« הקודםהמשך »
PART 1.-PRELIMINARY DISQUISITIONS.
1.-On Power and Cause.
BY CALEB PITT, C. E. L.'
Prove all things--hold fast that which is goud. 1 Thess. V. 21.
WILLIAM BOOTH, 32, DUKE STREET,
Manchester Square ;
OGLE AND CO. GLASGOW.
D, who at various times and in divers man
ners spake to the world by patriarchs, prophets, evangelists and apostles, hath also, by a special providence, conveyed down to us the holy scriptures, the writings penned under divine inspiration and fuperintendency. The hand of God seems equally evident in preserving copies of them through the various declensions and persecutions of the church: and in preserving them from sophistical alterations, to which preservation the order of scribes, under the Mosaic dispensation, and the disputes among Christians under the present, seem to have eminently concurred.
Every man favored with these revelations, I apprehend, has an unquestionable right to endeavour an investigation as he may have opportunity. The process used for such discoveries may be called philosophizing, so, the nature, operation, and influence of these revelations generally
conceived, and as a branch of knowledge, I call the Phimfophy of Christianity.
Prejudices of education and of superstition, occafion fome to be difgusted at whatsoever is called philosophy; and to start at the thought of treating Christianity philosophically. If the disgust of such should prevent their reading this Essay, I can have no direct concern with them. The holy scriptures address mankind as rational beings, and my wish is, with divine concurrence, to lend a hand to the fincere searcher of religious truth. Undoubtedly passion and imagination, as well as understanding, are in their exercise essential to actual and vital godlinels ; but experienced Christians will assign understanding and a sound theory to take the lead in precedence, since the warmth of affection, and the foarings of fancy cannot be valuable and permanent unless truth is their support. I conceive it demonstrable from the essential perfections of God, that science truly so called, and found philosophy of every species, do, in the nature of things, perfectly harinonize with all the revelations of God: and am fo far from contemning science and rational philosophy, that I am inclined to think, evidence and assent refpecting that harmony will progressionally increase with the duration of the world, until the knowledge of Christ the glory of the Lord, shall fill the earth, as the waters the place of the feas.
Philosophy may, consistently with the design of this Essay, be distinguished as its objects are either the works of God, 'or the revelations of God.—This seems the process of human philosophizing, and equally applicable to the philofophy of the universe, and philosophy of Christianity. First, We endeavour from a selection of appearances and experimental discoveries, to trace out some of the rules or laws of the operation and influence of things: then we endeavour by these to discover some of the properties and needful circumstances of the objects thus concuring to efficiency: next we endeavour to discover what are the determinate essentials of the objects concerned : and lastly, we apply our knowledge thus attained to the folution of other difficulties. By this employment we conte at a number of esta. blished points: but reflecting, that all the works of God, and all the revelations of God, must be analagous and harmonious, we are prompted to push forwards towards fyftematic knowledge on these subjects.
Now ariseth hypothesis, or a system founded on supposition. That hypothesis, which in our judgment, whilft it consists with all the appearcances and experiments made in the universe, is evidently consistent with itfelf and all other species of evident knowledge, should be esteemed, till we find a better, a good system of philosophy of the works of God. Again, That hypothesis,