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Mr. Cogan's Strictures on some of the Arguments in “Apeleutherus." 229 being, or be an introduction to a bet- so much for the individuals of man. ter state of existence than the present. kind as for the species, and that it And much as this argument has als would be difficult to prove that the ways affected the mass of mankind, continuation and progressive improvePlato seems to have felt its force but ment of the species would not answer feebly, when he wrote his Phædon, all the ends which the Creator had or he would not have taken so much in view in their formation. Man, it pains to establish the natural immor. might be said, is a noble work, but tality of the soul; which he con. not so noble, perhaps, in the eyes of ceived, and, I think, justly in his cir. the Creator as in bis own; and as for cumstances, to be essential to the the waste of intellectual and moral proof of a life to come. As it is not, attainment, which is implied in the
presume, an article of natural reli- destruction of the individuals of the gion that a time will come when the species, it may be no great object whole human race will at once be amidst the immensity of creation, and raised from their graves, and restored in the estimation of a Being whose to life and action, he who shall at- power, no doubt, is perpetually em tempt, withoût the light of revelation, ployed in producing life, intellect and to establish the future existence of happiness throughout his vast domithe human species, will fail in a ma
nions. And were the whole human terial point if he omits to shew that race what the great majority have there is something in man which thus far been, their extinction might must or may survive the stroke of not seem to form a much stronger death. It would not have satisfied objection to the plan of Providence, Plato, nor would it satisfy me to say, than that of the beasts that perish. “ It is in vain for me to inquire how But our Author's argument, as stated I am to exist hereafter, since I am above, seems to resolve itself into this utterly unable to comprehend how I simple proposition, that a perfectly exist at present."
wise and good Being could not furm But to return to the argument under a rational agent without making him consideration. It rests upon the posi- immortal. The fact, however, that tion that the phenomena of human life, man dies and is heard of no more, without a future being, imply a defect seems to negative the proposition; and of wisdom and goodness in the Crea- that reasoning must be powerful tor. Thus far, then, the perfection of which shall overcome this stubborn the Divine character is an hypothesis objection. I am by no means preunsupported by fact. And unless it can be established by certain abstract * Even granting the perfections of the reasonings, (and these, while they may Deity, it would be difficult to shew that appear satisfactory to some, will seem such a being as man, even though the in. nugatory to others,) it will be preci- dividuals of the species should perish, pitate to draw from it an inference would not be a desirable link in the chain so contrary to present appearances, as
of animated existence; and it has always the future existence of the human appeared to me something like presumption
to affirm that God cannot he wise and race. But, says our Author, admit a future state, “and we at once obtain good, nnless A., B. and C., should he ima view of the scheme of Divine Provi: mortal. My view of the subject is well
expressed in p. 18 of Mr. J. Kenrick's dence, comprehensive, luminous and admirable Sermon on the Necessity of Redelightful.” . This I am by no means velation to teach the Doctrine of a fnture disposed to deny. But unless this Life. In a word, the constitution of the view of it be confirmed by the autho. world differs, in various respects, from rity of that God who alone knows his what our limited understandings wonld own counsels, it is only an hypothesis, bave led us to expect from the combination and an hypothesis, which in many
of infinite power, wisdom and benevolence; minds would not prevail against that and being thus, as it should seem, conuniversal analogy, which seems to
victed of ignorance, (if these are in truth
the attributes of the Deity,) we go beyond forbid the hope that life, when once
our province, when we confidently proextinct, will ever be restored. Set
nounce that the future existence of the ting revelation entirely out of the human race is necessary to make the scheme question, we might say, that as a mat- of Providence complete. ter of fact, God seems to consult not Our Author's error (for if I had not
pared to prove that the proposition is character of an ivfinitely wise, pow. false, but were my hope of a future erful and benevolent Creator? The life to rest solely or principally upon ground on which our Author's arguit, I should wish to see it coufirnied by ment is founded will oblige him to something like logical demonstration. answer, no. How then am I to be
In pp. 218, 219, of Apeleutherus, assured that God is infinite in wisdom, there is a fine passage on the paiutul power and goodness? The hypomoral discipline to wbich man is ren- thesis of a future life, indeed, will dered subject, and which gives a more settle every thing; but on what cerpersuasive force to the argument. tain foundation is the hypothesis to But I am afraid that the sufferings of rest, until the perfection of the Divine which our Author treats so eloquently, character shall have been established? would more generally excite a doubt It will not satisfy to say, that there of the perfection of the Divine attri- must be a future state, and therefore butes, tan suggest a confident ex- that God may be infinitely powerful, pectation of a life to come. Our Au- wise and good; nor on the other ihor rejects with disdain the argument hand, that God is all perfection, and for a future life, which has been therefore there must be a life to come. drawn from the inequality of the Here Christianity conies admirably Divine dispensations, asking, with to our assistance, and declares what the poet, What can we reason but otherwise, however plausible, would from what we know ? and quoting the be assumption only, that " this mor. well-known observation of Mr. Hume, tal will put on immortality." But, it “ that you have no ground to ascribe is said, the grand miracle on which to the Author of Nature any qualities Christians have usually laid so great but what you see he has actually a stress, namely, the resurrection of exerted and displayed in his produc- Christ, veither proves the immortality tions." I am surprised that he did of the soul, nor the general resurrecnot perceive that there is opportunity tion of human bodies. Granting the to apply this reasoning against himself. reality of the fact, and, what I think I take human life as I find it, che, will not be denied, that the apos. quered with suffering, deformed by tles understood its meaning, it is a moral evil, and terminating in death; divine attestation to the future exand I ask, whether the plan of Provi- istence of the human race; and an dence, as far as we have any certain attestation which I would not ex. knowledge of it, corresponds to the change for all the arguments which
have been advanced in favour of the thought him in an error I should not doctrine, from the days of Plato to the have troubled myself to write wbat I have present hour. written) consists in magnifying presump
Upon the whole, I feel a decided tions into proofs, and attributing an undue conviction, that, without revelation, force to certain considerations which render revelation credible, in order to shew is involved in deep obscurity. And I
the question respecting a future life that it was not necessary. But as long as think it worthy of remark, that, with man should appear to be lost for ever in the grave, it would be at least a thing duals of a sanguine cast of mind,
the exception of one or two indivi. ardently to be desired, that we could be distinctly informed by Ilim who made us, have met with no one who doubted what he has yet in view respecting us.
of the truth of Christianity, who did Setting aside the history of 'revelation, not doubt in an equal degree of a life nothing like the restoration of a man once
At the same time, the undead, that is, nothing which, as a matter of certainty in which nature leaves the fact, could give any assurance of a life to subject is no objection to the reality come, has ever been heard of since the world of a future being, when it is confirmed began. As Mr. Belsham somewhere elo by the voice of revelation. We are quently expresses himself, on the natural told, indeed, that if Christianity be probability of a resurrection, “ Experience is silent; philosoplıy is confounded; not built upon the solid rock of narevelation alone darts a beam of lighi tural religion, it can have no foundathrough the solid gloom; the messenger tion at all." If by this observation of heavenly trath announces, that all who were meant that revelation cannot are in their graves shall bear bis voice, and contradict the clear and certain de shall come forth."
ductions of reason, I should subscribe
The Abbé Gregoire.--Buonaparte's Unitarian Project. 225 to the proposition with all my heart Calvinistic preacher in Liverpool, I and soul. But if thereby be intended was much surprised to meet with the that revelation cannot disclose what following information : reason might never have discovered, “Among the various projects which I cannot belp regarding it as mavi- Buonaparte entertained, was that of festly false ; since it is only saying, in becoming the founder of a new reliother words, that God must reveal all gious sect, or rather of establishing that he chooses to make kuown of his Unitarianism. He became acquainted purposes by one medium, which is with this system from the writings of what few men would choose to affirm. a Baron Gussey, which accidentally Or if it is to be understood as inti- fell into his hands. He found that maling, that no historical and external the great generals of antiquity had evidence can confirm the truth of left nothing but a name behind them revelation, I should reply, that this is they had no followers. But the a proposition which cannot be main- founders of new religions were imtained without setting aside our faith mortal in their disciples. •I will,' in testimony, and undermining the said he, be the founder of a new principal foundation of human know- religion. I will establish Unitarianism, ledge.
and its disciples shall be Napoleonists. E. COGAN. I will smile on Protestantism, and give
religion liberty, as the means to acThe Abbé Gregoire.
complish my design. My people are (Estract from a Letter from a Friend, dated so versatile, they will follow the court. Paris, March 28, 1819.)
On them I will heap my choicest II
HAVE enjoyed a long and most favours, and thus destroy a religion,
interesting interview with the Bi- whose ceremonies and doctrines are shop Gregoire. No human being inconsistent with common sense.' 1 erer so much delighted me. His believe the source whence this inforcountenance and address are attractive mation is derived is one on which foll and fascinating beyond description, reliance may be placed."— Tour, p. and his conversation is a beautiful 130. delineation of his pure and bene- Can any of your Correspondents ficent mind. His advanced years speak to the correctness of this stateseem only to have added to the vene- ment, (see also our No. for January, rableness of his presence, while they p. 31,) or supply information with have nothing destroyed of that bene- respect to the character and writings volent energy, always active in the of Baron Gussey? cause of freedom and of charity. Yet I suspect that Mr. Raffles, who as you know) this most exemplary betrays strong prejudices against Unipatriot has been marked out as a fit tarianism in various parts of his pub. object for the rancorous and unwea- lication, writes under their influence, ried obloquy of the tools of despotism: when he attributes the views of and I will own my very heart bled Buonaparte in wishing to establish when he wrote in my Album the fol. this system, in Mr. R.'s words, this lowing words : “ Faire aux hommes new religion, to motives of personal tout le bien dont on est capable, c'est ambition. It is, in my opinion, a un devoir imposé par la nature et much more probable conclusion, that par la religion ; et presque tonjours “ a religion, whose ceremonies and attendre d'eux tout le contraire, c'est doctrines are inconsistent with comde resultat d'une longue et penible mon sense,” was no longer calculated expérience.
Je desire que M. B. to meet the views of an enlightened obtienne dans le cours de sa vie des people; and that Unitarianism was resultats plus consolants.
the only system which approved itself " Gregoire Evêque." to reason, and which would support
B. the most rigid investigation.
Mr. R. informs us, that at the ProManchester, testant Church in Paris there are SIR
March 17, 1819. three ministers ; that the opinions AVING recently perused a and sermons of two of them are much
“ Tour on the Continent,” bý in unison with those of the Unitarians the Rev. Thomas Raffles, a popular of this country; but that the other,
whom he had not the good fortune to namely, Rev. xi. 7. We have seen hear, is said to be decidedly evange the slaughter of the witnesses, and by lical.
what power it was accomplished. We HARRISON. have also seen the exact time of the
exposure of their cause to the ridicule Sir,
March 18, 1819. and rancour of their enemies, who N such a period of the world as were most numerous; and we have
this in which we live, and which witnessed the exultation and triumph appears to me as interesting and aw. on this occasion. On the other hand, ful as at any former period of its his. we begin to perceive the resurrection tory; if it be consistent with the plan of the dry bones ; that they not only of your Repository, I wish to point stand upon their feet, but we have out and introduce a few remarks on actually heard the great voice which the passing events, as connected with bas called them into power, and this the word of God, or prophecy. It too, in the very sight of their enemies, may be consolatory to some, and ani- whose fear, no doubt, will be equal mate the drooping spirits of those to their snrprise. Compare the words conscientious Christians who sufier of this prophecy, with what has refrom the prevalence of political or cently taken place in a neighbouring religious despotism, known in Scrip- nation, and we need not desire a ture by the name of Antichrist. As clearer or stronger proof of the ad. au illustration of my meaning, I send ministration of a Divine Providence you my thoughts on the signs of the over the affairs of men, than is exhitimes. We now live in that period bited to our view in this most extraof the Christian calling, which may be ordinary and unlooked for event. Let denominated the evangelizing. See Christians then look forward to the Rev. xiv. 6, where the angels or mi. grand closing scene of human depranisters of the gospel are authorized by vity, to the sounding of the seventh their respective superiors to spread trumpet, as mentioned in Rev. xi. 15, the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and to its most happy results, when and “ to proclaim unto those who the kingdom of this world will become dwell on the eartlı, and unto every the kingdom of our Lord and of his nation, and tribe, and language, and Christ. Shall the hearens rejoice, aud people, saying, with a loud voice, shall not the earth be glad ! Rev. xi. . fear God, and give glory to him, for 16, 17; xv. S, 4, the hour of his judgment is coming.'"
PHILALETHES. Observe, we are here commanded by the heavenly messsenger, not only to R. JOHNSON has said in his
to worship him who made heaven was one of the few poets to whom and earth, and the sea and the springs death might not seem terrible. This of waters. Does not this seem to sentiment, though it proceeds from a imply, that the worship of the one great and good man, I suspect is a only Creator of heaven and earth had proof, in this instance, of superficial not been strictly attended to by the thinking. What was there in the Christian as well as the Heathen life of Gilbert West to put his moral world? Even to this said time, the principles to any severe trial? He prophetic denunciation, which imme- whose situation is such, that the diately follows in ver. 9, may be a requisitions of morality impose upon subject of awful cousideration in some him little or no voluntary suffering, is future Number of your Repository, entitled to no very deep veneration. after the awful event has taken place. Gilbert West was in most easy cirThus, then, we have seen the fulfil- cumstances; a plentiful income, an ment of this part of the prophecy, in affectionate wife and family, a literary the general spread of the gospel, in all taste; he indulged a pleasing life, and parts of the habitable globe, perhaps when a little fatigued by study, Africa only excepted.
mounted his horse, and rode for an I come now to the consideration of appetite for dinner. This is a virtue another not less conspicuous accom- doubtless which may put all the poets plishment of the word of God, than and all other men to the blush! If that which we have been remarking, this most superficial remark of John
Morality of Human Characters. Mr. Wright on the Unitarian Fund. 227 son had not flowed from a feeling the state and sufferings of him, who, pretty general, which is the parent of to escape from intolerable torments, similar remarks on characters, I should throws himself a miserable outcast not have noticed it; but I think in upon the Divine mercy! our judgments of the virtues and vices I have been led to these most of men, we ought never to forget their solemn and awful reflections (for circumstances. Under this notion, I such they are) by four Sermons lately offer the following reflections: delivered in Essex-Street Chapel by
A desire of enjoy nient, and a desire Mr. Belsham, on the Future Condition of a freedom from suffering, are the of Mankind, in wbich were displayed origiu of all the vices and all the great depth of thought, accurate crimes in the world. “ We touch research, and a spirit of most divine each other on every side," and he benevolence. I know nothing that whose painful desires tempt bim to excels the sermons of this gentleman, violate the rights of others, becomes except it be his most exemplary life a thief, a seducer, a murderer, &c.! as a man; and although I cannot feel
Now it should seem that he whose as a sectary in favour of the Unitacircumstances can, without any direct rians, amongst that body I have and apparent injury of others, com- known and do know men, of whom mand such a measure of enjoyment as the world is not worthy. to tranquillize bis nature, is not called
HOMO. on to exercise any very distinguished P.S. Permit me to add one word virtue. He may be virtuous in fact, more on suicide, which has been or he may think himself so, but the lately much written upon, and which strength of his resolution in self-sacri. is now, alas for human nature! very fice, is not put to any obvious proof. coinmon in England, still more comThey who cannot sacrifice little things, mon in France, and more common but indulge a malignant temper to still in Prussia. [See p. 139.] Those the injury of others, are out of the who perish thus may be the most question, as they give proof that they miserable, but do not appear to be have not even the slightest sense of the most wicked of mankind. They duty or virtue.
are not in France, Lewis XV., or But look at the endless variety of Napoleon, but Roland and Condorcet. human conditions, and before those They are not in England, King John, that are in ease upbraid, let them Henry VIII., and Charles Ii., but realize the worst of these conditions Hales, Whitbread and Romilly! as their own! It is easy for a rich man to be what is called honest. Dr.
Wisbeach, Johnson himself in his immortal work, SIR,
Feb. 19, 1819. the Pambler, has taken a juster view [T is hoped that not only are the of this subject than what we have just referred to. He there says, “He Unitarian Fund now generally underthat without acquaintance with the stood, but that also the value and power of desire, the cogency of dis. importance of that institution are felt tress, the complications of affairs, or by the Unitarian public. Presuming the force of practical influence, has this, I beg leave, through the mefilled his mind with the excellence of dium of your truly valuable Repository, virtue, and having never tried his to address them on behalf of this resolutions in many encounters with institution, with which I have had hope and fear, believes it able to the happiness of being connected from stand firm, whatever shall oppose it
, its very origin, in the service of which will be always clamorous against the I wish to spend the little that may smallest failure." Alas! that man remain to me of life, and I am anxwhose resolutions have not been tried, ious for the extension of its efforts knows nothing of either his virtue or and operations, which must depend his real character. To illustrate this, on the increase of its resources. Most how often do we hear people call out denominations of Christians have felt against suicide, who, perhaps, never the necessity of supporting public were in such a state of suffering, as institutions among themselves, which even to wish for death! Surely, might unite their exertions, and bring surely, they are very poor judges of into exercise their collective strength