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the strength of ours; for what does the of our legislators for abolishing penal Unitarian want but to force his oppo- laws which, even as a dead letter, they nent to a close contest, to draw him deemed too disgraceful to remain any from a waste of time and words by longer upon our statute-book. This desultory controversy, and to bring consideration alone is sufficient to conhim within such an open, yet circum- demn his work, since it is now notoriscribed field, as shall oblige him to ous that such men are uniformly as meet the weight of the arguments ten- weak in judgment as they are violent dered against him, as well as to exhi- in spirit; and I must express my surbit his own?
prise and concern, that the respectaThe author of the “Examination" ble pastors of our National Church, takes his ground upon an assumption and Trinitarians generally, should so of the suffrage of the immortal Locke long have stood by and witnessed with (chiefly) and of Newton, and upon the indifference the manifestation of a spi. use of two ostensible golden keys of rit, as hostile to the true interests of his own manufacture, for the purpose the Church, as it is injurious to pure of unlocking my questions ; but the Christianity. instant we begin to handle these keys, The author of the “Examination” we plainly discover them to be no- has evidently proceeded upon the thing better than brass, and truly bra- haughty and most odious principle of zen ones they are. As to the Unita- infallibility, which gave birth to that rianism of Locke and Newton, in so sanguinary spirit which has proved to far as regards the question of the Tri. be the abomination of desolation, nity, I assert, and am ready to maintain which, in the language of the amiable it, that the proofs we are now enabled Watts, “has made a slaughter-house to bring forward, are so ample and of the church of Christ;" which in decisive in their nature, that when former days crimsoned over our native duly presented, no Trinitarian of sound soil, and which still haunts us ; which, judgment and having a proper regard under a more efficient form, dictated for the character of his understanding, the late horrible persecutions in as well as for the character of these France, and which now, leagued with two great men, can venture to resist despotism, thirsts to overthrow the the conviction; and as for the two altar of liberty in Spain, and to sink keys or “ propositions,” they are not its ruins in the blood of its abettors. only mere trumpery, where they are But if respectable Trinitarians can placed, as serving to “ exhibit the think that in our condemnation of this foundation of (Unitarian) objections,” violence we are not guided by views to but, in truth, may admirably serve to peace and good will, but only seek to unlock the arcanum of Trinitarians, ward off the weight of the accusation, and, in my conviction, to expose such then let their heated zealots proceed a degree of awful responsibility as no with redoubled ardour, let them blow man, holding the doctrines 'l'rinita- their trumpets as it were in the new rians actually do, can possibly enter-moon, let them vociferate in our martain, except under the grossest delu- ket-places, let them proclaim blasplesion and the most irrational concep- my from our house-tops, under all the tions of the Supreme Being. I feel vehemence their rage would naturally satisfied that no man of acknowledged dictate,—whilst Unitarians stand and ability and having a due regard for it, look at them with equal surprise, pity will take up Unitarian questions upon and contempt. What a feast do these the ground this “Trinitarian” has animosities and bitter revilings afford done; and at the same time I am as to the Deist! How have they contifully persuaded, that, being founded nued to disfigure Christianity in the both upon scripture and reason, they eyes of the whole Infidel world! It is are not to be met but by ineans of the high time then that Christians of every same nature, and perhaps not much naine should unite to put the perpeless palpably evasive.
trators of such offences to utter shame, I might state, as a further objection and to rescue Christianity from such a to any set reply to this “ Trinitarian,” terror. that he has expressly identified him- In common with every Unitarian, self with those who join in raising a I proffer the right hand of good fellowcry of blasphemy, and who fly in the face ship without reserve to all denominations of Christians. I cannot imagine
No. CCCXCIII. how any man, with a heart and mind duly imbued with genuine Christi- Zohair concludes the Third of his anity, can act otherwise. I cannot see
Pastorals with the following, among what claim a man with an anti-chris
other Apophthegms. tian temper can have to the title of Experience has taught me the events Christian, for by their fruits ye shall of this day and yesterday; but as to krow them. I cannot conceive any the events of to-morrow, I confess my thing more hateful and disgusting than blindness. that assumed priestly infallibility, pride Half of man is his tongue, and the and presumption, which adjudges others other half is his heart; the rest is only to eternal damnation as the worst of an image composed of blood and flesh. reprobates, upon an unavoidable dif- How many men dost thou see whose ference of opinion; and,
abundant merit is admired when they long as life and health shall last," I are silent, but whose failings are diswill ever promptly place myself in the covered as soon as they open their foremost rank against it, however great lips ! the authority or the numbers to which An old man never grows wise after I may staud opposed.
his folly : but when a youtlı has acted JAMES GIFFORD.
foolishly, he may attain wisdom.
