Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

from the same degree of impartiaktyway, otherwise the inquirer will be in and application.--Opinions, then, do volved in criminality, all inquiry becomes not fall within the province of legisla- pot only useless but foolish. This appretion:

hension of the consequences of research

once extended eren to natural philoso“ The allurements and the menaces of phy; and there is little doubt that it may power are alike incapable of establishing be justly charged by moral science with opinions in the mind, or eradicating those inuch of the slowness of its progress. If which are already there. They may the former has long since emancipated draw hypocritical professions from avarice itself from this error, the latter still conand ambition, or extort verbal renuncia- fessedly labours under its oppression. The tions from fear and feebleness ; but this intellect is still intimidated into a deseris all they can accomplish. The way to tion of every track which appears to lead alter belief is not to address motives to to conclusions at variance with the prethe will, but arguments to the intellect. scribed modes of thinking : To do otherwise, to apply rewards and punishments to opinions, is as absurd as Lest their own judgments should become

“Men grow pale to raise men to the peerage for their ruddy complexions, to whip them for the And their free thoughts be crimes, and

too bright, gout, and hang them for the scrofula."

earth have too much light." P. 70.

Pp. 74, 75. The Essayist distinguishes, at the

The same error has probably beca same time, between the innocence of the man and the harmlessness of his one principal cause of requiring suland expressing them : the expression trines, in order to qualify the aspirant views, and between holding opinions scriptions to a long list of abstrase,

complex, and often unintelligible docof opinions is always a voluntary act, and, being neutral in itself, may be not only for ecclesiastical, but even

for civil and military offices. The commendable or reprehensible according to the circumstances in which it has been the attempt to regulate men's

most fatal consequence of the error takes place. The author treats, in Section VIII., tion and punishment. All religions

ereeds by the application of intimidaOn the Evil Consequences of the common Errors on this Subject.” One persecutors have been more or less acof its most obvious effects has been Even the victims themselves appear,

tuated by the mischievous principle. to draw mankind from an attention to in many instances, not to have called moral conduct, and to lead them to in question the right of persecution, regard the belief of certain tenets as but only the propriety of its exercise far more deserving of approbation on their own persons. In reading the than a course of the most consistent history of intolerance, our pity for the virtue :

sufferers is often neutralized by a de“ The error under consideration has testation of their principles, by, a also produced much secret misery, by knowledge that they would have inloading the minds of the timid and con- flieted equal tortures on their adverscientious with the imaginary guilt of saries had they had equal power ; and with horror while they could not avoid all that is left for us to do is to mourn them. What is still worse, it has fre- over the degradation of our common quently alarmed the inquirer into an nature. abandonment of the pursuit of truth. Other causes may have mingled Under a confused supposition of crimi- their influence in persecution. There nality in the belief of particular doctriues, seems to be a principle inherent in men have with reason been deterred from the nature of man that leads him to examining evidence, lest it should irre- seek for the approbation of his fellowsistibly lead them to views which it might creatures, not only in his actions but be culpable to entertain. If it is really in his modes of thinking. Hence he true, indeed, that the least deviation is uneasy under dissent and disagreefrom a given line of opinion will be attended with guilt, the only safe course

ment. He resents not only the oppo is to exclude all examination, to shun sition to his doctrines, but the preevery research which might, by possibi- sumption of the opponent, and grows lity, terminate in any such result. When eager to chastise it. Those men in it is already fixed and determined, that general are the least hurt at opposition au investigation must end in a prescribed who, having a clear discernment of the foundation of their tenets, least minates and guilt commences; a boun. require the support of other people's dary not fixed and determinate, but approbation. The state of doubt is, varying with the creed of every party. indeed, a state of trouble, to which

“'Although the advanced civilization every one will be averse in proportion of the age rejects the palpably absurd as he is unaccustomed to intellectual application of torture and death, it is not exertion and candid inquiry. Hence, to be concealed, that, amongst a numerwhoever takes his opinions on trust ous class, there is an analogous, though has a thorough repugnance to be dis- less barbarons persecution, of all who turbed by contrary arguments.

