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of truthis which great men of old either such event had taken place, and in a altogether rejected, or could only series of miracles which were never dimly discern through a cloud of ob- wrought, conceived the extraordinary scurity and doubt. The articles above- design of converting the Heathen stated, as the discoveries of natural world to a religion which stood diareligion, are the great truths of Chris- metrically opposed to the prevailing tianity; and they who contend for superstitions, and which could flourish them, as inculcated by nature, have only by their total abolition. And derived their conviction of them from these impostors or fanatics (call them Christianity, and from Christianity which you please) had the temerity to alone. They contemplate the pheno- rest their whole cause upon an appeal mena of the universe by the light of to facts which they inaintained to be revelation, and then rashly impagine notorious, which facts they either that these phenomena would present themselves invented or believed withthe same aspect were this light with out the shadow of a proof. Had we drawn. They mistake opinions, im- lived at the time when this extravagant pressed by education, for the clear project was devised, and had we, like and certain deductions of reason, and imodern Unbelievers, rejected all nos think that they believe upon indepen- tion of miraculous interposition, and dent evidence, truths which experience consequently not admitted the trutli seems to have shewn that revelation of the facts which were brought for: alone is competent to teach. Hence ward in behalf of the new religion, the grand problem, whether man be what should we have thought of these destined for immortality is solved in men, and what expectations should we a moment, and that on which philo- have formed as to the success of their sophers of old employed so much undertaking ? Should we not have thought to so little purpose, is proved confidently predicted, had we taken by arguments which, whatever force the trouble to predict any thing, that they have, adapt themselves to the a few short years would bury the mad feeblest understanding. That some of scheme, together with its mad prothe ancients endeavoured to establish jectors, in everlasting oblivion? Would this doctrine is true; bnt if they really a momentary suspicion have darted believed it, there is sufficient reason into our minds, that it might so hapto think that their faith did not grow pen that these spiritual Quixotes would out of their reasonings, but that their change the religion of the world, and reasonings were laboriously sought for that the final event of their wild ento uphold a preconceived opinion. terprise would be the overthrow of a And were Christianity proved to be a worship which had stood for ages, delusion, though a future life might supported by the civil power, and digbe regarded as a consummation de- nified by all the pomp and splendour voutly to be wished, I feel fully per- which could captivate the imaginations suaded that the hope of it would in and blind the understandings of its general rather be encouraged as a votaries? But in the exact proportion pleasing dream than as the presage of in which such a result appears improa glorious reality.
bable, does the credibility of a divine But having now inquired how far interposition rise in the judgment of it appears probable that a revolution impartial reason. But mankind, it similar to that which was caused by will be said, have always been creduthe promulgation of Christianity could lous, and have in all ages shewn themhave been brought about by the rc- selves the willing dupes of knaves and searches of philosophy, and the gra- enthusiasts. Be it so. But did ever dual diffusion of knowledge, I proceed any portion of a community submit, to say a word on the means by which for the gratification of credulity, to this revolution was in fact effected. part with early prejudices and to unBut I shall first consider the hypothe- dergo a total revolution of religious sis of the unbeliever, I mean the hy opinion ? The followers of Joanna pothesis which the unbeliever must Southcott seem to have been ambiadmit. According to this hypothesis, tious of shewing how far credulity can then, a few unlettered Jews, believing go. But if Joanna had commenced or pretending to believe in the resur- with endeavouring to overthrow the rection of a crucified Master, while no Christian faith, I have not credulity
enough to believe that she would have pectation of a life to come, accomparobbed the man of Nazareth of a sin- nied with the admission of a inorality gle disciple.
