« ElőzőTovább »
Oh Ida! fair Ida! the evening is sweet,
In solitude ever my dreams are of thee,
Mild the evening sun is shining
Round the oak upon the lea :-
To the world--but not to me!
When all I look upon
When my love is far away!
THE WANDERER'S ADIEU.
The silent and secret farewell
Without the assurance to tell.
One glance of thy beauty to greet ;
Since the source of my sorrow was sweet.
How often, unmark’d, have I gazed upon thee,
With a feverish glow at my heart,
How the life in my bosom would start.
As to calm every doubt of my breast;
Inviting its billows to rest.
Round some darksome and fathomless cave,
Or buffet the breast of the wave;
The hopes of my bosom to save,
And teach me to bear and to brave.
Thou know'st not my passion, and never shalt know
Who sends this confession to thee;
Between my beloved, and me.
O'er him, whom no more thou shalt see;
To think that from such thou art free!
Farewell, and when I am for ever forgot,
May the essence of feelings refined,
The slumberless sunshine of mind !
And the praise of the world be combin'd
And the wishes I leave thee behind !
ON COPLESTONE'S INQUIRY INTO THE DOCTRINES OF NECESSITY AND
To CHRISTOPHER NORTH, Esq. DEAR SIR,—A few words shall serve rate. Assuming, then, that in a future me in the way of preface to the fol- state our faculties will be enlarged, lowing remarks. There is, however, our understandings enlightened, and one preliminary that I am solicitous our apprehensions quickened, he conto press upon your attention. It is cludes, that a continual progress in only with the philosophical part of Dr knowledge must at length terminate Coplestone's Treatise that I have to in absolute inactivity; and this condo. That the subject involves the clusion, that activity, which throughdeepest religious considerations, I am out nature is observed to accompany well aware. Nor is it possible, that I intelligence, should be destroyed by should altogether avoid adverting to the rational faculties being enlarged, some of the theological consequences, he justly thinks, is so paradoxical, as real or supposed, which result from the to throw much discredit on the prindoctrines in question ; but it is my ciple from which it is by fair reasonwish to speak of these as distantly as ing deduced.” the argument will admit of my doing. Dr Coplestone goes on to say, that I would neither trouble you with the “ the developement of this principle peculiarities of my own creed, nor im- so applied, is attempted in the earlier pugn those of others. A partizan of part of the first discourse. But, beno sectarian system, a zealot for no sides this, as an argument of equal religious dogma, the elucidation of authority, and as one concurrent in truth is all for which I am anxious ; its application, it appeared to me, that and if I may be allowed to hope that the moral consequences of the hypoI am without that bigotry, which thesis in question might also be purwould keep me unconvinced, in spite sued; for the notion of a moral agent, of reason, I am sure I have no motive gifted with mental powers, the imof interest which might induce me to provement of which naturally tends to affect to be so.
the weakening or the extinction of In his Preface, Dr Coplestone very moral principle, is an absurdity simiproperly gives an outline of the design lar to the former, and equally concluand contents of his four Discourses. sive against the truth of the supposi“ His leading argument,” he says, tion from which it flows."
was suggested by a small treatise, by “ In the second discourse, the difthe late Mr Dawson of Sedbergh, pub- ficulties arising out of the belief of a lished about twenty years ago. In it superintending Providence, as compathe author lays down three axioms, as tible with the free will of man, are the foundation of his reasoning. 1. If considered." The following axioms we make a false supposition, and rea- are then laid down :-"1. That God son justly from it, a contradiction or foreknows all things, and yet that he absurdity will be contained in the con- deals with man as if future events clusion. 2. Every action or exertion, were contingent in their nature. 2. voluntarily made, is with a design, or That God's Providence controls the in hopes of obtaining some end. 3. All order of events, and yet that man is practical principles must either be free to choose and to act.” It is affounded in truth, or believed to be so terwards remarked, that “ each propofor the moment that they operate." sition is separately demonstrable ; yet From these premises, he infers, " that they are not contradictory, and yet where the doctrine of necessity is firm- their congruity may be inconceivaly believed, and made use of as a prac- ble." Upon this it is only at present tical principle, motives cease to ope- necessary to make one remark, that
* An Inquiry into the Doctrines of Necessity and Predestination, in four Discourses, preached before the University of Oxford, with Notes, and an Appendix, on the Seventeenth Article of the Church of England, by Edward Coplestone, D. D.-Murray.
the expression “ free to choose and to ence of grounds for knowing that a act," is not definite. No one has ever certain chain of causes and effects denied, that man is free to choose and must take place. That which has to act according to the dictates of his ceased to be,“ is not as much as that will, which will is determined by cir- which has not begun to be; yet Dr cumstances under the control of Pro- Coplestone would hardly object to an vidence. * The question is, whether assertion of the present existence of man is free to act and to chuse, inde- grounds, for knowing that some past pendently of Providence and external event certainly has been : why should circumstances,-especially the latter. he then to an assertion that some fuThis, however, it is presumed, Dr ture event shall be? In fact, the knowCoplestone meant to express in his ledge of the past and of the future are axiom. If he did not, the axiom is ad- precisely of the same sort ; distant mitted by Necessitarians, and is strictly views of causes and effects, not at prein unison with the Necessitarian theory. sent in action, but which have either
The assertion, that “God deals with ceased to act, or not begun to act. To man, as if future events were contin- a perfect intelligence, it is admitted, gent,” shall be considered by and by, that the past and the future must be
In his third Discourse, the reverend alike, as it must perceive the chain of inquirer transfers his reasoning to the causes, equally clearly and fully, on Calvinistic doctrine of predestination. each side. Nay, with the human The fourth also inquires, whether, mind, this is the case, as far as human according to the Calvinists, " there infirmity will permit. In cases where be few that be saved ;” and whether we have the means of a very full know“ each man's destiny is to be regard- ledge of cause and effect, this is evied as settled from all eternity;" this, dent; as, for instance, a clockmaker is including some very proper observa- as certain, barring some very distant tions on the use of words, is, I believe, chances, that his clock will strike the the substance of Dr Coplestone's Pre- next hour as that it struck the last. face.
