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either from its own inherent perfec- which may be the object of certain tion, or from the perfection of that knowledge. Eternal Being, of whom it is an attri- If it be true, that all knowledge must bute; but from the nature of that ob- be finite, which is circumscribed by any ject, action, or event, which, while thing that does not include an absolodged in futurity, cannot have any lute impossibility, then it is true, that formal existence.
every species of knowledge which does We have already proved, that the not include certainty in its own nature, creation of beings whose actions may must necessarily fall short of infinite be contingent, as it involves no con- perfection; and in the same proportradiction, is perfectly possible to in- tion that it is defective, it ceases to be
Contingent actions we an attribute of God. This is a concluhave defined to be such as are poised sion, which can only be repelled by upon the possibility of being or not proving, that, for God to have a cerbeing; and it has been argued, that tainty of knowledge of an event or acmany human actions furnish all the tion, which is uncertain in its nature, evidence of their being contingent, that involves a contradiction. But where might be expected from such as we shall we find those contradictory ideas may suppose should be expressly de- which the proposition is supposed to clared to be so. Now if any actions or include? If God has a certain knowevents can be supposed to be uncertain ledge of things as they actually are, in their natures, they must be those and some things are uncertain in their which are contingent. But, if the un- own nature, it follows, that God must certainty of the action, will prevent the have a certain knowledge of uncertain certainty of the divine knowledge, we actions and events; but this implies must make the certainty of infinite dis- neither contradiction nor absurdity. cernment dependent upon the certainty Should it be asserted, that infinite of that action or event, which is the knowledge can discern no action or object of it. This is a conclusion event, unless that action or event be which appears to be undeniable. For, certain, we must then identify the cerif God can have no certainty of know- tainty of the event with the certainty ledge, unless the event or action which of knowledge; and this will lead us is its object be absolutely certain, the to inquire from what primary cause certainty of the event or action becomes the certainty of this action or event is necessary to the certainty of infinite derived. This inquiry will necessarily knowledge; and, consequently, this carry us up to God; since no one, it is knowledge, or discernment, is at once presumed, will pretend to assert, that dependent for its certainty upon that the absolute certainty of actions or action or event from which this cer- events can be derived from any other tainty is derived. But to suppose an primary source. We may, indeed, attribute of Jehovah to exist, without amuse ourselves in our retrospective inherently including the utmost per- ascent, with volition, disposition, and fection of which its nature is suscep-motive; or we may perplex our intible, is an absurdity which can hardly quiries with the mysterious influence be exceeded by any thing, but the of passive power, or negative energy; monstrous idea, that its perfection is and endeavour to infer a positive effect to be derived from an extrinsic cause, from causes which have only a negawhich can have no necessary exist- tive existence; but, if an action or an
event be rendered absolutely certain, Nor are these the only absurdities no power could have primarily renwhich will follow from the supposi- dered it so, except that of God. But tion, that certainty in the divine know- to suppose, that the Eternal God has ledge necessarily implies certainty in so constituted actions and events, as the action or event which is its object. to render them certain, in order that It is not in the nature of simple know- he might know them, is to conclude ledge to give existence to an action, or that he would have been ignorant of an event, because simple knowledge their possible and actual issues, if he can never become the efficient cause had not established a chain of suborof action. And on exactly the same dinate causes, which should finally principle, it is not in the nature of cer- terminate in the certainty that was tainty in knowledge, to give existence required. If the certainty of an acto certainty in an action or an event, ) tion or event, be necessary to the certainty of infinite discernment, it fol- | the Almighty knows all things, actions, lows, that the certainty of the event or and events, exactly as they are, we action must be presupposed, as the may deliver our own sentiments in the ground on which the certainty of the language of Dr. Clarke. “ God,” he divine knowledge rests. Under these observes, has ordained some things circumstances we would ask,-When as absolutely certain,-these he knows the power of the Almighty primarily as absolutely certain.