from which nothing ought to be taken, But let us now suppose the truth and to which nothing can be added, of the New-Testament history, and have prevailed for centuries in regions we immediately have a clear and sa- where, but for Christianity, Idolatry sisfactory solution of a phenomenon night still have maintained her temwhich otherwise must for ever remain ples, and called for her immoral rites inexplicable. The world before the and senseless oblations. And whatChristian æra was overspread with ever may have been the corruptions the dreary shade of idolatry and su- with which Christianity has been disperstition; the glimmering light of graced, and its practical influence imreason was far too feeble to dissipate peded, the impartial study of its rethe gloom; when it pleased the great cords must ultimately restore it to its Disposer of all events to interfere for primitive purity, and present it to the the mereiful purpose of redeeming his world, as it proceeded from the hands benighted offspring from a darkness of its Founder, “worthy of all accepwhich hid the Creator from their view, tation." and left them to wander without God
E. COGAN. and without hope in the labyrinths of ignorance and vice. Here was a dignus P.S. I think myself bound to thank sindice nodus, and the hand of God Dr. Jones for the civility with which may be traced in the grand result. A he has replied to my little observation worship which its yotaries believed respecting Musgrave's conjecture on would stand for ever has fallen, to rise the Orestes of Euripides (XVIII. 696). no more, and only exists in the page But, perhaps, 1 ought in justice to of history to shew to what a state of myself to state, that the Doctor has mental degradation the creatures of altogether overlooked the ground of reason have been reduced. The belief my observation. Whether the conjeeof one God, and the confident* ex- ture be true or false must be deter
mined by metrical considerations; and
by these considerations it is decisively If man is not designed to live again, refuted. This, I conceive, will be to expect a divine revelation would be questioned by no one who has studied absurd. The light of Nature may serve
what has been written in Germany on well enough to conduct a mortal being the Greek Metres since the time of Mr. to the grave. But if man is destined for Porson. With respect to the expresimmortality, it might safely be presumed, sion arbej' auttanhece, it may be that one great object of revelation would compared with the anoñrta media of be to acquaint him with this destination, Sophocles, the quorum æquora curro and that wherever revelation should be of Virgil, and many other passages, in received, an assurance of human immor. tality would be felt. And such has been none of which do 1 consider a prepothe fucl. An Unbeliever might perhaps become a convert to the doctrine of
sition as understood, having long since object, that the great majority of man. kind, being altogether incompetent to Herman, laid down in his ingenious judge of the evidences of revelation, must treatise on Ellipsis and Pleonasm. admit a future life upon authority alone. That madhew is used for mandeglan, in I allow it, and let the most be made of the Electra of Euripides, I should the concession. It is not the evidence of have felt confident, even without the a doctrine, but the belief of it which is authority of Porson, Seidler, and practically useful. And if the objector others, and I agree with Brunk, that would be kind enough to consider how both παλλειν and αμπαλλειν are emmany opinions he is himself obliged to take upou trust, he would find the force of his objection not a little diminished. It is the appointment of nature, and an deed, if the majority of the species, to appointment which revelation could not whom the means of mental cultivation be expected to set aside, that every man are in a great measure denied, might should in many cases trust to the know. not be permitted to enjoy the benefit of ledge of other men, and use it as his truths, the evidence of which they are owo. And it would be lamentable, in- unable to appreciate.
ployed in a neuter sense in the Lysis. influence of this numerous, intelligent trata of Aristophanes; but that the and very important part of a Christian Attics, or indeed the other Greeks, Church, is probably to be attributed, were acquainted with such verbs as the signal defeat of the deplorably επαλλω and ανεπαλλω, I must be al. weak project of those ministers and lowed to doubt until some positive elders, who would blindly have laid evidence of the fact shall have been upon their more enlightened brethren produced.
burdens too heavy for them to bear,
by rashly venturing to impose upon SIR, December 8, 1823. them, in unscriptural terms," for IN IN the Number for April last, doctrines, the commandments of men."
(XVIII. 229,) your readers were But “ by a rery general current of inforined of the ineffectual attempt of voices," their creed was wisely "re. about twenty ministers and elders of jected, and an edition of ten thousand the Society of Friends in Philadelphia, copies ordered to be suppressed." In to censure and silence Elias Hickes, what manner this suppression of the who had for many years been much creed, discarded by this Yearly Meetesteemed as a member and minister ing, was directed to be carried into of blameless conversation, and I am effect, I cannot say; but after this told of unrivalled eloquence.
