« PreviousContinue »
Brief Notes on the Bible. No. VI.
HM.029, have reminded me forgery. At the same time, this very
A paper in the Theological Repo a letter to a worthy friend of mine, sitory, Vol. VI. 322—331, entitled, (Dr. Benjamin Avery,) was wrought “Objections to Ordination among Dis. in bim, by a remonstrance I had senters," and signed A Lover, or drawn up against suicism, which was ORDER.
inserted in the Old Whig, a weekly A paper in the same work, VI. paper.” 982-408, “ On the Scripture Doc- În an appendix to this Dissertation, trine of the Love of Christ,” with the Dr. Fleming “ points out the inesignature ADJUTOR.*
quality of some of our penal laws A Sermon on the Death of Mrs. which take away the life of man;" Elizabeth Rowe, at Crediton, Devon, and has anticipated the juster views October 21, 1798. 8vo.
of criminal jurisprudence which are Papers, on different subjects, in the now, I hope, gaining some of the pubMonthly Repository, some with his lic attention. On “simple theft” he own signature; and a sett, in Vols. would not inflict the penalty of death, V. and VI. “ On the Temptation of and remarks that “a neighbouring Christ," sigued Garon: these consist state has wisely appointed a raspof five letters.
house and other severe labours, as a Query: Whether an edition of Dr. far more equitable and efficacious puPriestley's English Grammar was not nishment." Ou forgery he observes, published by Mr. Bretland ?
“ If I am rightly ivformed, the Dutch J. K.
have a far better way of punishing the
criminal; for they cut off the first SIR,
July 9, 1819. joint of his thumb, and thus render COMO'S remarks on suicide, him for ever unable to commit another two passages, which form a striking maiming fixes on him a perpetual mark contrast, and which I quote from the of disgrace; and yet leaves him oporiginal accounts. The first is iu “Ob- portunity of reforming himself, and of servations on Wadsworth,” printed being further serviceable to society. about 1692, by Mr. Layton, author Thus the sagacious provident Republic of “ The Search after Souls,” men- are not so lavish of men's lives as we tioned in Mon. Repos. VI. 10, 213. are.” That author says, at p. 124,
J. 0. U. “ The present time affords a rare P.S. Dr. F., in his “ Ingratitude example of a young, rich and other of Infidelity," 1775, p. 40, refers to wise happy Lord, who, by a pistol "an anonymous pamphlet, entitled, bullet, took away his own life at the The Aposiles' Creed better than the Bath, meerly toʻrid and free himself Assemblie's Catechism, printed 1720, from such sharp pains of the gout and said to be by Mr. Joseph Hallet, stone, as then oppressed him." Junior.” Does
any one of your readers The other passage is in a “Dedi- possess this pamphlet, which might cation to the Public,” prefixed to his deserve a new edition? “Dissertation on the conatural Crime of Self-Murder," by Dr. Fleming, in Brief Notes on the Bible. 1778. He says,
Y God, my Godwhy uncommou pleasure of reconciling a gentleman, racked with the stone, to xxvii, 46,) is the opening of the 22d a patient endurance of his painful Psalm. conditiou ; though he had set his Was it, inquired oue of my chilhouse in order, had formed his reso. dren, quite consistent in the mouth lotion, and fixed on the time of dis- of Jesus? He possessed a knowledge patching himself. Which persuasion, of his impending fate, and even dethe said gentlemao acknowledged, in clared, that to the fulfilment of his
mission such a consummation was
indispensable; which, therefore, could I now suspect, but do not know, that be no indication that his God and the paper, in the same volume, signed Father had forsaken him. Subsidianus, came from the pen of Mr. Whatever inconsistency, however,
may be imputed to this invocation, it
2. Neat forty years ago, I had the “M'Thou forsaken me ? Matt.
is a slight, and, if the expression be prayer in the garden) such a real and allowable, a venial ove, upon the hy. revolting inconsistency, as furnishes a pothesis of the simple humanity of the problem for them, which I suspect sufferer.
