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although it was agreed by the plenipotentiaries that the determining of the period when this trade is to cease universally, must be a subject of negociation between the powers, yet it was also declared to be understood that no proper means of securing its attainment, and of accelerating its progress, were to be neglected; and that the engagement, thus
reciprocally contracted between the respective sovereigns, cannot be considered as fulfilled until the period when complete success shall have crowned their united efforts. We think then, that, as six years and a half have passed since the combined sovereigns made this public declaration, the success of which instead of being complete' has been entirely 'negative,' they are bound in honour and conscience to take some further steps; and we know of none so likely to be efficient as the one we have suggested: for, as the American Committee justly observe, the detestable crime of kidnapping the unoffending inhabitants of one country, and chaining them to slavery in another, is marked with all the atrocity of piracy. As such, therefore, it ought to be stigmatized and rendered punishable.'
As we have our doubts, however, whether any further steps will be speedily taken by the sovereigns of Europe, and are pretty well satisfied in the mean time that the onus of thwarting its progress will continue to be laid upon England, we must end as we began, with strongly recommending the purchase from the natives of the little island in the bay of Fernando Po, described in the early part of this Article. At this secure and healthy anchorage the ships of the squadron might conveniently replenish their wood, water and provisions, all of which the great island is capable of supplying in the utmost abundance. A small class of vessels attached to the ships of war might, at all seasons, reconnoitre the several rivers, and return with information in fortyeight hours from the most distant of them—thus keeping up a kind of moral blockade, which, if rigidly pursued, would, at no remote period, have the effect of a legal one.
Art.IV.-1. An Enquiry into the Doctrines and Necessity of
Predestination. By Edward Copleston, D.D. Provost of Oriel College, Oxford, and Prebendary of Rochester. London.
1821. pp. xvi. 219. 2. Archbishop King's Discourse on Predestination. With Notes
by the Rev. Richard Whately, M.A. Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford. London. 1821. pp. xiv. 126. THE
Je remark which Cicero made concerning philosophy, that there was no opinion so unreasonable, as not to have found
some defender, is, in a still higher degree, applicable to theology, the noblest and most important kind of philosophy which can engage the attention of a reasonable being. It is scarcely possible to estimate the injury which has been done to the cause of truth by men, who have speculated, in the abstract, upon the relations which subsist between the Creator and his intelligent creatures, as if the nature and properties of both were perfectly understood. A code of intellectual and moral laws, deduced from the various processes of the human mind, is transferred to the operations of the Deity; and men speak with confidence of the necessary course of his proceedings, upon the strength of principles, which are grounded upon an imperfect acquaintance with the functions of a limited intelligence. It is perfectly true, that constituted as we are, we have no other means of understanding the vature and attributes of God, than to investigate the powers and faculties of our own minds, and to conceive the Deity to possess them in the highest degree of perfection of which we can form a notion. But it does not follow, because this is the best, or the only method, that it is therefore adequate to the end which we propose to ourselves; because it is by no means certain, that our Creator intended us to enjoy a full and satisfactory knowledge of his own nature, or of his moral government of the world. Indeed, independently of the absurdity which attaches to the supposition, that an inferior intelligence should be able to comprehend a superior. in all its parts, it is utterly inconsistent with a state of moral discipline, that the creatures who are subject to it, should have a perfect comprehension of all its features and bearings; or, consequently, of the nature of that Being upon whom these depend. Every observable analogy leads us to believe, that man is in progress to a more perfect state; as a preparation to which, he is here placed in a course of moral discipline: and if this be the case, to complain of any difficulty, or seeming contradiction, in the plans of God's providence, is only to complain that he is not more perfect than God has thought fit to make him; that he cannot anticipate that promised state, where faith will terminate in knowledge.
The neglect of this one consideration, that man is at present in a state of discipline, with regard to his intellectual as well as his moral habits, has been the fruitful source of many an error injurious to the purity and the utility of religion. Religion is the practical law, by which our conduct and our hopes are to be regulated in a state of trial; and if once we enter into speculations upon
its nature, which have no reference to our actual condition, as creatures in a course of probation, there is great danger of our falling into difficulties and errors, because we are wandering beyond the legitimate province of religion. As far as reason will conduct us
to the grounds of those commands, the observance of which tends to the amelioration of our moral state, or afford us an insight into the nature of those attributes of the Deity, which are calculated to esalt our piety, so far we may proceed with safety: if we would go beyond this, we must commit ourselves to the guidance, not of our own reason, but of revelation.
