תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

in these passages. Reid and Mr. haps, allow me a page or two more, Stewart say exactly the same. on that point in which you suppose How prudence can be a test of what me to disagree with the doctrines is obligatory, though all obligation held by Mr. Stewart, on the supre. rest on conscience alone, is there macy of the moral sense, or of confore a question which I am not pe science. Mr. Stewart has proved culiarly concerned to solve. satisfactorily, that if we make “ vir.

The just solution of it, however, tue a mere matter of prudence,” will not be difficult to any person we must conclude, that “ the diswho takes duly into his considera belief of a future state absolves from tion, that conscience, as has already all moral obligation, excepting in so been shown, is far from being a far as we find virtue to be conducive mere instinct or sentiment; but is, to our present interest; and that a on the contrary, an inquiring, and, being independently and completely as has been somewhere justly ob happy cannot have any moral perserved, a very pragmatical faculty. ceptions, or any moral attributes *. It is the specific obligation of con. He thus effectually disproves the noscience itself which accompanies us tion that virtue is a mere matter of through the whole inquiry, which prudence. And with this doctrine , conscience urges us to make. It of his I agree entirely; for tlıough. is the voice of conscience which I hold that to prove the tendency to obliges us to follow that rule which, future happiness infers at once the on a sincere inquiry, may seem to obligation of those acts in which that us the most entitled to preference, tendency is found, this is not, as has And if it appear, on such inquiry, been explained sufficiently, because that to act prudently, in the sense prudence alone constitutes obliga-. which prudence bears in my trea., tion, but because an enlarged and, tise, is the sort of action to which liberal prudence, or a wise regard conscience gives preference, we may for our happiness in a future state, speak summarily of the obligation is always an accurate measure of obof prudence, or say that the pru. ligation: because the sense of obli. dence is the test or measure of the gation goes along with us in all the obligation ; though we still hold that decisions which this prudence can the force of the obligation resides in make. the conscience, or in the moral sense With regard to the case of a man itself. And this, you will observe, who is ignorant of a future state, or is implied in Butler's argument, as who disbelieves it, and who is also above quoted from the analogy: for, subject to the additional misfortune where he speaks of the obligation of apprehending that the practice of prudence in the same manner in which I have spoken of it, he proves * Outlines of Moral Philosophy, p. 149. the obligation by an appeal to the It may here, perhaps, be worthy of notice, moral sense.

that in thus speaking of " a being independFrom what has been said, it must' cutly and completely happy," Mr. Stewart be sutficiently evident, that a man

must mean such a being as mun, supposing

man, for the sake of the argument, capamay be under a real obligation to ble of an independent and complete hap-' pursue a thing, though merely for piness. The “ being" here spoken of canhis own benefit. And this is the not mean God, because we cannot, withlast of those positions which I had out gross paralogism and impiety, think of to establish, in order to remove the transferring to God moral qualities, which, objections which you have made to for aught we know, may be peculiar to the

human race. the principles contained in my trea- especially, it is to be observed, that we

And in the present instance, tise,

can no more attribute to God the sense of I am sorry to intrude longer on obligation, than that of regard for his own your patience: yet you will, per interest or benefit.

of what is commonly called virtue, no longer a moral agent, is no will, on the whole, be productive to longer capable of either virtue or him of unhappiness; it is certain vice, is not a subject of exhortation that, however calamitous the igno- or reasoning, but is to be regarded rance in which such a inan may have only as an ideot, or a brute. And, been bred, or however perverted the if such men are, do we not so re. opinions he may have formed, he gard them? still cannot be quite insensible to all But it may still be asked, whether the claims which God or man may the tendency of an act to promote, have on him, to all the lessons which on the whole, the true happiness of nature, or reason, or authority, may the agent, be the true measure of have conspired to fix in his mind; obligation, even for those persons and which he cannot, if he would, who are in these unhappy circumeradicate. Such a man, therefore, stances; who are either ignorant of, has still a conscience, however im. or who disbelieve in, a future state ; perfect and ill-informed it may be: and who think that virtue tends to and although his duty and his inter- present unhappiness? Can the proper est must seem to him incongruous ; measure of the obligations of such although his only alternative, (as is persons be a measure which they said by Dr. Reid, who refers, I be- must believe to be inaccurate: or is lieve, the remark to Lord Shaftes. it possible that we can have one bury), is, whether he will choose to measure for them, and another meabe a knave or a fool; it assuredly sure for the Christian? If the mea. cannot be required of the believer sures are different in the two cases, in a future state, that he should be what becomes of that paramount able to reconcile in the mind of the criterion, which I suppose that pruinfidel, that incongruity between dence may in all cases afford ? duty and interest, from which it is Now it is plain, that our first bu. his own happiness to have escaped, siness, with the persons whose case solely, or chiefly, by means of his I have been here describing, is to own belief, and which he always remove their ignorance or error. To holds, that the truth of that belief hold out to them the good conseis either the sole or the best means quences of virtue, before they can of reconciling.

