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Prior's Solomon. fact,” says he," beyond reasonable which Frau klin translates, contradiction, that Luke here asserts, The happiest fate of man is not to be; that Jesus was thought to be the son And next in bliss is be who soon as born, of Joseph, and was so in truth ; and from the vain world and all its sorrows thus by one single unequivocal ex. free, pression, he has set aside the story Shall whence he came with speediest foot of his miraculous birth as false, and return. the two disputed chapters as a forgery With which may be compared Potter's of a subsequent period." See Sequel, version :p. 241, Note. Thus, Sir, I have laid before you if born, extinguish'd soon the vital flame ;
Not to be born is Heav'n's first grace, the steps by which I have arrived at Back to return from whence it came, my present views, and hope they will Is beav'n's next blessing to man's wretchbe as satisfactory to your correspond
ed race. ent as they are to myself.
I am here reminded of a note in
Wakefield's Matthew, 4to. p. 367, on
the Case of Judas (xxv. 24). That
rious learning, as a glad offering to St. Ardleon, Oct. 30, 1815. the Sanctuary of Religion, remarks SIR,
on the expression had not been born,
that it is “ a proverbial sentence, THE following lines, in Prior's Solomon, (B. iii.) have, I believe, would be attended by very calamitous
meaning in general that this action been much oftener admired than examined, as to the justness of the sen- adds, citing a couplet from the Greek
consequences to the criminal.” He timents they express :
Epigrams, that “ it is common for Happy the mortal man, who now at last
unhappy people to wish that they Has through this doleful rale of mis’ry had never been born;" and subjoins past,
from Maimonides (Mor. Nev. i. 32, Who to his destin'd stage has carried on The tedious load, and laid his burden
Buxtorf ) this Jewish sentence, “Whodown;
ever does not spare the glory of his Whom the cut brass and wounded marble Creator, it were better for him not to shows
have come into the world." Victor o'er life and all her train of woes.
It is remarkable that Mr. WakeHe happier yet who privileg'd by fate field, who has here qualified the force To shorter labour and a lighter weight, of the phrase, had not been born, apReceiv'd but yesterday the gift of breath, pears to have forgotten that at p. 361, Order'd to-morrow to return to death. of the same work, (on Matt. xxv. 46) But 0! beyond description happiest be, he had taken it strictly as an arguWho ne'er must roll on life's tempestuous ment against the hypothesis of the
sea; Who with blest freedom from the gene
final happiness of the wicked," which ral doom
he, with evident reluctance, Exempt, must never force the teeming
cludes to be “ unscriptural, because womb,
then, in no instance, can it be better Nor see the sun, nor sink into the tomb. for a man never to have been born: a Who breathes must suffer, and who thinks case, which the N. T. not only supmust mourn:
poses, but exemplifies"-aliquando And be alone is blest who ne'er was born. bonus dormitat. Gilbert Wakefield
I am not aware that the Pagan ori- (of whom I had some knowledge) bad gin of these lines has ever been con- considered the divine attributes and jectured. Prior appears to have had the perfectability of man with too in his recollection not so much the much attention to have easily become passage in Ecclesiastes (iv. 2, 3) as the a consistent advocate for the dreary following verse of Sophocles in his doctrine of human destruction. dipus Coloneus :
R. B. Μη φύγαι τον άπαντα νι
American Proclamation of a Fast-Day. κα λόγον το δ', επεί φανή, Βήναι κείθεν όθεν περ ήκει,
[It is perhaps to be regretted that ,
in any country, Religion should be Πολύ δεύτερον, ως τάχιςα.
associated with War, which is seldon
American Proclamation of a Pust-Day. en any side justifiable. The different the will and authority of the whole manner, however, in which govern- people, and guaranteeing to each inmeots appeal, in their quarrels, to the dividual security, not only of his Lord of Hosts, is characteristic of the person aud his property, but of those spirit of their institutions. In this sacred rights of conscience, so essenview, we have been considerably im- tial to his present happiness and so pressed with the following Proclama- dear to his future hopes :—that with tion of a Day of Humiliation by the those expressions of devout thankfulPresident of the United States, during Dess be joined supplications to the the late unhappy contest with this same Almighty Power, that he would country; and venture to insert it in look down with compassion on our our Repository, wishing it to be read, infirmities, that he would pardon our as it surely may, now that the two manifold transgressions, and awaken countries are at peace, not as a po- and strengthen in all the wholesome litical manifesto, but as a State Cu- purposes of repentance and amendriosity. Ed.]