A secondary cause of the confusion which the speculations of human reason have introduced into theology, is the imperfection of buman language, or, rather its inadequacy to a purpose, which it was never intended to answer: for, as to its proper objects, it is sufficiently perfect. If it be impossible, as undoubtedly it is, for a finite and imperfect intelligence to form a correct idea of one which is perfect and uncircumscribed, it is plain that language, which must always be correlative with the ideas of those who in-, vent it, cannot, in strict metaphysical propriety, be employed by beings of a finite understanding, in speaking of the divine nature. It will express very well the ideas which they have of God; and these, for all the practical purposes of the state in which they are placed, may be and are sufficient; and the ideas themselves may be in kind just, as far as they go: but certainly they are inadequate, and so, of course, are the words which express them; and, therefore, these words are very likely to be the causes of confusion, when not employed with care. Here again it is necessary to keep in view the practical objects of a knowledge of divine things; or we shall be misled by the words in which we are obliged to speak of them. The human mind, as Reid has observed, delights in unalogies. There is scarcely any thing, when considered with regard to its relative effect upon some other thing, for which an analogy may not be found amongst objects of a totally different class; and these analogies, are employed to facilitate the conception of things, which are not easily apprehended, by comparing them with others with which we are more familiar. This practice has prevailed so universally, that in many cases, the proposition, which asserts the analogy; has been confounded, in common speech, with the enunciation of one or both of the ratios of which it consists; and the consequence has been, that many propositions are continually stated, which are essentially false; but which are not productive of material error, as long as the terms of both ratios in the analogy are cognizable to human reason; as when we say, the mind apprehends a certain truth,' instead of saying, the mind is in the same relation to a certain truth, as the hand is in, to an object which it lays hold on, or apprehends.' It is where the terms cease to be homogeneous, that analogy leads us into error; and this distinction is one of the leading features of the new philosophy; for the old, down to the time of Des Cartes, was purely analogical.
Archbishop King and Dr. Copleston have shown the danger and deceitfulness of analogical reasoning, when applied to the relations which subsist between the Creator and his creatures.
We observe certain results of God's government of the world, corresponding, in kind, with those which would be produced, on a more limited scale, by the justice, or njercy, or knowledge of an individual of our own species. To corresponding results we are naturally led to assign identical causes; and therefore we tralisfer at once the properties of justice, and mercy, and knowledge, to the Deity. And for all practical purposes we may safely do so: but when we reason back from these properties, and
that the justice and mercy of the Deity will, in all cases, produce effects visibly corresponding to those which result from the justice and mercy of man, we go farther than we have any right to go, and are misled by the iniproper use of terms.
The most important mistake which this cause is apt to produce, is the imposing upon the operations of the Deity the same laws of necessity which regulate our own proceedings. It is said, for instance, that if the Deity permits a man to do that which He might have inclined him not to do, it is inconsistent with bis justice to punish him for doing it. But the correct statement of the proposition is this: As far as we can collect from what is revealed to us of the moral government of the world, the Almighty acts in a manner analogous to that, which in human affairs is called justice ; and as in hunian affairs it would be unjust to punish a man for a crime which we might have hindered him from committing, so it does not seem to us to be consistent with the general tenour of the Divine proceedings, that punishment should
overtake an offence under the circumstances here described. If it be said, that the principles of justice are immutable and eternal, we answer, true; but then arises the question, how is justice to be defined? As far as we ourselves are concerned one with another, the question may be readily answered ; and as far as we are practically interested in the justice of God, and in the imitation of it, we may abide by that answer ; but when we proceed, upon the strength of it, to say what may or may not be done by the Deity, consistently with justice, we forget ihat we are binding Him down to our own knowledge of his plaus, and confining bis attributes by rules, drawn from an observation of their effect. Instead of saying, God can do nothing but what is just, we ought to shape the assertion thus, whatever God does, is just. And the difference, although seemingly verbal, is in fact very material, as the disputes concerning predestination abundantly prove.
We have observed that, for all the practical ends of religion, it is sufficient that men should attribute to the Almighty the moral
properties of justice, mercy, &c. free from all alloy of prejudice and passion, according to the common and received acceptation of the terms. But we tread upon unsafe ground, when we proceed to define with accuracy the divine attributes of perfect justice, perfect goodness, &c. and to talk of them as of properties well understood, and to deduce from them a regular system of action for the Deity. It is still more inaccurate, if it be not more unsafe, to talk of bis infinite wisdom, justice, and goodness; an epithet, which, when applied to moral qualities, is perfectly unintelligible. Of abstract infinity we have no idea at all; of infinite space, or substance, we have at most only a negative idea ; it is something so great as to admit of no addition, and it is extremely doubtful whether we are capable of forming any such idea in our minds. But when we talk of a Being infinitely good, it can mean nothing more than this, a Being so good, as to admit of no addition to his goodness; and in this sense it is plainly more proper to speak of perfect goodness.
Again, since justice, mercy, &c. are relative qualities, i. e. affecting the relations by which men are connected together as parts of a moral system, and are virtues, inasmuch as they promote the happiness of the individuals ; so when we speak of the justice and mercy of God, we must understand them as those attributes, by which He shapes his proceedings towards mankind, so as to bring about, in the end, that quantity of positive happiness, which He intended them to attain when He created them. And since we neither know the nature of that happiness, the degree in which it is to be enjoyed, nor all the methods by which, on the part of God, it is to be brought about, it is plainly very presumptuous and uusafe to arraign any proceeding of his providence, as inconsistent with the principles of justice.
In the sermon on Predestination, the republication of which by Mr. Whately is an acceptable service to the theological student, Archbishop King observes, that what are called the attributes of God, are ascribed to him by way of analogy avd comparison: that they are (he should have said that they may be) quite of a different nature from the qualities to which we give the same names in ourselves; and that we have in fact no more proper
wotion of them than a blind man has of colours,—If we would speak the truth, those powers, properties, and operations, the names of which we transfer to God, are but faint shadows and resemblances, or rather indeed emblems and parabolical figures of the divine attributes which they are intended to signify; whereas his attributes are the originals, the true, real things, of a nature so infinitely superior and different from any thing we discern in his creatures, or that can be conceived by finite understandings, that we cannot with reason pretend to make any other deductions from the nature of one to