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in the creation of God. The former has assured us, that “ It is appointed for men once to die, and after death the judge. ment; but this strange “ Advocate" assures us, with all the plainness that either truth could express, or confidence as. sume; (p. 407) “ that, from the present state of the world, we bave not the smallest reason to expect a future state of what are calied judicial rewards and punishments; that is, of rewards to which the virtuous have a just claim, and of punishments which must necessarily, and as an act of justice, be inflicted on the guilty."
From the sacred Volume we have been taught to believe, that God is loving to every man, and that his tender mercies i are over all his works ; but, by the principles of this author,
we learn, that the whole is a gross deception ; hence he tells us (p. 379)," that what we call goodness or benevolence, cannot be regarded as a primary or ruling principle of action with the Deity ; nor can it perhaps be said with propriety that he loves his creatures.“ Moses has instructed us, that, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth ; but this, we are now given to understand, is a falsehood ; for our Advocate assures us '(p. 369)“ he has no doubt that the uni. verse, in some shape or other, has existed, and will remain, . 'as perpetually as its Author *"
St. Paul has asserted (Rom. iii. 12) that we are all gone out of the way, that we are together become unprofitable, and that there is none that doeth good, no not one. But Mr. Forsyth has now detected the fallacy, and (in p. 412) expressed his sentiments on the occasion, in the following words: "Man is as good and as perfect in all cases, as the Author of his nature intended him to be. He is therefore liable to no censure or reproach.” St. Paul
has assured' us, that the carnal mind is enmity against God. But · this gentleman has corrected the error in p, 412, and con
fidently declared, that " in the universe, there is no such thing as enmity against God." The former has asserted, that the whole world is become guilty before God; but the latter "(p. 412) positively declares, that there is no such thing as Juilt or moral evil.”
From these detached sentences, which we have fairly se. lected fi'om this author's pages, it is undeniably evident, that
* It is really curious to hear this writer call God the « Author of the Universe ;' and more particularly so, to find the term introduced into an expression in which he is contending that the universe is eternal! We may at least ask this plain question, If God be the Author of the universe, how can it have existed as perpetually as its Author ? And if God be not its Author, what is become of the writer's assertion? But we will not animadvert upon willes !
the sacred writers, and “ Robert Forsyth, Esq. Advocate," are fairly at issue; and it is not improbable that we may find, hereafter, some occasion for determining who is right. .
But it is not against the sacred writings alone, that this gentleman has declared war. He has entered his protest against Dr. Samuel Clark, against IVollaston, in his “Religion of Nature delineated,” against Shaftesbury, and against Godwin, and pronounced their respective systems both defective and erroneous. “ Propriety, utility, fitness, truth, or justice,” he observes, (p. 50) “ can never be the foundation of a system of morality, or become objects of pursuit ; because they are nothing in themselves, being merely relative terms which allude to something else. That conduct is proper, useful, or fit, which is proper, useful, or fit for producing some effect. The effect, then, is the important object to be pursued, and not the utility, fitness, or propriety, which mean nothing in themselves.". In this passage the author has completely lost sight of his subject, and conducted the views of his readers beyond the frontiers of moral science, to the ultimate end for which alone moral science can be cultivated. And so enamoured does, he appear with his own perspective, that all previous qualifications, in which alone moral science can be said to consist, are almost totally discarded ; and we are told, in the most unequivocal language, that “ propriety, utility, fitness, truth, and justice, can never be the foundation of a system of morality, or become objects of pursuit."
.. Neither is it merely with those immutable distinctions which subsist between good and evil, independently of all law, and the moral fitness of things, according to Clark, nor with the immutability of truth, as asserted by Beattie, and applied universally by Wollaston, that Mr. Forsyth is at variance. His dexterity at contradiction is employed in other quarters; and he attacks his own pages with as little ceremony as he assails. Revelation. We will select a few speci. mens of his adroitness, and place them before the reader, before we proceed to a more regular investigation of some chapters of his work.