He has orrendered all events and actions cer- dained other things as contingent, tain, through the establishment of con- these he knows as contingent. It stitution, motive, disposition, and voli- would be absurd to say, that he for tion, did his knowledge coexist with knows a thing as only contingent, it, and perceive with certainty the which he has made absolutely certain. issues of his power, or not? If it did And it would be absurd to say, that thus coexist and perceive these issues, he foreknows a thing to be absolutely we have certainty associated with in- certain, which he has made continfinite knowledge, respecting an event, gent.” before that event was rendered cer
(To be continued.) tain; but if it did not thus perceive these issues, power must have operated without knowledge, and have caused Review.—“ Scripture and Calvinism at actions and events to become certain variance, clearly evinced by a philoloin order that they might be render- gical consideration of some texts which cd objects of infinite discernment! are perverted from their original If we admit the former, the position meaning by the disciples of Calvin." must be granted for which we con- By the Rev. Edward Smyth. Mantend ; namely, that the certainty of an chester. pp. 66. 12mo. cvent is not absolutely necessary to The passages of scripture, on which the give certainty to infinite knowledge; Rev. Author of this pamphlet professes and, if we admit the latter, we must to animadvert, are the following. “For conclude, that God, without having who maketh thee to differ from another? any certain knowledge of future actions and what hast thou that thou didst not and events, provided for their exist-receive? Now if thou didst receive it, ence and certainty, and that when this why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst was done, they became the objects of not received it? 1 Cor. iv. 7.” “Thy infinite discernment.
people shall be willing in the day of thy If the certainty of the divine know- power. Psal. cx. 3." “ For thereledge, respecting any future action or fore we both labour and suffer reproach, event, depend upon the certainty of because we trust in the living God, that future action or event, (and this who is the Saviour of all men, espewe think must be granted, by all who cially of those that believe. 1 Tim. iv. make the certainty of actions and 10." Nevertheless the foundation of events necessary to the certainty of the God standeth sure, having this seal, divine knowledge,) it is evident that The Lord knoweth them that are his. the divine knowledge of actions and And, Let every one that nameth the events, could not be coexistent with name of Christ, depart from iniquity. those operations of power which ren- 2 Tim. ii. 19.” dered them absolutely certain. And, The primary design of this pamphlet consequently, as power in this case appears to be, what the title page exmust have operated without know- presses ; a philological consideration ledge, in the giving of certainty to of the above passages. In its final these events and actions, all the train result it leads to conclusions which are of subordinate causes, stretching on- not friendly to Calvinism. The Author ward to their most remote issues,
must seems well acquainted with the subject have been established in progressive that he has taken in hand. To the uncertainty, even though they were routine of argumentation, he is no effected by omnipotence. These are stranger; and he well knows how to some of the consequences which ap- enforce with becoming energy, the evipear inevitably to follow, from the sup- dence which he has adduced. But position, that the certainty of future unhappily, like most other works writactions and events, is necessary to the ten on these long-controverted doccertainty of God's knowledge of them. trines, this pamphlet will be viewed in : But admitting, on the contrary, that different lights. Those who are friendly
to its sentiments will discover many | ing more nearly to plausible absurdity, things to commend; and those who are than that which would persuade us to hostile will find many things to con- discard artificial language, and to subdemn.
stitute, in its stead, those Signs which Taking up the subject on a popular arise from the dictates of nature. “To ground, the pamphlet is not badly writ- the most superficial observer,” it has ten. The Author, however, though a been argued, “ many of these signs are strenuous advocate for the Arminian too distinctly marked to be misundercause, does not advert to the modern stood. They are the sure indications improvements which have been made of pain, of pleasure, of grief, and of joy, in that system which he opposes. On and, in short, of almost every passion the great controverted question, re- by which the individuals of the human specting the determining cause of the race are affected.” Hence it has been will, nothing is said. One passage in- inferred, that if a minute attention deed, which seems to have a bearing were paid to events and circumstances, on this question, is introduced; namely, as they rise into being, and pass before “How often would I have gathered, &c. us, the expressions of nature might but ye would not.” Hence it is in- be caught on most occasions; and ferred, that the will of Christ was not in process of time a desirable species exerted to subdue the wills of his op- of universal language would be found posers, and that the event proved quite to result from repeated observations. contrary to that which he willed. But the importance of theory is best
To the Author's expositions, his appreciated, by seeing it reduced to opponents will, no doubt, raise many practice, as it appears before us in the objections. But the difficulties he has following tale: started, upon a supposition that the King James VI. on his removal to Calvinistic interpretation of these scrip-London, was waited on by the Spanish tures is correct, are far from being Ambassador, who was a man of some unworthy of regard. To confirm his erudition; but who had strangely inown opinion, he adverts to numerous corporated with his learning, a whimpassages which assert general redemp- sical notion, that every country ought tion. These he has arranged in a com- to have a school, in which a certain manding order. He has then finally order of men should be taught to inclosed his remarks, with such pious terpret signs; and that the most exsentiments, as wage an irreconcileable pert in this department ought to be war with antinomianism. The obser- dignified with the title of Professor of vations are in general sensible and ju- Signs. If this plan were adopted, he dicious; and the whole pamphlet ap- contended, that most of the difficulties pears to have been written in an excel- arising from the ambiguity of language, lent spirit.
