Page images

haps, is but an act of justice to his baneful influence of vulgar errors. character, I shall now proceed to state His ideas of the Divine character in what we were agreed :-generally and government were most extensive speaking, in all the fundamental doc- and exalted; and while he was neitrives and essential principles of the ther enthusiast nor fanntic, yet his gospel of Christ. To use his words, religious views were to him a fund of in his excellent Letters to the Bishop happiness and pleasure, which, added of St. David's, whereiu he not only to the natural cheerfulness of his defends his secession, but contends temper, gave a cheerful and agreeable with his usual ability for the right (as turn to his conversation, a quality selhe considered it the duty) of every dom combined with the character of Christian, to inquire freely and fully studious men. into the meaning of the Scriptures, “ To these remarks I shall only add and remonstrates with his Lordship his golden rule in ascertaining relie on the impropriety of persons being gious truth : · What is clearly and ex. exposed to those penalties and disa- plicitly taught in the Scriptures, or is bilities, the loss of which, by the re- the plain and undoubted inference peal of the persecuting laws respecting therefrom, ought to be cousidered as Unitarians, bis Lordship deplored, the fundamental principle and ground and contended ought to be revived. of interpretation for that which is less • The existence of one God, by whom explicit or more difficult.' For, as he all things were created; the divine used to say, 'no religious opinion mission, death and consequent resur- should contradict the general current rection of Christ; the divine autho- of the Scriptures.' rity of his precepts, revealed in the With respect to the social and gospel ; and the hope of immortality relative duties, the public respect, in in the resurrection of the dead.' These addition to what I have stated, bears opinions, together with considering ample testimony to the one, and his the Father as the sole object of reli- attention to his mother and sisters, gious worship, and his free, unpur- their union and felicity, sufficiently chased grace to the penitent, and the speak the other. They will severely necessity of personal obedience to the feel his loss. We can only offer our precepts of the gospel, as indispen- sincere condolence, and pray the God sable to insure a good conscience, and of all consolation to support them a well-grounded hope in the Divine under this bereavement.

And we mercy; and a future state of rewards hope it will be no small alleviation and punishments according to the of their affliction, that bis mortal deeds of men in the present life. career, though short, was with credit

“While he defended these opinions, and honour. with a demonstration seldom equalled, “ I have thus stated a few parti. he could also offer the best reasons culars respecting the religious course why men should live in charity aud of this excellent man. It remains for good-will. For, not to mention his us to shew the same manly and de. political opinious, he had the most cided character. Let our minds be enlarged views of religious liberty; free to the impressions of truth, and and, from the increasing liberality of eagerly seek for it. When found, let the times, confidently anticipated the us honestly confess it, and dissent upon destruction of every species of into. principle: at the same time forgetting lerance and persecution ; for, as he not to cultivate Christian charity toused to say, what has genujue Chris- wards those who differ from us, as tianity to fear from its enemies? And well as amongst ourselves. Pursuing if it had, the means taken to support this path, let us strive to perfect the it are by no means suitable to its Christian character, and cherish the spirit and character, which enjoins hope that, at another day, according upon its followers, to do unto all men to the promises of the gorpel, all the as they wish others should do towards good and virtuous of every nation and them.

sect shall be re-united in a holy, happy These enlightened views of the and immortal state, where separation Christian religion saved him from the will be no more."

[ocr errors][ocr errors]




Clapton, stead of controverting, in the Iutro. SIR,

January 10, 1819. duction, the vulgar notion of Original I

SEND you a continuation of the Sin, he had left that opinion un

translation of Locke and Lim- touched, or at least not made it so borch's letters. Some of those which prominent, in bis Treatise. For now will probably appear in your present many who are strongly attached to Volume, contain profound discussions that doctrine, stumble at the thresk. of metaphysical questions ; ou which hold, before they reach the main ar. a translator is in no small danger of gument of the book. They, indeed, sometimes misunderstanding his ori. entertain such prejudices against the ginal. Should any of your Corre- Author that they cannot read, with spondents detect such mistakes, I the calm consideration required, his shall be obliged by their sending you further arguments, and thus become their corrections.

hostile. Their good-will should rather

J. T. RUTT. have been conciliated, that they might The Correspondence between Locke and

have come with an unbiassed judgment Limborch, 1685—1704.