Dr Coplestone takes for his first It remains to proceed with my in- text, Acts, xv. 18. “Known unto God v tention of offering some cursory re- are all his works, from the beginning marks, in reply to the points brought to the end." The Discourse sets out forward in his Discourses. There is with explaining the nature of the Di. one distinction, however, insisted upon vine prescience, by comparing it to by the reverend author, from which I that imperfect foreknowledge of events, must express my dissent. It is the at which the human mind is somefollowing objection to the use of the times enabled to arrive. “ As man is word "true," as applied to the future. a being of a certain composition, ha“If it (truth) be found to mean what ving such and such faculties, inclinaall accurate writers define it to be, the tions, affections, desires, and appeagreement of a representation with the tites, it is very possible for those who thing represented, there must be some study his nature attentively, especialthing previously existing before the ly for those who have practical expeidea of truth can be entertained at all. rience of any indi
al, or of any Propositio vera quod res est dicit.' community of men, to foretel how The original may be antecedent to the they will be affected, and how they representation. An assertion, there. will act under any supposed circumfore, respecting the future, may be stances. The same power, in an unprobable or improbable, it
limited degree, it is natural and reahave any relation we please to the sonable to ascribe to that Being who mind of the person who makes it, or excels the wisest of us, infinitely more of him who hears it; but it can have than the wisest of us excels his fellowno relation at all to a thing which is creatures. It never enters the mind not.” Now, this distinction appears of a person, who reflects in this way, to me completely “ to turn upon the that his anticipation of another's conequivocation of a word.” An assertion duct lays any restraint upon that conof the certainty of future events, is duct when he comes to act. only an assertion of the present exist- ticipation, indeed, is relative to him
The denial of a particular, and the assertion of a general providence, is one of the attempts to reconcile freewill and the divine control ; it only perplexes the question farther.
self. ******* No man supposes The difference between the human the certainty of the event, (to use a mind feeling certain of a future event, common, but, as I conceive, improper and the Divine mind feeling certain of phrase,) to correspond at all with the a future event, is nearly this—that certainty of him who foretels or ex- human judgment, instead of being pects it. In fact, every day's experi- perfect, is built upon deductions drawn ence shews that men are deceived in from observation and experience, which, the event, even when they regard them- though often right, are fallible in their selves as most certain. ***** How nature, and consequently sometimes is it then? God can never be decei- false, even when resting upon the best ved ; his knowledge, therefore, is al- apparent grounds. When, however, ways accompanied or followed by the a man feels certain of a future event, event; and yet, if we get an idea of and his certainty is founded, as it often what his knowledge is by our own, is, upon real and good foundations of why should we regard it as dragging observation and experience, it is, in the event along with it, when, in our fact, a complete proof of the necessary own case, we acknowledge the two occurrence of that future event, though things have no connection?” This first not acknowledged to be such, because point of Dr Coplestone's discourse is it is impossible to be sure beforehand, by no means new-scarcely any, in- whether the grounds of certainty be deed, of the objections to the doctrine absolutely good and secure. The difof philosophical necessity are so—and ference between the validity of proof as it is not new, so it has been more drawn from human certainty, and that than once answered in some shape or of proof drawn from the Divine cerother. The reverend metaphysician tainty, is the difference between the himself has, indeed, supplied an appa- fallibility of human foresight and the rent solution, probably for the sake of infallibility of Divine foresight. The afterwards overturning it, but this so- infallible foresightof the Deity is a perlution Necessitarians will not adopt. fect proof of the future necessary occurIt is not the true answer to say, “ that rence of an event, of which the fallible though your knowledge does not affect foresight of the human mind is an the event, yet God, who is all-power- imperfect proof, but a legitimate one, ful, who made all things as they are, as far as it goes. In a note appended and who knows all that will come to to his first discourse, Dr Coplestone, pass, must be regarded as rendering in reply to Edwards, who has strongthat necessary which he foreknows, ly enforced this argument, says, “Injust even as you may be considered fallible foreknowledge, while it reaccessary to the event, which you an- mains foreknowledge, proves nothing. ticipate, exactly in proportion to the When the being who possesses this share
you have had in preparing the declares that a thing will come to pass, instruments, or forming the minds of that declaration indeed proves, or is a those who are to bring it about.” It certain ground of assurance to us, that is equally useless, consequently, to re- it will come to pass. Even then it join with the reverend gentleman, does not prove the event to be necesor that the connection between the sary.” knowledge and the event, is not at all Here are some distinctions which proved by this argument;" or, that may include a little difficulty. The is it is not because I knew what would difficulty, however, arises from any follow, but because I contributed to- thing but the truth of the distinctions. wards it that it is influenced by me.” If infallible foreknowledge, when deNor will it serve any purpose of argu- clared, proves that an event will come ment to assert, “ that God's foreknow- to pass that foreknowledge, when ledge ought not to interfere without undeclared, must be an existing proof, belief in the contingency of events, though an undeclared proof, of the and the freedom of human actions." future occurrence of the given event;
The plain reply is this:--Necessi- it must be an existing proof, because tarians do not hold that the Divine it is known or has declared itself to foreknowledge renders events necessa- him who possesses it, although he has ry, but that it proves them to be ne, not made it known or declared it to cessary. Human foreknowledge also others. The declaration or non-declais a proof, as far as it goes, of the ration of any thing cannot alter the necessity of that which is foreknown. nature or affect the existence of that