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by no means undeserved terms of re- intended to prepare us for another spect and admiration in which he and more enduring state, can I doubt speaks of the subject of his remarks, that the circumstances in which the that the continuance for ten or twelve heirs of immortality are placed, are years more of such a life as that of regulated with a view to the promoMrs. Cappe would be acknowledger tion of this great and glorious object? by him as one of those cases. But if Why, then, should it be thought a this is granted, then it necessarily fol- thing incredible, that one of the pur. lows (since we are agreed that the poses intended to be answered by the adaptation of this world for a scene dispensations of the present life should of moral discipline requires that it be to prove in us those dispositions should be governed according to ge- and feelings which may fit us for our neral laws), that all the circumstances heavenly inheritance ? From a view which, in conformity with those laws, of the constitution of our bodily frame, must be combined in order to accom- natural theology has derived some of plish this purpose, must also have her strongest proofs of the infinite been foreseen and provided for from wisdom and benevolence of our Althe beginning. And however limited mighty Creator; and it is thought not and imperfect our knowledge may be unreasonable to suppose that a Being of the manner in which the various who could have conferred upon us our incidents and changes which occur in various faculties at once, by a fiat of the world are connected with each his omnipotent word, has chosen ra. other, we cannot fail to perceive that ther to resort to a complex organizaevents of such magnitude that it is tion, in order to afford his rational impossible for any one to suppose creatures an opportunity of tracing them to be overlooked, who believes the marks of wise design, manifested that the Divine Being concerns him- in the works of nature ;-wly, then, self in the remotest degree with the should it be thought absurd to suppose affairs of his creatures, are continually that in the dispensations of Providependent upon circumstances which, dence, his object has been not merely but for this connexion, would have to accomplish the purpose immedi, been considered as trifling and unim- ately in view, but also to impress portant.
more forcibly on our minds a convicNow, if all this be admitted, (and tion of our dependence on him for how it is to be disputed by any one every good gift, and to lead us to perwho believes in a Providence at all, I ceive and admire the display of his cannot conceive,) I am at a loss to natural and moral perfections in the understand upon what grounds we can government of the universe? But, it hesitate to assent to Mrs. Cappe's is said, that in many instances we are conclusion in the passage which has unable to perceive this; the ways of given rise to this discussion ; namely, Providence are often inscrutable. It that it was the intention of a gracious is granted; but is this any reason Providence, by these means, at that why, in those cases where we can time, to preserve her life. “ It may trace his counsels, however imper. be asked," she continues, “could not fectly, we should fail to do so! Still life have been preserved in a much more, is there any reason why, in shorter way, by simply preventing the those cases where we have ourselves accident : I answer, undoubtedly ; received any signal benefit, or have but let it be remembered, that the been delivered from some impending mercy would then have been wholly calamity, we are to refuse to conteniunperceived, and, consequently, that plate in the beneficent dispensation not one of the salutary convictions the agency of himn in whom we live and would have been felt, which similar move and have our being? In such dangers aud similar deliverances are cases are we to rest in second causes ? intended to produce.” Mr. L. finds Are we bound, on pain of being conin this argument only a fit subject for temned as weak and unphilosophical ridicule. "To iny mind, I confess, it reasoners, to look no further than the suggests graver reflections. When I laws of gravitation or of muscular consider that the present world is a contraction, and to refrain froin lifting scene of trial, probation and discipline, up our thoughts to that great Being by whom these laws were established, we to ascribe those phenomena, someand of whose inighty energies they are tiines the instruments of good, at in fact nothing more than the modes others, in the first instance at least, of operation ?