decision, it can have no pretence to Their accusations and his replies claim the sanetion of this Assembly. have been published in America, and Another account of this memorable the points at issue discussed in several transaction says, “ It is a day of great periodical works, nonc of which have excitement amongst us formal professeen, nor do I know that more than
A happy circnmstance has ta. a single copy or two have reached this ken place, and their plans have been country. Foiled in this effort to in- frustrated. The Yearly Meeting opcite their brethren to condemn Elias posed their designs like a mighty tors Hickes, for professing what they term- rent, and some, if not all of thein, ed “his heterodox doctrines,” which, will be reduced to the ranks, on the it appears, subsequent to their denun- floor of the house. A humbling circiation, thousands flocked to hear cumstance; way they profit by it.” him preach," and which many Friends Such was the moderation of the great considered as gospel truths, given majority, whose unanimity is thus deforth by him " in primitive simpli- scribed. They appear never to have city :” in this dilemma, being mostly thought of excommunicating those members of a body called, in former who would have thus brought them times, the Meeting for Sufferings, into bondage. Yet I have reason to when persecution against Friends was believe, this restless Junta, whose the order of the day, and which projects have been so lately and so Meeting still, absurdly enough, retains signally defeated at home, have althe same name,) they drew up, and ready devised a plan for the diffusion had influence enough to induce that of their rejected articles of faith among body to sanction an exposition of their brethren in this country. I un. their faith, and to present the same, derstand a large packet of copies of as an orthodox creed, to the last this creed were shipped from PhilaYearly Meeting of Friends, held at delphia by Jonathan Evans, of that Philadelphia. Indeed, “such was their city, who was last winter denominated sanguine assurance of being able to their “ Pontiff,” and signed their carry il” through that Assembly tri- creed as the official organ of the Meetumphantly, that they ventured, previ- ing for Sufferings above-mentioned ; ous to presenting it at the table, to and that this packet was addressed to have it printed, and stitched for circu. Josiah Forster, of Tottenham, Clerk lation.
to the two last Yearly Meetings held By the constitution of this Assem- in London. Should he have received bly, it consists not merely, or chiefly, it, he can, in a subsequent number of of ministers and elders, but, like the your journal, correct any errors that first Christian Council, on matters of may be found in that part of this cugeneral concern to believers, of bre- rious Transatlantic Creed, which I thren also. Sec Acts xv. To the herewith submit to the judgment of
yeur readers, and more especially I since the Creed has been criticised by svould call upon such of them as are the American periodical press. The members of the Society of Friends, following brief, but pertinent observaand sincere inquirers after truth, to tions on it, by the Editors of the Unitry all its doctrines by the Scriptures. versalist Magazine, published in Phila“ Creed, Article First.
delphia, may have been thought severe,
yet they are well worthy the serious “ We have always believed that the attention of its compilers and patrons. Holy Scriptures were written by di- It“contains," say these Editors, “ some rine inspiration, that they are able truth, more error, but most of all, to make wise unto salvation, through that which conveys no definite iden faith which is in Christ Jesus : for as whatever.” I am unable to deny the holy men of God spake as they were justice of these remarks, after' mamoved by the Holy Ghost, they are, turely considering this very singular therefore, profitable for doctrine, for production ; and that I may not tresreproof, for correction, for instruction pass farther on your readers, I will, in righteousness, that the man of God for the present at least, add no more, may be perfect, thoroughly furnished than that I remain, unto all good works. But they are
BEREUS. not, or cannot be subjected to the fallea, corrupt reason of man. We have always asserted our willingness, that
Jan. 5, 1824. all our doctrines be tried by thein, A
PERUSAL of the correspondand admit as a positive inaxim, that ence: which has lately taken whatsoever any do, (pretending to the place on the important question whespirit,) which is contrary to the Scrip- ther or not it be in the power of the tures, be accounted and judged as a Deity wholly to exclude evil from the delusion of the devil.
universe, brought to my recollection Second. We receive, and believe the following passage in Dr. Priestley's in, the testimony of the Scriptures, Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever: simply as it stands in the text, *There “ As the pains and mortifications of are three that bear record in heaven, our infant state are the natural means the Father, the Word, and the Holy of lessening the pains and mortificaGhost, and these three are one.' tions of advanced life, so I made it
“ Third. We believe in the only appear to the satisfaction of Dr. Hartwise, omnipotent and everlasting God, ley, in the short correspondence I had the Creator of all things in heaven and with him, that his theory furnishes earth, and the preserver of all that he pretty fair presumptions, that the hath made, who is God over all, blessed pains of this life may suffice for the for ever.”
