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is highly important, therefore, that this view should be clearly apprehended by all believers, and especially by all the teachers and defenders of our faith.
In view of the growing infidelity of the day, we regret that the error we have endeavoured to expose is so prevalent among sincere believers. They believe in the reality and sufficiency of laws, or at least in one original impulse from the Divine Will adequate to all subsequent order and action. But, this being the truth, what are the declarations concerning an immediate paternal Providence, which throng the sacred volume? what are they but illusive clouds of metaphor, instead of clear illuminations from the Father of lights ? We apprehend that many of liberal education, and especially those particularly interested in natural science, entertain the same, not only unscriptural, but unphilosophical opinion.
Ask these men of liberal acquirements, What is the present employment of the Creator, if his works are continued in action by the supposed deputed efficiency ? and they reply, that he is active in some new geological or animal formation in some unfinished planet. Or he is creating from its dust, and induing with his image the lords of some completed world, to replenish and subdue it. And perhaps he is performing miraculous wonders to reclaim and educate the sinful race of some other sphere. Seemingly as if the Almighty and Omnipresent portioned out his enegies upon spots; or as if, excepting these few and scattered localities of action, he rested in slumberous complacency, in the midst of his perfected works.
Some of the most distinguished theologians and philosophers of modern times have expressed the opinion, which we have attempted somewhat to elucidate. We quote the following from the eighth chapter of the third book of the Bridgewater Treatise named at the head of this article.
“The laws of material nature, such as we have described them, operate at all times and in all places; affect every province of the universe, and involve every relation of its parts. Wherever these laws appear, we have a manifestation of the intelligence by which they were established. But a law supposes an agent and a power; for it is a mode according to which the agent proceeds, the order according to which the power acts. Without the presence of such an agent, of such a power, conscious of the relations on which the
law depends, producing the effects which the law prescribes, the law can have no efficiency, no existence. Hence we infer that the intelligence by which the law is ordained, the power by which it is put in action, must be present at all times and in all places where the effects of the law occur; that thus the knowledge and the agency of the Divine Being pervade every portion of the universe, producing all action and passion, all permanence and change. The laws of nature are the laws which he, in his wisdom, prescribes to his own acts; his universal presence is the necessary condition of any course of events, his universal agency the only ori
efficient force. " This view of the relation of the universal God has been entertained by many of the most eminent of those who have combined the consideration of the material world with the contemplation of God himself. It may therefore be of use to illustrate it by a few quotations, and the more so as we find this idea remarkably dwelt upon in the works of that writer whose religious views must always have a peculiar interest for the cultivators of physical science, the great Newton.
Thus, in the observations on the nature of the Deity, with which he closes the 'Optics,' he declares the various portions of the world, organic and inorganic, can be the effect of nothing else than the wisdom and skill of a powerful and ever-living Agent, who, being in all places, is more able by his will to move the bodies within his boundless uniform sensorium, and thereby to form and reform the parts of the universe, than we are by our will to move the parts of our own bodies.' And in the Scholium at the end of the Principia' he says, 'God is one and the same God always and everywhere. He is omnipresent, not by means of his virtue alone, but also by his substance, for virtue cannot subsist without substance. In him all things are contained and move, but without mutual passion : God is not acted upon by the notion of bodies; and they suffer no resistance from the omnipresence of God.' And he refers to several passages confirmatory of this w, not only in the Scriptures, but also in writers who hand down to us the opinions of some of the most philosophical thinkers of the pagan world.
Clarke, the friend and disciple of Newton, is one of those who has most strenuously put forward the opinion of which we are speaking: All things which we commonly say are the effects of the natural powers of matter and laws of motion, are indeed (if we will speak strictly and properly) the effects of God's acting upon matter continually and at every moment, either immediately by himself, or mediately by some created intelligent being. Consequently there is no such thing as the course of nature, or the
power of nature,' independent of the effects produced by the will of God. “Dugald Stewart has adopted and illustrated the same opinion.
Finally we may add, that the same opinions still obtain the assent of the best philosophers and divines of our time. Sir John Herschel says, (Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, p. 37,). We would no way be understood to deny the constant exercise of His direct power in maintaining the system of nature; or the ultimate emanation of every energy which material agents exert, from his immediate will, acting in conformity with his own laws.' And the Bishop of London, in a note to his 'Sermon on the Duty of combining Religious Instruction with Intellectual Culture,' observes, “The student in natural philosophy will find rest from all those perplexities which are occasioned by the obscurity of causation, in the supposition which, although it was discredited by the patronage of Malebranche and the Cartesians, has been adopted by Clarke and Dugald Stewart, and which is by far the most simple and sublime account of the matter, that all the events which are continually taking place in the different parts of the material universe, are the immediate effects of the divine agency.'»
