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extensive, or that aught, save the omnific breath of God, hath in any one instance produced the etherial spark, which animates mortality.
Thirdly, you demand, “Is the soul of man derived mediate or immediate ?"
God breathed into Adam the breath of life, upon which he became a living soul; this I conceive was immediate, but in what manner the embryo receives the inestimable gift which constitutes it an heir of immortality, I presume there is no method of ascertaining, or, at least, I am willing to leave it to those who are wise above what is written.
Fourthly, you ask “Can it be proved that prayer is, instrumentally more or less the cause of God's doing, or omitting to do, any thing whatsoever ?”
Reason, no doubt, describes a God, following wise and preconcerted plans, above being moved by the feeble efforts of the creature which he hath commanded into existence. Revelation also is full to this effect; it proclaimeth God, an unchanging God, the same yesterday, to day, and forever, steadily pursuing a set purpose, his gifts and callings without repentance; and it is id, “ he is not man, that he should lie ; nor the Son of man, that he should repent.” I am aware that these expressions are varied elsewhere; that the text says, “it repented him that he had made man," and that the Ninevites caused him, by their prayers and fasting, to repent of the evil which he had said he would do unto them. This apparent opposition is, perhaps, one of the difficulties which, as far as I know, hath never yet been surmounted. It would be easy to obviate this, and every other contradictory testimony, by asserting that the sacred text is falsely rendered ; that the variety of hands through which it hath passed, may entirely have changed its import, and that of course, its primary meaning may be wholly lost. But this is a dangerous liberty; and, I apprehend, were we to deviate into this path, there would be no end to our wandering; our standard would be. lost, and we should be once more thrown back to the uninformed, and feeble glimmerings produced by the uncertain light of nature.
I would, therefore, assume it as a self-evident proposition, and unwaveringly say, the Deity is doubtless unchanging, and if any scripture testimony apparently contradicts this idea, it is merely for the purpose of accommodating the text, to the capacity of the creature. The omnipotent, all prescient God, knew that man would
fall, that Nineveh would repent; and hence, the Redeemer was ap-
For myself, although I do not say prayer is a duty, yet I know it to
The soul bowed down by affliction, will pour out its supplications before the throne of the Maker of all worlds, and the unspeakable relief which is thus experienced, is well known to the burdened spirit.
Prayer is in various parts of holy writ, earnestly recommended to the sorrowing soul. “Are any afflicted, let him pray.” Hence, we may assure ourselves, that the universal Father is not offended, when his children lisp forth their filial aspirations ; however puerile their devotional orisons may prove; and, although it is reasonable to suppose, that the source of being will dispose every event, agreeably to his own good pleasure, yet he bends his ear indulgent to our complaints.
But lip service only, when the heart is totally unaffected is doubtless, a profanation, and God, himself, hath declared, that such oblations are the objects of his uniform hatred.
Thus, Sir, I have expressed my sentiments, in a manner wholly
I am, with due respect,
Your most obedient, &c. &c.