depart from received doctrines—the per. In a note on this place the authorsecution of private antipathy and public makes an observation well worthy of odium. They are looked upon as a spe

cies of criminals, and their deviations attention :

from established opinions, or, if any one “ It is a curious fact, which, I think, prefers the phrase, their speculative ermay be observed in the history of perse- rors, are regarded by many with as much cution, that men are generally more in- horror as fragrant violations of morality. clined to punish those who believe less in the ordinary ranks of men, where than they themselves do, than those who exploded prejudices often linger for ages, believe more. We pity rather than con- this is scarcely to be wondered at; but it demn the extraragancies of fanaticism, is paiuful, and on a first view unaccous. and the absurditics of superstitiou ; but table, to witness the prevalence of the are apt to grow apgry at the speculations sanne spirit in the republic of letters ; to of scepticism. If any one superadds some- see mistakes iu speculation pursued with thing to the established creed, his con- all the warmth of moral indignation and dact is viewed with tolerable composure; reproach. He who believes an opiuiou it is when he attempts to subtract from on the authority of others, who has taken it, that he provokes indignation. Is it 10 pains to inrestigate its claims to crethat we feel a sort of superiority at per- dibility, nor weighed the objections to ceiving the absurdity of what others be- the evidence on which it rests, is lauded lieve, and, on the other hand, are mor- for his acquiescence, while obloquy from lified when any body else appears to every side is too often heaped on the arrogate the same superiority over our. man, who has iniuutely searched into the selves ?"-P. 87.

subject, and been led to an opposite conMore fixed and steady sources of clusion. There are few things more dis.

gusting to an enlightened mind than to intolerance may be found in the con

see a number of men, a mob, whether nexion often subsisting between men's learned or illiterate, who have nerer permanent interests or favourite ob- scrutinized the foundation of their opijects, and the maintenance of certain nions, assailing with contumely an indi. doctrines.

vidual, who, after the labour of research In concluding this Essay the author and reflection, has adopted different senglances at the inquiry, how far these timents from theirs, and pluming themcauses of intolerance continue in ac- selves on the notion of superior virtue tion, in the present day, and in our because their understandings have been own country: As far as they are placed tenacious of prejudice. in the passions of mankind, we can

“This conduct is the more remarkable, only look for a mitigation in propor- sion, that belief is not dependent on the

as on every side we meet with the admistion as the passions are weakened, or placed under stricter controul: and the this admission is readily made, will argue

will ; and yet the same men, by whom spirits of men are evidently softened and inveigh on the virtual assumption of by the improvement of the age, and the contrary. the sympathies of mankind constrain “ This is a striking proof, amongst a that bigotry to be contented with re- multitude of others, of what the thinking proach and invective, which in a for- mind must have frequently observed, that mer age would have had recourse to a principle is often retained in its applimore formidable weapons. The ad- cations, long after it has beeu discarded vancement of knowledge also lessens as an abstract proposition. In a subject the intolerance which is founded in hoves intelligent men to be rigidly con

of so much importance, however, it beignorance and error, though it has sistent. If our opinions are not volunnot yet accomplished its destruction.. tary, but independent of the will, the There is still a boundary in specula- contrary doctrine and all its consequenees tion beyond which no one is allowed ought to be practically abandoned; they to proceed; at which innocence ter- ought to be weeded from the sentiments, habits, and institutions of society. We the Lectures: I. On the various Famay venture to assert, that neither the culties of the Human Mind. II. On virtue nor the happiness of man will ever the Existence of God. III. On the be placed on a perfectly firm basis, till Providential and Moral Government this fundamental error has been extir- of God. pated from the human mind.”—Pp. 92–- Divine Revelation, under the already

IV. The Probability of a 94,

stated Views of the all-directing ProWe shall return in the next number vidence and Government of God. to this very able and truly pleasing V. The Divine Original of the Mosaic writer. Our apology for dwelling so Dispensation. Vi. The Old Testalong upon the first Essay is the great ment considered in the Light of Hispractical importance of the subject. tory and Prophecy. VII. The Divine The influence of the truth which the Original of Christianity., VII!. The Essayist seeks to establish is, in our Christian Religion considered in the judgment, incalculably beneficial. “It Light of History. IX. The Christian often happens,” as he well observes Religion considered in the Light of in the Preface, pp. vii

. viii., " that an Prophecy. X. Proofs of the Divine important principle is vaguely appre- Original of Christianity, from the hended, and incidentally expressed, Characters and Circumstances of the long before it is reduced to a definite First Disciples. XI. The Conversion form, or fixed by regular proof: but of the Apostle Paul attended to, in while it floats in this state on the sur Proof of the Truth of the Christian face of men's understandings it is only Religion. XII. The Truths and Purof casual and limited utility; it is poses of Divine Revelation in corresometimes forgotten and sometimes spondence with its Miraculous Attesabandoned, seldom pursued to its con- tations. XIII. The Morality of Revesequences, and frequently denied in lation considered, in Correspondence its modifications. It is only after it with its Divine Original. XIV. Ge. has been clearly established by an in- neral Application. disputable process of reasoning, ex- The prevalence of infidelity led Mr. plored in its bearings, and exhibited Holden to instruct the younger memin all its force, that it becomes of uni- bers of his congregation in the princiform and essential service ; it is only ples of their faith ; but he does not then that it can be decisively appealed join in the undistinguishing clamour to both in controversy and in practice, against unbelievers, as if they were and that it exerts the whole extent of not men, or not worthy to live. He its influence on private manners and says, (Pref. p. vi.,) public institutions."