be prepared to see or acknowledge If, indeed, any man on a serious them, would manifestly be but a inquiry into the reasonableness of waste of labour. I must here, his moral convictions, after consi- therefore, say plainly at' once, that dering what are his own true inter- I refuse to argue on any such preests, what the probable end of his mises as the non-existence of a fubeing ;

ture state, or the supposition that “ Why formed at all, and wherefore as contingency, productive of unhap

virtue can, on the whole, be, by any he is?

piness. We have already seen, that After weighing all claims made' though the doctrine of a future on him by the law of God, by state may serve to all men, sua si public opinion, by the principle bona norint, as a complete and acof benevolence, and every other curate guide through all intricacies principle which he can consult ; if of moral practice or theory, it does any man, after maturely and sin- not follow that ignorance or disbecerely weighing all these claims, can lief of the doctrine will either exhonestly decide that there is no jus- punge the sense of obligation, or tice in any of them, and shall ac- acquit the conscience of him wbo tually succeed in stifling them all; acts in opposition to it. Nor yet it does follow, from the principles I does it follow that, in the absence have advanced, that such a man is of this guidé, any other is, or ought

to be, provided. For this is the the straightness of the measure I true guide, and of course every have proposed. For though, to men other is, of necessity, either false without the light of revelation, a or defective.

future state may have appeared ever With this doctrine, accordingly, so doubtful, we ean hardly suppose my treatise sets out *, and with a that any competent reasoner on the reference to one of the most pene- duties or the expectations of the hutrating of reasoners for the follow man race can have failed either to ing most just remark, which I should imagine, or to admit, the possibility have quoted at length had the case of such a state. But it has been often seemed less clear. “The doctrine of proved that the possibility of a futhe immortality of the soul is of so ture state, although we know that the much importance to us, and touches mere possibility would, practically, us so nearly, that any indifference be but little attended to, yet infers, on about it argues the certain loss of every principle of calculation, preall mental sensibility. All our ac- cisely the same rules of conduct, tions and all our thoughts ought to which the full assurance of it entake such different turns, accordables us to deduce. ingly as we may or may not entertain

I am, Sir, a reasonable expectation of a future Your most obedient humble servant, state, that it is impossible to stir rationally a single step, unless we

John PENROSÉ. keep this object in view 7." Without Bracebridge, June 7, 1821. this doctrine, indeed, there can be nothing but confusion in all speculations both on prudence and virtue. Human life is a mere maze

ON LAY BAPTISM. without it-a maze altogether with. To the Editor of the Remembrancer, out a clue. To the question, therefore, whe

SIR, ther the tendency of virtue to pro- . In the account of Southey's Life of mote, on the whole, the true hap- Wesley, given in the Quarterly Repines of the agent be, in the last view, No. 47. this passage occurs: resort, the true measure of obliga We will not lay any particular tion, both for those persons who stress on his (Wesley's) bigotry tobelieve virtue to have that tendency, wards Dissenters. There have aland for those, also, who are so un ways been some few of the High happy as to believe that it will, on Church party (though the great mathe whole, be productive to thein of jority of learning and authority has unhappiness, I answer, that I re been uniformly of the other side,) gard the measure as the same, and who have denied the validity of as equally accurate, in both cases. Baptism when administered by perThe straightness of a rule is not al sons not episcopally ordained.” tered because there may be some

If I understand the Reviewer persons who cannot see it. I do not rightly, he applies the word “bigot" suppose, however, that in any re to Wesley, because he did not allow gion, or in any age, there ever was the validity of Dissenters baptisms. any man capable of moral reason, He asserts that some few of the ing, (and moral science addresses High-church party have been bigots such

persons' only), who might not for the same reason; and that the be competent, though only perhaps great majority of learning and authrough a dim medium, to discern thority bas been uniformly free from

this bigotry in allowing the validity * Human Motives, p. 2. 8.

of lay baptism. Pascal, Pensées, p. 3.

I was sorry, Mr. Editor, and did

not expect to see iu the pages of the, tiye Christianity against the corrup Quarterly, such a passage as this. tions of the papist, who by most Hitherto I have been in the babit of protestapts has, hitherto been consiplacing full confidence in this Jour, dered the bigot; but with whom it nal for the correctness of its staten seens, the reviewer is in this case, ments and facts, its general orthor pleased to symbolize. Jd Don doxy on such subjects, and its The Reviewer further, asserts friendly aspect towards the Esta- that the great majority of learning blished Church. These lines, ad- and authority has been uniformly, of mitted certainly in an unguarded the other side: that is, admitting moment, as they were wholly un with the papist, the validity of Layn provoked, and not at all necessary baptism. If learning and authority, to the subject, have all the appears indeed, are to be taken in the bulk, ance of the wanton flourish of some it must be granted. The Church of low church-pen, vastly desirous of Rome is very extensive, and has running at tilt with some antagon always had much learning to boast: ist. Being of sentiments not exactly she has also enjoyed in her day, similar to those of the Reviewer, very considerable authority, At you may suppose that I do not feel