to consider an opinion, whicb, however

true, yet little accords with the sen(Continued from p. 675, Vol. XIII.) timents of most theologians. These No. 34.

generally desire to add something of Amsterdam, Oct. 8, 1697. their own to the Christian faith, which Philip à Limborch to John Locke. they regard as the exclusive property MY WORTHY FRIEND,

of their party. To disabuse them of I

WROTE you, in March last, a this error, it is necessary to allure

very long letter. During the them, instead of alienating their minds summer I have conversed with some by at once proposing some dogma, of our principal literati, on various which they regard as highly disputopics." Among these the conver- table. I freely tell you what passed sation turned on the Treatise, * of on this subject. which you have already received my

Our discourse, as frequently hapopinion. They all highly commended pens, turned on other topics ; among it. One, indeed, was dissatisfied with the rest, by what arguments the unity the title, as not commensurate to the of God could be most satisfactorily dignity of the subject. He said, that established.

That, eminent person, the Author had pursued a different whom I last mentioned, declared that course to that of most writers, who he wished to see some irrefragable gave magnificent names to works of arguments, by which it might be little importance. He, on the con- proved that an eterual, self-existent trary, had prefixed a very unassuming and all-perfect Being, can be only one. title to a book of weighty argument. He wished to see something in the Yet, surely, the title should rather manner of Hugo Grotius, in his first correspond to the importance of the book * on the Truth of the Christian work, that it may invite a perusal. Religion ; adding, that he had heard

Another person (the same who for- of a French translation † of your merly introduced to you, our Slade, Essay on the Human Understanding, this 1 hint only to yourself) said that which he wished very much to see, he had read that Treatise twice. He as he had a great opinion of your praised it highly, and declared that judgment. He inquired of me, whethe Author had satisfactorily proved, ther in that Essay you had established what was the principal argument of his book-the design of the Christian . Sect. iii. Deum esse unum. Revelation. He only wished, that in. + This was afterwards executed, under

the Author's inspection, by Coote, and Reasonableness of Christianity. See will be further noticed in this corresponVol. XIII. pp. 610, 612.





the Unity of a self-existent Being. I cellent man, a long-extended life, that
confessed my ignorance, as I had never he may prosperously administer the
read the Essay, being unacquainted affairs of the kingdom of England;
with the language in which it is writ- and for you, uninterrupted health, that
ten. He then desired me seriously to you may communicate your thoughts
urge you, if the question has not been to the learned world.
considered in your Essay, to enlarge Farewell, most worthy friend; make
it, by introducing that subject, and my best wishes acceptable to Lady
firmly establishing the Unity of an Masbam. My wife and daughter
independent Being, (Entis indepen- present their respects.
dentis). It seems manifest that an

Yours, affectionately,
independent Being, comprehending in

himself all perfection, can be only one ;
yet he wished to have this so fully

No. 35.
proved as to exhaust the argument.
Within the last three days he in.

John Locke to Philip à Limborch. quired if I had written to you, and (Lettre de M. Locke à M. Limborch.) what answer I had received. I did

London, Oct. 29, 1697. not think him so much in earnest, but seeing how he has the affair at

IF my name has been pientioned heart, I can no longer defer writing.

to those learned persons with whom I therefore request, if your engage- you sometimes converse, and if they ments will allow, that you send me condescend to speak of my writings, an answer which he can read. Your in your conversations, I owe the faletter should be so managed that he

vour entirely to you. The good opimay not suspect my having given you nion which you entertain of one, his name. You can answer, as if I

whom you have honoured with your had written to you, that some learned friendship, has prejudiced them in my persons discussiug this subject, one of

favour. them, who much esteemed you, wished

I wish that my Essay on the Underto know your opinion, and desired standing were written in a language that you would consider it in your Essay on the Human Understanding. You see how plainly I deal with you, solicitous to think soberly in comparing

reasonably doubted, whether he was equally and what I venture to expect from himself with his noble patron. Who can your friendship.

