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of the fruits of so happy a change that the certainty of personal safety and protection, by the justice and liberality of government may encourage this respectable exile, to return from his unmerited banishment;
he end his days in peace and honour in his na. tive country among Englislımen, at last ashamed of the cruel intolerance of which he was suffered so nearly to become the victim."
STRICTURES ON “PHYSICAL AND METAPHYSICAL
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. Six, When last I did myself the honour of address ng you *, I intended to have contined my observations on “ Physical and Metaphysical Inquiries” to such extracts from that work as you have inserted in the Monthly Repository. I find however, that in order to do their author and myself justice it will be impossible to adhere to this plan. The Inquirer begins by attacking Berkeley's theory; I certainly have no intention of entering the lists with him on that point; I do believe, that the sensations in my inind, are produced by things really existing without me; but this my belief, does not arise from any ibing that he has proven; on the contrary, his argument, page 5, assumes as a postulate the existence of matter, which is the very point to be proven; he requires the existence of matter, in order to account for our sensations and then from these sensations, he infers the existence of matter : Bishop Berkeley only requires that we have sensations, and then endeavours to prove that they are caused by a superior mind. As to his arguments in the 13th page, I can as easily conceive of spirit, causing those sensations which we call material, as I can conceive of it being capable of receiving impressions from matter; which last the Inquirer evidently supposes, as he speaks of our mind as different from our body. To proceed however to the object more immediately in view; he endeavours to account, in pages 72 and 73, for the different properties of which matter is possessed before and after combination, (and which in my last I referred to the arbitrary will of the Supreine Being,) by supposing either ist “ That matter previously possessed these properties," which in innumerable instances, involves what he himself terms an absurdity, vide pp. 12 and 164 ; or 2dly “ That some kinds of matter are so extremely subtle that they enter into all combina
*.M. Repos. Vol. 11. p. 361.
tions without the possibility of being discovered, and at the same time are so very powerful as to overbalance the properties of the substances with which they combine." But what is this (independent of its being an hypothesis, altogether made for the oc. casion, but to have recourse to spiritual agency? For although he calls these suppositious agents kinds of matter, yet they do
agree with his detinition page 1. where maiter is defined to be " whatever is cognisable by our senses ;” but these kinds cxist " without the possibility of being discovered,” except I presume by their effects, in which case they will correspond exactly with the definition of a spirit. He then proceeds to the consideration of light and heat, and although I still think that his opinions with regard to the last of these agents, are more natural than those in general belief, yet some objections have occurred to me, since I last wroto you, which may probably furnish matter for some future letter. In the mean tiine I shall at. tend him in his inquiry concerning the origin of matter. He pronounces absurd, the making of a thing out of nothing, by which I understand, simply, the causing to exist, what had not before existed. He supports this assertion by saying, pp. 115 and 116, “ We have a clear conception how one thing could be made out of another, but we cannot conceivc, how a thing could be made out of nothing." Now if we are warranted to deny a thing, simply, because we cannnot conceive of it, the Inquirer upon his own principles, vide page 236, must deny the existence of Deity; for I contend we can have no conception of a being which can occupy no part of space. A few lines farther he says, “There is nothing more obvious, than that no being can give what it does not possess." This requires examination: if to the word, give, he apply the idea which we have when we sec one man give another a guinea, then, the observation is not in point, for, it would first pre-suppose the existence of material properties in Deity, which is contrary to hypothesis, and second. ly, the existence of matter without its properties, which I shewed in my last, is to our judgments impossible. But if by the term, give, he mean the causing particular qualities, then, I think, the contrary of the position may be proven, from what he himself says., "He denies that our passions and instincts are inherent in matter, and derives them from the designing agent, page 191 et seq. much more must piety and gratitude be deriveu from the same source; but it is absurd to suppose that God can be either pious or grateful; here then we have a being, giving, not only what he does not possess, but what it is absolutely absurd to suppose he can possess; butsio come to the point, I
contend that the circumstance of the maximum density of water, being, fixed above its freezing point, is as evident a mark of design as any in the whole animal economy ; but if we have recourse to the designing agent for this property of this substance, why not for its other properties ? and if for all the properties of
water, why not for all the properties of every other substance whatever ? and if all material properties be derivable from Deity, then did he to all intents and purposes create matter, for I have already shewn that to our judgments, the existence of matter without its properties, is impossible. This conclusion concerning the power of Deity, is not, I think, carried « farther than his works warrant, nor than reason will permit.” I shall now proceed to his examination of the power of Deity ; which he pronounces is not infinite. He asks, page 241, “ what father even among men, would send his children to Lapland, if he could provide for them in the fertile fields of Loinbardy?” The answer to this question is not difficult: if he were a Lounbard he would most probably keep them in Lombardy, but if a Laplander, he would as probably keep them in Lapland ; in fact the diversity of climates, so far from being an argument against the infinite power of Deity, is an argument in favour of it; for, as if with an intention to manifest that power, he has stocked every climate with animals and vegetables suited to it, whilst to man, his darling, he has given the power of inhabiting all climates; in all climates he enjoys health and happiness, and in all climates he offers up to his benevolent Creator the praises of a grateful heart. The Inquirer's arguments, p. 242—247, are certainly urged with a power which it is scarcely possible to resist, unless we suppose that all present evils are but steps in the process of obtaining the greatest possible ultimate goud, lic. that they are not evils absolutely); and even then we must suppose that there is a connexion between means and ends, independent on the divine mind, on which subject so beautiful an essay appeared in your 13th No.* But let us see if his theory does account for moral evil; this consummation so devoutly to be wished! Whence does moral evil arise? does it not arise from our passions ? " Whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not even of your lusts which war in your members ?” How much misery and vice has Mr. Malthus shewn to be caused by the exuberance of one passion? Yet this and all other passions the Inquirer derives from Deity, and denies that they are inherent in matter, but if Deity is their author, he, had he pleased, might have so nicely balanced them, as to admit no internal war.” It is
• Vol. 11. p. 14.