“ for one, so
GLEANINGS; OR, SELECTIONS AND
No. CCCXCIV. REFLECTIONS MADE IN A COURSE
Gon, from the Alcoran. OF GENERAL READING.
God is mighty and wise. His is the No. CCCXC.
kingdom of heaven and earth: he givHARIRI, a Persian Poet,
eth life, and he putteth to death; yea,
he is the Almighty. He is the first Be patient then : submit to present ill : Time is the sire of wonders—let thy mysterious, and he knoweth all things,
and the last, the manifest and the soul Unwavering trust the eternal Spirit still: It is he who created the heaven and Couutless his gifts, his power beyond the earth in six days, and then ascendcontroni.
ed his throne. He knoweth that which entereth into the earth, and that which
issueth out of it, that which cometh No. CCCXCI.
down from heaven and that which Sadi: A Specimen of the Mystical ascendeth to it; and he is with you Poetry of the Sufis.
wheresoever ye may be. One day as I was in the bath, a friend of mine put into my hand a piece of scented clay. I took it and
No. CCCXCV. said to it, Art thou musk or amber
Asiatic Descriptions of Spring. gris ? for I am charmed with thy delightful scent. It answered, I was a
Lo! at thy bidding Spring appears despicable piece of clay; but I was
Thy slave, ambitious to be seen ; some time in the company of the rose :
Lord of the world! thy voice she hea rs, the sweet quality of my companion
And robes th' exulting earth in green. was communicated to me, otherwise I Now had the stormy Winter departshould have been only a piece of earth, ed, and the graceful Spring returned : as I appear to be.
the face of the fields was pictured by
Providence, as by a painter. The birds No. CCCXCII.
sung from amidst the flowers, hunFrom the Philoctctes of Sophocles.
dreds of nightingales and thousands of
linnets ravished the ear and compelled But piety, whate'er to man arrives, mankind to listen ; while the footLives he, or dies he, still on earth sur- steps of heavenly benevolence recalled vives.
the earth from death to newness of life.
Art. I.--Essays on the Formation on those subjects that admit of diver.
und Publication of Opinions, and on sity .of opinion. But the belief, other Subjects. Cr. Ivo. pp. 296. doubt or disbelief which a man enter88. Hunter. 1821.
tains of any proposition, may be the
same in strength and every other reT2 THIS is not a common book. The spect as the belief, doubt or disbelief
author (whoever he be) pos which he entertains of a proposition sesses an acute, discriminating mind; in regard to which there is entire unaembraces comprehensive views of man- nimity; and if in the latter case his kind; and asserts and maintains the opinion is involuntary, there can be most liberal and philosophical princi- no reason to suppose it otherwise in ples. His style appears to indicate a the former. It is supposed that when practised writer : it is free, perspicu- the understanding is in a state of Aucous, inanly, and often beautiful. We tuation between two opinions, it is in fall in so entirely with his specula- the power of the will to determine the tions, that we have little more to do decision : but all the various degrees than to describe his plan and to quote of belief and disbelief, from the fullest a few passages as samples of his ta- conviction to doubt, and from doubt lents and illustrations of his design to absolute incredulity, correspond to and spirit. The first Essay is “On the Forma- ture of the considerations present to
the degree of evidence, or to the nation of Opinions.” This is divided the mind. The understanding, it is into eight Sections. Section 1., is clear, cannot believe a proposition on “On the terms Belief, Assent and precisely the same evidence as that on Opinion." Assent appears to de- which it previously doubted it, and note the state of the understanding yet to ascribe to mere volition a with regard only to propositions." change from doubt .to conviction, is “ Belief has a more comprehensive asserting that this may take place; it acceptation, expressing the state of is affirming that a man, without the the inind with regard to any fact or slightest reason, may, if he please, becircumstance, although that fact or lieve to-day what he doubted yestereircumstance may never have occurred day. The following distinction is obto it in the form of a proposition, or, viously just : what is the same thing, may never have been reduced by it into words.” “ Belief appears to be the firmést when “ Opinion is seldom, if ever, used in there are no hostile or contrary consi. reference to subjects which are cer- derations for the mind to rest upon. In tain or demonstrable ;” it is employed proportion to the number and importance by the author, “ in reference to propo- of contrary, considerations belief is imsitions of a probable nature, to desig- paired, and if they are increased to a cer.
tain extent, it fades into doubt.