of evil, of which in popular language Mr. L. has undertaken the very su- these inanimate objects are represented perfluous labour of proposing such a as the causes? In ascending through case and arguing upon it. “ Suppose the series of second causes,
how can a coach to be overset, carrying six we stop any where till we arrive at passengers-two of them killed on that Infinite Being who hath declared the spot, two maimed for life, and by the month of his prophet, “ I form the remaining two totally unhurt. the light and create darkness; I make How is this to be explained ?" Among peace and create evil; I the Lord do other solutions which he imagines of all these things !” this “ difficult problem,” one is, that Supposing, then, that such a cir“ the downfal was the effect of uni. cumstance as this had actually occurversal rules established by Omnipo- red, and I were called upon to furnish tence as the permanent laws of na- a solution of the problem, I should ture ;” another, “ that the accident say, that this, like every other event itself was in the common course of that occurs throughout the universe, cause and effect, but that the Almighty is the result of the immediate exertion interposed his power to save the lives of divine power, directed to the proof the two who escaped, and left the duction of that particular effect, but other four to their fate.” The first is operating according to the uniform that which he himself adopts; the and regular plan which has been wisely other, he seems to take it for granted, established, in order to render this would have been preferred by Mrs. world a school in which men may Cappe. With respect to his own so- learn wisdom from experience. The lution, it may be sufficient to observe, effect in this instance was awful and that it involves an absurdity in ascribe mysterious ;-I do not presume to ing a physical effect to a mere ab- account for it; but as it constitutes a straction of his own mind. An effect part of the great plan of Providence, can only be produced by some agent; as it was the necessary consequence now, a rule is not an agent, but only of the previous circumstances, arising the mode according to which some out of them at that particular time agent operates. The laws of motion and place, as infallibly as an eclipse or and gravitation, to which he would a transit- ,--so I firmly believe that it refer the effect in question, are not was connected with other effects in a beings, and therefore not agents. bigh degree beneficial, and, in fact, They are in reality, as I have just (to adopt the language of a doctrine observed, mere abstractions of our that has often been ridiculed, but can own minds, devised in order to enable never be disproved,) formed an essenus commodiously to express in one tial part of the best possible system.* general proposition, a great variety of As for the other solution, every one phenomena, which present themselves must admit that it is in a high degree to our notice, under circumstances irrational and derogatory to the Divine more or less closely analogous. Who, perfections, but nothing can be more then, is the agent by whom these ei- remote froin the view of a particular fects are produced ?" In the case of Providence as maintained by Mrs. the law of gravitation, are we to sup- Cappe. I should not, therefore, have pose that the earth exerts a positive taken any further notice of this part inherent force to draw down every unsupported body to its surface ? 'Has it intelligence to perceive and obey of the subject
, I hope I may be permitted
* For some further details on this part the laws which its Maker hatb imposed upon it? Is the earth a servant that Views of Providence, inserted in the
to refer to an Essay on the Different can hear and understand the com
Monthly Repository for Angust, 1814. mands of its Almighty Lord? Is it That paper contained my earliest thoughts in a literal sense that the winds are
on this subject, which a more matured, his messengers, and the faining fire and at least annually repeated examinahis minister? If not, to whom are tion of it, have fully confirmed.
of Mr. L.'s paper, but for a very sin- so long as it is stated in the abstract, gular reference to scriptural authority, or veiled in dry and barren generaliwhich deserves to be cited as a re- ties; but whose imaginations, when markable example of the folly of the we attempt to apply it to a particular practice too cominon among all classes, example, are instantly carried away by of quoting from Scripture sentences some of the minor and accidental de and half sentences, as detached apho- tails, and they lose sight of, or hesitate risms, without regard to argument or to admit the general principle. This connexion. “Why presume,” says he, is more remarkably the case, when
on this system of favouritism, when any of the circumstances may be turnthe very authority on which so large a ed into ridicule, or are connected with portion of mankind rests its belief, low and ludicrous images. In the has declared that 'one event happens present instance, it is to be feared alike to all?!" Whether your corre- that some readers have been more spondent is competent to undertake a occupied by the minute particularities commentary on the difficult book he of the “ gristle of a breast of veal," has here quoted, I know not; but I “the glass of cold water,” &c., than think no one who reads the whole of by the important and instructive practhe passage out of which these few tical lesson which the author endeawords are selected, (Eccles. ii. 12-17,) vours to deduce from the incident. will fail to be forcibly struck by the To such minds I do not wonder that thoughtless precipitation with which the whole should appear to savour of the querulous discontented complaints the ludicrous or burlesque. Doubtof a man dissatisfied with himself, less, if Mrs. Cappe had been writing satiated and disappointed with worldly for persons of such refined taste and pleasures and mere worldly business, susceptible imaginations, she would are made to pass for indisputable have abstained from all mention of maxims of divine truth. “We have these petty and vulgar details. But I it from the SAME source," he con- suspect her more sober readers would tinues, “ that 'not a sparrow falleth have been losers rather than gainers to the ground without our heavenly by this sort of fastidiousness. We Father, and even the hairs of our heads are none of us, perhaps, sufficiently are all numbered."" No, says Mr. L., aware how much of the force and the hairs of our heads are not num. value of correct general principles is bered; all that is meant is, that Om- lost, by neglecting to apply them haniscience is capable of numbering bitually and constantly to particular them! In this manner does a fallible cases. The cases themselves may be mortal presume to explain away the minute, and, if taken separately, inay express words of our Lord, and set appear trifling and insignificant; but liinits to the Divine Omniscience! the habit of mind which is thus cultiAnd why? Because it derogates from vated, and which can thus alone be the dignity of the Supreme Being to brought to perfection, is often of the suppose hiin to be «
occupied” with highest importance. Sometimes, as such petty details ; because Divine in the instance before us, the details power must be fatigued, if every mo- may be such as to excite, in those tion and every atom is to be guided who have not accustomed themselves by such “ incessant and watchful re- to view the hand of a Sovereign Disgulations !”
