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desired to forward. Your Committee earnestly recommend the friends of the Institution to look at the founder's intent; it was his object to raise a new class of subscribers, not to destroy an old and more efficient, because more opulent order of donors; his wish was to include the poor in his plan, and to induce them to aid the great work by the widow's mite and the poor man's gift, not to shield the rich from the usual demands on their liberality, or to save their purses by the means of the less wealthy of their fellow Christians. Such a view is at once injurious to the Institutions we support, and to the cause we wish to aid; and your Committee earnestly call upon the members of this and every other Fellowship Fund, to discard an opinion, which can only arise from mistake or meanness. If this evil be remedied, the plan of Fellowship Funds will be blameless, and with that divine aid which accompanies every work, whose object is the promotion of such praiseworthy ends, no doubt can be entertained of their continued utility, and their increasing prosperity. No drawback will then exist to the pleasure, which all the friends of Unitarianism feel in their institution; and their object and their plan will alike merit support; the many will then aid the exertions of the few; and the liberality of the rich, and the contributions of the poor, will be combined in one rich stream of benevolence."

THE North Eastern Unitarian Association, held its Annual Meeting at Lutton, Lincolnshire, the 11th and 12th June. The service on the Wednesday evening, was conducted by Mr. Harris of Glasgow, to a pretty numerous congregation. On the morning of Thursday, the Rev. Mr. Lee of Boston prayed and read the Scriptures, and in the evening the Rev. Mr. Philip of Lincoln; and the sermons were delivered by Mr. Harris. Nearly 120 of the members of the Association dined and supped together at Long Sutton, the town adjacent; Mr. Harris was the chairman. The meeting deeply sympathised with their esteemed and excellent friend, the Rev. Richard Wright, on the decease of his partner in life, lately suddenly called to a better world. Messrs. Wright, Selby, Philip, Scargill, Walker, and Lee, with others, addressed the meeting, and a most highly interesting and delightful day was passed. On the Friday, a very numerous party were hospitably entertained at the residence of Mr. Hursthouse of Tyd, and in the evening Mr. Harris preached in the barn. The congregations on Thursday and Friday were large and deeply attentive. We are more and more satisfied, that such meetings as these are highly beneficial, and that they cannot but tend to the progress of knowledge, righteousness, and truth.

THE Rev. E. Higginson of York College, has accepted an invitation to settle as Minister with the Unitarian Congregation, Hull.


No. 24.

AUGUST, 1828.

Vol. II.

The World, a State of Probation.
(Continued from page 384.)

REVELATION teaches us, that this life is a state of trial, by which we are to become prepared for the enjoyment of happiness in another and future state of existence. And we certainly find it to be admirably fitted for the purpose: pain and evil, as they are termed, (but which the Christian believes to be salutary chastisements from the hand of God,) being indispensable agents in the scheme; and the faculties with which man is endowed, being eminently adapted to his situation. Far, therefore, from allowing, that the world is a mere mass of chaotic disorder-the ruins of that beauteous creation which God originally formed, we are justified in believing, that the will of the Deity has never changed-that every thing, as it exists, is in perfect accordance with his immutable appointment and was, from the beginning, decreed for the wisest and best purposes.

It is the dictate of reason, and taught by revelation, that the world is a state of probation; and we cannot believe, consistently with the attributes of God, that he ever intended it for any thing else that his purposes could be turned aside, his will opposed, or his intentions thwarted, by insurmountable obstacles-that he was obliged to alter his plans, and modify his operations, according to contingencies, arising from the actions of a finite being. Could the transgression of Adam, disarrange the anterior views of God with respect to creation, and cause him to pursue a different method from that which he intended prior to the fall? Did that event produce a metamorphosis in the nature of the first man, so that, from being in the image of God, virtuous and immortal, he became a lump and seed of sin?-that the whole of creation fell with him?-its order and harmony, its beauty and loveliness destroyed?— that the plans of omnipotent wisdom were overturned, and his universe menaced with universal ruin? Neither nature

nor revelation afford data, from which to deduce such conclusions. The fall of Adam was not physical, but moral, from a state of innocence to one of guilt; and the effects produced by it, must be in unison with the cause. Man, as he at present exists, is the same kind of being with that which sprang from the dust of the earth, at the bidding of the Creator; he has the same powers to call into action, and the same theatre for their exercise. His nature is not changed, his constitution is essentially the same as was that of Adam. This would be at once evident, if the account of the creation, and of the fall of man, recorded in the Sacred Volume, was considered worthy of credence; but it is lamentable to reflect, that the reveries of a gloomy monk*-whose morbid exacerbation was rendered tenfold more intense, by the superstitious austerities to which he subjected himself should be preferred to that holy revelation, which beams with the radiance of divine benevolence, which delineates our God as delighting in mercy and love, and as viewing with pity and compassion, the follies and transgressions of his creatures.