“In any occasional observations on the Art II.-Plain and Familiar Lectures arguments and objections of unbelievers

on the Leading Evidences and which may be met with in the course of Truths of Natural and Revealed the following Lectures, the author would Religion; addressed principally to persuade himself that nothing will be the Rising Generation. By Law- found to have escaped from him disre. rence Holden. 12mo. pp. 262.

spectful, uncandid, or inconsistent with Portrait. Sherwood and Co. 68. holy religion ; assuredly nothing of this

the benignant and charitable spirit of our 1820.

nature is intended ; nor would he for a MR.

[R. HOLDEN has been for moment attempt to justify an appeal to

many years the acceptable and the strong arm of the law to check or highly esteemed pastor of the Presby- put a stop to their writings. Let them terian or Unitarian congregation at write, and let them be answered. Justly Tenterden, in Kent. He has, we are

as he condemns the misrepresentations informed, become more abundant in and partial quotations of these writers, labours, as he has advanced in age. disgusted with their sarcastic mockery

and much as he has been at other times This volume is an evidence of his activity in the pastoral care ; it consists argument as better weapons than force ;

and profaneness, he considers reason and of addresses to thic youth of his flock, and that, if divine revelation cannot be at whose request it has been publish- supported by its own evidences, it should ed, accompanied with a faithful por- fali. His own decisive conviction of the trait of the worthy author.

firin foundations upon which it rests, is The following are the contents of connected with a corresponding assurance

that sooner or later all opposition must purity and excellence of the character of fall before it."

the Founder of this holy religion. But

what can we say of the morality of the Nothing, indeed, is more pleasing gospel, if it was a system of fraud? Or, in these Lectures than the unassum- what can we say of the purity and exceling tone of the preacher, and the free lence of the character of Christ, if he and manly spirit which he encourages knew that he had no just pretensions to in his hearers. At the close of the

a divine commission ?"-P. 134. IVth, he thus addresses his juvenile

We are much pleased with a remark flock :

or two in the introduction to Lect. “ The free exercise of the understand. XIII. on the Morality of Revelaing, upon this and every other subject tion :" which is at all interesting, must be ever delightful. The observations here offered

“ By a system of morals, I do not to your attention, are not sirged upon these writings in the particular form of a

mean to assert that it presents itself in you with a tone of authority, as though commanding your abject and blind sub- system; but that they contain it. Much mission. My greatest pleasure is in less when I use the term system of momeeting you from time to time, fully pre- sacred sanction of divine authority ; for

rals, is it my intention to exclude the pared to judge upon all subjects for your. they here present themselves also in the selves. Yet, my young friends, I am so well satisfied myself, of the firmness of form of laws; or in all cases connected the ground on which I stand, that I have with and expressive of the will of that no fear or apprehension, when calling

all-perfect Being under whose government into free and full exercise the highest and bation our everlasting happiness will be

we live; and on whose favour and approbest capacities of your nature : convinced, found to depend.”—Pp. 215, 216. that if no unhappy bias takes place in your minds, from sin and from the world, religion, whether natural or revealed, the racter of paternal counsels. The be

The Lectures almost bear the chamore fully it is inquired into the more nevolent spirit of the gospel pervades decisive will appear the firm foundations upon which it rests.”—Pp. 66, 67.

them all. And though not aspiring

to originality, nor distinguished by inMr. Holden is sparing of critical genuity, and though written without remarks upon sceptical writers ; but the ordinary anxieties of authors in he naturally introduces the name of regard to style, they insinuate themHume in the Lecture (the VIIIth) on selves by the good feeling which they the Historic Testimony in favour of express into the affections of the Christianity, and smartly confutes the reader, and are in fact better suited favourite argument of this renowned than some works of higher pretension sceptic by an argumentum ad homi- to attract, persuade, convince and im

prove the greater number of youthful

inquirers. “Mr. Hume, who in some of his writ. ings thus attempted to destroy all faith in history, and to plunge the mind into Art. III.-An Inquiry into the Scripall the uncertainty and unhappiness of tural Authority for Social Worship; universal scepticism, himself wrote a His- with Observations on its Reasonatory of England. But did he expect his bleness and Utility; and an Account readers to question whether there ever of the Manner in which the Religiwere such kings of England as Alfred, or

ous Services of the Temple ut JeruJohn, or Henry the Eighth? Or did he

salem, and of the Synagogue, were expect that in remote ages it should be questioned whether such a person or

conducted in the Time of Christ. writer as Hume ever existed ?-Pp. 126,

By Thomas Moore. 127.