forbear to smile, or raiher to blush, for I was lately at the Hague, and vi

man at his best estate, when John Loche sited the most Honourable the Earl condescends to remind, or rather to inform, of Pembroke, with whom I had an the Earl of Pembroke, of his Lordship’s hour's conversation on various topics,“ large and comprehensive discoveries of some of them theological. 1 greatly fruths, hitherto unknown ;” and when the admire to see a man of such high rank Essay on Human l’nderstanding is de. so attentive to religion. His conver

scribed by its Author as a present, “ just satiou was indeed so interesting, that

such as the poor man makes to bis rich and I seemed scarcely to have passed half great neighbour, by whom the basket of an hour with him, when, on taking has more plenty of his own growth, and

flowers or fruit is not ill taken, though he leave, I found that a whole hour had in much greater perfection ;" or as one of elapsed. † I pray for that most ex- those “ worthless things" which “receive

a value, when they are made the offerings

of respect, esteem and gratitude"! Even • This request produced the following Mr. Locke could scarcely fail to become a letter, written in French :

contributor to what would be an amusing + It is surprising that this nobleman, of and not uninstructive work, a critical whose intellectual attainments Mr. Locke, history of Epistles Dedicatory. in his Dedication of the Essay, in 1689, The Earl of Pembroke was now Am. had taught the public to form, so bighi an bassador extraordinary to the States Ge. estimate, should now be remembered only neral. He alterwards Glled several conby that Dedication, and his place, which siderable posts in Eugland, became Lord the accident of birth has given him, in the Lieutenant of Ireland, and immediately peerage. The Author of the Essay was preceded Prince George of Denmark, as careful not to think of himself more highly Lord High Admiral. The Earl died in llan he ought to think; but it may be 1733.

[ocr errors][merged small]

The Correspondence between Locke and Limborch, translated.



with which those excellent men are

examine the truth of the Christian acquainted; for by the correct and Religion. candid judgment which they would

I am, Sir, form of my work, I might determine Your very humble and most what was true, what erroneous, and

obedient Servant, what tolerable. It is now seven years

J. LOCKE. since that book was published. The [The above was in French: what first and the second editions had the follows, in Latin.] good fortune to be, in general, fa

MY WORTHY Friend, vourably received. The last edition has not fared so well. After a silence French your very acceptable Latin

BE not surprised that I answer in . of five or six years, I know not what letter of the 8th of this month. I

faults are discovered which were not might plead a number of engagements, perceived before; and what is siu. which bave denied me much leisure, gular, subjects of religious contro- and my want of practice in the Latin versy are found in that work, where

tongue, which forbids my writing I only designed to treat questions of with expedition. But I learn from speculative philosophy. I have de

yours that this letter of mine will be termined to make some additions, a

read or shewn to others, and I cannot large part of which is already pre venture to subject my negligent style pared. These will appear in their to the censure of such judges. For, proper places in the fourth edition, whatever your candid, friendly conwhich the bookseller intends to pub- sideration always accepts from me, lish. I shall also readily satisfy your with others it might create disgust, wish, or that of any of your friends, or, at least, a weariness, not easily by inserting the proofs of the Unity excused. I therefore wrote what I of God, which present themselves to had to say, rapidly, in my own lanmy mind; for I am inclined to be. lieve that the Unity of God may be render it into his.

guage, and employed a Frenchman to as clearly demonstrated as his exist

Since the controversy has comence, and that it may be established menced between me and the Bishop on evidence completely satisfactory. of Worcester, (who was indeed the But I love peace, and there are so

aggressor,) the Reverend gownsmen many in the world who love clamour (yens theologorum togata) are mar, and vain controversies, that I doubt velously excited against my book, and whether I ought to supply them with that Essay, which was hitherto apnew subjects of dispute.

proved, is now at length discovered, The remarks


send me, which those learned persons made upon The abound with errors, or at least to con

by the pious care of these Doctors, to Reasonableness of Christianity, &c., tain a hiding place for errors, and the are doubtless very just, and it is cer

very grounds of scepticism. tain that many readers have been

Respecting the Unity of God, I shocked at some opinions which they confess that the arguments of Grotius, met with, at the beginning of the in the place you cite, are not quite book, and which, by no means, accord

satisfactory. Can you suppose that with the doctrines commonly received. But on this subject I must refer those any one who ackuowledges a God,

can possibly doubt that his Deity is gentlemen to the Two Defences of his

one? I indeed never doubted this; work, which the Author has put yet I confess that it appears to me, forth. * For having published that small volume, as he says himself

, prin- somewhat elevated, and separated

on reflection, that the mind must be cipally with a design of convincing from the common method of philothose who doubt the truth of Chris

sophizing, to prove this, philosophitianity, he was led, unavoidably, to cally, or, if I may so speak, physically; treat those subjects; for to render his but I say this only to you. book useful to Deists, he could not

My kindest regards to your dear pass over in silence those articles on

wife and children. which they insist, whenever they

See Le Clerc's Notes on Sect. iii. Ed. • See Vol. XIII. pp. 671, 672, Note. Hage Comitis, 1734, pp. 8, 9.