The account of the creation, &c. by Moses, must, from the pictorial or ideographic mode of writing in use in the earliest ages, and which constituted, it may be inferred, the medium through which he obtained his information, be received with caution as a literal narrative. But this does not influence the conclusion to be drawn from it; whether it was the eating of an apple, or some other offence, figured under that similitude, which Adam committed: it is sufficient for us to believe, that he transgressed. But the overwhelming consequences, which are said to result from this trangression, are not so obvious. It is not evident, that Adam was an immortal being, (it being a favourite assumption to suppose him so created,) lost his immortality on account of sin, and was then doomed to destruction, and his nature changed. In the instructions given to Adam for the government of his conduct, we find the denunciation, with respect to "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil-Thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,"

The morose bigot Austin, a Romish Saint, the inventor of the doctrine of original sin and innate depravity, was, as an Ebionite, somewhat tinctured with heresy; but he established his orthodoxy by becoming a Trinitarian, although he founded that doctrine on the triad which Plato borrowed from the Egyptian mythology.

(Gen. ii. 17.) or, as it is sometimes rendered, "dying, thou shalt die." This will not admit of a literal interpretation, because physical death did not occur on the day when he partook of the forbidden fruit: in a moral sense, it may be with propriety asserted, that he died as to a state of innocence; but this moral death is very different from the death, corporeal, spiritual, and eternal, which orthodoxy defines to be the punishment of his crime. If the passage be rendered, "dying, thou shalt die," it implies, that had Adam retained his innocence, he might have been saved from death by the interposition of divine power, but which, in consequence of transgression, was not vouchsafed: constituted liable to death, he must submit to the operation of natural causes, and when his frame and strength decayed, must die-dying, thou shalt die. After his disobedience, it was revealed to him, that he was a creature of the dust, and that, as a natural consequénce of his formation, he would again mingle wi dred element; his punishment was, that he must furnish himself with sustenance, by labour and industry, until the close of life. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”—(Gen. iii. 19.) Here is no foundation for the notion, that our common father was immortal; the language implies, that Adam was created mortal, and liable to death,* an opinion corroborated by the following passage: "And the Lord God said, behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever; therefore, the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was

* Some infer that he was immortal, because God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul."—(Gen. ii. 7.) But no argument can be founded on the word soul, literally breath; the term, in the original, being used in various senses. Man became possessed of vitality-a living being. The Rev. David Thom, of Liverpool, thus analyzes the verse: "1. God formed the body of Adam. The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground. 2. God conferred life on this body, by enabling it to breathe. And breathed into its nostrils the breath of life. 3. In consequence of this, that which had formerly been an inanimate lump or mass, became a creature endowed with a principle of life; evinced by, and connected with, breathing. And man became a living soul, or a living breathing creature. In the whole process, I can discover from the text itself, nothing more than this."-Three Questions proposed and answered, &c."

taken.”—(Gen. iii. 22, 23.) Now, if Adam possessed inberent immortality, what purpose would have been answered by debarring his access to the "tree of life?" or how would the effect have been accomplished which Moses assigns as the reason of his banishment, viz, as a measure of precaution to prevent his tasting thereof, because, had he done so, he would live for ever?

Adam, therefore, it appears, was created a mortal being, and this is an opinion in perfect unison with the apparent designs of providence. We are sensible of the production of an endless succession of rational and accountable beings, who, by the right use of their powers, are able to acquire happiness, and who, according to their conduct individually, are promised eternal felicity, or corrective punishment. Death seems to be an indispensable adjunct in the scheme of the creation of man. His time of probation must necessarily be limited-its extent be specified and defined. This is done by death. The earth is not boundless space, and cannot produce infinite subsistence for the support of animal life. Hence, either the numbers of our species must be circumscribed within a narrow circle, which would equally circumscribe the quantity of enjoyment, or some method be selected by which to dispose of the redundancy. Death is the wise provision which God has appointed for this purpose. We cannot, therefore, believe, that he originally intended the earth to be the abode of sinless and immortal beings, possessed of appetites and passions, and necessarily obliged to satisfy the cravings and desires of nature. Nor can we believe, that his intention was rendered abortive by the transgression of Adam-who introduced both good and evil into the world, and even death-contrary to his behest. It cannot be doubted that creation must exist, according to the original unwavering intention of the great Creator. Omnipotence cannot be thwarted in his purposes, by the wayward actions of the creature which he fashioned, and Prescience could not be ignorant of what that creature would actually perform. And hence, it follows, that Adam was mortal, and liable to that death which was instituted for wise and salutary purposes.

It is recorded, that Adam received a command from the Almighty: this imposes an obligatory duty; hence, we infer the possession of powers enabling him to perform it; but for the efficient exercise of these powers, it

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