ment; that in this season of trial and
calamity, he would preside in a parHEREAS the Congress of the ticular manner over our public counsolution of the two houses, have sig- love of their country, and with those nified a request that a day may be re- fraternal affections, and that mutual commended, to be observed by the confidence, which ha so happy a people of the United States with reli- tendency to make us safe at home gious solemnity, as a day of Public and respected abroad ; and that, as Humiliation and Prayer ; and where- he was graciously pleased, heretofore, as in times of public calamity, such to smile on our struggles against the as that of the war, brought on the attempts of the government of the United States by the injustice of a empire of which these states then foreign government, it is especially made a part, to wrest from them the becoming, that the hearts of all should rights and privileges to which they be touched with the same, and the were entitled in common with every eyes of all be turned to that Almighty other part, and to raise them to the Power, in whose hand are the wel- station of an independent and sovefare and destiny of nations : I do, there- reign people ; so he would now be fore, issue this my proclamation, re- pleased, in like manner, to bestow commending to all who shall be his blessing on our arms in resisting piously disposed, to unite their hearts the hostile and persevering efforts of and voices in addressing, at one and the same power to degrade us on the the same time, their vows and adora- ocean, the common inheritance of all, tions to the great Parent and Sove- from rights and immunities, belongreign of the Universe, that they as- ing and essential to the American semble on the second Thursday of people, as a co-equal member of the September next, iu their respective great community of independent nareligious congregations, to render him tions ; and that, inspiring our enethanks for the many blessings he has mies with moderation, with justice, bestowed on the people of the United and with that spirit of reasonable acStates; that he has blessed them with commodations, which our country has a land capable of yielding all the ne- continued to manifest, we may be cessaries and requisites of human life, enabled to beat our swords into with ample means for convenient ex- ploughshares, and to enjoy in peace, changes with foreign countries ; that every man, the fruits of his honestindushe has blessed the labours employed try and the rewards of his lawful enterin its cultivation and improvement; prise. If the public homage of a peothat he is new blessing the exertions ple can ever be worthy the favourato extend and establish the arts and ble regard of the holy and omniscient manufactures, which will secure with. Being to whom it is addressed, it in ourselves supplies too important to must be that in which those who remain dependent on the precarious join in it are guided only by their policy, or the peaceable dispositious free choice, by the impulse of their of other nations; and particularly that hearts and the dictates of their conhe has blessed the United States with sciences, and such a spectacle must a political constitution, founded on be interesting to all Christian nations;
Mrs. Cappe on the ultimate Perfection and Happiness of Mankind. as proving that religion, that gift of will finally rejoice “ in hope of the heaven for the good of man, freed
glory of God." from all coercive edicts, from that There is every reason to believe, unhallowed connexion with the pow- quite independent of any
intimation ers of this world, which corrupts re- we might receive on the subject from ligion into an instrument or an usurp- our own observation or from revelaer of the policy of the State, and tion, that, as there are no chasms making no appeal but to reason, to or breaks in the chain of being from the heart and to the conscience, can man down to the lowest reptile, so spread its benign influence every in like manner a similar enlargement where, and can attract to the Divine of intellect may gradually take place Altar those free-will offerings of hum- in the various orders of beings that ble supplication, thanksgiving and rank above him, up to the bighest praise, which alone can be accepta- excellence that created Intelligences ble to Him, whom no hypocrisy can can ever attain. Infinite benevolence, deceive and no forced sacrifices pro- united with infinite power, seems to pitiate.
require that which appears actually. Upon these principles, and with to take place; namely, that sentient these views, the good people of the beings capable of some degree of hapUnited States are invited, in confor- piness should pervade and fill every mity with the resolution aforesaid, to part of habitable space : and if this dedicate the day above-named to the be the fact, there must have been in religious solemnities therein recom- the intermediate gradation between mended.
the creatures governed by mere inGiven at Washington this twenty- stinct and those next above them, to third day of July, in the year of our
whom the power of reason is superLord 1813.
