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forces fail and memory is weak, and to give 5. On the authority of the Scriptures, they me a fair and charitable hearing.
entertain so low an opinion of human nature, 1. In the first place, the followers of Mr. under the consequences of the fall, that they Hutchinson give to God the pre-eminence in derive everything in religion from revelation everything. His authority with them is above or tradition. A system may be fabricated, all authority : His wisdom above all wisdom : and called natural ; but a religion it cannot His truth above all truth. They judge every- be ; for there never was a religion, among thing to be good or bad, wise or foolish, as it Jews or Gentiles, Greeks, Romans, or Barbapromotes or hinders the belief of Christian- rians, since the beginning of the world, withity. On which account, their first enemies out sacrifice and priesthood; of which natuare to be found among sceptics, infidels, and ral religion having neither, is consequently atheists. Their next enemies are those who no religion. The imagination of man, by are afraid of believing too much; such as supposing a religion without these, has done our Socinians and their confederates, who infinite disservice to the only religion by admit Christianity as a fact, but deny it as a which man can be saved. It has produced doctrine.
the deistical substitution of naked morality, 2. They hold, that only one way of salva- or Turkish honesty, for the doctrines of intertion has been revealed to man from the be- cession, redemption, and divine grace. It ginning of the world, viz. the way of faith has no gift from God, but that nature which in God, redemption by Jesus Christ, and a came poor, and blind, and naked out of detachment from the world, and that this Paradise ; subject only to farther misery, way is revealed in both Testaments.
3. That in both Testaments divine things piece of Duncan Forbes on the system of Hutchinare explained and confirmed to the under-son, (which by the way I would recommend to the
reader,) was heard to say “there were some good standings of men, by allusions to the natural things and some curious things in it; but the man creation. I say confirmed; because the Scrip-raves when he talks of his fire, light, and spirit.” ture is so constant and uniform in the use it Now herein is to me a marvellous thing ; that makes of natural objects, that such an analogy this doctrine of fire, light, and air to be raving;
Learning, seated in the chair of Alfred, should take appears between the sensible and spiritual when Ignorance, with a tallow candle in its hand, world, as carries with it sensible evidence to need only light it, to see them all at work together. the truth of revelation; and they think that, Air enters at the bottom, where the flame looks where this evidence is once apprehended by and the brightest light
is about the middle. No
blue: fire and smoke from the snuff are at the top, the mind, no other will be wanted. They man can draw a line between them, or say where are therefore persuaded, it may have great one ends and another begins. But here they are effect towards making men Christians, in certainly; for, without air, the candle goes out: this last age of the world; now the original
without fire, it will not burn us: and, without light, evidence of miracles is remote, and almost but a plain, undeniable matter of fact.
we shall not see by it. And all this is no theory,
derful, that a philosopher cannot see this; when a 4. They are confirmed Trinitarians. They child or a ploughman may be made to understand it! became such at their baptism in common credible than one. The people among the Jews,
Two strange events of the same kind are more with other Christians; and they are kept who knew most, were those who could see least. such by their principles, especially by what When the good lord president Forbes wrote his is called the Hutchinsonian philosophy of letter from Scotland, there were rocks and moun. frre, light, and air. Nature shows us these tains in his way; and he had the mortification to see
that he prevailed but little. These are now not three agents in the world, on which all nearly so formidable as they were then : great and natural life and motion depend : and these unexpected events have intervened Infidelity, the three are used in the Scripture to signify to grand adversary, hath now overshot its mark; and us the three supreme powers of the Godhead, is found to have in it so much more of the felon in the administration of the spiritual world ; | ashamed of its company. Its opponents are inspired
than the philosopher, that gentlemen begin to be notwithstanding the judgment which our new with new zeal, and act with new vigor ; as may be biographer hath passed against them. Let seen in two periodical publications of modern date. any philosopher show us one single effect, of Attraction is going down ; and the demonstration of which it may be proved, that neither fire, in another place.
a vacuum is not to be supported ; as I shall show
Electricity hath risen up, and light, nor air, contribute to it in any of their given us the knowledge of a new power in nature, Various forms. *
which is an object of sense, and may be extended to the whole system of the world. Lord Forbes's letter
to a bishop was written with the best intention in *To show how differently the same things will the world; but, when a scheme is new, and admit. appear to different men, and how men of learning, ted in all its parts, more weight is laid upon some through habits of thinking, may be unprepared to things than they will bear. He tells his reader judge of common things, I will mention the exam- many curious things,
for which I have not room; ple of my own tutor of University College, in Ox- neither would I choose to introduce them, because ford; who, having been persuaded to read a little they depend on Hebrew evidence.
