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raised by a Preface thus promising, Bull, a Horne, a Laud, a Lowth, a imagine, Mr. Editor, my surprize Bishop Newton, a Pearson, a Wa. and disappointment, at not only not terland, a Wheatley, a Boyle, a finding all the above-named wor- Johnson, a Milton, a Sir Isaac thies not admitted into this select Newton, with numerous others of assembly — this Coterie Biogra- the greatest celebrity, 'A Chrisphique, if I may be allowed the ex tian Dictionary,' and to exclude pression ; but, Sir, bona fide, not these! " O tempora, O moras !" one of them. O what a falling off But, forsooth, I suppose the author
O Scriptor servantis. thought the aforesaid characters sime recti.' O most just Biographi- not sufficiently established, not sufcal Rhadamanthus !
ficiently learned and orthodox to Yet wherefore, Sir, the above associate with a Rev. John William, mentioned characters were not deem. De la Flechiere, a Rev. John New. ed worthy by the author to be ad- ton, and a Rev. Wm. Romaine, and mitted into - A Christian Biogra- the Messrs. Bunyan, Flavel, and phical Dictionary,' and to associate Fuller, and a Col. Gardiner ; but with such persons as the ensuing above all, with the Mesdames GraI am at a loss to conjecture, viz. ham and Savage, and the Ladies
Brooke (Lady Elizabeth.) Elizabeth Brooke, and Wilhelmina Bunyan.
Maxwell Glenorchy, and the CounFlavel (John.)
tesses of Suffolk and Warwick. It Flechiere de la (Rev. John Wile must be confessed I never heard liam.)
that Bull, like Mr. Flechiere, “ took Fuller (Andrew.)
a bell in his band, at five o'clock in Gardiner (Col. James.)
the morning, and going round the Glenorchy (Lady Wilhelmina most distant parts of the parish, inMaxwell.)
vited all the inhabitants to the Graham (Mrs. Isabella.)
house of God;" yet I bave always Newton (Rev. John.)
understood that in the pulpit he Romaine (Rev. William.) preached equally as good doctrine. Savage (Mrs. Sarah.)
On first referring to the head NewSuffolk (Countess of.)
ton, I quite exulted to find upwards Warwick (Countess of,) &c. &c. of eighteen closely printed columns &c.
devoted to what I unwittingly
, Not, Mr. Editor, that you are to thought the merits of Sir Isaac and suppose I have the least objection the Bishop: how great, Mr. Ediin the world to the appearance in tor, was my simplicity ! the eighteen this author's choice society of the columns were dedicated to the great just enumerated ladies and gentle- Rev. John, a sailor, in a chequed men. · Should any bigot,' rightly shirt (an aukward word, by-the-bye, observes the Biographer in his In for the biographer to introduce troduction, when perusing this among so many ladies,) who had volume, feel surprized at the inclu- the honour of being confined (for sion of any individual, or class of deserting) two days in the guardnames, in its pages, to him I say, house at Plymouth ; and being afChristianity is not confined to a terwards sent on ship-board, and sect, to a party, to a church.' kept awhile in irons,' had the credit * True, true, o king ! the greater next of being publicly stripped number of well-intentioned Chris. and whipped, degraded' (dear creatians (be they of what sect they ture) from his office, and all his formay,) I become acquainted with
mer companions forbidden to shew the better ; but ' A Christian Bi him the least favour, or even to ographical Dictionary,' in which speak to him. Mr. Wilks assumes are not even named an Atterbury, a for the motto of his book,
Inspicere, tanquam in speculum, in many other extraordinary powers vitas omnium
and faculties, of which Boyle, * Jabeo, atque ex aliis sumere exemplum Johnson, and Milton could not, or sibi,'
did not boast. Still, however, had But good man, he does not give us the opportunity been afforded in the opportunity (would he did) of Mr. Wilks's publication, I am so obeying his commands, and contem- bigoted or so simple, as to think plating the lives of all, or indeed of that I should bave dwelt with more one-half of the best Christians and pleasure and profit upon the faith. theologians, and but for other re ful account of their lives and writsources than his Biography, we had ings, than upon those of the more never heard either of Newton · On favoured Fuller and Flavel. Of the the Prophecies,' or The Newto- ladies I
say nothing; I blame not NIAN System, but should bave Mr. Wilks so much on the score of bad the benefit of no other example those he admits, as on the score of under the celebrated name of • New- those he leaves out. In a pretended ton,' but that of a man the imitation account of the lives and writings of of the greater part of whose roman
most distinguished Christians and tic life, must prove rather a bane theologians of all denominations, than blessing. Why, too, are a most distinguished Christians and Pearson, a Waterland, and a Wheat- theologians who have written in ley, denied admission into this support of the Established Church,
Sanctum Sanctorum ? Were not liave been omitted ; a few only are they Christians and theologians ? discovered struggling and half smofor ny part I have full as good an thered amidst a crowd of non-conopinion of their tenets as of the formist dissenters, baptists, pedoRev. William Romaine's. So also baptists, &c. &c. &c. ' rari nantes I deem (it may be a false taste and in gurgile vasto ; a system which judgment) Boyle, Johnson, and leads (notwithstanding our author's Milton, not a whit inferior to Messrs. protestations of impartiality) to susBunyan, Fuller, and Flavel, though picions not the most favourable. the college at New Jersey did offer But a biographer above others, to confer on Mr. Fuller the title of should remember that it is the duty, doctor in divinity; • but which, of an honest man not only to speak (modest, conscientious Mr. Fuller!) the truth, but the whole truth.
