« AnteriorContinuar »
PART I.-PRELIMINARY DISQUISITIONS.
1.-On Power and Cause.
BY CALEB PITT, C. E. L.
Prove all things---hold fast that which is goud. 1 Thess. V. 21.
Manchester Square ;
OGLE AND CO. GLASGOW.
God, who at various times and in divers man
ners spake to the world by patriarchs, prophets, evangelists and apostles, hath also, by a special providence, conveyed down to us the holy scriptures, the writings penned under divine inspiration and fuperintendency. The hand of God seems equally evident in preserving copies of them through the various declensions and persecutions of the church: and in preserving them from sophistical alterations, to which preservation the order of scribes, under the Mosaic dispensation, and the disputes among Christians under the present, seem to have eminently concurred.
Every man favored with these revelations, I apprehend, has an unquestionable right to endeavour an investigation as he may have opportunity. The process used for such discoveries may be called philofophizing, so, the nature, operation, and influence of these revelations generally
conceived, and as a branch of knowledge, I call the Phiw ophy of Christianity.
Prejudices of education and of superstition, occasion fome to be difgufted at whatsoever is called philosophy; and to start at the thought of treating Christianity philosophically. If the disgust of such should prevent their reading this Essay, I can have no direct concern with them. The holy scriptures address mankind as rational beings, and my wish is, with divine concurrence, to lend a hand to the fincere searcher of religious truth. Undoubtedly passion and imagination, as well as understanding, are in their exercise essential to actual and vital godlinels; but experienced Christians will assign understanding and a found theory to take the lead in precedence, since the warmth of affection, and the foarings of fancy cannot be valuable and permanent unless truth is their support. I conceive it demonstrable from the essential perfections of God, that science truly so called, and found philosophy of every species, do, in the nature of things, perfe&tly harinonize with all the revelations of God: and am fo far from contemning science and rational philofophy, that I am inclined to think, evidence and affent refpecting that harmony will progressionally increase with the duration of the world, until the knowledge of Christ the glory of the Lord, shall fill the earth, as the waters the place of the feas.
Philosophy Philosophy may, consistently with the design of this Essay, be distinguished as its objects are either the works of God, 'or the revelations of God.--This seems the process of human philofophizing, and equally applicable to the philosophy of the universe, and philosophy of Christianity. First, We endeavour from a selection of appearances and experimental discoveries, to trace out some of the rules or laws of the operation and influence of things: then we endeavour by these to discover some of the properties and needful circumstances of the objects thus concuring to efficiency: next we endeavour to discover what are the determinate essentials of the objeêts concerned : and lastly, we apply our knowledge thus attained to the solution of other difficulties. By this employment we conte at a number of elta. blished points : but reflecting, that all the works of God, and all the revelations of God, must be analagous and harmonious, we are prompted to push forwards towards systematic knowledge on these subjects.
Now ariseth hypothesis, or a system founded on supposition. That hypothesis, which in our judgment, whilst it consists with all the appearances and experiments made in the universe, is evidently consistent with itfelf and all other species of evident knowledge, should be esteemed, till we find a better, a good system of philosophy of the works of God. Again, That hypothesis,