[ocr errors]


No. 36.

write to no human being, unless, perPhilip à Limborch to John Locke. haps, you will allow me to read it to

(No Date] Mr. Le Clerc, which may be as you MY WORTHY FRIEND,

please, for he is at present quite igooI DULY received your very ac, rant of my correspondence with you ceptable letter of 29th October, and on these subjects. By compliance read it to that eminent person whose with the request of that eminent per: request I communicated to you. The sou, you will highly gratify him; and subject ou which he proposed the

as your paper will be communicated inquiry seems scarcely possible to be only to a very few confidential friends, questioned by any sound mind, for to none of whom I shall give a copy, the notion of Deity involves unity, it cannot come abroad. That I may nor allows us to imagine it commu- more peremptorily deny a copy, I wish nicable to several. Wherefore, in my you would lay that restraint upon me, judgment, no one who attentively con- strictly, in your letter. I am unwil. siders what we mean by the term ling that you should become still God, can possibly maintain the notion more suspected by the gownsmen of a plurality of Gods. Yet as we see (genti toyata) of encouraging sceptiit maintained by the Heathens, with cism. Many of these, I have no doubt, whom we cannot argue from the au- are ready, eagerly, to bestow applause thority of Scripture, they must be or censure, bowever undeserved, unconvinced by considerations deduced der the guidance of another's judg. from nature. Wherefore that eminent ment, just as a log is moved by person wishes to see arguments of powers not its own. that description, by which it may be When I read your letter, a pleasant clearly demonstrated that a Being, story of Thomas More, in his Utopia, independent and perfect, can be but occurred to me. He says, that when

The Unity of the Divine Es- Raphael Hythloday learnedly dissence being once firmly established, coursed concerning the Republic, it becomes an easy task thence to de- before the Cardinal [Morton] Archduce all the Divine attributes, and our bishop of Canterbury, a certain learned duty towards God and our neighbour. lawyer, by shaking his head and dis.

He says that Descartes has not torting his countenance, expressed an proved the Unity, but assumed it. entire disapprobation of all he said. He once drew up a demonstration for The whole company, treading in the himself, but says it was too subtle; steps of the learned lawyer, presently and because he defers much to your avowed the same opinion. But when judgment, he earnestly desires to see the Cardinal declared his concurrence your arguments. When I read your with Hythloday's opinion, inmediletter to him he rejoiced, because you ately they who had despised it, when say that you can do what he requires, uttered by him, now bestowed on it and now he is more importunate than their highest commendations. † Such ever to have your thoughts on the has been the fate of your Essay. It subject.

was received for six years with geHe is sorry to find you dragged into neral approbation, till a bishop of a controversy, and suspects that you great name appeared against it, when may be averse to publish your opi- it was discovered to abound in errors, nions, lestundesignedly you should and to contain the secret springs of afford an occasion for new debates and scepticism. Thus the common herd insinuations. He requests that you of theologues rely not on their own, would write to me privately, under the assurance of secrecy; as he has no wish to divulge your sentiments, but * It is the passage in which Sir Thomas only asks them for his own instruction More, under the disguise of his Utopia, and confirmation in the truth. Be. declared against the sanguinary complexion sides himself and two intimate friends of bis country's criminal law, which three of mine, who took part in our first centuries of civilization have only served conversation, M. de Hartage, Advo, written the Utopia about 1516, while be

to aggravate. More is supposed to have cate of the Dutch Exchequer, and

was under-sberiff of London. See Dr. Mf. Advocate Van den Ende-besides Warner's edition, 1758, Adver. and p. 27. these 1 shall communicate what you + Ibid. p. 50.

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »