Imágenes de páginas

Mr. Holden on the Cranbrook Chapel.


must they ever remain with many ment of indiscretion. I have no'ob: additions, while, not satisfied with gem jection to a little pungent seasoning neral principles, we must seek for a in a controversy, but it should be solution of difficulties of our own kept strictly within the line of civility creating, and be prying into those and truth. To trifle with such a subinscrutable dispensations of Provi. ject, is, I can truly assure him, as far dence, which, being totally beyond the from my intention as it can be from reach of our intelligence, it is folly to his ; and the utmost I meant to ex, attempt to scrutinize. I do not pre- press, was, that I thought she had sume to say that no such difficulties ventured to expose herself to the exist on the hypothesis of a general charge from other quarters. Providence, but I believe thein to be Here then I take my leave of the neither so numerous nor so insuperas subject and of Mr. T.' A volunteer ble as the other side of the argument in the cause of truth and virtue, a affords. In either case the subject is favourable opportunity seemed to much too abstruse to authorize such challenge my pen to oppose what I short-sighted mortals as we are to considered an error calculated to proarrogate to ourselves the delusive duee more mischief than good; and pretensions to infallibility. As Mr. at the same time it served to divert 'T. has passed unnoticed what I con4 the current of my thoughts from ansider as the most important bearing other channel. - Having thus stated on the question, I wish liere, to be my reasons, I must leave the dispute allowed most strenuously to repeat it, to the examination of those who may viz. the doctrine of individual and uni- have the inclination to attend to the versal responsibility for every being arguments advanced on either side. endued with the powers of reflection, I regret that I never knew the worthy and the fears or hopes connected with Mrs. Cappe: having nearly forty years futurity. It is the safest side of the ago had some intercourse with the question; it appears to have the com- family, it ended with placing them mon consent of all mankind, it is high in my estimation. And as to the invariable language of revelation ; Mr. T., though personally unknown it cannot exist with the tenets advo, to each other, I freely extend my çated by my opponents ;, and if Pope right hand in imagination half way to was not the soundest philosopher, he York, persuaded that he would not was the most practical moralist when refuse me the ideal grasp of good he describes Providence by its opera, fellowship. ? tions :

JAMES LUCKCOCK. * Who binding nature fast in fate,

P. S. I have hastily glanced over Left free the human will."

the remarks on Mr. Owen's plan by

your correspondent Philadelphius, (pp. Mr. T. may accuse me of pre- 450-457,) and though they contain sumption, but to which of the two many ideas I cannot approve, yet the will the epithet most closely apply.m. general philanthrophy and good sense I, who seek not to dive into the in. they display deserve in my opinion scrutable dispensations of Omnisci. more of the public attention than the ence, who adore its attribntes, and imperfect sanction of an anonymous acknowledge my unbounded and hap-siguature is likely to impart. No real py confidence in its universal regulas nune can be so insignificant as a tions and appointments; or he, who, fictitious one. not satisfied with this, must undertake to explain what must to finite beings be incomprehensible? He may taunt

Tenterden, me by saying, that in Mrs. C.'s state Sir, August 28, 1823.

, I find


tarian Baptist congregation at charge I repel with a conscious feel- Cranbrook, I here take the liberty of ing of not deserving it. Here he is bringing their situation again under unguarded, and if he should think the notice of the Unitarian body in well to continue the controversy general. They have assuredly been through the same channel, I think for some time labouring under great myself entitled to the acknowledg. difficulties and discouragements, but

only a fit subject for ridicule » This A Tithe united request of the Uni

[ocr errors]

they by no means consider them as the possible power of Infinity itself to insurmountable. They admit that create a being not subject to moral applications of this nature are nu- and natural ill,” or, as he afterwards merous and urgent, but still hope for explains it, to pain and misery. the assistance of that enlightened and How far your correspondent Mr. most liberal body of Christians with Hinton's claim to novelty in his spewhom they are connected.

culations is well founded, I will not Allow me then to give the follow stop to inquire ; but I should inagine ing statement of their present circum- that those who are acquainted with stances. The debt upon the Chapel the pages of Archbishop King, Soamne is still 7001., but by their own exer- Jenyns, and Dr. Southwood Smith, tions and engaged assistance on the on this difficult question, will not feel part of some friends, a list of whom disposed to make so, ample a conces. with their subscriptious is now before sion as he may consider either him. me, they have it in their power to self or Rusticus (p. 85) entitled to reduce it below 4001., as, the sum of receive. 3111. 198.6d, is already at their com If the origin of evil is to be ascribed mand. This is in proof that they are solely to the inability of the Deity to in earnest, and most anxious to sup, create an equal; if liability to error port the sacred cause in which we and misery must necessarily attach to are all einbarked, and still to enjoy every being not absolutely perfect; the advantages and blessings of a pure then it follows that intelligences of and conscientious worship in the place the highest order," angels and archin which they have for many years angels, and all the company of been accustomed to meet. I am re heaven," must be subject to the danquested to state that the above sum ger of erroneous conduct, and all its of 3111. 198. 6d. is engaged for, on fatal consequences; and what is still condition that the society succeed in more material, that the state of the their appeal to the liberality of the righteous hereafter will be a state of Unitarian public in carrying it up to uncertainty and peril. , The unalloyed 7004.,, and thus setting them free felicity which they are taught to exs from the above pressure. Nor will pect after the present life, cannot, on any subscriptions be called for till this supposition, be permanently enthe whole shall be subscribed. It is sured to them, because it is uiterly also an act of justice to the mortgagee impossible that their Almighty Beneto state here that his subscription is factor can make them his equals; 1001.

w and they who have been exalted to a Conld the above be happily accom- condition of bliss, of which we can plished, the society will then find now form ng adequate conception, themselves at liberty for the necessary may possibly in after ages forfeit that future exertions, and a regular or elevation, and sink as low in the stated inivistry mig in, no distant abyss of wretchedness and horror, period be established among them. With such sentiments let it be oba But if they unhappily fail, the pro- served, the popular creed rejected by perty must of course be disposed of, the Unitarians respecting the fate of and the society be possibly dispersed the fallen angels, is perfectly, in uni-a society once flourishing, and who son. Should it be said, however, were then ever ready to extend to that the Deity, having - promised an others, in circumstances of prçșsure, eternity of happiness to those who their friendly aid.

have rendered themselves worthy of 1994 LAWRENCE HOLDEN. it, will assuredly adhere to bis pro

id mise, I answer that, according to the SIR,

August 25, 1823. doctrine advocated by Mr. H., since THE following reflections were the Supreme Ruler cannot work im

suggested by the perusal of a possibilities, all the energies of Ome paper in the Monthly Repository for nipotence will not enable him to give July, (pp. 378—380,) on the In, uulinjited duration to that bappiness troduction of Evil,” and are chiefly which, however exalted, must, from applicable lo the proposition which the imperfection of his creatures, be the author evidently considers as in- ever liable to interruption and failure. controvertible, that “it is not in If, again, it is alleged that he may


On the possible Exclusion of Moral and Natural Evil. nevertheless prolong this state of fe- gloomy view of his superintending licity by repeated renewals, and fresh providence. According to this com exertions of his power, I reply, that fortless theory, the man who is called had it been his will he might by the to endure the 'exacerbations of some frequent exertion of the same power incurable disease, or who is sinking have perpetuated such a state from under the destruetive oppression of the beginning, and might if consist- mental anguish, has no other consolaent with his wisdom have rendered tion than the 'reflection that infinite permanent by the same means, such benevolence, though aided by infinite a concurrence of moral circuinstances power, could not have prevented the as would in the first instance have indiction of those ills, and, what is prevented the wrong volitions of his more, can afford no security against rational creatures. In short, if it their recurrence. was impossible for the Divine Being "Admitting, however, the impossito prevent the intrusion of evil into bility of excluding the tortures of body his works at any one period, it will and distraction of mind incident to be equally impossible at all times; the species, created as they were with for no improvements in the human so much inherent imperfection, we mind, no future expedients adopted may still venture to ask why creative in the counsels of the Most High, power should proceed so low in the can ever diminish the absurdity of scale of existence, and why it should supposing him capable of communi- not have been confined to those parts cating to his creatures his own inti: in the series, of which the unavoidable nite and adorable attributes.' Hy imperfection does not imply any ex• This cause, therefore, I confess, cess of misery. If the lower ranks does not appear to me to afford a sia in the descending gradation could not tisfactory solution of the difficulty in be created without subjecting them to question. Where a gradation of in- the tremendous liability here suppostelligent creatures is the system'adopt- ed, may we not inquire, without imed, and this we have reason to suppose piety, in what consisted the necessity is the only one consistent with op- of creating them at all? Non-existtinism, the evils arising from imper- ence must be infinitely preferable to fection must unavoidably exist ; but à continued preponderance of pain; stirely the evils proceeding solely from and there can be no imaginable cause, this source, if, indeed, they deserve therefore, for the creation of so infe that name, may easily be imagined to rior a being as man, except the com take place, without the necessity of munication of happiness. If, then, on those dreadful ills to which human the one hand, it be affirmed that the life is at present subject. The mere overwhelming evils to which some negation of higher privileges and bles- part of the human race are subject sings may well consist both with the could not be prevented, and cannot be benevolence of the great Parent of remedied, is not the original purpose nature, and with the happiness of bis of the Creator defeated, and the most offspring ; and, indeed, I am at a loss glorious of his attributes rendered to conceive why limited attributes are abortive? On the other hand, if it be incapable of subsisting with no other alleged that the miseries of which we ills than those of imperfection, which are speaking can be remedied, then I may be comparatively insignificant, should contend, that allowing the auor why they should be altogether in- thor of them to be possessed of infinite compatible with an exemption from power, they might with equal ease moral and physical evils, in the com- have been altogether avoided. mon acceptation of those terms. The It seems to be an opinion authorized supposition, that the misery of the by the creed of almost every denomihuman race, in all the multifarious nation of Christians, that the imperforms which it daily assumes, could fections of the human race are so not possibly be prevented in the ori- numerous and so predominant, that by ginal formation of the world, must far the greater part of the species will inevitably impress the mind with de- fail in securing the ultimate felicity grading ideas of the attributes of the promised to the obedient ; and hence, Supreme Being, and present the most if the first supposition be true, that

liability to misconduet, and the evils that freedom of the will with which resulting from it were inevitable, the man is endowed as an accountable inference will be, that the majority of creature. A third scheme bas been mankind were created, (as every Su- proposed by an acute but a fanciful pralapsarian Calvinist really believes,) writer, 'who is better known to the ivith the full purpose of their becom- world by his remarks on the internal ing interminably wretched; for no evidences of Christianity. He conother motive could operate to call tends, that since natural evil was unathem into existence.

voidable, it was necessary, in order to There are, however, persons of prevent its being inflicted on the inmore enlightened understandings, and nocent, that some persons should be less gloomy temperaments, who con- brought into existence, who, by their sider the natural and moral evils by misconduct, would contract moral de which we are now surrounded, to be pravity, and who would, on that acall capable of effectual remedy, and count, merit the misery which it was who believe that every order of ra- impossible to exclude altogether from tional intelligences will be ultimately the ereation. The last, and, in my and completely happy. They admit, opinion, the most satisfactory explaindeed, that the evils of imperfection nation of the difficulty before us, reare the necessary results of creation presents both moral as well as natural itself, and particularly in a system evil

, as appointed by the Supreine which consists of a subordination of Being, with the sole view of producing ranks; but since they perceive that a greater sum of good than could in the human species, though all cree otherwise take place, and teaches us ated with the same liability, many in- to believe, that by the ultimate restodividuals are exempt from those dread- ration of the whole human race to ful maladies of body and mind to virtue and happiness, evil, in all its which others are subject, they natu- numberless and terrific forms, will rally conclude that these calamities finally and eternally vanish. might have been originally avoided, A most formidable objection to the and that, consequently, they are or- three first of these hypotheses is, that dained for some wise and benevolent since the ultimate prevalence of unpurpose, and which, in truth, can be mixed happiness cannot be deduced no other than because they will con- from them, it follows that with retribute to render the aggregate sum gard to a large proportion of manof felicity greater than it would have kind, it would have been better for been on any other conceivable plan. them that they should not have been Why pain should be made essentially born. But if the last can be estainstrumental in the production of en-blished, there is no human being to joyment, is a mysterious question, whom the communication of existwhich it is not within the circum- ence will not in the end have been an scribed powers of man to solve; but inestimable blessing, and the divine that moral and physical evils are, in attributes will be at once vindicated fact, subservient to great and useful from those degrading conceptions purposes, cannot be doubted by those which it is impossible on any other who have paid any attention to the scheme not to entertain. subject of these remarks.

It is not improbable that your corAmong the various hypotheses which respondent Mr. H. may hold the have been framed to account for the doctrine of universal restoration, but adıission of moral evil into the world, it is difficult to say how he can rethere are four only that in the eye of concile it with the belief that it is the modern philosopher can be deemed beyond the efficacy of Omnipotence worthy of regard. While some spe- itself to exempt inferior beings not culatists are of opinion, as we have just only from liability to miscalculation, seen, that its admission could not have fallibility and error, but from the been prevented, even by Omnipotence, moral certainty of feeling their ef. as long as imperfect beings are brought fects. into existence, others maintain, (and CLERICUS CANTABRIGIENSIS. this is the most prevalent belief,) that it must be attributed to the abuse of


Mr. Hinton on his Hypothesis of Moral Evil.

529 Stapleton, near Bristol, shews that though the perfection of Sept. 4, 1823.

the righteous in a future state may IN N reply to the remarks of your be far more exalted than perhaps

correspondent Mr. Eaton, in your even the highest created intelligence last Number, (p. 465,) upon the sub- can now possibly conceive, yet must ject of my communication, on “ the it fall short of infinite perfection, Introduction of Evil,” in your Num- which belongs alone to God; since ber for July last, (pp. 378-380,) I the attributes of created intelligences beg leave to state, that he is mistaken can never become infinite by future in supposing that in proposing my glorification, thongh thereby ihey will hypothesis, which asserts that evil is doubtless be matured and improved the necessary inheritance of all cre- far beyond alt present calculation or ated intelligences, and that every conception. Some small degree of being not infinite must be liable to alloy must be admitted, since it is error and evil, I had not “foreseen contrary to the hypothesis upon which or provided for a consequence of the these inferences are drawn, that any greatest magnitude,” which results created intelligence can exist without from it (i. e.) the existence of evil in some portion of evil; although the heaven itself. The fact is, that I had portion of evil which may then be in the original composition compri- necessary by its counteraction to prosing this hypothesis both foreseen and duce pleasure, may be so almost intiasserted this inference, and in the nitely refined, as not at present to conclusion of my letter to you on this be capable of conception, as distinct subject I gave an intimation, that from purity and bliss : and thus con“there were some other inferences stitute the highest happiness of which drawn from the foregoing hypothesis created beings can possibly be suswhich I did not think necessary to set ceptible." forth," and the necessary existence of Mr. Eaton's feelings are alarmed, evil in a future state formed one of as I confess mine were, when this these suppressed inferences : my rea- last inference first arose in my mind, son for suppressing which, was the at the thought of casting “ a doubt fear that it might shock minds unnsed upon the unmixed happiness promised to metaphysical inquiries, and thus to the righteous ;” but if that gentlewith many other novel truths do in- man will keep strictly in view the jury upon its first promulgation, al- principle on which my hypothesis though I am fully persuaded that founds the existence of happiness, every truth, however shocking to ex- and justifies the ways of God to isting prejudices, must eventually man," in the unavoidable existence produce good. I did not, however, of evil, he will find that his objection wish to risk the production even of will cease ; since it will appear that temporary injury, if it could be avoid- not only all creation, but that all ed; but our worthy friend having now happiness, is necessarily inseparable forced this inference to come unwil. from evil; that evil is alike essential lingly from its concealment, I will to the production of both; that pleagive it in the words in which it stands sure could not possibly exist without in the original composition, and shall its contrast-pain and anxiety; that it fearlessly enter on its justification, is indeed their legitimate offspring; as I am not in the habit of shrink- and that it is beyond the power of ing from any conclusion whatever to infinity itself to produce it without which truth appears to lead (i. e.): their agency, in minds constructed “ 4thly.. The foregoing hypothesis with limited attributes; since to pro

duce happiness in such minds, change, Another of these suppressed in suit, causing the sensations of plea-,

fluctuation, counteraction and purferences proves, that the universe must necessarily have bounds, because it is a creature, and every creature can possess except God. And another of these inonly limited attributes; and corrects ferences substantiates the mechanical some philosophical expressions and modes nature of the human mind, and the docof speech, by shewing that though many trine of philosophical necessity; but things surpass our calculation and con. your usually crowded columns forbid my ception, nothing can possibly be infinite transcribing them for insertion.


3 Y

« AnteriorContinuar »