supposing to be incompatible with Totally unacquainted with Mr. the simplicity of the Christian cha- Wilks, I consider, Mr. Editor, I am racler, he declined to accept; and doing a service to the profession, though, too, at the birth of Mr. and Christians in general, by thus Flavel, a pair of nightingales pointing out the nature of a book, made their nest close to the window
one thing in pretension, another in of the chamber where his mother execution; and if my remarks lay in, and with their delicious notes should prevent disappointment to sang the birth of bim whose tongue the wary, and undue bias to the in-. sweetly proclaimed the glad tidings experienced, the time I have conwhich
give songs in the night,” sumed, and the trouble I have unof him (as we afterwards collect) dergone, in wading through much
prayer could still the ocean; tedious, irrelative matter, will not in whose soul we see the habitation have been wholly in vain. of God; who, in prayer, scarcely
I am, Šir, ever used the same expression
Your obedient servant, twice, and always seemed to exceed
ΦΑΡΟΣ! ! himself, and was endowed with March 1.
To the Editor of the Remembrancer. and the authority which every (Concluded from p. 346.)
Christian is, upon these principles,
bound to revere. I have said this Sir,
distinctly also in a 'preliminary V.. It was my fifth position, note *; inough in the course of the " that the acting couscientiously ac
treatise I thought it superfluous to tually implies, wherever means can express formally a very plain applibe found of learning what is the will cation, which every attentive reader of God, that reference of all our
must be quite competent to draw actions to God's will, which is the for himself. principle of which you suppose me to
Allow me to add, also, that on have lost sight.”
this subject of conscience I have Is it not then a truth, almost self- referred t, more particularly than evident, that the acting conscien
on almost any other subject, to tiously does imply a desire to know, writers by whom it has been disa disposition to inquire about, our cussed at length. Of these writers duty, on all points on which we are
one is Taylor himself, with whom, not fully informed ? That the Word if I had found myself to disagree, í of God is the first rule to be con
should have thought it necessary sulted by all persons who believe in consider the point at issue with a future state, and who would learn more than usual care and anxiety. how best to prepare themselves for Another is Reid, who, in the last it, is premised distinctly in the for- volume of his Essays, has a distinct mal opening of my treatise. I have chapter to prove that moral approbathere said that “ the first inquiry, tion, or, in other words, the suffrage in attempting to discover the mo- of conscience, implies an actual judg. ral object of human life, is, “plainment. But judgment implies comly, whether that Infinite Wisdom, parison; and, if so, it is surely from which both the present and needless to prove, either that there the future are derived, has afforded must be something with which our to us any express direction. The conduct is to be compared, or that doctrines and evidences, therefore, the law of God bas the strongest of of revealed religion, appear to me
claims to be made the object of to put in a claim to consideration, comparison. The same conclusion before we attempt to evolve, any is also to be derived from what the principles from an examination into same writer, if my memory fail me the order of nature." In arguing, not, says of conscience, as being a also, in the chapter on conscience, relative function; that is, a function concerning the authority of precept which does not dictate alike in all and rule, and on the obedience due cases, something specific and unto all established rules, till super. changeable, but something referrible seded by something better, the con
to the circumstances of each case. elusion can, I think, hardly fail to But, if there be a revelation from suggest itself; (and this, although God concerning it, that assuredly the proper business of that chapter is a very pregnant circumstance. consists rather in an inquiry into the And this no philosophical criterion by which clearly, or believed more entirely, moral rules are to be expounded than Dr. Reid. and limited, than in any direction to Of the writers, therefore, to whom the place where they are to be I have referred on this subject, and found); that the Scripture rule, and so as to imply a concurrence in their the Scripture authority, are the rule
* Human Motives, p. xii. the page after
the Preface. Human Motives, p. 3.
+ Ibid. pp. 151 and 154.