fum its own lusts, and the temptations of self and some of the wisest of his followers the devil. A religion more flattering to have suspected; then the cause of motion the pride of man, pleases his fancy better will never resist the motion which it causes. than this; but it will never do him any The rule, which is true when applied to good.
communicated motion, does not hold when apHutchinson himself had so strong a sense plied to the motions of nature. For the moof this, that he looked upon natural religion tions of nature change from less to more; as as Deism in disguise; an engine of the devil, when a spark turns to a conflagration : but in these latter days, for the overthrow of the communicated motion always changes from Gospel ; and, therefore, boldly called it the more to less : so that there is an essential religion of Satan or Antichrist. Let the difference between them, and we cannot well-informed Christian look about him, and argue from the one to the other. Mr. Cotes's consider whether his words, extravagant as demonstration, it is well known, is applicathey may seem at first, have not been fully ble only to communicated motion : I mean, verified. I myself, for one, am so thorough- such only as is violent or artificial. There is ly persuaded of this, that I determine never no need of a vacuum in the heavens: it is to give quarter to natural religion, when it more reasonable and more agreeable to nature falls in my way to speak of the all-sufficiency that they should be filled with a circulating of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know Auid, which does not hinder motion, but bevery well how the Scripture is brought in to gins it and preserves it. give its countenance to the notion of a natu- They cannot allow inert matter to be caparal religion : but we know also that dark ble (as mind is) of active qualities; but ascribe texts are drawn to such a sense, as to render attraction, repulsion, &c., to subtile causes, all the rest of the Scripture of no effect; as not immaterial. There may be cases very hath happened in the doctrines of predestina- intricate and difficult; but they take the rule tion and natural religion; by the former of from plain cases, and, supposing nature to be which we lose the church, by the latter its uniform and consistent, they apply it to the faith. Facts bring a dispute to a short issue. rest. If Voltaire were alive, I would be judged by 8. In natural history, they maintain, against him, whether Christianity hath not been all the wild theories of infidels, which come going down ever since natural religion came up, one after another, like mushrooms, and up. And we know, by what his disciples, soon turn rotten, that the present condition the French, have done, that natural religion of the earth bears evident marks of a univercomes up, when Christianity is put down. sal flood; and that extraneous fossils are to These facts teach us that they will not stand be accounted for from the same catastrophe. long together. Whether they possibly might Many of them are therefore diligent color not, is not worth an inquiry ; because he lectors of fossil bodies, which are valuable that has got Christianity, may leave natural to the curious in consideration of their religion to shift for itself.
origin. 6. Few writers for natural religion have 9. What commonly passes under the name shown any regard to the types and figures of of learning, is a knowledge of Heathen the Scripture, or known much about them. books : but it should always be admitted with But the Hutchinsonians, with the old Chris- great precaution. For they think of all tian fathers and the divines of the reforma- Heathens, that, from the time when they tion, are very attentive to them, and take commenced Heathens, they never worshipped great delight in them. They differ in their the true God, the Maker of heaven and nature from all the learning of the world; earth ; but, instead of him, the elements of and so much of the wisdom of revelation is the world, the powers of nature, and the contained in them, that no Christian should lights of heaven: that the love of vice and neglect the knowledge of them. All infi- vanity was the real cause of their ignorance : dels abominate them. Lord Bolingbroke they did not know the true God, because they calls St. Paul a Cabbalist for arguing from did not like to know him: and that the same them ; but the Hutchinsonians are ambi- passions will give us an inclination to the tious of being such Cabbalists as St. Paul was. principles of Heathens, rather than to the
