« PreviousContinue »
way in the dark, totally regardless of ghosts or goblins, and in that happy state of indifference which proceeds rather from insensibility than courage, went his way. Simeral placed the lanthorn before him, and having no great inclination to look up, busied himself in adjusting the stone he came to put over the grave, when he presently heard the feet of something trotting briskly over the pavement: the little reason he possessed, convinced him the movement was two quick for a labourer with a hod of mortar on his shoulder; and a ready invention to freeze his whole mass of blood, converted him into a belief of its being some supernatural agent. His fears, which increased as the trotting feet of the fancied goblin approached nearer, made him prostrate himself with his head to the ground, and his posteriors upright, in the manner the Persian is said to worship the sun; when, ere he could address the solemn ejaculation he had meditated, he found himself, by a hard thump on the posteriors, precipitated into the grave; and falling with his lanthorn before him, was left in total darkness. What passed in the mind of poor Simeral till the arrival of his man, the sympathetic reader will imagine, though we cannot record. The inan was surprised to find his affrighted master in so doleful a plight; and having procured a light, replaced him above ground, and heard the tale, when the bleating of a large he-goat, that belonged to a neighbouring dyer, who then lived in Montague-place, unravelled the mystery, and rescued the sleeping dust of our ancestors from another of those, tales of horror engendered in the minds of weakness and superstition, calculated to curb the rational progress in the infant mind, and 10 create a doubt of the protection and providential care of our God.
ON FUTURE PUNISHMENT.
SIR, IN reading your Miscellany I have of course read the controversy
between you and Mr. Fuller upon the doctrine of endless misery; but have no design of enlisting myself as a champion in the cause of future punishment, whether it be endless or for a limited time; for I feel no disposition to be punished myself, nor do I wish it to the worst enemy I have, unless such punishment would be to his real benefit and advantage, and that such benefit and advantage cannot be obtained without such punishment.
But I beg leave to submit to your consideration, and the consideration of Mr. Fuller, or any other of your correspondents that have appeared in defence of future punishment, the following queries, which appear as difficulties too great for me to remove.
I suppose all will agree with me that punishment in a future state will not exceed the rules of strict justice, and that the person punished must of necessity be conscious that he justly deserves it; for if there is VOL. IV,
‘not such a consciousness, will not the person punished suppose himself suffering as a martyr to caprice and despotism., rather than as a malefactor? And if such a consciousness is necessary in a state of punishment, does 'it not as nece
cessarily follow, that the person is punished upon the ground of free agency, and that the culprit was once in a state and condition to have avoided it? If this is not adinitted, will thank
any correspondents to clear up to my satisfaction, how the person punished can retain a consciousness of his desert and the justice of the case ? and if this is admitted, does it not necessarily follow, that Christ died for all men, or that Christ did not die to exempt any man from punishment, unless there is more than one way for a man to escape such a state? But if there is no other way to escape but through the death of Christ, and Christ did not die for all men, then those for whom he did not die, must of necessity be subject to such a state of punishment, notwithstanding the uprightness of their intentions, and the inoffensiveness of the general tenor of their conduct in the present life; and in that case, how will such a person be conscious of his suffering according to his just demerit?
To ergue upon what is generally called our fall in Adam—that in him we have incurred the wrathful indignation of God, and that any man will be punished upon that ground, will be saying nothing to the purpose; and if Christ did not die for all, then there is no other ground to proceed upon; for in that case our actual transgression must be out of the question : for here the difficulty recurs, How shall any man be conscious that he is justly suffering for the crime of another, to which he neither assented nor consented, and which was even without his knowledge? If my great grandfather had been a traitor to his country, could I be conscious of the justice of the laws of our legislature if they were now to hang or behead me for that crime?
But again, if there is no other way to avoid future punishment but through the death of the Saviour, and that he has died for all mankind, upon what ground is any man punished ?
If, Mr. Editor, it can be proved I have not reasoned fairly or justly upon the subject, I should be glad 'to have it pointed out; but if this is admitted, and it should be objected that reason must not aid or assist in the discussion of religious truth; I will ask, May I not as well be a Mussulman as a Christian ? and may I not as well believe the 'Alcoran as the Bible?
These, Sir, are a few thoughts that passed my mind when I read the above controversy; and if you think proper to publish them, they are
at your service,
TO QUESTION ON I TOIN, V.7.
SIR, To prove any thing negatively is as unusual a way of proving any
thing as it is unfair, and cne which I must confess I have not been accustomed to.
In turning oyer your Miscellany for January last, a correspondent, by the signature of Z. Y. asks, “ What are the best reasons for admitting or rejecting 1 John, v. 7. as truly canonical Scripture ?". Methinks he might have asked, what are the best reasons for admitting any of Scripture to be canonical ?
2. Y. has, no doubt, his reasons why he asks the question ; but I think no person ought publicly to state such a question till he has given his reasons why he asks it, and wherein his difficulty consists as to its being canonical. But we find, for private ends, that the Romanists have rejected a part of Scripture, and the Swedenborgians and Z. Y. are now asking whether or not another part should be expunged. If this is not opposed, in a few years what a sorry Bible shall we have!
We may prove it is canonical, because,
1. It is to be found in the common translation, Vulgate, and in all Greek copies of the New Testament I ever saw.
2. The following verse cannot be inade sense of without it, uniess Z. Y. will ask whether that is canonical.
3. It accords with many other parts of Scripture, such as Mat. xxviii. 19. John, v. 32, &c. &c.
4. The saine appellatives that are given to the Father are given to the son and holy ghost.
5. The primitive fathers speak of Father, son, and holy ghost, as a triune Jehovah.
The present increase of Arianism and Socinianism, is a thing to be lamented, as it destroys the activity of ministers and private persons, and is, I fear, the high road to infidelity and deisin, and will go from 1 John, V. 7. 10 other parts, till the whole is expunged.
If Z. Y, will come forward with the reasons for his doubts on the above passage, he will find an opponent in,
Yours, for truth's sake,
ANSWER TO MATHEMATICAL QUESTION.
SEE PAGE 236.
SIR, If you
think proper to insert the following answer to the mathematical question, p. 236. at some future opportunity I shall write on a subject of as much greater importance as heavenly things are above earthly.
Yours, &c. LIVERPOOL
I find four times the sum of any two figures composing a number the first of which is to the last as I is to 2, is always equal to that number; and if three times the sum of the two figures (which is equal to three fourths of that number) be added to the number, the figures will then be inverted. The number required by the question is 24, which may thus be found
18 • 3= 6 the sum of the figures required
6 X 4 = 24 the number required 24+18=42 the figures inverted.
Or by common arithmeticit may be done thus
3) 18 (6
By the same rule 12 must have 9 added to it
36 must have 27 And 48 must have 36
These are the only four numbers containing two figures that can be so served.