and the imperfect acquaintance which Into those abstract and speculative people of one nation had with the arguments, from which the wisest and tongue of another, would be done best of men have not been able finally to away. Signs, he argued, arose from draw any satisfactory conclusions, the the dictates of nature, and, as they Author has not entered. His reason- were the same in every country, there ings are founded on scriptures, and on could be no danger of their being mishis interpretation of them. The prac- understood. tical tendency, however, of what he has Full of this project, the Ambassador advanced, will amply compensate for was lamenting one day before the any deficiencies in profundity which King, that the nations of Europe were may appear. In this, both those whom wholly destitute of this grand desiderahe opposes, and those whom he de- tum; and he strongly recommended fends, may alike find some salutary and the establishment of a college founded profitable employment. Under these upon the simple principles he had considerations, we feel no hesitation in suggested. James, either to humour recommending it to public notice. this Quixotic foible, or to gratify his
own ambition at the expense of truth,
observed in reply, “Why, Sir, I have DOUBTFUL INTERPRETATION OF SIGNS.
a Professor of Signs in one of the AMONG the wild speculations in northernmost colleges in my domiwhich theorists have ocoasionally in- nions; but the distance is perhaps dulged, there is scarcely one approach-six hundred miles, so that it will No. 2,--VOL. 1.
be impracticable for you to have an duct any farce to which his abilities interview with him." Pleased with were competent. On sending for this unexpected information, the Am- Geordy, for that was the butcher's bassador exclaimed: “ If it had been name, they communicated to him the six hundred leagues, I would go to see tale ; and instructing him in the part him; and I am determined to set out he was to act, he readily undertook to in the course of three or four days.” become Professor of Signs; especially
The King, who now perceived that as he was not to speak one word in the he had committed himself
, endeavour- Ambassador's presence, on any preed to divert him from his purpose ; but tence whatever. finding this impossible, he immediately Having made these arrangements, it caused letters to be written to the col- was formally announced to the Ambaslege, stating the case as it really stood, sador, that the Professor would be in and desiring the Professors to get rid town in the course of a few days, of the Ambassador in the best manner when he might expect a silent interthey were able, without exposing their view. Pleased with this information, Sovereign. Disconcerted at this strange the learned foreigner thought that he and unexpected message, the Professors would put his abilities at once to the scarcely knew how to proceed. They, test, by introducing into his dumb lanhowever, at length thought to put off guage, some subject that should be at their august visitant, by saying that once difficult, interesting, and importhe Professor of Signs was not at home, tant. and that his return would be very un- When the day of interview arrived, certain. Having thus fabricated the Geordy was cleaned up, decorated story, they made preparations to re- with a learned wig, and covered over ceive the illustrious stranger; who, with a singular gown, in every respect keeping his word, in due time reached becoming his station. He was then their abode.
seated in a chair of state, in one of On his arrival, being introduced with their large rooms, while the Ambassabecoming solemnity, he began to in- dor, and the trembling Professors, quire, who among them had the honour waited in an adjoining apartment. It of being Professor of Signs? He was was at length announced, that the told, in reply, that neither of them had learned Professor of Signs was ready that exalted honour; but that the to receive His Excellency, who, on learned gentleman, after whom he in- entering the room, was struck with quired, was gone into the Highlands; astonishment at his venerable and digthat they conceived his stay would be nified appearance. As none of the considerable ; but that no one among Professors would presume to enter, to them could even conjecture the period witness the interview, under a preof his return. "I will wait his coming,” tence of delicacy, (but, in reality, for replied the Ambassador, “if it be fear that their presence might have twelve months.”
