« 前へ次へ »
pay all they can raise for their passage ; others probably have no money to pay; and it is of no consequence to the captain of the ship, whether the men have money or not, provided he can persuade them to go. The fact is, there are plenty of buyers to be found when they arrive at America. The buyer of these men agrees to provide them with food for a certain time for their labour. He likewise clothes them, on trust; and when the time agreed upon for the payment of the ship's freight, tavern expenses, &c. is expired, then the slave is to be set free. But he and family, perhaps, have had some clothes and a little money, on which account the unfortunate man is detained till he has worked out the best. of his days before he is liberated. Vol. ii. p.556.558,
Mr. Parkinson likewise states, that he has seen 200 Welch emigrants landed at Baltimore, and exposed for sale, at stated prices, that husbands are separated from their wives, and that they suffer the greatest hardships without the possibility of redress. He has not given a satisfactory explanation of this contract; as it seems entirely voluntary on the part of the emigrant, he must be ignorant of the nature and consequences of the engagement he subscribes. On this, and other points, the national character of the Americans is deeply concerned; we hope ihey will be able to establish its vindication. . .
Art. II. Second Thoughts on the Trinity, recommended to the Right
Reverend the Lord Bishop of Gloucester; in a Letter addressed to his Lordship. By Edward Evanson. 8vo. pp. 60. Printed at Glou-cester, for Johnson, London. 1805. THE majesty of eternal Truth claims reverential attention
1 wherever she appears. It matters not whether she display her form in the solemn and stately temple, or in the common walks of life. Falshood, on the contrary, whatever garb it may assume, and from whatever favourable circumstances it may be able to plume itself, should be viewed with suspicion, and dismissed with contempt. Amicus Socrates, amicus Plato, sed magis amica VERITAS. As external, adventitious circumstances are no recominendation to an impartial enquiry after truth, so neither ought they to prove any ground of prejudice against it. And, though the old adage, " Second thoughts are best," is often verified, yet we find, by daily experience, that it is not a rule without exception. Our author, it seeins, has paid particular attention to the subject of this letter for nearly forty years; we may, therefore, expect in these “ Thoughts,” the most solid and satisfactory conclusions. When wisdom is matured by age and experience, we should Jisten with respect; yet it may not be ainiss to caution a young reader, that as great men are not always wise, so neither invariably, “ do the aged understand judgment.” We know that soine are ever learning, without coming to the knowledge
of the truth. Nor is this remark to be confined to religious topics; we see it verified in matters of taste and literature, in the sciences and the arts.
Mr. Evanson, gentle reader, proclaims in the face of the sun,
tionality, falsehood, and impiety of the Trinitarian doctrine," which he further modestly terms, “ill omened” and “ fatally pernicious.” With such professions of research, and such heavy charges against the doctrine and its abettors, we expected something of importance on the subject, which had before escaped our notice. "We have not indeed found any thing important, but our expectations, in point of novelty, were not wholly disappointed. Among other curious specimens of logical deduction, this in substance is one: the doctrine of the Trinity is the very fundamental doctrine of the church of Rome, which is an apostate church; therefore, it must be irrational, false, and impious! On this argument, nearly thirty years ago, our author addressed a letter to the Bishop of Worcester, and sent copies to the archbishop, and other bishops; but not one of them either dared, or condescended, to answer him; though they still continue to support this doctrine, which, from the said argument he had proved to be an “ill-omened and fatally pernicious doctrine." This, to be sure, was enough to rouse his logical ire, and to cause him to pour forth vollies of ratiocinations; especially as lie is confident, that we live within sixty years of the destruction of the whole apostacy. While his hand was in the work, he might as well have proceeded to overturn another doctrine of the church of Rome, which is, at least, equally fundamental; viz. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments ! Who can tell but we have furnished an argument for some disciple of Mr. E., who, by his learning, ingenuity, and contempt of vulgar prejudices, may favour the world with a discussion not inferior in cogency to that of his master?
The learned author of “ Thoughts on the Trinity," had defined, or described a mystery to be “ a circumstance difficult to be understood, or altogether inexplicable.” This he applied to the existence of the universe; evidently meaning, its origin, and the essential mode of its existence. The manner is the mystery. Applying this to the doctrine of the Trinity; the alleged fact is the scripture testimony; the manner of that fact is the mystery. But how does Mr. E. urge his objection? By quibbling on the phrase " the existence of the universe," and supposing that his Lordship meant by calling it a mystery, the difficulty of ascertaining that there is a material world, rather than how it came to be, and the manner of its continuance. Of the same complexion, and equally futile, is Mr. E.'s remark on another pro
position advanced by Dr. Huntingford, which is, “ That nothing can be so mysterious as the existence of God."
