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but rather requires, if possible, to be stated in a manner that shall be clear of such consequences, as it certainly is in itself. That sin can in no instance exist without God's permission, and that it is nevertheless the object of his abhorrence, and that which he will finally punish, are facts clearly revealed, and require to be firmly believed, whether we can perceive their consistency to our satisfaction, or not.
In endeavouring to reconcile these facts, various things have been advanced. Some have observed, that whatever concern the Creator has in the being of moral evil, it does not in the least destroy the accountableness of creatures; seeing they act as freely as if no such concern existed and truly, every man's conscience bears him witness that, for whatever he does voluntarily, he is accountable. Others have observed, that though God willeth the permission of evil, yet it is not as evil, but for wise and holy ends; and tho' he may be said to harden mens' hearts (as by judgments and mercies, and even by the gospel itself, which, through their depravity, makes them worse instead of better) yet the fault of the whole is in themselves; and to this also, every man's conscience bears wit
Our author endeavours to vindicate the divine character in the permission, not only of the particular sins of fallen creatures, but of sin itself. He proposes, First, To enquire into the True Nature of Sin; Secondly, In what Sense it is an Object of the Divine Permission; and, lastly, To shew that hereby Occasion is furnished for the most illustrious Displays of the Divine Perfections.
Under the first of these enquiries, he not only denies that sin is a substantial being, or an essential property of a being; but that it contains any thing positive. "It is," he says, "a privation of that per fection, or moral goodness, which ught to be in an accountable creature."
every thing that has a real and po sitive existence, which every thing that he hath created has: but that he is not the author, the efficient cause, or the origin of sin; which is not one of his works, but, abstractly considered, a mere privation of what ought to be.
In ascribing its permission to God, he disowns the ideas of" tolerance, connivance, or indulgence," confining it to that of not hindering it by a sovereign act of preventing power. More particularly, he endeavours to prove, ist, That the sole and proper origin of sin is from the necessary condition and circumstances of created and finite existence, when destitute of a sovereign prevention: 2d, That God's not interfering to prevent the occurrence of sin, was an exercise not of sovereignty, but of pure justice; that is, that, in withholding his preventing power, he withheld nothing which man could claim at his hands.
Under the second, availing himself of the above distinctions, he maintains that God is the author of
After attempting to make good these positions, and to answer a few objections, the author proceeds to his third head of discourse; and shews, by a variety of evidence, how the glory of the divine perfections is displayed in the permission of sin, in a manner which it could not have been in any other way.
It is much easier to object on such a subject than to advance any thing that shall be uncbjectionable. The author himself is aware of this, and endeavours to obviate what we, or any others might be disposed to allege. (Note I, p. 73.) We shall only offer a remark or two on his distinctions.
With regard to there being nothing positive in the nature of sin, though we should be led to question how this could accord, in the popular acceptation of the word, with its being allowed to include "enmity, rebellion, and malignant opposition against the ever-blessed God;" yet, if the definition of the author be granted him, we see nothing objectionable in it. thing positive," he says, "is either that which constitutes the real existence of any being, or it is a part of the completeness or perfection 3 S
We do not perceive the propriety of saying, that "God's not interfering to prevent the occurrence of sin, was an exercise, not of sove reignty, but of pure justice." (p. 22.) This language conveys to us the idea that justice required it, or that it would have been unjust for God so to have interfered: but this, surely, is not true; nor does it appear to be the author's meaning. He seems to have meant no more than that it was consistent with jus tice; or that no injustice was done to the creature by it, inasmuch as nothing was withheld to which he had any claim." But the same may be said of God's not electing, not redeeming, or not calling a sin. ner; yet it does not follow that these are exercises of pure justice to the exclusion of sovereignty: that which justice requires, is not an act of sovereignty; but that which is only consistent with justice may be so.
Whether the author, or any other writer, has fully accounted for the introduction of moral evil; whether it is to be accounted for in the present state, or not, we cordially agree in his general principles, viz. That God is holy,that every creature is derived from him, and dependant on him; ultimate design of all his works is the manifestation of his own glory;
- that the
that the fault of sin will be found to be in the sinner; and that the highest wisdom of a de. pendant and mutable creature, is to fall into the hands of God.
Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, collected from the Appearances of Nature. By William Paley,
"The invisible things of God, even his eternal power and Godhead are clearly seen, being under
stood by the things that are made;" so that even the Heathen, who are destitute of revelation, are left without excuse, if they glorify him not as God. It must therefore be a commendable work,eventora Christian Philosopher, to point out those various marks of intelligence in the creation, which demonstrate the Being and perfections of Deity; and which may become subservient to the pleasures of devout meditation. This has been done by several pious writers; particularly by Ray and Derham: but there was still room for a work, in which more modern discoveries might be inserted; and which might be more directly calculated to meet the objec. tions of sceptics. This task has
been accomplished by Dr. Paley, with great ability and success: his plan is comprehensive, his style perspicuous, and his reasoning conclusive: and it is no small recom. mendation of the work, that it is divested of those technical and learned terms which so much puzzle ordinary readers. The author presents to us, in a variety of instances, and in a very pleasing and familiar manner, the evident proots of design, contrivance, and foresight which appear in the creatures around us, and in our own bodies particularly; and he continually leads us from these marks of design to a designing Author, while he successively combats the injuricus objections of ancient and modern Atheists, against this fair conciu. sion. "Upon the whole," saith the writer," after all the struggles of a reluctant philosophy, the necessary resort is to a Deity. The marks of design are too strong to be got over. Design must have had a designer; that designer must have been a person; that person is God."
In the close of the work, the author treats of "The Goodness of God; which he argues from two considerations. The first is, That in a vast plurality of instances, in which contrivance is perceived, the design of the contrivance is beneficial; and the second is, That the Deity has superadded pleasure to animal sensations, beyond what is
necessary for any other purpose;
his is instanced in the act of eating, and might also be equally proved from the other senses; for the purpose of hearing might be answered without harmony, of smell, without fragrance; of vision, without beauty but in all these cases, a studious benevolence is manifest on the part of the Creator. The whole work concludes with some, observations on the important bene, fits and comforts arising from the habitual consideration of the being and attributes of God; and of the facilities which the belief of the truths of natural theology affords, for the reception and confirmation of our faith in Revelation.
This good use, we trust, will be made of this excellent work; yet we are not without our fears, that some readers will sit down satisfied with natural theology, and dangerously conclude, that no other religion is necessary to their eternal salvation. Indeed, the author is unwilling to allow any native malignity in the human constitution; and says, that even the bad qualities of mankind have an origin in their good ones; that the present is "not a state of punishment," that a slave who, amidst his wrongs, retains his benevolence, is amongst the foremost of human candidates for the rewards of virtue. These sentiments are certainly not consistent with that revelation which the author professes to believe; nor with the creed of that church of
which he is a minister-We should have rejoiced to find this able writer taking occasion in several parts of his work, and especially in the conclusion of it, to show that the Christian scheme of redemption, by the Son of God, is abundantly confirmed by those doctrines of natural theology, which he had so admira. bly displayed.
God's Wonders in the Great Deep; recorded in several wonderful und amazing Accounts of Sailors, who have met with unexpected Deliver ances from Death, when in the greatest Danger. To which is added,
With respect to the Letters them. selves, we refer our readers to a re view of them, already before the public, under the signature of Scru tator; and which we have noticed in a former Number. The ability of Mr. Vidler, on the high ground of classical literature and critical sagacity, which he has assumed, are there fully, and, we think, justly appreciated. Nor do we conceive that Mr. Vidler's friende
will feel themselves gratified by the Preface which introduces, and the Notes which accompany, these Letters. He evidently writes like a man who is lowered in his own esteem, though he labours hard to conceal it, by casting a number of strong, and, perhaps, not very justifiable reflections on Mr. Fuller and Scrutator. Mr.Vidler informs us, that Scrutator himself is not accurate in his Greek quotations; we were, however, not a little surprized, on turning to Scrutator's Errata, to find the instances Mr. Vidler adduces of inaccuracy, corrected by Scrutator himself. This is, perhaps, the first time that an author's own corrections of typographical errors were adduced as proofs of his ignorance.
