« AnteriorContinuar »
the Report which was read, and from the observations made by the gentlemen who addressed the meeting, it was evident, that much good had resulted from this benevolent institution. In the conduct of the seamen, a reformation of manners was perceptible; and in many vessels that had lately gone to sea, divine service was now regularly performed. The same benevolent spirit had also manifested itself towards this valuable class of men, not only in other ports of England, but also in America.
LONDON HIBERNIAN SOCIETY.
The fifteenth anniversary of this Society, was held on Saturday, May 5th, at the City of London Tavern. Lord Vis. Lorton was called to the chair.
This meeting was honoured with the presence of the Hon. Charles Shore, Rev. John Owen, Rev. Wm. Rushe, Sir St. Claudius Hunter, Rev. D. Thorpe, Rev. Dr. Collyer, Hon. and Rev. G. Noel, Rev. J. Addison Coombs, JohnO'Drescol, Rev. Lewis Way, Rev. B. Richings, Rev.B. Burn, G. Sandford, Esq. Rev. D. Wilson, and the Rev. W. Dealtry, who all spoke on the occasion.
The Report, which was read by the Bpv. J. Morison, stated, that during the last year, the funds of the institution, which had been in an exhausted condition, were greatly replenished, both by collections and donations. The number of schools assisted by this society, amounted to 534, which contained 54,520 pupils.
The various speeches delivered by the above gentlemen, all tended to show the advantages which must result from educating the peasantry of Ireland; and its necessity was enforced from the relative situationof the two countries, the compact which subsisted between them, and from moral obligation.
RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY.
On the morning of Thursday, May 10th, the twenty-second anniversary of this society was held at the City of London Tavern, when Joseph Rayner, Esq. was called to the chair. The meeting was opened by the Rev. Mr. Upton with solemn prayer, and the report was read by the Rev. Mr. James. The report set forth the great ob
ject which the society had in view, and furnished statements of its vast utility, not only at home, but also in foreign countries.
The principal speakers on this occasion were, the Rev. Mr.Martinet from Paris, Rev. Mr. Ward from Serampore, Rev. Dr. Pye Smith, Rev. James Hinton, Rev. Legh Richmond, and the Rev. Mr. Corwen.
In the speeches delivered by the above gentlemen, many pleasing and instructive anecdotes were introduced. Several instances were also adduced, to prove, that the Divine blessing had accompanied the exertions made by the friends of the institution; that some tracts which had been distributed, God had blessed to the conversion of souls in various portions of the globe; and that much religions knowledge had been diffused through the community, by their instrumentality.
PROTESTANT SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
The tenth anniversary of this society, was held on Saturday, May 12th, 1821, in a large room at the Old London Tavern, Bishopsgate-street. The preceding anniversary of this society had excited such a lively interest, that nearly four hours prior to the commencement of the present meeting, many persons had secured seats. This proved a timely precaution, as some hundreds who wished to attend, were compelled to retire, from the want ol room. In almost every countenance, that strong attachment to the sacred rights of conscience, and to religions liberty, which is the prerogative and the boast of every Englishman, wa> strongly depicted. It had also been expected, that Lord John Russel, son of the Duke of Bedford, would tase the chair, and thus sanction witnw presence that cause which has ior ages been associated with the name of his family and ancestors. «'» other avocations, however, preventeu him from attending; but his communication expressed the cordial co-ope" tion of his feelings, in the design' which they were assembled to pi"
m Mr'. Whitbread, M. P. for Middlesex, who entered the room accompanied by the Treasurer, Secret**-and Committee, amidst reiterate
plaudits, was called to the chair after some time, when it was known that his Lordship was unable to attend. The speeches delivered by the different speakers at this meeting, though full and appropriate, were all absorbed in that torrent of eloquence and vigour of thought, with which Mr. Wilks entertained and instructed the audience, in a speech that occupied nearly two hours and a half. This speech, which was frequently interrupted by bursts of reiterated applause, was followed by a string of resolutions, which were unanimously adopted. These were followed by the appointment of a committee to watch the progress of public measures, and to give the alarm should any attempts be made to introduce innovations, or accidentally to infringe upon the rights which the Protestant Dissenters enjoy.