added, a creature such as man;*a J. MADISON. creature at first, impotent, and wholly
governed by present objects, subject York, Jan. 4th, 1816. during a series of years, if not through SIR,
the whole of his probationary state a former paper I endeavoured to to innumerable errors and follies, but state to you some thoughts which capable, if he gain the victory over had occurred to me with increased them, of attaining to very high deemphasis, after reading the enlightened and consolatary treatise of Dr. Cogan, in farther illustration of the
* The writer is tempted to subjoin the strong presumptive evidence which following passage on this subject from a
volume of Discourses chiefly on practical arises from a careful examination of subjects, recently published. P. 8, “ When the known phenomena of the human
we reflect,” says the author, " that the mind, compared with the leading ob- springing grass, the opening fower, the jects of divine revelation, that both spreading tree, are each of them the hahave the same great Being for their bitation of innumerable living things, all Author: and I now beg leave to oc
of them enjoying the utmost perfection of cupy a few of your pages by the in- their natures, rejoicing in the liberality of sertion of some additional reflections
an unknown God; whey, from these mitending to corroborate the still more
nute and invisible objects of bis bounty, important truth, closely connected and imagination, and extend our view
we raise our eyes and indulge our memory indeed with the former, that the great more widely through all the regions of and benevolent object of both, is the the earth, the waters and the air; of the ultimate perfection and happiness. of stagnant lake, the flowing river and the the whole human race. We would restless ocean, on every climate, under even presume to go further, and add, every sky; on the lonely forest, the barren if creatures so ignorant and liable to bills and uncultivated vales; when we error might indulge in a speculation find them all inhabited by their proper not only in this world but throughout of his creation but where some happy beso vast and magnificent, that all things people ; every element replete with life; the boundless Universe, “ are working ing is rejoicing in his goodness ; our souls together for good," for the produc- are elevated with diviner transports, we tion of the greatest general perfection seem to sympathize with the whole creaand happiness, so that every rationaltion of God, and in some measure to cobeing, from the highest to the lowest joy the happiness of the world !"
Mrs. Cappe on the ultimate Perfection and Happiness of Mankind. 81 grees of mental and moral excellence, through suffering. And it may be and eventually of being fitted for a true, for any thing we know tp the very exalted place, when this life contrary, that every order of created shall be over, in those celestial abodes, being from feeble man to the glorious where dwelleth everlasting upright- Archangel that stands before the
the throne of the Most High ; may Now it is clear, that in addition to all of them have previously passed the faculty of reason, he who forms through a scene of probation ; or, in this link in the immeasurable chain, other words, may from very small must possess the power of deliber- beginnings have made continual adating and choosing between two con- vances from one degree of perfection trary modes of action, (call it free- to another. will, or being influenced by motives, But be this as it may, in respect to or by whatever other name you please) ourselves at least, that this is actually for otherwise he could not be deemed the fact, is suggested by reason, and an accountable creature, or gain those amply confirmed by revelation. If permanent habits by a long series of the amiable, diligent child will evenconscientious self-government and vir- tually become the intelligent, virtuous tuous exertion, which are requisite man, is it probable, is it at all analofor the formation of a finished charac- gous to what we certainly do or may ter, and essential to his being fitted know of the power, the wisdom, and for heavenly happiness.
the goodness of God, that when the If it should be inquired, why man man thus disciplined and prepared, was not originally endowed with such shall have fully attained to all the superior faculties as should have ef- wisdom and all the knowledge of fectually preserved him from every which in this mortal state he is casinful deviation ;-with views so just pable; when the great object of his and extended of his duty to God and life, it may be for a series of succeed his own happiness, as should have led ing years, shall have been to devote him unerringly forward in the plain himself faithfully to the service of tranquil paths of piety and virtue ? God and the good of his fellow-crea. it is obvious to reply, that this in fact tures; that, at the very moment when would be to inquire why such a crea- these rare endowments, obtained with ture as man should ever have been so much labour, and fostered with so formed. Besides, had he been created much care, appear to have formed a impeccable, without the possibility of complete habit, that they should then transgressing, or even had he been in an instant be for ever extinguished; placed in a situation where the temp- lost and eternally buried in the silence tations to transgress were less frequent of the tomb ?