Those who wish to see the controversy fully handled, are referred to "Mr. Fuller's Letters," and to
Scrutator's Review." Mr. Vid. ler intimates, that Scrutator is a clergyman in the Established Church: we have also heard the work ascribed to the Rev. C. Jerram, author of a late popular discourse, "To your Tents, O Britons +!" but are not authorized to speak with certainty.
Life of Col. James Gardiner. By Dr. Doddridge. A New Small Pocket Edition, neat, 2s. 6d. bds.
The Rev. Mathew Henry's Bible. Printed on Fine Paper, with a New Type, Royal 4to, Vol. I. 19s. bds.
THE Seamens' Preacher: a Se. ries of Discourses on the Proj het Jonah. By the late Rev. J.Ryther, recommended to the Use of Seal men, by the Rev. Mr. Newton, and several other Ministers. These will be published in a few Days, in One Small Volume, uniform with the Village Sermons.
Also in a few Days will be pub lished, Fugitive Pieces, chiefly intended for Schools and Young Persons. By W. B. Collyer, of Peckham.
Memoirs of the Life and Writ ings of the late W. Cowper, Esq.; including his Christian Experience, and a Review of his Works. Foolscap 8vo, 4s.; 12m0, 35.
Memoirs of Mrs. Grace Bennett, relict of the Rev. J. Bennett, of Chinley; with some Account of his Ministry and Death; also some Extracts from Mrs. Bennett's Diary. By their Son, W. Bennett. 25. 6d. Hint to England, or a Prophetic Mirror. By L. Mayer. IS.
The Believer's Justification. Extracted from the Sermons of Obadiah Grew, D. D. late Minister of the Gospel, Coventry. 12mo, 4d.
New Editions of the following esteemed Works are in the Press, and will soon be published:
See our last Review, p. 449.
The Harmony of the Gospels. By the late Rev. Dr. James Mac. knight, Edinburgh. Two Vols. 8vo.
SELECT LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
The Four Gospels, translated from the Greek, with Preliminary Dissertations and Notes, Critical and Explanatory; together with the, Author's Corrections and Amendments made on a Copy of the Work previous to his Death. By George Campbell, D.D. Three Vols. 8vo.
LETTERS have just been received from OTAHEITE, dated October I, 1802. The Missionarics were in general in good health and safety. The Letters refer, for regular information, to the Journals, which have not yet come to hand. Extracts from the Letters, and we hope from the Journals, may be expected in our next Number. The Letters subjoined, from the Continent, will highly gratify those who feel interested in the cause of Christ and the Gospel.
NEW SOUTH WALES.
Letter from Governor King to the Rev. Dr. Haweis.
Sydney, May, 1803.
Mr. Marsden has received the packages consigned to him by the Cato; and, I think, will have an opportunity of sending them by Capt. Bunker, of the Albion, who,
we are told, means to go thither for provisions. As the Porpoise will necessarily be sent to England, it is in so bad a state, I cannot foresee any opportunity I shall have of a direct communication with Otaheite for some time to come; but should any such offer, which I
do not know at present, I shall not be unmindful of those, to whom every aid is consoling in their se cluded state: not that I conceive the constant intercourse of Europeans any way facilitates their la bours.
However, of all this I must be sure yourself and the Society will be able to be better judges by the Missionaries own accounts.
Should it be in my power to be of service to them, and to secondyour pious intentions, I shall emreadiness in what I consider a duty brace every opportunity to shew my
as well as take a sincere interest. With every wish for your health,
I remain, dear Sir, your most obedient Servant and faithful wellwisher, PHILIP GIDLEY KING. P. S. Mr.Harris, formerly a Missionary at Otaheite, and lately at Norfolk Island, is now most use fully employed in conducting a school on the banks of the Hawkesbury, where he also performs divine service; and, I believe, is as happy as he makes himself useful.
Extract, translated from the Periodical Accounts of the Rotterdam Missionary Society, respecting the Mission in Africa.
BROTHER KICHERER having removed to the Zak River, the brethren Kramer and Anderson left