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
The anniversary of this Society was held on Thursday, May 10th, in Great Queen-street chapel, when W. Alers Hankey, Esq. treasurer, was called to the chair. Among the numerous anniversaries which have taken place in the metropolis, no one seemed to excite a more lively interest than this of the London Missionary Society, »«d this was considerably augmented by the presence of Prince Ratafe, and of Mr. Campbell the celebrated Missionary traveller, who has penetrated farther, perhaps, into the interior of South Africa, than any other European. Even to those who do not perhaps feel that interest in the spread of the Gospel which every Christian ought to feel, the suppression of the slave trade, and the civilization of Africa, cannot but afford cause for ""•equivocal satisfaction.
At this meeting the speakers were «M Rev. Br. Bogue, Rev. Mr. Ward, «cv. J. Brown, Rev. Dr. SteinkopfT, Jwv. J. Saunders, J. Taylor, J. A. ^ombs, T. Jackson, Mr. Marsden, *• Mead Ray, W. B. Williams, Col. M-tmro, and E. Phillips, Esq. The statements given by these speakers, '"ow the rapid spread which the gosP?l has lately taken in different parts 01 the heathen world, particularly |WK>ng the Islanders in the South i Ciu wlw seem unanimously to stretch IM» their hands unto God.
LONDON SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIANITY AMONG THE JEWS.
During several years, this truly benevolent institution has laboured under some discouraging circumstances; and it was observed with pain, that many persons, who had previously contributed to its support, had begun to grow weary, from seeing little or no fruit of their labour. Still, however, it had some warm and persevering friends, who, relying upon the Divine veracity, prediction, and promises, have continued their patronage and exertions with unwearied assiduity.
The anniversary of the present year, (Sir Thomas Baring in the chair,) seemed to furnish a more pleasing prospect than any which had preceded it; but still it appeared from the report, that although the duty of endeavouring to evangelize the sons of Abraham was obvious, much room still remained for the exercise of faith and hope. Some instances indeed were adduced, to prove the beneficial effects of this philanthropic society, by stating specific facts which former exertions had called into existence. This meeting was numerously and respectably attended. Among the speakers were, R. Grant, Esq. Rev. Legh Richmond, Right Rev. Bishop of Gloucester, Rev. Mr. Bushe, Rev. Lewis Way, Rev. E. Burn, Rev. Mr. Jowett, Sir C. S. Hunter, Rev. D. Wilson, and others.
There is scarcely any fact in existence, that can tend more powerfully to prove the authenticity of the scriptures than the phenomenon which the Jews exhibit. Their characteristic obstinacy, so long foreseen, and so clearly foretold, continues to make a constant appeal to our senses.
BRITISH INDIA SOCIETY.
On Saturday, May 26th, a meeting was held at the great room of theThatchedHouse Tavern, London, for the purpose of considering the propriety of founding " a Society for the Moral and Intellectual Improvement of the Native Inhabitants of British India." This was a new institution; but from the vast numbers, and high respectability of those who attended, proofs were given, that the spirit of benevolence, for which England has so long
and so justly been celebrated, still continues to glow with unabated fervour. About 12 o'clock, the chair was taken by the Right Hon. J. C. Villiers, M. P. On his right hand sat the Earl of Clare, Lord Teignmouth, Lord Dunally, Lord Gambler, Sir James Mackintosh, M. P. Sir Wm. Burroughs, and several gentlemen of distinction, who had tilled oHicial situations in India. On his left sat the Lord Bishop of Gloucester, Lord Gosport, Wm. Wilberforce, Esq. M. P. The Right Hon. J. Sullivan, Admiral Sir J. Saumarez, Fowell Buxton, Esq. M. P. and several Directors of the East India Company. The room was crowded to excess.
In the various speeches that were delivered, the degraded character of the Hindoos was set forth in a most luminous manner, and the duty of instructing those whom Divine Providence had committed to our care, was enforced by arguments, which, on moral and political grounds, appeared irresistible. It was observed by Lord Teignmouth, that about fifty yean since, when he went out to India, he recollects a request made by a native, then in his service, that a letter should be written to his friend who resided at a distance, soliciting him to send a particular stone to him, which he described, as he wanted it to make a God!