-Most happily, howand less powerful, he might indeed ever, for the sincere believer in the have remained innocent, but could gospel of Christ, what reason inti. hardly have been called virtuous; males and piety most fervently deand although his existence might still sires, revelation demonstratively conhave been a blessing, yet surely not firms. There we are fully apprized a blessing compared with his, who that the present life is but the seed“by patient continuance in well do- time of human being, that “whating," has at length formed a charac- ever a man Sows, that shall he also ter which may in some measure be reap," and that those who overcome deemed his own; and who has there- the temptations to sin, shall finally by become fitted, through the infi- attain " the prize of the high calling nite mercy of God, for " honour, in Christ Jesus our Lord.” glory and immortality." How do we But the interesting, important quesknow that the previous discipline tion will be asked, If those only who arising from great imperfection with- are Christians in deed, as well as in in, and multiplied temptations from name, shall attain to this blessedness, without, may not have been indis- what must be the portion, not alone pensable to the attainment of that of the incorrigibly wicked, but of the firmness and stability of virtue, which myriads on myriads in every age and the future exalted stations to which in every country who unhappily fall such happy persons will be promoted, far below this Christian standard; and may absolutely require ? We know this, through all the various stages of who it was that was made perfect imperfection from mere harmlessness,
82 Mrs. Cappe on the ultimate Perfection and Happiness of Mankind. of character to the sad extremes of laws of which we have any knowledge, profligacy and vice? Alas, shall they this mutual subserviency does actually all perish for ever? Or where and take place. We know that the same how must the line of demarcation be sun which gives light and heat and drawn? On this subject, reason has animates the principle of vegetation but little to depose, and the page of in our little planet, dispenses in like revelation is not explicit. Of this, manner similar advantages and blesshowever, we may rest assured, ings to other planetary worlds, which though it is not for us to know the like our own, move around him ; that times and the seasons, that the judge the ebbing and flowing tides of the of all the earth will do right. But if ever-changing ocean are regulated by we have no data from which to rea- the immediate influence of the friend. son accurately, and no explicit de ly satellite, which monthly completes claration from scripture, perhaps from her revolution around its shores, and analogy some little information may which may probably in her turn be be derived on this perplexing subject, curiously connected with and dependremembering, however, that in the ent upon our globe for multiplied region of conjecture, even when aided phenomena essential to ber welfare, by this borrowed light, we ought al- of which we have no knowledge. We ways to proceed, if not with timid, perceive likewise that even the fixed yet with wary, cautious steps. stars which illuminate immeasurable
If then it is highly probable, as we space, and are probably so many suns have seen, that in the various orders that like our own dispense light and of beings superior to man, the ascent heat to systems of revolving worlds, above him should be regular and gra- do not refuse their friendly assistance, dual, in like manner as we see the de- notwithstanding their inconceivable scent below him, and especially if it distance, to the bewildered mariner, be requisite that all must equally pass who, without their aid, would infalthrough a state of probation before libly perish. they are fitted for durable, complete What then is God? How transhappiness; may it not be, that those cendantly glorious is the small glimpse who have not duly improved the op- we thus transiently obtain of Him, portunities of the present state, may “ in whom, and through whom and be destined to occupy some of those to whom are all things !" Well might intermediate stages in a future life in the pious psalmist of antiquity exwhich greater and more severe disci. claim, “Whither shall I go from thy pline may be employed to remove the spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy deep stains of guilt ; contracted, not presence ? If I ascend up to heaven merely by ignorance and folly, but thou art there, if I make my bed in by pride, sensuality, ambition, cruel. hades behold thou art there! If I ty and revenge?
take the wings of the morning and In corroboration of this suggestion remain in the uttermost parts of the it may be observed, that every thing sea, even there shall thine hand lead we see or witness around us, whether me, and thy right hand shall hold in the material, the vegetable, the me!" Of what infinite importance it animal, or the intellectual creation, is that we should desire above all are parts of one great whole, evi, things to impress this great truth updently subservient to each other, and on our minds, and should make it our working together (as we continually most ardent endeavour to live always more clearly perceive in proportion to as in his sight! our advancement in knowledge) for If it be indeed true, that God is the greater good of all. In this world every where, at all times present, nothing is of itself complete ; and from what a subject of alarm to the impeanalogy may we not conclude that, nitently wicked! What a source of as the whole universe is equally de- trust and confidence and consolation pendent upou the great Creator and and triumph, to the godly and upSovereigu Lord of all, the same ge- right! Surely, Mr. Editor, Unitaneral law extends to other systems rians beyond all others, they who and other worlds, and that all have profess a purer Christianity, should a mutual relation to, and act and re especially labour to cultivate this deact upon each other? In fact, we are votional spirit; they, whose belief is certain, that in respect of the general so simple and sublime ; so perfectly