whole of our future existence, we From hence it is easy to see how having now resources enow for a perlittle a professed belief in the inspi- petual increase in happiness, without ration of the Holy Scriptures may any assistance from the sensation of amount to, when asserted by such as future pain. This speculation will, decry all the reason of man” as cor. probably, appear before the public in rupi, except their own, which they are due time, together with other obserapt to fancy is supernaturally illumi- vations relating to the extension and nated, without any just ground. In application of this wonderfully simple this case, the first-fruits of this delu- theory of the mental affections." . sion manifestly are to lead them to Although it is much to be regretted, mistake the most notoriously corrupt that Dr. Priestley's design of publishtext in the New Testament, for genu- ing the observations above alluded to ine Scripture. Their third article is was frustrated, I feel persuaded, that in substance entirely scriptural, though some of the able men who contribute not expressed in the exact words of their profound reflections to the readthe sacred writers. But how it com- ers of the Repository, possessing as ports with that which precedes it, or they the data on which the Doctor the nine which follow, and are not more luminous as a whole, the compilers have not attempted to shew, * Mr. Rutt's edition of Priestley's and perhaps never considered, unless Works, IV. 354.
rested his speculations, could, if their the ability of other men, that they minds were earnestly directed to the had acquired a deeper insight into inquiry, follow out the train of rea- the real nature of things than falls soning which led him to the consola- to the lot of ordinary philosophers. tory conclusion in which it appears Their sayings, therefore, are entitled that Dr. Hartley concurred; and I to a proportionate degree of weight. venture to request that these gentle. This leads me to observe, that no men will have the kindness to take speculation as to the termination of the subject into their consideration, pain with the present life could be and to communicate to your less safely entertained by a Christian philearned readers the result of their in- losopher, unless it can be shewn to quiry.
be consistent with those passages of Being myself a believer in the Doc. Scripture which bave relation to the trine of Philosophical Necessity, and state of mankind after death. From an Optimist, I have conceived that your review of Mr. Scott's Lectures, the degree of evil which has hitherto (XVIII. 657, 658,) I gather that he existed in the world could not possibly regards our Lord's description of the have been avoided, because the Deity judgment, as applying to the dealings necessarily adopts in every instance, of Providence in this life with the the best possible course of proceeding, Jewish people, at the period of the and therefore as evil exisis, it follows destruction of their civil and ecclesithat it was unavoidable in the very astical polity. If he should be correct best system that infinite wisdom and in this interpretation, there would goodness could devise. I will can- still remain several passages which didly confess that this view of the appear to teach, that men will be system of the universe, although, upon punished after the resurrection for the whole, highly calculated to inspire the sins committed in the body, and confidence in the great Power that these must be critically examined. rules over us, has nevertheless at For my own part, I freely declare, some seasons, suggested uncomforta- that I shall lend an attentive ear to ble reflections. For if the experience any one who will undertake to prove of the pains of childhood was neces- that the passages in question convey sary to ensure the enjoyments of ad- a meaning different from that which vanced life, how can we be certain has been generally assigned to them; that pains of great intensity and of and that they can be shewn to be long duration may not, upon the same consistent with the bypothesis, “that principle, be equally necessary, in the pains of this life inay suffice for the successive periods of future ex- the whole of our future existence.” istence, to our advancement in virtue No man who has had much experience and happiness? And yet, if we deny of acute pain, or who has witnessed the necessity of the pains which are the sufferings of those whom he loved, now actually endured, we do not get can contemplate with composure the rid of difficulty; because if they were prospect of future sufferings such as not necessary, their infliction detracts even Dr. Southwood Smith supposes from the perfection of the Divine may be endured by some human goodness ; and if the Deity could beings; and when we sum up the gratuitously introduce a smaller de. miseries which in an infinite variety gree of evil, what security have we of shapes, flesh is heir to, we are against a similar gratuitous introduc- sometimes tempted to doubt whether tion of a greater?
such things could happen under the From such thoughts as these I have government of a truly benevolent gladly fled for consolation to the ex- Being. grant that these doubts hilarating declarations of the sacred subside, when, on taking a more enwriters, that a period shall arrive larged and dispassionate survey of the when pain and death and every de- world, we are enabled to discern the scription of evil will be abolished and tendency of all events to produce a God be all in all. These declarations progressive amelioration of the state accord with our best feelings, and of society. satisfy our utmost desires ; and those Having thus presumed to moot a who committed them to writing, question in the discussion of which I proved, by performing works beyond am very ill qualified to take a part,