vain to say, page 250, that the improvement of the carth requires strong passions in the improver, for we see it always most impruven, in the state which is most social, and it is in society that our passions are most curbed and brought under the dominion of reason, and, conversely, where the passions of men are strongest, there the cultivation of the earth is most neglected, such are they, in the savage, hunter and pastoral states. Thus those arguments, which the Inquirer has urged with so much force, are applicable equally against his own as against that theory which he combats.' He procecds to consider the inprovability of Deity, in which he contradicts what he had asserted, pp. 218 and 219. In page 263 he says, “ Ift he mind be immortal it must be eternally improving, and if the Deity alone be stationary, we must in the endless succession of ages advance to a much nearer equality with him." Now he here stumbles upon a stone, which I think has caused much confusion in me. taphysics, by confounding two things which are perfectly different in kind, for a little recollection will shew us that time is no part of eternity. Is not a part of any thing, that which is contained in that thing a certain number of times? But no part of time however great, how often soever multiplied, ever can commensurate eternity, therefore time forms no part of eternity. A being therefore, who is self-existent, never can be approached by a being who has begun to exist, and a being whose knowledge is infinite never can be approached by a being whose knowledge is from time to time receiving new increments. Moreover, in this comparison between Deity and the mind of man, the Inquirer scems to have forgotten something which is absolutely necessary in every just comparison, viz. that the comparer have an accurate and definite idea of each of the things compared, at least in those points that are compared; but what man can have a definite idea of the knowledge of an infinite self-existent being : our very language proclaim the absurdity of such a supposition. Again, is not an immutable being one : who must always remain the same in all respects, but can it be said that the being who acquires new ideas, is the same with respect to knowledge that he was before he acquired them? It cannot. If therefore, the Deity acquire new ideas he is not immutable, therefore not self-existent. The argument, page 267, which the Inquirer offers, to refute this conclusion, seems to me, as I mentioned in my last, to be an unanswerable objection to the opinion of the self-existence of matter, instead of supporting that of the improvability of Deity. Thus, Sir, I have goue over a great part of “ Physical and Metaphysical
Inquiries;" there still remains three subjects on which, in a
Very humble Servant,
DIFFICULTIES ON THE UNITARIAN HYPOTHESIS.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository. SIR, On your recommendation, in the Review in your last number, I have just procured and read Wright's “ Essay on the Humanity of Christ.” You have not, in my opinion, overrated its merits. I know of no tract so likely to serve the cause of Unitarianism among the poor, and I earnestly hope it will be speedily adopted by the societies for pomoting the knowledge of the scriptures.
In reading it, however, I was reminded of two difficulties on the Unitarian hypothesis of the person of Christ, which have frequently occurred to my mind, and which I have never been able completely to remove. I take the liberty of stating them in your liberal work, in hopes of their attracting the notice of the intelligent and candid author of the Essay, who, I am persuaded, would take pleasure in dispelling a cloud from the mind of a sincere inquirer after truth.
1. In answer to the objection that on the Unitarian scheme Jesus Christ is not superior to the apostles, the Essayist remarks that “the spirit was given by measure to them, but it is not given by measure to him." Now by the spirit, I suppose Unitarians understand chiefly the power of working miracles. But in this particular Christ represents himself as inferior to the apostles : “ Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father.” (John xiv. 12.) As a mere prophet, then, jesus scarcely ranks so high as the New Testament certainly places him.
2. One practical proof (if I may so call it) of the humanity of Christ, brought forward by Unitarians, is this; that his ex. ample would not be suited to our circumstances unless he were a mereman. Yet they represent him (at least the Essayist represents him) to be a sinless man, possessing spotless innocence and adorned with perfect virtue, and argue that he is hereby distin,