poser in all the events and circumAfter all, there is one point of view stances of their lives, nothing but low in which this passage of Mrs. Cappe's and ludicrous associations ; but there Memoir may possibly be thought lia- are others, I trust, who will be acble to some exception. The correct- tuated by sounder principles and betness of the philosophical principle is, ter feelings. For myself, replete with in my opinion, unquestionable ; but instruction as is the whole of this how far it was judicious to connect it valuable work, I do not hesitate to with the detail of a variety of minute declare that those parts of it appear particulars is a matter of taste, on to me pre-eminently so, in which the which some doubts may perhaps be writer endeavours, from those circumstarted. There are, unfortunately, stances of her life which might othermany persons who are ready enough wise have been considered as uninto acknowlenge an important maxim, teresting to the public, to deduce
impressive illustrations of those im- the mere assent of the judgment to portant practical principles which she the truths of Holy Scripture, however had derived from an enlightened phi- desirable such an assent may be, that losophy and from a careful examina- is sufficient to make us real Christians. tion of Scripture.
It is only by the sanctifying operation WILLIAM TURNER, Jun. of the Holy Spirit that we come fully
to partake of the benefits of the mediThe Epistle from the Yearly Meeting, Son of God.
ation and propitiatory sacrifice of the held in London, by Adjournments, from the 21st of the Fifth Month, all whom we are addressing may be
It is our earnest solicitude, that to the 29th of ihe same, inclusive, enough concerned for the salvation of 1823, to the Quarterly and Monthly their souls. Dear friends, we believe Meetings of Friends, in Great Bri- that for the advancement of this most tain, Ireland and elsewhere.
necessary work, it is good for us freDear Friends,
quently to seek after retirement in E have again been made thank- spirit before the Lord, and to wait in is not unmindful of us; and we reve- tions of his will. If this be not immerently trust that this meeting has not diately manifested, let not any be disbeen" held in vain. We may inform couraged, but let them persevere in you that the current of Christian love faith. Then we believe that in the has renewedly fowed amongst us; Lord's time that evidence of his care and it has extended to all our absent will be granted, which will prove confriends. Under this precious influ- soling to the mind. On such occaence, we offer you our endeared salu- sions the precepts of holy writ will tation, desiring your advancement in at times be brought instructively tu the way which leadeth unto eternal our remembrance. With these invalife; and that you may ever bear in luable writings, it becomes every one remembrance that “other foundation who bears the name of a Christian, can no man lay, than that is laid, to endeavour to be well acquainted. which is Jesus Christ.”