156. Hunter and Eaton. 1821.

NOME late attempts to disparage The dilemma in which serious and candid Deists are placed, is properly the author of this tract (see his « Ad

the authority of social worship led urged by the Lecturer :

vertisernent”) to preach several Ser“Many unbelierers have admitted the mons in defence of the practice, which, excellence and greatly comprehensive na- by the advice of some friends, he has ture of the gospel morality; as also the given to the public in the present

nem,

12mo. pp. The or

form. A small work of this kind was the satisfactory answers to it, and allows much wanted, and we have no hesita. himself to have been mistaken. He adds, tion in recommending Mr. Moore's however, that the Jewish public worship “ Inquiry,” as a judicious and satis- is nothing to the purpose ;+ in which he factory argument for common or joint appears to as to have been equally mistaprayer.

ken: and, among other reasons, because, Inquiry” consists of three services of the Jews appears to have been

in the first place, this part of the religious chapters. In the first, the author al sanctioned by the personal attendance of leges." Arguments from Reason in Christ and his apostles ; and, secondly, favour of Social Worship.” Of its the universal prevalence of social prayer reasonableness he thinks "the uni- and praise among this people, acconnts versal practice of Christians" a pre satisfactorily for no command occurring sumption, and for its utility he ap- in the New Testament for the observance peals to experience. The second of this custom. To this it may be added, Chapter is a discussion of “the De- that social prayer is a duty altogether grec of Encouragement given to Social independent of the Mosaic institutes; but Prayer by the Scriptures of the Old by its connexion with them it may be Testament." Here, the practice of

considered as receiving an additional di

yine sanction."-Pp. 42—44. the Jews is fully inquired into, and the author expresses the result of the The author next describes from Vi. inquiry in the following terms : tringa, Buxtorf, Lightfoot and others,

“ From the instances which have been the religious services of the Temple selected, then, it is perfectly manifest that in the time of Christ,” and, after the Israelites were always accustomed to stating a variety of particulars, thus public social worship, consisting of both concludes this part of the “ Inquiry:” prayer and praise ; and it is observable that of these instances some consist of

“ From the whole of this account, thanksgiving and adoration ; some of then, it is evident that the entire service confession of siu ; others of petition; and

of the Temple was not ovly public, but in others all these are united. Should it

as social as possible. It was the service be said that part of them took place on of the whole people, conducted by officers extraordinary occasions, and are there. appointed for this purpose. fore no proofs of the common practice of

“ The mode of prayer, it is true, was the Jews, it is obvious to reply that they probably different from that in use among are such instances only of which the his. Christians. There is no proof that they torian would take any notice ; the usual had any minister to conduct this part of and every-day services of religion would, the services, and Prideaux says, that of course, be passed over in sileuce, just thought proper according to his own con

every one repeated what prayers he as days of public thanksgiving, or any solemn act of natioual worship on some ceptions, referring to the instance of the singular occasion, might be mentioned by

Pharisee and Publican, as mentioned by historians of the present

day, whilst the Christ. It appears, however, from Light. regular worship of the Sunday would fool's and other accounts of these sernot form a subject sufficiently remarkable vices, on the best authority, that they to be adverted to. The whole of these had forms, and of these several have been instances, however, together with the given. The comment moreover upon the Psalms composed expressly for the Tem- Talmad says expressly, $ that these were ple service, and the officers appoiuted to

the prayers of the people ; and Maimo. conduct it, prove incontestably that social nides || observes that their prayers were worship was the constant and stated practice of the Jews, and that it was always connected with the obserrance of * “ From the able pens of Mrs. Barthe Mosaic rites.

bauld, Dr. Disney, Mr. Simson, (Simp “ It is a remarkable circumstance, that son,) and Mr. Pope." in the first edition of Mr. Wakefield's + “ See Pope's Answer to Wakefield." pamphlet against public worship, which i “ Luke xviii. 10, &c." at the time excited considerable attention, $ Temp. Serv. ch. ix. sect. vi." he says expressly, I find no circum- #1 Maimonides, who lived about the stances in the Scriptures, concerning this end of the eleventh century of the Chrispeople, the Hebrews, that wear any as- tian ära, was the most learned and pect of public worship, as we conduct it; least superstitious of the Jewish writers. but in his second cdition he abandoned "He was the Jewish oracle,' says Lewis, this topic of argument, in consequence of an author, as Cuneus observes, abové

« AnteriorContinuar »