to be of somewhat more difficult soThat he was not unappalled by the lution. sufferings he contemplated, is evident
BREVIS. from his prayer, that, if possible, the cup might pass from him. Though
Liverpool, prepared to suffer and to die, it is no
July 24, 1819. sufferings might be more acute than I Tois moet handig tertior. "Carpenter
, he had apucipated,—and, in a pa- who is so much more able than I to roxysm of agony, this, perhaps con- do justice to the subject, the elucidavulsive, expostulation might break tion of the doctrine of the Divine Infrom him without any definite mean- Auences, to which he is invited by ing. It was followed by a second cry your Correspondent L. J. J. in the last of lamentation ; and both were uttered Number of the Repository, [p. 419)
, just before his dying and more col. But as L. J. J. intimates (pp. 367, 368) Jected declaration, (John xix. 30,) that he does not understaud how Uui“ It is finished.". He had submitted to all that it be expressions, implying a belief in that
tarians can consistently make use of hoved him to endure, but did not doctrine, some of which he quotes sustain the extremity of suffering from two hymn books, which have without the expression of such a sense of it, as was natural to a simply hu- the Unitarian congregations in this
been recently compiled for the use of man being; and in words neither
towi, such as, weighed, nor resembling any language that he had ever used, or was
“ With truth and virtue feed our souls," capable of using, in a state of mental
&c. &c. composure.
I wish to explain what I conceive There is nothing, therefore, stag. to have been the views of the comgering in the inconsistency which has pilers, in admitting ivto their collecbeen suggested.
tions such expressions as are here But another far more important alluded to. And, first, I think it may consideration is behind.
be distinctly stated that they did not What will the orthodox say to it?
mean to convey the idea, that suWill they contend it to be possible pernatural communications from the that “God made man," or that a Deity are to be expected as the result man, in any profoundly mystical iden- of our petitions for divine illumina: tity with God, could have ejaculated tion, any more than when using the such a sentence? That Jesus in his words of the Lord's Prayer" Give blended character could thus have us this day our daily bread," they expostulated with himself? That such would expect to receive a miraculous a preposterous interrogation could supply of food. have passed the lips of a being con
Petitions for divine aid to the mind scious of the divinity within him, and appear to stand upon the same footing that God had neither forsaken, nor
as those for every other blessing, or could forsake him?
rather on a better. For, if we are Really, Sir, what I have thus com
pray for any thing, what objects are mitted to paper stares upon me in
SO proper as wisdom and virtue? such a guise of absurdity, that I Other things may be good shrink from it with a sensation not to according to the use we make of them, be defined; but, as our Lord and but these are always good. Master reasoned with the Jews upon
In fact, your Correspondent's difitheir own principles, so are we con. culties seem to relate to prayer in strained to parley with the modern general; against which philosophical Pharisees on theirs.
objections may, no doubt, be urged; Upon the Unitarian hypothesis the though, perhaps, even on the princi passage is of easy explication; but, ples of natural religion, they are not on the orthodox scheme, it involves insuperable. But whatever force there (especially in conjunction with the may be in these objections, it is suffi
or bad 477
On the Divine Influence. cient for a Christian that the duty dent himself, as affording a presumpof prayer is distinctly taught, indeed tive argument against the solidity of positively enjoined, in the New Tes. his views, when expressions, appatament, both by our Lord and bis reutly so congenial to the devout apostles, as well as recommended by mind as many of those he has selected, their example. On this ground then, appear objectionable. Allowing for I apprehend, the compilers of the the vividness of expression natural works in question are justified in ad- to poetical compos ions there seem mitting such expressions as imply a
to be but few of the lines selected, of wish for divine aid to guide us to which it would not be easy to give a truth and virtue, and in believing rational and satisfactory explanation. that these pious aspirations are nei- It appears to be understood by your ther improper nor unavailing, though Correspondent, that, in these pagthey may not be able to explain ex- sages, the Almighty is represented as actly in what manner, or to what acting by a supernatural and immedegree, they are efficacious. Aud diate impulse: but, surely, this is not most certainly, if the compilers had a necessary deduction. We may sup. struck out all such expressions, their pose the Divine Being to exercise a works would not bave been accom- providence over the spiritual part of modated to the people for whose use his creation, quite as ordinary, and they were designed : for these com- regulated by laws quite as general, as pilations were not made for schools that which we admit he exercises of speculative pbilosophy ; but for over the material world; and still it congregations of Christians, who are may be very proper, in the one case contented to take their religion from as in the other, to pass by the operathe Scriptures, and feel no desire to tion of second causes, and turn our be “ wise above what is written." regards solely upon the great First
T. F. Cause, expressing in simple but strik
ing language, the simple but imporNottingham, tant and undoubted truth, that God
July 18, 1819. is the only Fountain of all our blessVOUR Correspondent L. J. J. ings. To make use of a common
