« PreviousContinue »
To the Second Edition.
BEING diffatisfied with the manner in which the two following pieces were originally printed, I have determined to reprint them, and, at the fame time, to avail myself of the opportunity of presenting the reader with fome additional matter, in confirmation of my argument. I have determined, I fay, to reprint, but not to republifh them. The fecond, indeed, of thefe pieces never was publifhed, though the contrary is afferted in the Retrofpect of Domeftic Literature, which appears in the ninth volume of the Monthly Magazine.
What relates to me, I fhall tranf-
Mr. Hollis (fays the retrofpector) has published An Apology for "the Difbelief of Revealed Religion. "If any apology be neceffary for a "difbelief of revealed religion, as "this refpectable infidel conceives it "is, it fhould be made to the throne "of heaven: we acknowledge the jurifdiction of no earthly tribunal "in matters of religion. Belief is an act not of volition, but of neceffity. Whether the publication "of a man's reafons for disbelief re
quires an apology, is a different question; at any rate, we fee not "the use of such a pamphlet as the prefent, which has little novelty of argument."
This critic, it should feem, takes it for granted, that an Apology implies the acknowledgment of fomething wrong, and, confequently, blameable. Did he then never read, or, if he has not read, did he never hear of, certain apologies of early christians for their religion? But if he has neither read nor heard of fuch ancient writings, he has certainly heard of, and poffibly he may have read, a very recent Apology for the Bible, by a right reverend bifhop. Now does this critic imagine either that the chriftians alluded to, meant to acknowledge how blameable they were in making profeffion of a bad religion, or that the bishop intended to confefs the wiekedness of the book for which he has thought fit to pub lish his celebrated Apology? HowA 3
ever well informed this critic might be, it appears, he had yet to learn, that the term apology (whatever it fignifies in vulgar speech) is used fy-nonymously with the term, defence.
But this fagacious critic, adopting the vulgar fenfe of the term, intimates that it may be very proper to offer an apology to the throne of heaven for disbelief, while, at the fame time, he argues, that there can be nothing wrong in a man's belief, be-caufe it is not an act of volition. So, it fhould feem, according to him,
* He fhould have faid a voluntary act. Every fuch act has a volition preceding it, but is not itfelf volition. They differ, as cause and effect. Properly speaking, there is no fuch thing as an act of volition. Volition is a state of mind from which the acts naturally flow which we term voluntary.