In order to acquire this knowledge, Beloved friends, we have no new we wish that all our members may doctrine to communicate; no fresh observe the good practice of a daily precepts to enforce: it is a peculiar serious reading of the Scriptures in excellence of the gospel that its cha- their families, when collected ; and racter is always the same. To those also that they frequently read them in who desire to have their hearts cleansed private in a pious disposition of mind, from the defilements of sin,-yea, to even though it be but a sinall portion all—the grace of our Lord Jesus at a time. Christ continues to be freely offered. In the Sacred Writings, no duty is The cross must be daily borne by all more clearly set forth than that of who would become his disciples. If prayer. Prayer is the aspiration of we would attain unto that holiness the heart unto God: it is one of the without which no man can see the first engagements of the awakened Lord, we must apply in faith unto soul, and we believe that it becomes Him who “taketh away the sin of the clothing of the minds of those the world;" who was “ wounded for whose lives are regulated by the fear our transgressions,” who was “bruised and love of their Creator. If in mofor our iniquities,” and by whose ments of serious reflection, and when “stripes we are healed;” who, being communing with our own hearts, we in glory with the Father “ before the are sufficiently alive to our helpless world was,” condescended in order to condition, we shall often feel that we effect our redemption, to come down may pour forth our secret supplicafrom heaven, and take upon him the tions unto the Lord. And as we benature of man. In contemplating the lieve that it is one of the greatest infinite importance of these solemn privileges a Christian can enjoy, thus truths, and in publicly acknowledging to draw nigh in spirit unto the Father our belief in the divinity of our blessed of mercies, we earnestly desire that no Saviour, we desire most clearly to one may deprive himself of so great a convey the sentiment that it is not blessing. But let all on such occa
sions remember the awful majesty of and on other days of the week, has Him who filleth heaven and earth, and been repeatedly expressed, nor have their own unworthiness in His pure we at this time been unmindful of and holy sight. If these consider- this primary obligation. We earnestly ations ought to possess the mind in entreat every one, when thuis met, to our secret aspirations unto the Al- consider the worship of the Almighty mighty, how incumbent is it upon as a solemn act. Under this impresthose who publicly approach the sion, his demeanour will bespeak a throne of grace, to cherish them in serious thoughtfulness; and let all their hearts, and to move only under remember, that at such times an indothe influence of that spirit which en- lent state of mind is offensive in the ables us to pray aright!
sight of Him whom we are met to Whilst be who would be a real and serve. But the duties of the day to not a nominal Christian, is duly inn- which we have adverted, are not conpressed with the necessity of striving fined to the time allotted to assemto become a meek and humble disci. bling with our brethren. Our spiritual ple of Jesus,—whilst he bears in mind growth may be advanced by habits of that he is constantly liable to fall, and quietness and retirement, and by suit. that he must therefore be waiting for able reading, in the course of the day. the renewal of his spiritual strength, On the other hand, great care is necesand at all times be placing bis de- sary that we do not by unprofitable pedence upon Divine aid, -there is visiting or conversation, by travelling safety. But we fear, with respect to on our outward avocations, or by some who have run well for a time, otherwise engaging in them, dissipate that either through the friendship of those good impressions with which we men or outward prosperity, or through may have been mercifully favoured. unwatchfulness, they have gradually The aceounts of the sufferings of fallen away from that to which they our members in Great Britain and had once attained ; and that others, Ireland, in support of our well-known from similar causes, are not advancing testimony against tithes and all other to that state of purity and simplicity ecclesiastical claims, including the costs in which they would become useful and charges of distraint, and a few inembers of the church of Christ. demands for military purposes, have Dear friends, permit us in Christian been brought up in usual course. The love, to remind you of the ever im- amount is upwards of thirteen thouportant injunction of our Lord- sand two lrundred pounds. * Watch and pray, that ye enter not We rejoice with gratitude that this into temptation ; the spirit indeed is country has continued to be favoured willing, but the flesh is weak.”. Jf with the blessing of peace, whilst we you endeavour to prove by your actions lament that other nations, at no great the sincerity of your profession, if in distance from us, have been involved your intercourse with others you shew in contention and bloodshed. We that you have an honest and upright desire that we may all so live under heart, if
your lives are ordered in the the influence of that Spirit which fear of the Lord; you may, by your breathes peace on earth and good will daily walk through life, commend and towards men, that, whenever oecasions adorn your own religious principles. occur, we may be prepared, by our But, if there be a want of consistency conversation and conduct, in meekof conduct, it may lead those around ness and wisdom to shew forth our you lightly to esteem those very prin- precious testimony to the peaceable ciples wlich their judgment has at nature of the gospel dispensation. one time approved; nay, it may cause Our friends in Ireland, and those of the way of truth to be evil spoken of. all the Yearly Meetings on the conti
There are many ways by which our nent of America, have at this time attachment to religion and virtue may been brought to our remembrance, be made manifest to others. One of with the feeling of much brotherly these is the due observance of that day love, by the continuance of our usual which is publicly set apart for the exchange of epistles. This meeting performance of divine worship. Our has again felt deeply interested on care for the due attendance of our behalf of the natives of Africa, who religious meetings, both on first-days continue to be torn from their homes,