(pp. 367, 368,) has called the at- illustration-when we pray for daily tention of your readers to a subject of bread we do not fancy that it will be great importance, and certainly of supernaturally provided, without the some difficulty : and though I have use of labour and industry. When no doubt that his communication will we speak of God as giving fruitful meet with the attention it merits, from seasons, we include in our considethe individuals to whom he particu- ration all that series of natural causes larly addresses his remarks, I am in- which he has at command. So when clined to ofier a few thoughts which we pray for guidance in our spiritual have occurred to myself, as calculated course, we mean, if we mean any to satisfy the doubts which ari in thing, and do not content ourselves the reflecting mind on this question, with a mere sound of words, that God Some years ago I read a discourse of would exercise his providence, in Dr. Priestley's, on the subject of the placing in our way the mcans of im. Divine Influence upou the Mind, with provement, aud adapting our princi. which I was far from being satisfied. ples to our trials. Surely this canuot It appeared to me, that with such be thought irrational. For if we beviews it would be impossible to vin- lieve that God has actually revealed dicate the use of prayer, or to lay any his will to us in a supernatural mansolid foundation for the practical part ner, (and all Christians do believe of religion. I could not help thinking this,) fervently to pray that he would that in combating one error, he had so order his providence, as that this fallen into another, and I was un- holy will should be understood by willing to believe, that sound prin- us, and applied to the sanctification ciples of reasoning could lead to a of our lives, cannot be shewn to be result evidently unfavourable to the irrational or unbecoming. use and efficacy of religion. Indeed, It is not necessary for the vindicaI think it must strike your Correspon- tion of such a petition, that the person
preferring it should have a distinct his works) and that in pone of the conception of the means which the acts of his providence does he conAlmighty may adopt to fulfil it. , cern himself to promote the spiritual
The prayer of Cornelius was heard, well-being of his creatures. This is and his desire of further light on to go from one dangerous extreme to the subject of religion was satisfied, another; for what can have a greater though he could have no distinct con- tendency to deprive religion of its ception of the means which God influence, than such a view of things would employ for that purpose. Sup- as this, which represents us as strug. pose any devout Heathen of the pre- gling with difficulties and exposed to sent day to fall down and pray to the dangers, in relation to our most im. unknown God, and with a strong portant interests, without being able sense of bis own ignorance to implore to look up to that great Being, on him to enlighten his mind with truth, whom all our hopes depend for help could there be one found so insensible and protection? His spirit, which as to bring against him a charge of pervades every thing and discerns absurdity on that account? And if every thing, is debarreu, it seems, God, in the exercise of his providence, from interposing its energies in behalf should lead him to the knowledge of of creatures, whose iufirmities expose the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is them to constant peril, though they able to make men wise uuto salvation, have before them the prospect of imthis, surely, would be no less an in- mortal life and happiness. stance of divine grace, than if he had On this supposition, too, what actaught him by the ministry of hea. count can be given of the duty of venly angels, or by his own imme. prayer? For why should we be diate operation had inspired him with called upon to commune with that the knowledge of his truth. So, may Intelligence who surrounds us, unless it not be a rational prayer of every it comes within the scope of bis propartaker in Christian privileges, that vidential government to bear a perhe who knows our thoughts, and is sonal relation towards us, as the hearer conscious of every thing that passes and answerer of prayer? But a thein our minds, would promote the in. ory, which excludes the Divine Being fluence and superintend the efficacy from so large and important a part of of those means which he has planned his creation, will be found to have its for our instruction in righteousness, origin in narrow and erroneous views and our final admission to glory? of bis nature and perfections. There
Views of this kind, it has been said, is every reason to suppose that he has open the door to every sort of delusion. the dominion equally of the spiritual And it cannot be denied that men and material kingdoms. We, indeed, have often entertained extravagant have no knowledge of mind except and_unsçriptural notions respecting from its operations; we know little the Divine Influence upon the mind. or nothing of the nature or quality of But we are liable to err on either spiritual existence; and, therefore, hand, by taking a confined view of the operations of mind do not seem this subject. On the one hand, those to us capable of being brought under who maintain the doctrine of Divine the same strict cognizance of Divine Influence, generally conceive of the Providence as takes place in the maAlmighty as acting upon the mind in terial world: but we may be sure an arbitrary and supernatural manner, that, with respect to God, both de as if he had no fixed rule of proceed- partments of creation are equally and ing in such a case, and was in want entirely known; and, if known, then of proper instruments to effect his guided equally to a good end, by the purposes; and, on the other hand, exercise of divine power, wisdom and those who controvert the notion of goodness, in the formation and mainsensible impulser, sometimes go so tenance of equitable and beneficial far as to give us the impression that, laws. Under this idea of the exteu. in their opinion, the Almighty exer- sion of Divine Providence to every cises no controul over the spiritual part of the creation, we ought to repart of his creation, (that is, has no- gard every influence which tends to thing to do with the poblest part of the moral improvement of mankind,
On the Authenticity of St. Paul's Epistles.
