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spiritual matters, yet that in effect it comprehends niany important points connected with the worldly concerns of this people. In the present epistle we find that some of the principal topics introduced into it consist altogether of political questions, which, though particularly brought under the attention of the Society of Friends, are yet of a general nature.
The epistle commences by a reference to those members of the society who, from the circumstances of the times, are struggling with difficulties; and whilst it recommends them patience and fortitude in bearing misfortunes, and trusting in God who knoweth all their need, it further enjoins a little worldly prudence to those who have had their share of the depressed state of the times.-“We affectionately,” the epistle goes on, " recommend our dear friends, who are thus circumstanced, to exercise that moral courage which will enable them to contract their family expenditure within their income; and we would warn them not to delay this important duty, under expectation of what they may consider to be an improvement in the state of trade, and which may not be realized. And may all our dear friends be careful how they enlarge their concerns, with a view of increasing their means of support ; always bearing in mind, that godliness with contentment is great gain.”
In speaking of the tithes, there is a claim evidently set up by the body, which appears to us to be but little capable of being reconciled to the meek disposition so universally attributed to the Society of Friends. We find it boldly stated, thas it is the firm conviction of their leading men, that one of the great purposes for which God had raised up the Quaker people, was, that they might be faithful witnesses against this and other corruptions, which had been found incorporated in the visible church. They state, therefore, that it gives them great pleasure to find the friends every where attached to the same testimony which was anciently borne by their forefathers in religion, against tithes and other ecclesiastical demands.
The discipline exercised over the younger portion of thelaity belonging to the Society of Friends, is somewhat strict, and it carries with it su much of the obnoxious character of being an engine of too prying a nature, that the society is naturally called upon to defend it, and to remind the members repeatedly of the arguments which justify its existence.—“We highly esteem,” say they, “this institution as a means of preservation to us and to our children, and most earnestly do we desire that it may ever be administered by men of clean hands, in the spirit of meekness, and in the fear of God. And we affectionately recommend those who are advancing to manhood justly to appreciate the care which our discipline extends over them; to consider it a privilege to be subject to it, and, as occasions may arise, to contribute to uphold it. And whilst we fervently desire that the number of faithful labourers in word and doctrine may be increased, we wish to remind our dear friends, that the discipline of the church affords a wide sphere of usefulness to all who are conVOL. 11. (1833) no. iv.
cerned for the prosperity of the cause of truth; and little as, in some cases, our dear brethren and sisters may see of the fruit of their labours, we would at this time press it upon them not to relax in a pious watchful care over the flock."
The society appears to be particularly distressed at the degraded and demoralized condition of the lower orders, as exemplified in the great extent of crime. In speculating on the causes of this lamentable state of things, the society expresses its apprehensions that these causes will be found connected with those abridgements of the com. forts of the labourer, which tend, they say, to a wretched and disreputable pauperism. They,therefore, exhort their brethren to be exemplary in their attention to this important subject, that they may encourage their neighbours and unite with them in efforts to apply a remedy to these evils; and that seeing that ignorance, intemperance, and vice, so much prevail in the British Isles, the members of the society should allow their sympathies to be awakened towards these their fellow-subjects.
The subject of missions is next touched upon. The deplorable condition of the heathen, they state, is truly affecting ; but we infer from the subsequent observations, that the Society of Friends are by no means favourable to missions. The epistle contains the following remarkable words on this subject :- And although no way appears to open for our adopting any specific measure, in order to communicate to them (the heathens) the knowledge of the truths of the gospel, we earnestly recommend their benighted condition to the frequent remembrance and Christian sympathy of all our mem. bers. There are various means of diffusing a knowledge of Chris. tianity among them, which in no degree compromise our religious principles. The Holy Scriptures abundantly testify how offensive in the Divine sight are the abominations of idolatry; and we desire that all may stand open to the intimations of the Heavenly Shepherd, and follow the leadings of his spirit into such services as he may be pleased to appoint to them individually. We rejoice in the part which many of our members have taken in the general diffusion of the Holy Scriptures, and in promoting a Christian education of the poor in this and other countries; and we desire that these very important objects may receive the continued attention and support of Friends.