The nate that which is believed." The IInd Section is “On the In- which the mind passes from one class of
latter is often a state of oscillation, in dependence of Belief on the Will."
arguments another, the predominant Here the Essayist examines and we affection of the moment according with think overturns the assumption of the the arguments on which the contemplavoluntary nature of belief. He ob- tion happens to be fixed. The mind may serves that there are a great number also be said to be in doubt when it is acof facts and propositions in regard to quainted with neither side of a question, our belief of which it is allowed that and has therefore no grounds for a deterthe will can have no power and mo
minate opinion. The one may be called tives no efficacy; e. g. mathematical active or positive, the other passive or axioms, propositions in geometry, and negative doubt.”—Note, p. 11. facts coming under the senses or sup- The author next meets the allegaported by good testimony. If the tion that the will may have the power will exercises any controul, it must be of changing the character of the evi
dence: this, he says, implies that it their being made is in fact an acknowmay be capable either of raising addi- ledgment of his just authority. No tional ideas in the mind, or of detach- one is at the pains toʻvindicate his ing some of the ideas already there, dissent from Stillingfeet, Norris, or from the rest with which they are as- other of Locke's antagonists. sociated, and dismissing them from In Section IV. the author suggests view; which is contrary to the con- “the Circumstances which have led clusions of the best metaphysical Men to regard Belief as voluntary.” writers.
The common error may, he thinks, “But the proof of the involuntary na
be mainly ascribed to the intimate ture of belief depends not on the justness and the expression or declaration of
connexion subsisting between belief of any metaphysical argument. Every one may bring the question to the test of it, the latter of which is at all times experiment; he may appeal to his own
an act of the will; the term assent consciousness, and try whether, in any being used to express the intimation conceivable case, he can at pleasure of our concurrence with an opinion as change his opinion, and he will soon find well as the concurrence itself. Anothat the most ardent wishes can be of no ther source of the error he conceives avail
. Take auy controverted fact in his to be the practice of confounding the tory; let a man make himself perfectly consent of the understanding with that acquainted with the statements and authorities on both sides, and, at the end of the will or feelings. He further of his investigation, he will either believe, that it may have arisen in some degree
accounts for the error by remarking, doubt, or disbelieve the fact in question. Now apply any possible motive to his from the circumstance of many peomind. “Blame him, praise him, intimidate ple having no real conception of the him by threats, or allure him by promises, truth or falsehood of those opinions and after all your efforts, how far will which they profess. With such peryou have succeeded in changing the state sons opinions are mere professions, a of his intellect with regard to the fact? party-badge, not. depending on the How far will you have altered the con- understanding, and to be assumed or nexion which he discerns between certain discarded at pleasure. In regard to premises and certain conclusions ? To affect his belief you must affect the subo predicament; opinions being on most
some subjects, all mankind are in this ject of it by producing new arguments or considerations. The understanding being results at which we recollect to have
occasions simply objects of memory, passive as to the impressions made upon it, if you wish to change those impres- arrived without at the moment recolsions you must change the cause which lecting the process. Hence it is obvi. produces them. You can alter percep- ously possible for even an acute logitions only by altering the thing perceived. cian to be mistaken, as to the opinions Every man's consciousness will tell him, about which he has attained a decisive that the will can no more modify the conviction, and not to find out his miseffect of an argument on the understaud- take till he is reduced to the necesing, than it can change the taste of sugar sity of recollecting, or rather repeat. to the palate, or the fragrance of a rose to the smell.; and that nothing can
ing, the process through which he had weaken its force, as apprehended by the
originally gone. intellect, but another argument opposed
The author proceeds in Section V. to it.”—Pp. 14, 15.