In page 405, he says, “ It is not true, that any thing can appear right to the Deity which appears wrong to us, when we are rightly instructed as to the state of the case." But, in p. 378, we are told, that, “ To man, in a certain degree, pleasure is a good, and pain is an evil; while, in p. 382, we are positively told, that " The Deity is the author of all action or exertion.”
P. 12. “ It is a singular truth, that the degree of happiness which Bature bestows upon us, cannot be increased by our exertionsa" P. 23. “ We are led to exertion by the hope of pleasure ; but the pleasure we
law, ch subsist is merely become bean nevert hat.
receive terminates with the exertion.” “ Thus our exertions produce pleasure.”
P. 87. “ The will is frequently employed in obedience to the appetites and most absurd passions.” (390; “ When man acts under the influence of his affections and passions, then his conduct ought to be regarded as the work of that being who produced passions in his breast." 187) « A Being possessed of boundless intelligence, &c. can only exert his will or voluntary energies in the accomplishment of what is most rational and excellent."
87. “ 's here can be no such thing as an eternal or necessary truth, that does not consist of a description of the Divine character and nature ; for nothing else is eternal or necessury.". (176) “ The whole is greater than a part ; and we ought to perceive its reality, and how and why every possible objection to it must necessarily be false."
P. 16. “This world is not formed to render us happy, &c. (P. 13)“ We fannot be more than fiilly blest. The minds of men differ widely in point of intellectual worth, but they differ little in point of happiness. A happy child does not enjoy less pleasure than a happy man ; and a happy fool is as blessed as a happy plilosopher.” “ It is not possible, however, for a man of mature age to be as happy as a child.”
P 177. “ The perfection of an intelligent being, consists, in every individual, not in having the memory stored with propositions, but in the capacity of discerning truth by the proper energy of his own mind." (P. 50.) « Even the word truth expresses no real object, and only refers in general to the actual past, present, or future state of the objects which the universe contains.”
P. 180. “ 'In whatever relates to the condition of man in this world. there is no other means of obtaining to the knowledge of absolute truth, than that of observing the variety of forms which the human mind is capable of assuming in every possible situation.” (P.178.) “ It ought to be remembered that any truth which we can discover, is not absolute, but relative."
P. 185. “The objects of physical science being the parts of the solid globé upon which we tread, are passively placed in our hands, and may be disposed of without injury or inconvenience in every possible way.” (P.421.) « Enough seems known to prove that Matter is neither a solid nor an inactive substance." (P. 422.) I am upon the whole inclined to believe, that there is, in truth, only one substance in the universe ; that this substance is mind; and that thus God is indeed all and in all that exists!”
P. 211. “The vice of sensuality is apt to commit ravages even upon very valuable minds.” (410.) “ No such thing as moral cvil is to be found in the creation of God.” (P. 211.) “ It is also said to be owing to this vice (i.e, sensuality) that so small a proportion of the dignified clergy, now possess a distinguished literary reputation.” (P. 203.) “ Nature excites and cherishes our passions ; but it is our duty as rational beings to subdue and restrain them. In this we may seem to contend against nature; but in truth we fulfil her purpose, which is that of exciting us to action by motives, and of teaching us skill and self-command by appreciating and subduing these motives."
Such, according to this curious system, are some of the freaks and inconsistencies both of Nature and Nature's God! The passage Jast quoted directs us to believe, that Nature excites and cherishes our passions ; and excites us to action by those very motives which she instructs us to subdue!
P. 203. “ Our appetites, affections, and passions, are not originally implanted in our constitution ; but it is evidently the intention of nature that they should grow up in the human character.” (P.217.) “The conjugal affection is founded upon an animal appetite inherent in our nature.”
P. 228. “ The pleasure arising from activity, which was the original source of benevolence, would always indeed remain ; but the affections are merely the result of an association of ideas rendering us fond of those persons who recal the memory of past pleasures enjoyed in their society." (P. 23.) “ We are led to exertion by the hope of pleasure ; but the pleasure we receive terminates with the exertion."
