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the effect, has subjected even that great philosopher to the imputation of a weakness from which nothing human seems entirely free.
With regard to the ancient philosophers, their opinions on this subject, built (as they must be built) entirely on hypothesis, and at variance with each other, are entitled to no respect; at the same time it is worth while to observe that the nearer this ancient philosophy approached to God's original time of revealing himself and his works to man, so much the more clearly and rationally were the mysteries of nature commented on and explained: it was when the various schools of philosophy arose, that the minds. of men were perplexed with vain deceit. This will clearly appear to any person who will take the trouble of inspecting those ancient poems, which though they may not actually have proceeded from the pen of Orpheus, certainly contain the philosophical and theological principles which he introduced into Greece.
Ζεὺς πρῶτος γένετο, Ζεὺς ὕστατος ἀρχικέραυνος,
Ζεὺς κεφαλὴ, Ζεὺς μέσσα· ΔΙΟΣ Δ ̓ ΕΚ ΠΑΝΤΑ ΤΕΤΥΚΤΑΙ. κ. τ. λ.
With regard to modern philosophers, who have reasoned on these subjects as unconnected with Revelation, we find their theories as inconclusive and discordant as those of the ancients themselves. Some, for instance, have excluded matter from the whole system of creation, referring all things to an ideal sensation; others again have resolved spirit itself into matter, making the mind to result from the organisation of material parts, and dependent on that organisation for its existence; whilst the various degrees of intermediate absurdity betwixt these two extremes, have been diligently filled up by human ingenuity.
Those however who have been most eminent for piety as well as talent, and who have contributed most to advance human knowlege, have declared against the theory of our Author and his ancients and although authority be not argument, yet when prejudices, to which authority is brought for the purpose of giving currency, are to be combated, it is very satisfactory to be able to bring forward on our side the names of Bacon and Locke, of Cudworth and Hooker.
In this part of the question, however, there remains one name of mighty import to be wrested from our Author, who has appropriated it to his own use: I mean that of Newton; whose opinions are thus unfairly stated. "Convinced of this, Sir Isaac Newton, whatever may have been his outward professions, was deeply persuaded of the eternity of matter,"-"by meditating on the nature and property of space, this great man saw that its eternity was certain and undoubted; and passing from one link of
the chain to the other, he became no less certain that matter was so." pp. 31, 32. Now without staying to ask on what authority this anonymous sceptic attributes to Newton opinions contrary to those which he openly professed, it may be sufficient to select a few sentences from the summary of his philosophical tenets, made by one of the most accurate and judicious investigators that ever lived.
"All natural things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid particles above mentioned, variously associated in the first creation, by the counsel of an intelligent agent; for it became him who created them, to set them in order; and it is unphilosophical to seek for any other origin of the world, or to pretend that it might arise out of a chaos, by the mere laws of nature; though being once formed it may continue by those laws for many ages." "God governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord of the universe. The supreme Deity is an eternal, infinite and absolutely perfect being, omnipotent and omniscient." Again, "It is universally allowed that God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always and every where." These then may be depended on, I think, as the real opinions of Newton: those of the Roman Catholic Poet' brought forward by our Author, are not worthy of a moment's attention. To what conclusion then do we arrive in this part of our subject? That the theory of our Author is not only inconsistent with philosophy, but is opposed to the most respectable of all human authority: it becomes our duty, finally, to show that it is also inconsistent with the light of Revelation. For if (as the great Lord Bacon justly observes) "every thing relating to the nature of the soul must be bound over at last unto religion, there to be determined and defined, for otherwise it still lies open to the errors and delusions of sense," how much more necessary is it to refer all our ideas concerning the nature of the Deity to the same invaluable guide!
5. Great indeed is the benevolence of the Deity, who by the superior light of Revelation has illumined the understanding of his creatures, and put them into possession of knowlege, as well as privileges, from which they had been so long precluded. But in substituting faith for reason, he neither shuts out reason, nor imposes on us a blind unsatisfactory faith: in imparting to us a Revelation existing on the foundation of prophecy and miracles, he gives us sufficient proof of its authority, though he permits reason to sift and examine its evidences and records. Satisfied
1 Brucker, from whose work Enfield has compiled his History of Philosophy.
with these we may freely receive its doctrines, as fixed immutable principles, which will make us wise unto salvation; and may leave to philosophy those subtle metaphysical questions, which there is more merit in despising than in solving. But as human opinions vary on almost all topics, we must not be surprised if we find differences to exist on many important points of Scriptural doctrine, or that some persons endeavor to wrest those points to their own unworthy purposes. Our Author, for instance, contrary to the general opinion of the Christian Church, has asserted that "the eternity of the world is not contrary to what is taught in the Bible," though Jehovah is throughout the Old Testament distinguished from false gods, as the Maker of heaven and earth; and though in the New Testament the Apostles begin their instruction of the ignorant Gentiles with that distinguishing attribute, the omnipotence of God, "who made heaven and earth, and all things therein."
"The word (he observes) in the first chapter of Genesis which by our translators is rendered created, in the Hebrew means disposed, arranged in order: and accordingly, it is said that, before the creation, the matter was without form; and the Ruah Elohim-Spirit of God-moved on the face of the waters. It is evident, therefore, that the Author of Genesis had no conception of what is now commonly understood by the word creation; and only meant by it the formation, or re-formation of the earth." p. 12.
Now though we should in this case grant his premises, we may very safely deny his conclusion. It is possible that there may have been a succession of worlds before our own, but it would not thence follow, either that the succession was infinite, or that matter was self-existent. Supposing that the creation which Moses has described be considered merely as a re-formation of the world, what proof is there that the primary matter, of which it has been so re-formed, was not originally created by the Deity? What proof, I say, can be brought against the express interpretation of the New Testament, which declares that "God made the world by his Son"-that "all things were, or were made, by him" the newтoróxos, by which probably is meant (as Bishop Blomfield well observes') the first producer of the whole creation; which interpretation seems to be rendered probable by the words which immediately follow, " For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether
1 Πάντα δι ̓ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, John i. 3.
2 Lectures on the Gospel of St. John, p. 16.
they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist." It will not detract from our argument, if we observe, that this doctrine and interpretation, regarding both the Father and the Son, received the sanction of a general Council, as the several clauses to this effect in the Nicene Creed plainly indicate. This part of my argument might, as the reader must know, be carried to a very great length: enough I trust has been said to show, that, whether we consider the world with reference to its first great Cause, or to the wisdom and goodness of its Creator, we are bound to receive with implicit confidence that declaration of Scripture which asserts that "God saw every thing which he had made, and behold it was very good.”
1 Col. i. 16, 17.
ERRONEOUS PRINCIPLES AND RUINOUS CONSEQUENCES
FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIAL SYSTEMS
ILLUSTRATIVE OF THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, AND MORAL CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE.
Founded on the "Statistical Illustrations of the British Empire." Published by J. Miller,
5, New Bridge Street, Blackfriars.
BY JOHN POWELL.
"The people are destroyed for lack of knowlege."
HOSEA IV. 6.
A thousand stories which the ignorant hear and believe, die away when the computist takes them within his grasp." DR. JOHNSON.