To this most worthy testimony, original and quoted, of Mr. Whewell's Treatise, might be added the similar opinion of Paley, as expressed in his “ Natural Theology,” particularly in the chapter on the “Personality of the Deity.'
Art. IV.-1. The Life, Times, and Correspondence of the
Rev. Isaac Watts, D. D. By the Rev. Thomas Mil-
London, 1834. 8vo. pp. 734. 2. The Sacred Classics. Vol. IX. Hore Lyrice. By
Isaac Watts, D. D.; with a Memoir of the Author, by
We should hardly have expected, at this late day when nearly a century has passed since his death, another “Life and Times” of good old Dr. Watts. Not that we should have been slow to welcome any fresh intelligence, any last or yet inedited works of that great man. For his name is still fra
grant with us.
It awakens some of our most agreeable associations of early childhood and of maturer years. and the sound of it are grateful. We were ready to rejoice in any new light that might be afforded upon his character or opinions; and knowing, as in the memoirs recently published of Locke, of Calamy and Doddridge,* of Pepys, and others, that there has been of late much successful industry in bringing to view authentic documents of interesting events and persons of past generations, both here and in England, we supposed that this work by Mr. Milner was of the same description. And, when we saw with our own eyes a portly octavo purporting to be “ The Life, Times, and Correspondence” of this eminent divine, we anticipated a feast of good things, of which, though it were reasonable to expect that many would be old, we thought some at least must be new. It was only natural to suppose that additional materials had been discovered ; that some worthy descendant, for example, of Sir John Hartopp, Baronet, who was first the pupil and then the intimate friend of Watts, on taking possession of the ancient house, had found some correspondence of the Doctor; or, that some old trunks in the garrets of Sir Thomas Abney's spacious and hospitable mansion, where Watts, on an invitation for a fortnight, was an honored and welcomed guest for full thirty-six years, had been examined ; and possibly some curious papers, of which Dr. Lardner intimated the existence, recording the matured views of their author on the Trinity, or other questions of moment touching the interests or prospects of nonconformity, &c., were at length to be given to the world.
But we are sorry to inform our readers, that nothing of all this is true ; so that, if they have partaken at all of our reasonable expectations, they must partake with us also in our disappointment. For a more unsatisfactory book of its size we have seldom met with.' Excepting in the mere narrative, most of which is old, it is strangely dull. In truth, we are left to marvel what could have tempted Mr. Milner to such an enterprise, who, if he knew, as he should have known, what had been already printed, must have been conscious how little he had to add. Or, admitting that a new memoir was desirable, we no less wonder that he should have been unconscious of
* See Christian Examiner, New Series, Vol. VII.
what he has so well succeeded in demonstrating to his readers, - his utter incompetency to the task.
The learned Jortin has somewhere in his “Remarks on Ecclesiastical History” bestowed, not forgetting his usual candor, a sort of fame on a certain pedant and biographer, whom he designates “as a stupid blockhead by the name of Ben-Gorion." We should be tempted, except for some modest distrust in the efficacy of our pages to confer a like glory, to designate in the same way this last of the biographers of the immortal Watts. For, we must repeat it, a poorer book with so rich a subject we are seldom called to read. The only additions of any moment, distinguishing this from former “ Lives,” relate not so much to Dr. Watts himself, as to his family and some of his friends. Of a few of these, namely, the first Lord Barrington, author of “Miscellanea Sacra," and other excellent books; Richard Cromwell, eldest son of the Protector, who in his old age, which was vigorous and cheerful, was often visited by Watts ;* and, lastly, Mrs. Bendish, a granddaughter of the Protector, being daughter of General Ireton by Bridget Cromwell, a most masculine and eccentric personage ;
- of all of whom within the compass of two or three pages, some curious incidents are related.
For the rest, whoever wishes to know what can be said of Watts, will find it better said in the notices of Jennings and Gibbon, Dr. Johnson and Palmer; and particularly in a judicious summary of all these by the late Dr. Belknap of this city, enriched with the remarks of that accomplished historian, as well as with manuscript letters of Watts, still in possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The compiler did not set his name to this pleasant volume; but it was published in 1793, five years before his death, and includes the Memoirs, by Kippis, of Dr. Doddridge.
* This son of the Protector and successor to his power, after several years of perplexity and pecuniary embarrassments on the Continent, returned to England, and resided in the village of Cheshunt, where the pew in which he used to sit in the meeting-house, is still preserved as a relic worthy of notice. He courted privacy; and always avoided speaking of the time of his elevation. Watts, who must have been young at that time, was admitted among his few visitors, and asserted, that " he never knew him glance but once at his former station, and that in a very distant manner. Nature clearly intended him for a private station. VOL. XVIII. N. S. VOL. XIII. NO. III.