ever saw more
doctrines, one of them is Taylor us to practise virtue; and though himself, whom you quote as if, in the meanings of the word obligation some way or other, my opinions and the word prudence are, as I were in opposition to his; another have repeatedly observed, very disis Reid, from whose whole system tinct, a man inay still be under a it follows, that the acting conscien- real obligation to pursue a thing, tiously implies every thing for which though merely for his own benefit.” you would contend. I may add also, In the first place, then, of what that, where I refer to these writers, I have said on this subject. You it is on the very point which gives state, both in p. 169, and again in birth to your objection, on the sub. p. 170, that I maintain “ that the ject of the errors to which consci. desire of happiness is the only moence is liable *. If conscience were tive which obliges us to practise not liable to error, we should not virtue.” But your misapprehension be in want of any law to direct it. of my real meaning on this point --I might, undoubtedly, have treat- has here led you to express it inaced the point more fully, but I was, curately. What I have said is, that throughout, unwilling to detain the the criterion of prudence, or of reader's attention on points which whatever conduct will turn out most I thought established by abler for our happiness, cannot be averred writers, and which the exposition to be the sole criterion by which ihe of the chief end I had in view did conscience may or ought to be not compel me to state in detail, guided"; and again t, that “ bene
The other writers, to whom I volence and justice, and every other have referred concerning consci- principle of obligation, has each its ence, are Bishop_Butler, and Mr. appropriate province in the wide Dugald Stuart. "To the merits of region of morals;" though I add Butler you join, as might be expect immediately of the obligation of ed, in the just and common testi- prudence, in strict analogy to what mony. And yet the exceptions which in the body of the work I had be. you have taken to what I have fore said of prudence as a motive, written on the subject of conscience, that “this principle embraces the will apply equally to Butler himself. whole.”—I do not thus surely say, Mr. Stewart you think an unsafe or imply, that it is "the only moguide. I cannot here engage in any tive which obliģes us." discussion on the merits of that But you affirm that prudence does short treatise on morals, which I' not oblige us at all. Or, in your have long been accustomed to re own' words, “ For our own parts, gard as one of his most valuable we confess, that the words obliga-, works. I must content myself, there. tion and prudence appear to us so fore, with briefly saying, that'l ap- distinct, that we cannot perceive préhend him to be one of the very how a man is obliged to pursue a last writers, who would deny the thing merely for his own benefit: existence of a moral fitness that and therefore we consider the obliwe should conform our will to” the gation of prudence to be a contradeclared will “ of the author and' diction in terms. If our only motive governor of the universe +."
for an action be our own advantage, VI. It remains to prove,
“ that we must think that we are at liberty though I have not either said or to sacrifice that advantage, if we implied that the desire of happiness please, and consequently, that we is the only motive which obliges are not obliged, however' strongly
* Human Motives, part ii, chap. iii. 9 2.
Human Motives, p. 382.
+ Ibid. p. 384.
we may be urged, to perform the able endeavour to secure and proaction *. And you add, that on mote it, which is, I think, very much this point I disagree with Mr. Stew- the meaning of the word prudence art, (who holds precisely the same in our language: it should seem doctrine concerning it which Butler that this is virtue, and the contrary and Reid had held before him); behaviour faulty and blameable: and that you apprehend me also to since, in the calınest way of reflecspeak inconsistently with what, (in tion, we approve of the first, and entire conformity to both Butler and condemn the other conduct, both in Stewart), I had said previously of ourselves and others. This appro“ resting obligation upon consci- bation and disapprobation are altoence" solely t. Now it is quite cer- gether different from mere desire of tain, that if I disagree with Mr. our own, or of their happiness, and Stewart, he also must disagree with from sorrow upon missing it. For himself t, and that Reid and Butler the object or occasion of this last also, to whom I refer as actually kind of perception is satisfaction or proving the point (, must be equally uneasiness; whereas the object of inconsistent with themselves. It the first is active behaviour. In one would be easy to go into detail on case, what our thoughts fix upon is this subject, and to show the exact our condition: in the other, our conformity of what I have said, to conduct.” * * * * * “ It is matter what has been said by all the writers of experience that we are formed so here spoken of: but I may content as to reflect very severely upon the myself with transcribing from But- greater instances of imprudent nego Jer two passages referred to in my lects and foolish rashness, both in treatise, in which he proves, incon ourselves and others. Iu instances trovertibly, the point to which your of this kind, men often say of them. objection applies.
selves with remorse, and of others * Interest,” says this consum. with some indignation, that they mate reasoner, in the admirable Pre- deserved to suffer such calamities, face to the Sermons at the Rolls, because they brought them upon « one's own happiness, is a inani-' themselves." * " From these fest obligation?” and he explains things it appears, that prudence is this farther in the Dissertation on a species of virtue, and folly of vice: the Nature of Virtue, subjoined to meaning by folly something quite his Analogy. “It deserves to be different from mere incapacity; a considered, whether men are more thoughtless want of that regard and at liberty, in point of morals, to attention to our own happiness make themselves miserable without which we had capacity for.” And reason, than to make other people he adds farther, à few lines afterso; or dissolutely to neglect their' wards, as the sum of the whole own greater good, for the sake of a proof upon this question, “ that the present lesser gratification, than faculty within us, which is the judge they are to neglect the good of of actions, approves of prudent acothers, whom nature has committed tions, and disapproves imprudent to their care. It should seem, that ones *.” a due concern about our own inte You must see clearly, that I have rest and happiness, and a reason. affirmed nothing of the reality of
that obligation which, for the sake Christian Remembrancer, p. 169. # Ibid.
of brevity, I have once or twice See Outlines of Moral Philosophy, dence, which is not equally attirmed
called simply the obligation of pru. part ii. chap. ii. $ 3.
Human Motives, pp. 8, and 369. 8 Prefnse, p. xvii. od. 1729.
Analogy, 8vo. 1740, p. 458–461.