The business of the meeting was highly interesting; and the grand object which the society had in view, as expressed in its title, met with the unanimous approbation of all present, who appeared to render it support by their cordial co-operation. The Hindoos were represented as possessing a teachable disposition, and as already prepared for the reception of those truths which can alone ennoble man, and make him wise unto salvation.
ROYAL UNIVERSAL DISPENSARY FOR CHILDREN, ST. ANDREW'S HILL, DOCTOR'S COMMONS.
This humane and benevolent institution was founded in the year 1816, by Dr. John Davies, for the sole purpose of affording immediate medical and surgical aid to the necessitous poor in all parts of the metropolis and its vicinity, without waiting for any other recommendation than that which calamity and distress can always urge.
On Thursday, the 19th of April, a special meeting of the Directors and Governors was held at the Mansionhouse, the Lord Mayor in the chair. The meeting was convened to receive a communication through Lord Sidmouth, from his Majesty to the Duke of Beaufort, one of the Vice Patrons, signifying that his Majesty had been graciously pleased to take this charity under his Royal protection.
Since the commencement of this institution, no less than 13,202 objects have been relieved; and with a design to facilitate its usefulness, stations have been appointed at Lambeth and Soutbwark on the same benevolent principles.
ASYLUM FOE THE RECOVERY OF
On Tuesday, May 29th, a meeting of
offer. This institution appears to have originated in the Port of London society. The object is to protect, facilitate, and cherish, these laudable measures, and to promote, by all judicious means, the spiritual interest of the sailors.
Of several other benevolent institutions in London, the anniversaries were held during the month of May. Many of these, though of local application, must be considered as of much importance to several branches of the community.
The same liberal spirit has been diffused throughout the community at large, so that there are few towns in the united kingdom, which, in proportion to their magnitude, wealth, and extent of population, have not emulated the metropolis. These, in their united energies, even more than her victorious fleets and armies, conspire to render Great Britain the queen of Isles, and to make her a praise in the whole earth.
ON THE ORIGIN AND NATURE OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE RESPECTING GOD AND DIVINE THINGS.
(Continued from col. 533.)
The preceding paragraphs of this article relate to the substratum of matter; the following, to the origin and nature of our knowledge respecting God and divine things ;—a change therefore has been adopted in the title.
The present inquiry is, whether all our notions of the spiritual world are purely negative. On this subject, as on most others, men are not agreed in their opinions; and they differ, because the only standard by which it can be decided has not been constantly appealed to. Our knowledge of spiritual objects, is one of those phenomena about which philosophers "are in the dark." And humilitating, to the pride of reason, is the reflection, that though they have been investigating, or pretending to investigate, «'e nature and operations of the human mind for several thousand years, with j" nine-tenths of the phenomena °'. mind, they are quite out at sea, *>th respect to their origin." So little indeed is the progress that has been made in mental knowledge, that the Wlsest of men in this branch of learnNo. 29.—Vol. III.
ing assert, that it is yet in its infancy, and the conflicting opinions of metaphysicians bear them out in the assertion.
When Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding made its appearance, the doctrine of innate ideas was generally believed; since that time it has been gradually losing ground. It received its death-blow from the pen of that author, and it is now, by most metaphysicians, regarded as " a wretched relic of a dark and barbarous age." But as most theists, in their attempts to demonstrate the existence of a Deity, had urged, as an argument in their favour, that, " the notion of a Deity was imprinted on the minds of all men," the levelling of this mound, which ignorance had raised, was viewed with no small alarm, by many excellent men, who imagined that its demolition would be followed by an inundation of infidelity. Time has, however, proved that their fears were groundless, and that there is no necessary connection between that doctrine, and the proof or belief of an intelligent first cause.