to “the Sources of Differences of
Opinion," and on this very difficult Section III. treats of the “Opini- part of the subject displays great inons of Locke and some other Writers genuity. Belief is an involuntary (Reid and Bacon) on this Subject.” state of mind, but may, like sleep, These great writers are shewn to have which is also involuntary, be to a cermaintained the involuntary nature of tain extent prevented or induced acbelief. A little inconsistency is point- cording to our pleasure. This result ed out in Locke's language. The au- is traced to wilful partiality of attenthor had exposed in the 1st Section tion or examination. Again, external the incorrectness of some of the defi- circumstances which vary in the case nitions in the “Essay on Human Un- of each individual, occasion different derstanding." These exceptions to ideas to be presented to each nind, Locke's accuracy are not made in dis- different associations to be established paragement of that great philosopher; even amongst the same ideas, and of
course different opinions to be formed. as have been overlooked and have vanishNational circumstances occasion na- ed, it is those by which the judgment will tional, and individual circumstances be determined.”—Pp. 53, 54. individual peculiarities of thinking. The author next examines the justHow then, if belief is perfectly inde
ness of the common saying, pendent of the will, shall we account volumus facile credimus,”
quod for the fact, that the same events or dily believe what is agreeable to our the same arguments produce different wishes ;” on which he remarks, that, effects on different minds ? Different like many other maxims current in conclusions from the same arguinents the world, it points at a truth without originate either in that defect of lan- much precision. Wishes, he contends, guage, in consequence of which the
are totally inoperative till they are terins employed do not convey to every mind the same ideas, or in those having a ground for hope, we have a
transformed into hope. If, instead of circumstances which occasion other ideas besides those actually expressed poses us, in the same way, to believe
reason for fear, our apprehension dis(and different ideas in the case of dif- the reverse of what we wish. ferent individuals,) to present them. selves to the understanding: to which this part of the argument sufficiently
Perhaps, the Essayist has not in we may add such circumstances as, adverted to the natural tendency of when the original arguments or con- wishes to form themselves into hopes, sequent suggestions are numerous and and thus into opinions. The Roman complicated, have a tendency to fix poet appears to us to describe the the attention of different persons on
true philosophy of the human mind : different parts, and thereby occasion different considerations to remain ulti- Quæque cupit, sperat ; suaque illum ora.
cula fallunt. mately in view.
Section VI. is a continuation of the The influence of general opinion same subject, as far as regards “the and some of the most striking effects feelings and passions of mankind.” of eloquence are explained by the Here the author describes and explains author on the principle of the parthe peculiar influence possessed by the tiality of attention which they tend to sensitive over the intellectual part of create. Emotions are shewn to have our nature. The effects of arguments less room to operate in proportion to partly depend upon states of feeling. the perspicuity of our views. With The attribute of drawing and fixing regard to the major part of mankind, the attention belongs in a remarkable traditionary prejudices and early assodegree to all strong emotions : ciations have a predominant influence,
imparting a tincture to every subject, “ Fear, for example, may so concen- and leaving traces in every conclusion. trate our thoughts on some particular The author proceeds to the practical features of our situation, may so absorb part of his subject in Section VII., our attention, that we may overlook all which is entitled, “ On Belief and other circumstances, and be led to conclusions which would be instar.tly rejected Opinions as Objects of Moral Approby a dispassionate understanding.
bation and Disapprobation, Rewards “ While the mind is in this state of and Punishments." It follows, of excitement, it has a sort of elective at- course, that if opinions be involuntary traction (if we may borrow an illustration they cannot involve either merit or from chemical science) for some ideas to demerit. The nature of an opinion the neglect of all others. It singles out cannot make it criminal. Praise or from the uumber presented to it those blame may, however, be justly attachwhich are connected with the prevailing ed to the manner in which an inquiry emotion, while the rest are overlooked is prosecuted. But the consideration and forgotten. lo examining any ques. of opinions, as reprehensible in so far tion, it may really comprehend all the
as they are the result of unfair invesarguments submitted to it; but, at the tigation, can scarcely be rendered a retained which have been illuminated by useful or practical principle ; for opi. the predominant passion ; and since opi. nions furnish no criterion of the fairnions, as we have seen, are the result of ness or unfairness of investigation, the considerations which have been at. since the most opposite results, the tended to and are in sight, not of such most contrary opinions, may cnsue