Upon the subject of West Indian slavery, the society has great reason to rejoice. In almost all their preceding epistles they had occasion to express themselves in the language of commiseration, and even in terms of discouragement, on the long-continued oppression of the slaves in our colonies ; but in the course of the last two years, their fellow-countrymen, of various denominations, cooperated with great zeal and success in the righteous cause, and ultimately gained the great point of showing that the justice of the Christian law was an unanswerable argument for the extinction of slavery. A variety of causes, mysterious in their origin, but still
clearly marked with proofs of being destined by the hand of over-rul. ing Providence, seemed to hasten the triumph of humanity and right, -and it was with reverent thanksgiving that the Society now looked forward to the complete annihilation of this cruel and disgraceful system. “May it please him,” they pray, “ to whom the cause of the poor and afflicted is precious, to influence our rulers to the enactment of such just and equal laws as shall place the enslaved negroes in full possession of those rights and liberties to which they are entitled equally with ourselves."
Art. VI.- Treatise II.-On the Adaptation of External Nature
to the Physical Condition of Man, principally with reference to the Supply of his Wants, and the Exercise of his Intellectual Faculties. By James Kidd, M. D. F. R. S. Regius Professor of Medicine in the University of Oxford. 1 vol. London: Pick
ering. 1833. We do not exactly understand the reasoning with which Dr. Kidd commences the performance of the task assigned to him by the agents of the Bridgewater trust. He considers it, he says in his preface, right to state, that it is the immediate object of this treatise itself to unfold a train of facts, not to maintain a formal argument; to give a general view of the adaptation of the externalworld to the physical condition of man, not to attempt directly to convince the reader that this adaptation is a proof, either of the existence and Omnipotence of the Deity, or his benificence or wisdom. Now, as to the propriety of this declaration, and as to the plan of executing the work which this declaration announces, we have only respectfully to state, that we consider it a gross, if not a most wanton, violation of the regulations, which were directed by the testator to be religiously observed. The language of the Earl of Bridgewater could be misunderstood by no man, when he said that each work should be “ on the power, wisdom, and goodness of God;" that such work should be illustrated by all reasonable arguments; and, to make the duty still more clear, the noble donor expressly prescribed that the variety and formation of God's creatures, in the animal, and vegetable, and mineral kingdoins, should form the subjects by which those reasonable arguments might be elucidated. In contravention of these plain dictates, Dr. Kidd is pleased to set up a standard of illustration for himself, and rejecting the spirit of the donor's intention, he declines to use any formal argument, and avowedly evades all attempts to convince the reader that the “ adaptation ” which he is about to explain, is a proof either of the existence, or the Omnipotence, or the beneficence or wisdom of the Deity. And lest the striking inconsistency of his conduct should not impress itself sufficiently on the attention of
his readers, this eccentric professor puts forth an additional extravagance, by expressing a hope that the reader will be able to do that for himself which Dr. Kidd was openly commissioned to do for him; and that the said reader will succeed in contracting a due con. viction of the wisdom of God, though Dr. Kidd choses to withdraw from him the aids whereby he would arrive with far greater certainty at that important conclusion.
Setting out on such a principle as this, it will not be a matter of surprise that the work of Dr. Kidd should be a comparative failure. It may be generally and faithfully characterized as quite under the mark. In its facts it is egregiously deficient, and in truth, the vast subject which was presented to his contemplation, seems to have recoiled from his feeble grasp, and to have fled from every effort in his power to retain it. Instead of viewing the whole of the mighty questions in their proper bearing, and tracing the wonderful harmony with which every part of the moving palace of the earth is adapted to the wants and wishes which the heavenly architect had implanted in his noblest creature ; instead of going over the king. doms of nature with a discriminating eye, and pointing out the characters which, from their reciprocal action on each other, stand as invincible arguments that they are alike the creation of one great depository of wisdom in contrivance, and of Omnipotence in execution; instead, we say, of entering upon any such dignified project as this, Dr. Kidd is pleased to endeavour to entertain his readers with such gewgaws as the fantastic theories of Lucretius, together with some useless comparisons, exhibiting an intellectual identity between Aristotle and Cuvier.
