty then is the natural, and neceffary consequence of intuition, of demonstration, and of the full and fair evidence of sense; to different degrees of probability are the natural, but noi the necessary consequences of faith, whether the information received by it, arises from human testimony, or from the deductions of analogical reasoning. And just as certainty is the natural consequence of intuition, of demonftration, and allo of the full and fair evidence of our senses, to different degrees of probability, of confidence, reliance, and trust, in proportion, are the natural, but not the necessary confequences of faith. Faith is a state of the underjianding, --confidence, reliance, and trust, are dispositions of mind. Faith is no more confidence, reliance, and trust, than intuition, or demonstration, or the full and fair evidence of sense is certainty, yet one is the appointed way to the other; and God has so constituted the human mind, that knowledge, however received, shall be able to excite or change our various dilpositions.
It must, however, be observed, that if the similarity between the obje&s upon which analogical reasoning is founded fails, no conclufion can be drawn; and if the words by which information is intended to be conveyed, are unintelligible, such information is nothing; it is mere words--no faith can be built upon it: you may just as well suppose that you can believe abracadabra, or barbara celavent daniferio baralipton. But it is one thing to believe that certain persons speak truth, and quite a different thing to believe the truth so spoken. The Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, who heard the Apostles speak the Cretan and Arabian tongues, might believe that they spoke truth; the Cretans and Arabians alone could believe the truth so ipoken. And why so ?-Why, because they understood the word spoken, i.e. they comprehended the meaning of what was said in their own tongue. He that speaketh unintelligible words, so far speaketh an unknown tongue; for as St. Paul says, no man understandetb him. What then are we to think of Mr. Katt; who (in his History the interpreter of Prophecy, edit. i. vol. iii. p. 14-or edit. ii. vol. ii. p. 129) thinks men may be called upon, i. e. be under moral obligations to believe what they cannot comprehend. Men may, to be fure, be called upon to affent, to negative propofitions, but then they do not affent to what they do not comprehend, but to what they slearly do, namely, to this proposition, that they are utterly ignorant abcent the matter in question. He who arsents to a negative proposition, only decl ss his own ignorance: for the design of negative propositions, is, lot tojkew what a thing is, but what it is not: and this any one can como: chend.
When then it is affirmed that faith is the gift of God, if it is meant, that the information conveyed to us 1.! the golpel, and the evidence of the truth of this information is the gift for God, the allertion is undoubtedly true ; and it is no leis true that this gift is bestowed upon ALL who attend to this information, and to the evidence there is for the truth of it. For attention of mind is as requisite to discover truth, as directing the eyes to any object is requisite to discern such object. But if it is meant that the difpofition of mind, which we call reliance, or trust, of confidence, is the necessary effect of a dirine agency, (to use Dr. Dodderidge's words) and which agency has no refpect to, or connexion with the information which we can receive from Scripture, but is wholly independent of such information, being a miraculous gift; (and fich are all gifts which are resirained to particular perions) then does such a neccjjury effect destroy all moral agency, which consists in a FREE, though it may not be, uninfluenced operation of our various powers, (for by moral beings, we understand beings capable of being influenced by moral motives,) and makes the objects of it mere machines : but fuch agents are utterly incapable of that blesling which our Lord attributes to those who have not seen, and yet have believed : .who have received His gospel not without any evidence at all, but upon such as is far lefs than the evidence of fense.
But if this reliance, trust, and confidence, are not necessary effects of a divine agency, or miraculous gist, then may these dispositions be just as well expected from the natural and fal elicis, attending the operation of our perceptive powers, and arising from the information received by the action of these powers. For we cannot conceive how any dispositions can be excited in our minds, but through the customary effects of appropriate knowledge: and to the Scripture reprefents.this matter : for thus, the love of God in men is considered as the effect of our being made acquainted with his love to us. Not that we loved God, but that he (FIKST) loved us, 1 John iv. 10, 19.
APPENDIX TO THE ESSAY UPON THE NATURE OF FAITH.
THE writers of the New Testament, though inspired, use their words just as common writers do; that is, they use them in a variety of lenses, and leave their readers to collect the particular fente in each paffage, just as men collect the fenfes of words in any other writings. A test it may be of the reader's attention, discernment, and integrity, or fairness of mind, that is, of freedom from prejudice. --Accordingly–
They ule the word Faith in a yariety of fentes. 1; It sometimes signifies that firm reliance, and allured confidence in God, to which, in the times of the Apostles, the power of working miraPol. III, Churchm. Mag. Noï, 1802.