Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

have repeatedly referred you, I will not delay, I promise you, tvith a becoming fpirit to fulfil my engagement,

" Upon a theological subject, you surely cannot possibly mean hy this expresiion, “if you intend to lead me into the revelations, 10 preclude all recourse to the Scriptures, the grand fountain from whence we can, in these ages, and in theie things, with any propriety derive our sentiments.

""'As the most venerable names do not appear to attraet your esteem, you will give me leave to feud you to one whose memory you profess to revere. It is clear, from many London Reviews in past years, that the late very sensible Dr. Kenrick did maintain and defend in his Review the influence of grace. Please to look back to his own words. In the Appendix, which contains his most able critique on Soame Jenyns's View, he says ; ' At the same time, if the operation of grace be necessary to impress the true sense and meaning of the scriptures on the mind and heart of the uncon. verted finger, why mould it be less necessary, as it is evidently equally expedient, to convince him of the divine origin of revelation in general? We firmly believe, admitting the reality of our author's conversion to Christianity (of which we have no reason to doubt) he is much more indebted for it to the efficacious and irie. fiftible impulse of divine grace, than to all the pains he has taken, and the ingenuity he has exerted, in investigating the moral proofs of its divine institution.' (These words are in page 74 and 75 of the larger edition afterwards published.)

. With this quotation I will fimply content myself, without subjoining remarks that naturally present themselves: and only add, a burlesque upon inspiration, with the contradictory term jelf.inspired, when the subject was the operation of grace from the Father of lights, the giver of every good and perfect gift,' argues rather a deficiency in found sepsé, than is any indication of an enlarged understanding.

" It may justly be deemed matter of surprise, that you can suppose the suggestion I intimated with regard to the adopted tenets in the London Review of necessity had nothing to do with the subject on which I was animadverting, which was the inconsistency that has lately appeared to me in this periodical work, which by my first letter I wished (for the sake of the Review) to prevent for the future. You seem indeed frankly to acknowledge inadvertent er, rors may have crept into this publication; I will therefore in charity push the matter no farther. And now, Sir, if you are so pleasantly minded, you may raise a laugh, (for in some the risible mucles are mighty foon moved) and merrily essay to ridicule my charity. Without the least chagrin, I leave you to enjoy the field of scornful derision, as amply as you please. But of this. I must assure you, I very satisfactorily submit the whole of my behaviour in the present cate before the public. Nor am I so easily vulnerable, as to be either ashamed or afraid where truth is concerned, to defend in a suitable way, and in a proper place what I am convin. ced may be clearly, rationally, and fcripturally established.

" I would

“ I would now prefent my coinpliments to your present Editor, and return him thanks for the infertion of my letters. And am, Sir, with all due regard,

Your most obedient servant, Roche, Cornwall, Apr. 17, 1780. SAMUEL FURLEY.

" P.S. If you, Sir, omit to take the course I have mentioned, it is probable I may, at some future time, take the opportunity, in some treatise or discourse, to answer your queries at large, in a manner that may be thought more satisfactory than in a page or two at the end of a Review.

Answer to the above.

SIR, When expressions are vague, I fee no reason for amazement at their being misunderstood. Had there been no other Reviews than ours, your exprellion I evidently alluded to more Reviews than one,' would have been fufficiently definite.. As there is, one would almost imagine you meant to be misunderitood, by not expressing yourself intelligibly.

In regard to composing a book in support of my opinion, I fee no reason for it, until those who deem them erroneous have endeavoured to prove them fo.

When I observed that you need not suppofe but the Review would admit your answers, I meant not that the subject in itself was fo limited, but that it might have place in a corner of the Review : My meaning was, that answers proportional to what' was asked was all required, and for what the Review would find a place. But, fince you juftly think the matter so important as to be worthy of a more extensive discullion, fo far from my tacitly giving up the point, 1 fall wait, with the greatest impatience, your answers, in what form foever they may appear, whether in pamphlet or folio.

Do not suppose I mean to preclude all reference to soripture ; for, I think it absolutely neceffary, if, by such reference, we can develope any mystery repugnant to common sense: I have no objection to pay the feriptures a visit, although I have to be confined or led into what I confess I never could satisfactorily understand. I experience such an awe in their company that I lose all my powers of reasoning. I wish every other person experienced this humiliation. We Thould not then be pestered with presuming fanatics. But it is the characteristic of ignorance to be presuming. It is therefore we have that abundance of abfurdity flowing upon us from such pretending to explain what is in itself inexplicable. The dictates of infinite wisdom can never be conceived by our finite understanding. Beside, it is impioufiy arrogant in a reptile to presume on his having the scales to weigh and the standard to measure the laws of its Creator. There another oblervacion I

mutt

1

must make on our dispute, as being theological, having a neceffary relation to fcripture: 'If I rightly understand what theology means, I may be safe in saying that whatever comes under its denomination (excepting the wrangling opinions of religionists) may be inore rarionally discutled without scripture reference. The free agency of men (which is the basis of our argument) is not cone finable by any mode of religion. It is a matter between the Creator and the creature. It is not whether this path is wrong or that path is right, but whether we have a power to chuse the right. This I conlider is within the limits of natural philosophy: Therefore, when a disputed subject is within the pale of our reasoning faculty, why should we feek a labyrinth in which all human reafon must be lost.

You mistake me much in supposing. I do not esteem the venerable. The virtuous and sensible I mall always esteem. I, therefore, revere the man you have thought proper to quote. Although you mention him as an object for my veneration, by reason you think him not the molt venerable, I beg leave to inform you that a Doctor K might have more right to the naine than those mitred gentlemen you before mentioned. It is not the lawn nor mitre that claims my esteem unless the actions of the wearer give them lufire.