7. In natural philosophy, they have great principles of Christians; and that most of regard to the name of Newton, as the most the ill principles of this age come out of the wonderful genius of his kind. But they are Heathen school. The favorers of Mr. Hutchsure his method of proving a vacuum is not inson's scheme are therefore reputed to be agreeable to nature. A vacuum cannot be the enemies of learning. But they are not deduced from the theory of resistances : for, so. They are enemies only to the abuses of if motion be from impulsion, as Newton him-it, and to the corruptions derived from it. To all false learning, that is, to human folly (wo are considered only as figures, the case affecting to be wisdom, they have indeed a alters. And, if this great subject should have nortal aversion in their hearts, and can hard- parts and circumstances not to be understood, ly be civil to it in their words; as knowing, we must argue from what is understood. that the more a man has of false wisdom, They seem to have been known in the Chris the less room there will be for the true. tian church of the first centuries, but not with Metaphysics which consist of words without the help of the Jews. So also was the analideas; illustrations of Christian subjects from ogy of the three agents (ows, aup, wheula,) Heathen parallels; theories founded only on these being expressly mentioned by Epiphaimagination ; speculations on the mind of nius, as similitudes of the divine Trinty. man which yield no solid matter to it, but In their physiological capacity, so far as lead it into dangerous opinions about itself: we can find, the Cherubim seem never to these and other things of the kind, with have been considered before Mr. Hutchinson; which modern learning abounds, they regard who very properly derives from them all as they would the painting of a ghost, or the animal-worship among the Heathens. This splitting of an atom.*
subject is of great extent and depth; compre10. Of Jews, they think that they are the hending a mass of mythological learning, inveterate enemies of Christianity ; never to well worthy of a diligent examination. be trusted as our associates either in Hebrew These things come down to us under the or divinity: No Philo, no Josephus, no name of John Hutchinson ; a character sui Talmudist, is to be depended upon; but sus generis, such as the common forms of educapected and sifted, as dangerous apostates from tion could never have produced; and it seems truc Judaism. Ít is plausibly argued, that to me not to have been well explained, how Jews, as native Hebreus, must, like other na- and by what means he fell upon things, seemtives, be best acquainted with their own lan- ingly so new and uncommon : but we do not guage. But the case of the Jews is without inquire whose they are, but what they are, a parallel upon earth. They are out of their and what they are good for. If the tide had native state; and have an interest in deceiv- brought them to shore in a trunk, marked ing Christians by every possible means, and with the initials J. H., while I was walking depriving them of the evidence of the Old by the seaside, I would have taken them up, Testament.
and kept them for use; without being solicit11. They are of opinion, that the Hebrew ous to know what ship they came out of, or is the primeval and original language ; that how far, and how long, they had been floatits structure shows it to be divine ; and that ing at the mercy of the wind and waves. a comparison with other languages shows its they should get from my hands into better priority.
hands, I should rejoice; being persuaded they 12. The Cherubim of the Scriptures were would revive in others the dying flame of mystical figures, of high antiquity and great Christian faith, as they did in bishop Horne signification. Those of Eden, and of the and myself. And why should any good men Tabernacle, and of Ezekiel's vision, all belong be afraid of them? There is nothing here to the same original. Irenæus has enough that tends to make men troublesome, as hereupon them to justify the Hutchinsonian ac- tics, fanatics, sectaries, rebels, or corrupters ceptation of them. The place they had in of any kind of useful learning. All these the Holy of Holies, and their use in the sacred things a man may believe, and still be a good ritual, sets them very high. Their appella- subject, a devout Christian, and a sound memtion, as Cherubim of glorynt does the same; ber of the church of England : perhaps more and the reasoning of St. Paul, from the shad- sound, and more useful, than he would have ows of the law to the priesthood of Christ, been without them. For myself I may say sets them highest of all; obliging us to infer, (as I do in great humilty) that, by following that they were symbolical of the divine pre- them through the course of a long life, I have sence. The secoapa (wa in the Revelation found myself much enlightened, much assisted of St. John (improperly called beasts; for in evidence and argument, and never corone of them was a man, and another a bird) rupted; as I hope my writings, if they should must be taken for the same: where the fig- last, will long bear me witness. If these ures of the old law bow down and surrender principles should come into use with other all power and glory to the evangelical figure people, I am confident they would turn of the Lamb that was slain. Here the doc- Christians into scholars, and scholars into trine is thought to labor a little: but, if the Christians; enabling them to demonstrate,
how shallow infidels are in their learning, See more on this subject, p. 48 of the Life. and how greatly every man is a loser by his | Compare Acts, vi. 2. Ο θεος της δοξης.
ignorance of revelation.