home he will have all that party, (or quite satisfied with him. What more rather, that legion of parties, which of bigotry is there in denying the will include not only those members validity of Dissenters baptisms, than of the establishment, who, upon in admitting it? This is only call this subject, fall in with the papists ing names at best; for a man does but almost all the various religious not become a bigot, because he parties and sects which separate holds certain opinions; but because from the Church, calling themselves he holds them with unreasonable protestant dissenters. All this learnprejudice, and improper warmth; ing, and authority, cannot be debut this is continually done by the nied him. But that he will have a low-church, as well as the high- great majority of sound Christian cburch party, and frequently in a scholars and learned ecclesiastical temper discreditable to any party : historians on the low-ehurch side, but the Reviewer attempts to fix the holding the validity of lay-baptistsm, charge of bigotry upon the latter, must be utterly denied. not upon account of their unrea I have no intention of troubling sonable prejudice, but upon account you further upon the subject, than of their holding certain opinions, merely to enter my protest against which do not meet his approbation; this assertion, made with more haste which, to say no worse of it, is a vul- and less circumspection than is garism, a little beneath the Quar- usual with that respectable Journal; terly Critic.

an assertion, which, if not corrected, Again he says, “ that there al. will unfortunately now go forth into ways have been some few of the the world, under its sanction 'I high-church party, who have denied would likewise apprize those read the validity of Dissenters baptismi” ers, who-like myself

, have felt the Certes, the Reviewer is not at honie fullest confidence in its discretion here. He plainly has not been in and sound principles, that in this im habits of familiarity with this party, stance, it has a little forgotten itelse would be not have said that a self, cand, (unwittingly, no doubt,) few," but that “all” who are gene has indirectly charged t

the Church rally distinguished, by certain writ- of Pugland herself, with bigotry; cers, by this name have maintained for that our national Church holds the necessity of a Christian Minister, opinions upon. baptism, which the to make a valid sacraments and in Reviewer is pleased

to stigmatize B! so doing they have supported primi- high-church' bigotry, is sufficiently

plain to any one, who will take the former only deliver their private pains fairly to examine her offices, opiniou. If it be asked, whether and other public documents. “The baptism, when performed by an unChurch," says Wheatly, (one of the ordained person, be in the sense of most learned and correct ritualists our Church valid and effectual, I that ever lived,) “ provides that answer, that according to the best none but a minister, or one duly or- judgement we can form from her dained, presume to intermeddie in public acts and offices, it is not. it (baptism,) well knowing that the

Our Church, by prohibitpersons by whom baptism is to be ing all froin intermeddling in bapadministered, are plainly as positive tism, but a lawful minister, plainly a part of the institution, as any thing hints, that when baptism is admielse relating to that ordinance; and nistered by any other, it conveys no consequently that the power of ad. benefit or advantage to the child, ministering it, must belong to those but only brings upon those who preonly whom Christ hath authorised tend to administer it, the guilt of by the institution. 'Tis true, there usurping a sacred office, and conseare some few of the primitive writers quently that persons so pretendedly who allow laymen to baptize in case baptized (if they live to be sensible of necessity. But there are more and of their state and condition,) are to earlier of the Fathers who disallow apply to their lawful minister or that practice: and upon nature de. bishop for that holy sacrament, of liberation of the several passages it which they only received a profanawill generally be found, that these tion before."-(See Ministration of latter, for the most part, speak the Private Baptism.) judgment of the Church, whilst the June olh, 1821.

S, T,

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

A General View of the Doctrine of all the heresies which have been Regeneration in Baptism. Ву

successively introduced in opposiChristopher Bethell, D.D. Dean tion to this great mystery can be of Chichester. pp. 282. Riving- satisfactorily ascertained. The errors

of the Chureh of Rome can be tous, 1821.

traced with the saine precision ; T'HERE is a strong presumption iu they are not in the Scriptures: they favour of the truth of any doctrine, are not in the writings of the primi. of which it can be shewn that it has tive fathers, or in the decrees of the been held in all places, in all ages, first councils : they are the invenand by all sound members of the tions of ages and of persons of uo Catholic Church; and there is strong authority in the Church. reason to suspect the authenticity But tbere is no doctrine of which of any doctrine, when it is possible the pedigree can be more clearly to fix the æra, at which it began to deduced, than that of regeneration, be published in the world, and be- both as the name and the doctrine fore, which it was unknown. This are concerned. It is not doubtful history of doctrines forms an im. at what period the Calvinistic docportant argument in the controversy trine was first asserted, or in what with the Unitarians, and in the con- order the various modifications of troversy with the Church of Rome. the doctrine have been engrafted on The doctrine of the Trinity was the original dogma of the Reformer never unknown, and the origin of of Geneva. Before that period it REMEMBRANCER, No. 31.

3G

« הקודםהמשך »