Having stated our general opinion upon the plan of this per. formance, we shall now proceed to the details, and we think we shall show that, however unfavourably we have spoken of the one, we shall not be indifferent to the merits of the other. We pass over the five first chapters, in which Dr. Kidd develops his views of the physical character of man. This section of the work comprehends a comparison of the physical character of man with that of other animals, an explanation of the principles on which man's superiority in the scale should be estimated, and an account of the early and gradual development of his intellectual faculties. The peculiar powers of the human hand form the next subject of description; but as we shall have to consider the treatise of Sir Charles Bell upon this interesting branch of the animal economy, we may dismiss this portion of the present work merely with saying, that the recital of the passages from Galen, on the human hand, gives considerable value to it as a collection of curious physiological facts. In the chapters on the nervous system, Dr. Kidd introduces some observations on the doctrines of phrenology, as first broached by Gall. The remarks of the author are characterized by great good sense, and as they combine at once an elegant form of expression, and a
great degree, particularly with reference to the present moment, of practical value, we shall not hesitate to submit them to our readers.
The theory set up by Dr. Gall was, that the brain is the seat of the intellectual faculties, of the moral sentiments and propensities, and that these several sentiments, faculties, &c., are inanifested by the physical state of particular parts of that organ. That this doctrine necessarily leads to materialism, has been maintained by many; but not with sufficient justice, for if rightly considered, the theory of Gall absolutely contributes to sustain the belief, that the soul is essentially spiritual in its nature.,
Of this theory (observes Dr. Kidd) it may perhaps be affirmed with truth, that, considered as an abstract philosophical speculation, it is highly ingenious, and founded upon unobjectionable principles : and that while the general conclusion is inevitable with respect to the collective functions of the brain, there is nothing unreasonable in supposing that specific parts serve specific purposes. The rock, on which Dr. Gall and his implicit advocates have split, is the attempt to fix the local boundaries of the several faculties of the soul. Had he satisfied himself with developing the structure of the brain in the various classes of animals; and had he been content to show that, in tracing its structure from those animals which manifest the least indications of intelligence to those which exhibit still stronger and stronger, it proportionally advances in its resemblance to the structure of the human; and, lastly, had he only drawn from these premises the general probable conclusion, that specific parts had specific uses with respect to the manifestations of the immaterial principle of animal existence ; (and assuredly brutes are endued with such a principle, though, as being devoid of the moral sense, they are not fitted for a future state, and consequently perish when their bodies die ;) had. Dr. Gall been con. tent to have stopped at this point, without venturing to define the local habitations of the supposed specific organs, he would have acquired the unalloyed fame of having developed a beautiful train of inductive reasoning in one of the most interesting provinces of speculative philosophy : whereas, in the extent to which he has carried his principles, his doctrine has become ridiculous as a system ; while in its individual applications it is not only useless, but of a positively mischievous tendency : for, without the aid of this system, every man of common sense has sufficient grounds on which to judge of the characters of those with whom he associates; and it is evidently more safe to judge of others by their words and actions, and the general tenor of their conduct, than to run the risk of condemning an individual from the indication of some organ, the activity of which, for a moment allowing its existence, may have been subdued by the operation of moral or religious motives.
But there is an occasional absurdity in the application of the theory, which, though obvious, does not seem to have been noticed. Let us suppose, for instance, the case of a murderer ; and that a disciple of Dr. Gall were to maintain that, as the crime of murder proceeds from the operation of the organ of destructiveness, that organ would be found highly deve. loped in such an individual; and yet, upon actual inspection, this were not found to be the case. Here, although the disciple of Dr. Gall might be