P. 229. “Our affections are so contrived by nature, that they produce a preponderance of good; but as they are blind and undiscriminating, they produce much evil also if left to themselves.” (P. 230.) “ Our affections grow up spontaneously, and require no culture.” • Yeu in pp. 20, 21, and 22, physical evil is totally denied; and in p. 410, we are expressly told, that " There is no such thing as moral evil in the creation of God.
P. 235. “ The malevolent passions are even at all times productive of advantage, from the protection which they afford to the personal respectability of individuals, and from their consequent tendency to polish the manners of men *.” (P. 236.), “ It becomes a different question how far they do not degrade the character of the individual who indulges in them, and how far it is a moral duty to resist their power over the mind.”
P. 292. “ This passion (self-love) is the terrible instrument provided by Providence to rectify every great moral evil that may find its way into the world.” (407.) « The Author of the universe is the Author of whatever occurs within its wide circuit.” (410.) “ There is no such thing as moral evil in the creation of God.”' (411.) “ Bad men are defective beings who blindly obey their passions.”
P. 369. “ I have no doubt therefore that the universe, in some shape or other, has existed, and will remain, as perpetually as its Author. Taking it for granted, then, that this world is the production of a skil ul and powerful mind, I proceed to consider the character or peculiar qualities of that mind." (P.381.) “ When a man sets about making a machine, he finds materials already provided, that possess powers or energies in themselves, whose force he only directs and takes advantage of. But the Cause of all things is in a very different situation. He can have no materials provided for him before hand.”
* Witness their polishing effect on ferocious animals !....Rev.
P. 389. “ Our percefitions are the causes which produce all our actions.” “ Human actions proceed from four sources ; from appetites, passions, reason, or from some modification or mixture of these three principles.”
P. 409. “ The bad man is far from being miserable according to the measure of his wickedness.” “The Author of the universe is the Author of whatever occurs within its wide circuit.” (410.) “ There is no such thing as moral evil.” (412.) “ Man is in all cases as good and as perfect as the Author of his nature intended him to be. He is therefore liable to no censure or reproach.”
P. 413. “But although men cannot properly be considered as possessing either merit or guilt towards their Maker, yet they may very readily be guilty towards each other, and become just objects of punishment.". This may seem paradoxical ; but it is true. Nature has created certain animals in a state of hostility to each other. The wolf is at war with the lamb, and the hawk with the partridge.” (407.) “ The Author of the universe is the Author of whatever occurs, &c.”
P. 432. " Indolently and tamely to endure cold, or any other hardship in life, and to make no effort to avoid it, would not be resignation, but opposition to the Divine will." (P. 422.) 6 God is indeed All, and in All that exists."
P. 89. “ Pleasure and pain are mere involuntary feelings." (P. 90.) « In most cases, the pleasure is proportioned to the degree of attention, that is, of voluntary power, which is exerted.”
P. 324. “ Our passions are given, not to produce felicity, but to stimulate us to exertion, during the infancy of the understanding. (291.) “ His passion commenced with an exertion of the understanding.”
P. 185. “When men do violently attempt to make moral experiments, by violating the established order of society, from the hope of producing greater good, they always incur a very serious responsibility." (P. 407.) “ From the present state of the world, we have not the smallest reason to expect a future state of what are called judicial rewards and punishments.”
P. 424. “ The employment which the Deity has contrived and ap. pointed for us in this world, is to acquire and to diffuse knowledge.” (P. 409.) “ At times we see individuals not only careless of their own im. provement, but even eagerly striving to prevent the diffusion of knowledge among mankind, and attempting to perpetuate the reign of ignorance and delusion over the human race." (407.) “ The Author of the universe is the Author of whatever occurs, &c.” “ Neither moral nor physical evil has any existence ; and man is as perfect and as good as God intended him ! !
From this chaos of inconsistencies, this strange combination of contradiction and absurdity, which we have selected, it must be obvious to every reader, that the volume before us holds no very exalted rank in our estimation. The arguments which the author has adduced in favour of various propositions, are frequently weak and inconclusive in themselves,