Revelation assures us, and unbiassed reason approves the testimony, that in the first cause are united the perfections of selfexistence, independence, infinity, benevolence, and purity ; but the mode of their existence is a mystery. In like manner it is asserted, that divine revelation testifies a plain fact, which, it is contended, unbiassed reason approves, because it has no just evidence to the contrary, viz. that the eternal Jehovah exists in Father, Son or Word, and Holy Ghost, or Spirit. What the scripture calls Father, is not in all respects the same as what it stiles' the Word, and Spirit. Yet to these last are ascribed divine titles, divine works, and divine worship. What then can be fairly inferred, but that they are in some respects the same, and in other respects different. If men of learning, of piety, and research, earnestly desirous of conveying to biblical students the result of their enquiries, have expressed these differing respects by the terms persons, personal distinctions, or subsistences, it must be owing to the poverty of language, which can not furnish terms sufficiently appropriate. But disingenuous and perverse is the inference, that because terms are insufficient to explain the mode of a divinely attested fact, therefore the fact itself must be renounced. If nothing be admitted as an existing fact, but that of which human language can adequately express the mode, narrow indeed must be the boundaries of knowledge; the mathematical must then become the most precious of all sciences; and Euclid's geometrical demonstrations will bid fair to outweigh, in value, the declarations of the New Testament! . : This author, as well as most other pretended rationalists, who discuss this doctrine, represents, with more industry than, honourable candour, the Trinitarians as maintaining that One is Three, or Three are One, in the same respect. Nothing call be more disingenuous. And yet, all their declamatory warinth and violence, upon this subject, rest on a basis of no better character, when they pronounce the doctrine impossible.and contradictory, and incapable of effectual support, even by a miracle. “Every proposition which asserts an impossibility," says Mr. E." is itselt absolutely false.” Very true. But the question returns, Where does the impossibility, and consequent falsity, exist? The greatest part, we presume, lies in the prejudiced and “ill-omened” imagination of an objector. That there is one, and but one glorious first Cause, it is the privilege of all, who enjoy the light of Divine Revelation, to believe and profess. From this common principle our author draws an interence against the modes of existence in the godhead. He might have gone a step further, and inferred, that as there can
be be but one infinite-therefore, if there be infinite goodness, there cannot be infinite power, or infinite wisdom. If this inference be inconclusive, so is the other; not because an attribute and a theological person in the Deity is the same, but because the existence of the one is as compatible with unprejudiced reason, as that of the other. The notion of a divine attribute, indeed, is more within the grasp of our first apprehensions, because we are assisted by easy analogy to conceive of power and attributes; whereas, personal identity, though a subject in which every one is deeply interested, is what perhaps no human being can comprehend. Is it any matter of surprise, therefore, that the personal character and identity of our Maker should elude the comprehension of mortals? Or is there any thing more becoming, than that we should abide by his own testimony ?
As our author cannot comprehend how three persons can subsist in one nature, so neither can be admit that two natures may exist in one person. For, according to him, as Jesus of Nazareth was “ a man approved of God among the Jews, by miracles, and works, and signs, which God did by him," therefore he cannot have the nature of God. We cease to wonder that a man who had studied the writings of the orthodox forty years, and as the result of his studies could argue in such a manner,' was incapable of apprehending the glorious doctrine of the Trinity. But the supposed impossibility of the tenet, which, if real, would be an argument superior to all others, is not that on which our author chiefly relies. Conscious, it seems, that if the appeal be made to the Christian Scriptures, as they now stand, he has little chance of maintaining his ground against the orthodox, he manfully undertakes to shew that the Scriptures quoted by Dr. H. are not authentic writings of the apostolic age, but spurious scriptures of the second century!
Bishop Huntingford had inferred from the phraseology of the Old Testament, that Moses and the Jews held the doctrine of a Trinity. In reply, our author appeals to the opinion of the present Jews, respecting what their ancestors believed; those Jews, who are so much the subjects of judicial blindness, that they cannot even see that the character of Jesus of Nazareth is delineated in their Scriptures as the promised Messiah; those Jews, whose notions of the divine government, and of moral obligation, as well as of the proceedure of divine mercy, are fundamentally erroneous. If they were asked what was Abraham's belief, or that of any of their ancestors, concerning the Messiah; "their answer, no doubt, would be no less emphatic against the Christians, as such, than that which they give respecting the Trinity,
It would have been passing strange, if our author had not agreed with an observation which the auihor of “ Thoughts upon the Trinity” had made, viz. “ that revelation is addressed to us
as as to beings endued with reason and expected to exercise our rea-, soning faculty.” But when it is further asserted, that revelation “ often leaves us from certain facts, and given premises, to draw our own conclusions ;” be demurs, he questions the truth of the assertion. Has reason in its exercise to do with only verbal criticism? Do not facts, on all subjects of enquiry, speak louder than words? If the essential properties of persons or of things, be ascertained by circumstantial evidence, is not such evidence equal to bare assertion ? and is not the human inind, when properly attempered, compelled to hesitate in its assent to the latter, until it has well-weighed the former?
Hitherto our author has acted the part of a sceptic, alternately bold and cautious. In the following quotations he throws aside the partial veil.
• With respect to the inferences deduced by your Lordship, in behalf of your favourite tenet, from certain passages of the different scriptures deemed canonical, some of them are quite irrelevant to the purpose for which you have cited them; others obviously figurative expressions, which your Lordship chuses to understand in a literal sense; and the far greatest number taken from scriptures, which are no more the works of any writers of the apostolic age, than these Thoughts of your Lordship which now lie before me; I certainly shall not think it of any use to take particular notice of them, until your Lordship, or some other advocate for their authenticity, shall have produced rational and sufficient : evidence, that they were in existence before the reign of the Emperor Hadrian ; or at least have refuted the arguments I have adduced in another place *, to prove them spurious forgeries of the second and third centuries !
"Your Lordship, however, builds so very much upon the form of baptism enjoined in the gospel attributed to St. Matthew, that it is necessary for me to state to your Lordship, that from the third and fourth of the above mentioned axioms, it is easy to demonstrate that gospel to be a false, bare-faced fiction of some writer of the second century, of the sect of the Eucratites, those first discouragers and prohibiters of marriage, whom the apostle Paul pre-admonished his disciples of, as the leaders in that fatal apostacy from genuine Christianity, which was soon to take place; and which, when once supported by the civil power, was to last for so many centuries.'
But why this wrathful attack on the Gospel attributed to St, Matthew Among other reasons equally weighty, this is one, that the author (Matt. xix. 12.) makes the Saviour to approve and encourage “ even the most unnatural self-violation in his disciples, in order effectually to qualify themselves to practise what the Eucratites, contrary to nature and common sense, regard as the great human virtue.” Strange inference! prepos
* Dissonance of the generally received Evangelists.