Some facts stated by Mr. Locke, and on which he founded his reasonings, were in substance as follows ;— that a language existed, which contained no name for God; andapeople, in whose minds no traces of a Deity could be found; and, as " God was not in all their thoughts," so tliey had no priest, no temple, no worship. And though abundance of ridicule has been poured on him, for what his opponents call "his credulity in giving ear to the incredible tales of Thevenot and others," the relations he believed and repeated, have been corroborated and confirmed by men on whose veracity may be placed the most implicit reliance. The intelligence received from the missionaries to the heathen world, establishes the mortifying truth, that where no ray from the orb of revelation has fallen, there, "the world by wisdom knew not God." Their state is more deplorable than was at first imagined. The Rev. Basil Wood concludes his account of the life and death of Mowhee, a native of New Zealand, thus; " I have only to add one remark, which much surprised myself and friends: it was Mowhee's opinion, that the New Zcalanders have no idea of the Supreme Being; that they perform nu religious wor2U
ship to tbe grotesque figures found in their possession; and that these strange and distorted figures have no reference to a religious use. I have sifted him on this subject, and could only discover that they seemed to believe in some evil spirit named Atuce, who greatly annoyed them, by entangling their nets and oversetting their canoes."—Missionary Register for February 1817, page 79.
Other nations are in a similar state of moral degradation. A converted African, in a conversation with the writer, assured him, that until he had left his native land, he never heard a name for God, nor ever thought of such a being; and it was his opinion, that the aged persons of his nation were as ignorant as himself on this subject. He observed further, that when he was first told of the existence of such a being, he laughed at his informer, and did not believe him.— Query. If no revelation had been given, would men, by the rnere exercise of reason, have discovered the existence, unity, and eternity, of the divine Being?
Nor are heathens less ignorant of other subjects of a divine nature, than they are of the being and perfections of God. In some instances, the state of their minds may be aptly compared to paper on which no characters are inscribed; in others, to paper on which is depicted the most unmeaning, fantastic, or disgusting forms. But whether viewed as enveloped in ignorance, or under the domination of a cruel or a foolish superstition, their condition demonstrates the necessity and utility of a divine revelation. And contrasting their mental condition with that of those who are enlightened by the gospel, the natural inference is, that all divine knowledge is derived from revelation.
As all divine knowledge emanates from the volume of inspiration, it is to this source that we are indebted for whatever knowledge we have of the spiritual world. And it is to the nature of this knowledge that your correspondent's remark evidently refers. I have now lying before me a compendium of the different theories that have been adopted to account for the origin, and to explain the nature of that knowledge which the mind possesses of spiritual things; and most of them proceed upon the erroneous
supposition that it has a direct perception of these things, similar to that which it has of the objects of sense. And though your correspondent's opinion is the reverse of this, it is not, I conceive, less wide of the truth. The principle that all our notions of the nature of spiritual objects are purely negative, annihilates, as far as a principle can be said to do it, all divine knowledge! It extinguishes the light of heaven; and leaves us, like madmen, staring at vacuity!!! Knowledge has been defined to be "that in the mind which answers to its object." And the absence of something answerable constitutes ignorance. When, therefore, negative notions refer to a whole class of objects, and to every thing relating to the nature of those objects, thin indeed are the partitions that divide the bounds between negative knowledge and sheer ignorance. If all the information we possess of the spiritual world is derived from the sacred volume, and if all our notions of the objects of that world are negative, it follows that God has revealed to us, not what spiritual things are, but what they are not, and a negative revelation is an object that startles and confounds my understanding. Whatever is the kind or quality of our notions, as they refer to the spiritual world, they must agree with that revelation which gives them birth; and it is to the nature of revelation, as well as to the notions which the mind actually possesses, that we must appeal for the decision of the question.
(To be continued.)
Review.—The Cottage ofPella, a Tale of Palestine; with other Poems. By John Holland, Author of Sheffield Park, 4'c Svo. pp. 80. London, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, | Brown. 1821.
In our number for October last, col. 854, we had an occasion to notice a poetical production of this Author, entitled " Sheffield Park." Hismuse has since taken a bolder flight, visited the regions of Palestine, retired into the periods of antiquity, and brought the village of Pella to our view.
In a preceding number of the Imperial Magazine, we published a critique on the Rev. H. H. Milma»s