479 as the gift of the grace and favour of ance of a friend, and by the constant God, for which we ought humbly perusal of your valuable Miscellanies, and heartily to give him thanks, and I have made out a list of about one for the continuance and extension of hundred and fifty Unitarian, Arian, which we ought to pray, whatever Presbyterian and General Baptist conbe the instrumentality by which this gregations, with the panies of their good intuence may have been exerted. respective ministers: this I shall be
I am aware that this whole view of happy to transfer to any tract society the subject is exposed to objections, or individuals, who may have means arising from the difficulty of recon. to acquire such further information ciling the exercise of Divine Provi- as will enable them to furnish the dence with the accountableness of Unitarian public with a correct list of man; but this is a difficulty which, their several places of worship. like the origin and existence of evil, must press equally upon every theory
July 10, 1819. connected with theological specula- I Wiose who have entered into the tion.
H. T. controversy concerning the authenti
city of St. Paul's Epistles, that they
Warwick, have paid any attention to the only
July 13, 1819. argnment, in my opinion, which ought
scriptions to the Unitarian Asso. since: I presume, therefore, to state ciation, (see p. 6 of the Report of the what the inspired apostle has said, to Committee,) 1 observe our congrega. lead us to the proper proof; and we, tion is justly mentioned ; but ihe as Christians, are bound to take his name of our highly-respected minis. sacred word. In his second Epistle ter, Rev. William Field, is by some to the Thessalonians, chap. iii. ver. means omitted. I should not have 17, he says, The salutation by the hand troubled you, Sir, with a correction of of me, Paul, which is my tnken (seal this, but from the circumstance, that or mark) in EVERY Epistle. Thus I at this season of the year, a number of WRITE. In examining the other Epis. strangers from all parts of the United tles, I can find this mark or token Kingdom, visit the neigl.bouring Spa only in the following-1 Cor. xvi. 21: of Leamington; of course, among The salutation of me, Paul, with my them there are many Antitrivitarians, ou'n hand. Col. iv. 16: The salutation and this being the nearest Unitarian by the hand of me, Paul. Gal. vi. 11: place of worship, (a delightful walk Ye see how large an Epistle I have of two miles,) such as are desirous of written to you with my own hand. Phi. paying their adorations to the one lemon, ver. 19: I Paul have written it only living and true God, will most with my own hand. In this last quolikely be at a loss unless they inquire tation the apostle introduces his name for Mr. Field's chapel. Divine ser- as much as a pledge for the payment vice commences at eleven in the morn- of a sum of inoney, as a proof of the ing, and six in the evening.
authenticity of his epistle. J. ARMSTRONG. In no other letters bearing his P.S. I mention the time from the name, do I perceive this essential following suggestion of your Corre- mark or token, which the apostle spondent W. Whitfield, (XII). 305,] makes use of to distinguish his own “ You will, no doubt, be perfectly authentic writings from those which aware of the usefulness of a complete were written in his name, but without list of the Unitarian places of worship bis authority: not having liis hand in the United Kingdom; the names and stal solemuly pleilged for their of the towns in which they are to be authenticity. It was uot necessary, found, alphabetically arranged; the perhaps, for the apostle to make the name of the chapel, if any; the situa- same solemn asseveration in his pria tion in each town; the name of the rate correspondence with an intiniaie preacher, and the time at which the friend and companion, such as Tidifferent services commence," &c. mothy was; but in writing to a public
I beg to say that, with the assist: body of Christians, there was great