some effect upon the risible muscles Finding him thus determined, and of Geordy's countenance,) they waited, fearing, from the journey he had al- with inconceivable anxiety, the result ready undertaken, that he might be of this strange adventure, upon which as good as his word, the learned Pro- depended their own credit, that of the fessors had recourse to another stra- King, and in some degree the honour of tagem. To this they found them- the nation. selves driven, by the apprehension As this was an interview of signs, the that they must entertain him so long Ambassador began with Geordy, by as he chose to tarry; and in case he holding up one of his fingers; Geordy should unfortunately weary out their replied, by holding up two. The patience, the whole affair must ter- Ambassador then held up three ; minate in a discovery of the fraud. Geordy answered by clenching his
They knew a butcher, who had been fist, and looking sternly. The Ambasin the habit of supplying the collegessador then took an orange from his occasionally with meat. This man, pocket, and held it up; Geordy rethey thought, with a little instruction, turned the compliment, by taking from might serve their purpose. He was, his pocket a piece of a barley cake, however, blind on one eye; but he had which he exhibited in a similar manmuch drollery and impudence about ner. The Ambassador, satisfied with him, and very well knew how to con- | the vast attainments of the learned
Professor, then bowed before him with | say, you have only one eye. I then profound reverenco, and retired. held up two, to let him know that my
On rejoining the agitated Professors, one eye was as good as both of his. they fearfully began to inquire what He then held up three, as much as to His Excellency thought of their learned say, we have only three eyes between brother. “He is a perfect miracle," us. This was so provoking, that I replied the Ambassador; “ his worth bent my fist at the scoundrel; and, is not to be purchased by the wealth had it not been for your sakes, I should of half the Indies.” “May we pre- certainly have risen from the chair, sume to descend to particulars?" re- pulled off my wig and gown, and turned the Professors, who now began taught him how to insult a man, beto think themselves somewhat out of cause he has had the misfortune to danger. “ Gentlemen,” said the Am- lose an eye. The impudence of the bassador, when I first entered into fellow, however, did not stop here; for his presence, I held up one finger, to he then pulled out an orange from his denote that there is one God. He pocket, and held it up; as much as to then held up two, signifying that the say, Your poor beggarly country canFather should not be divided from the not produce this. I then pulled out a Son. I then held up three; intimating piece of good cake, and held it up, that I believed in Father, Son, and giving him to understand, that I did Holy Ghost. He then clenched his not care a farthing for his trash. Neifist, and, looking sternly at me, signified ther do I; and I only regret that I did that these Three are One; and that he not thrash the scoundrel's hide, that would defy me, either to separate he might remember how he insulted them, or to make additions. I then me and abused my country.”-We took out an orange from my pocket, may learn from hence, that if there are and held it up; to shew the goodness not two ways of telling a story, there of God, and to signify that he gives to are two ways of understanding signs, his creatures not only the necessaries, and also of interpreting them. but even the luxuries, of life. Then, to my utter astonishment, this wonderful man took from his pocket a piece of bread;
thus assuring me, that this was It has sometimes been said, that men the staff of life, and was to be preferred and women are frequently coupled to all the luxuries in the world. Be- together in wedlock, like rabbits when ing thus satisfied with his proficiency they are sold; namely, that a fat and and great attainments in this science, a lean one go together, by which I silently withdrew, to reflect upon what means both pass on tolerably well I had witnessed."
through the market of human life. Diverted with the success of their Some years since, a learned Doctor, stratagem, the Professors continued to who was considered as a pillar in entertain their visitor until he thought Westminster school, was united to a prudent to withdraw. No sooner had he lady, who had been brought up in a retired, than the opportunity was seized, different warren, on which the sun of to learn from Geordy, in what manner science had but sparingly darted its he had proceeded to give the Ambas- beams. A friend dining with them sador such wonderful satisfaction ; one day, was asked by the lady, they being at a loss to conceive how if he would take
some Parmacity he could have caught his ideas with cheese. Parmacity !” exclaimed so much promptitude, and have re- the Doctor; you mean Parmasan, plied to them with proportionable rea- my dear.” His dear, however, was diness. But, that one story might not not disposed to take the hint, and borrow any features from the other, a violent contest ensued. After matthey concealed from Geordy all they ters had reached an unpleasant height, had learned from the Ambassador; it was mutually agreed that the affair and desiring him to begin with his re- should be submitted to the judgment lation, he proceeded in the following of the visitor, who found himself in a
situation, for which his dinner made “ When the rascal came into the but a sorry recompense. The question room, after gazing at me a little, what itself included very little difficulty ; but do you think, gentlemen, that he did ? the decision involved consequences, He held up one finger, as much as to which were not likely to be pleasing