I am sorry your sound sense and enlarged understanding could not perceive that, by felf-inspired, I meant that the advocates for inspiration are more indebted to their own vanity for such a belief than to the truth of such a doctrine : they would fain believe inspiration for the sake of indulging themselves in the vain chimnera of their being themselves inspired.

Notwithstanding your furprise, I say again, that as far as your letter relates to my criticilm, I have every right to deem impertinent your mentioning the Review having maintained the doctrine of necessity. This was the art of another, not of me. IE would be as pertinent to foift into those letters, you are pleased to honour me with, every inconsistency that you may any where perceive, so that it relates to free-agency or divine grace.

You may perceive I have been, while writing this letter, particularly serious. But now, Sir, not to laugh at your charity, do let une enjoy the risible. If you knew how seldom I laugh, I have that opinion of your charity not thniking it too great an indul. gence, to laugh once in a month or two. I am much obliged to you for the cause, therefore do not be angry if I enjoy it. But, Sir, I have done. I will not laugh any more at present. Although, feldom-tasted pleasures are apt to be enjoyed in excess, my charity forbids me to enjoy longer this, as it is at the painful expence of the wounded. So that I conclude, Sir,

Your most respectful humble Servant,

W.

P.S. I shall most impatiently wait your Treatise or Discourse in

answer to my queries.

[ocr errors]

THE

LONDON REVIEW,

F O R M A Y 1780.

Sermons, by Hugh Blair, D. D. one of the Ministers of the

High Church, and Profesor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres in the University, of Edinburgh. vol. 2d. 55. 8vo. sewed. Cadell.

[Continued from page 228.]

AS a farther specimen of these excellent fermons, we shall present our readers with an extract from the beginning of the seventh discourse-ON THE PROPER ESTIMATE OF HUMAN LIFE. Ecclesiastes xii. 8. Vanity of vanities, faith the preacher, all is vanity.

“ No serious maxim has been more generally adopted than that of the text. In every age, the vanity of human life has been the theme of declamation, and the subject of complaint. It is a conclusion in which men of all characters and ranks, the high and the low, the young and the old, the religious and the worldly, have more frequently concurred than in any other. But how just soever the conclusion may be, the premises from which it is drawn are often false. For it is prompted by various motives, and derived from very different views of things. Sometimes the language of the text is assumed by a fceptic who cavils at Providence, and cenfures the conttitution of the world. Sometimes it is the complaint of a peevish man who is discontented with his station, and ruffled by the disappointment of unreasonable hopes. Sometimes it is the style of the licentious, when groan. ing under miseries in which their vices have involved them: Invectives against the vanity of the world which come from

any these

quarters deserve no regard; as they are the dictates of im. piety, of spleen, or of folly. The only cafe in which the fenti. inent of the text claims our attention, is when uttered, not as an aspersion on Providence, or a reflection on human affairs in general; not as the language of private discontent, or the result of guilty sufferings; but as the tober conclufion of a wise and ỹOL. XI.

Рp

good above

of

good man concerning the imperfection of that happiness which rests solely on worldly pleasures. These, in their faireft form, are not what they seem to be. They never befow that complete satisfaction which they promise ; and therefore he who looks to nothing beyond them, shall have frequent cause to deplore their vanity

Nothing is of higher importance to us as men and as Christians, than to form a

горе

eftimate of human life, without either loading it with imaginary evils, or expecting from it greater advantages than it is able to yield. It shall be my business, therefore, in this discourse, to distinguish a juft and religious senle of the vanity of the world from the unreasonable complaints of it which we often hear. I fhall endeavour, 1. To thew in what sense it is true that all earthly pleasures are vanity. II. 'To inquire how this vanity of the world can be reconciled with the perfections of its great Author. Ill. To examine whether there are not some real and solid enjoyments in human life which fall

' not under this general charge of vanity. And, IV. To point out the proper improvement to be made of such a state as the life of man thall appear on the whole to be.

I, I AM to hew in what sense it is true that all human pleasures are vanity. This is a topic which might be embellished with the pomp ot much description. But I shall Itudiously, avoid exaggerarion, and only point out a threefold vanity in human life which every impartial observer cannot bur admit; difappointment in pursuir, diffatisfaction in enjoyment, uncertainty in poffeffion.

" Firft, disappointment in purfuit. When we look around us on the world, we every where behold a busy multitude, intent on the profecution of various designs which their wants or desires have suggested. We behold them employing every method which ingenuity can devise, fome the patience of induftry, fome the boldness of enterprise, others the dexterity of Atratagem, in order to compass their ends. Of this inceffant kir and activity, what is the fruit? In comparifon of the crowd who have toiled in vain, how small is the number of the successful? Or rather, where is the man who will declare that in every point he has completed his plan, and attained his utmost with? No extent of human abilities has been able to discover a path which, in any, line of life, leads, unerringly to succets. The race is not always to the fwift, nor the battle to the strong, nor riches to men of understanding, We may form our plans with the most profound sagacity, and with the moit vigilant caution may guard against dangers on every fide. But some unforeseen occurrence comes across which baffles our wisdom, and lays cur labours in the duft.

* Were fuch disappointments confined to thofe who' afpire at engrossing the higher departments of life, the misfortune were leis. The humiliation of the mighty, and the fall of ambition from its towering height, little concern the bulk of mankirid. These are objects on which, as on distant meteors, they gaze from afar, without drawing personal inftruction from evenis io much

« ElőzőTovább »