When we are describing Hutchinsonians, it him totally changed; and I rarely conversed would be unjust to forget, that they are true with him but to my disappointment. His churchmen and loyalists; steady in the fellow- mind, which used to be undisguised and open, ship of the apostles, and faithful to the mon- was now guarded at every pass : and, whatarchy under which they live. This, however, ever I proposed as formerly the had now an is not from what they find in Hutchinson, evasion ready. It seemed as if somebody had though it is to be found in him ;* but from hung a bell about my neck, so that I could what he has taught them to find, by taking not stir without raising an alarm. To a man, their principles from the Scripture. Had this rather shy of making proselytes, but always man been a splendid character and a great fa- pleased to meet with volunteers, fit for the vorite with the world, we might have received service of God and the church, my situation his doctrines with our mouths open, and our was distressing. I discovered that my friend eyes shut: but our dangers are quite of another was no longer his own man: I guessed at the kind. From him nothing is to be taken upon cause; and gave little trouble afterwards to trust : every thing must be sifted and exam- him or myself. But I lamented, that he had ined to the uttermost. And so let it; for lost a view of things which would have anithus it will be better understood. Prove it mated him; and, while it found exercise for well, and hold it fast. Of leaders and guides the best of his talents, would have given in learning beware: for, as wisely speaks the strength and effect to all his labors. author of the Pursuits of Literature, they pursuits in literature will now most probably ought, in this age, to be well watched : if be frivolous in themselves, and foreign to his they fall into dangerous mistakes, many fall profession as a clergyman. No man will do with them: and if evil once creeps in, and great things, when he yields to secular infinds public entertainment, no man can say Huence, where literary and religious ought to how or when we shall get rid of it. Such prevail. The vineyard is a better spot to culleaders are as watchful against us as we ought tivate than the high-way; and, when laborers to be against them. They neither enter in are wanted, it is pity any one should be led themselves, nor suffer other people if they can away upon other service, less pleasant and prevent it. Many young men would find less profitable. Why even of your ownemployment and amusement for their lives, selves judge ye not what is right?" said our if the way were open, and they were permit- Saviour to those, who could judge of the ted to inquire for themselves. Here, free weather from the face of the sky, without inquiry would be honorable, safe, and lauda- going to ask the Pharisees; and who ought, ble : but discouragements are often thrown after the same manner, to have judged for in their way; and I have met with some themselves in matters of much greater mo examples of it; one in partular, which made ment, from the signs of the mes and the a great impression upon me.
state of the church. I hazarded a great, and, Some years ago I became acquainted with as it may be thought, a rash assertion at p. 43 a young man, of bright parts, studious dispo- of the following Life: I said, “that, if we sition, and a pious turn of mind; in whose were ever to see such another man as Bishop conversation I found comfort and pleasure. Horne, he must come out of the same school." To such advice as I gave him, in regard to I am still of the same mind; for I think no his future studies, he was remarkably atten- other school will form such a man. I will tive. He saw a new field of learning open- now hazard a farther opinion to the same ing to his view, which promised him much effect : for I think it not improbable, that if profitable employment; and he seemed in some man were to arise, with abilities for the haste to enter upon it. As he was intended purpose, well prepared in his learning, and for the church, I flattered myself he would able to guide his words with discretion ; and take some active part in the defence of Chris- such a man were to take up the principles tian truth as a writer; together with the ad-called Hutchinsonian, and do them justice; vancement of Christian piety as a preacher. the world would find it much harder to stand With this prospect upon my mind, he left me against him than they are aware of, even with for many months. But, at his return, I found all the new biographers of the age to encour
age and assist them.
I may be called a No being whatever can have any power over but how many stranger visions have been
visionary when I say this ; that I cannot help: dan, but the God that made him : therefore no man can have any power over any other man, unless he realized of late, which, twenty years ago, has it from God. Parents have it over their chil. would have been pronounced utterly incredidren by creation, therefore from the Creator ; and ble! When strange things are to be done, rulers have it, by being God's ministers. This is Mr. Hutchinson's argument; and it is as close as a strange men arise to do them. One man, as demonstration.
powerful in truth as Voltaire was in error,
might produce very unexpected alterations, the case is not always to be given up in de-
has been hostile and destructive. As to confirmed infidelity, it is a deaf
а Nayland, July 30th, 1799. adder, never to be charmed. Yet even here