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that we may
which would require, for its solution, a knowledge of the consti. tution of nature and of the system of moral government so much beyond what lias been revealed, or probably could be communicated to our limited understandings, that no great benefit can fairly be expected from its examination. We should generally be inclined to say, that nothing useful can be learnt from such discussious, unless, indeed, they teach us to form a humble opimon of our own faculties. It is happy for us, that every queslion, sbich involves any material duty, is made accessible even
the most ordinary understandings. The distinction was intentonal. “ The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but shose things rohich are revealed, belong unto us, and to our chil diren for ever,
do all the words of this law." Deut. 23ix. 29.
We are far, however, from intending to blame Mr. S. It was not in mere kantomess that he entered upon this abstruse subjert. He was compelled to notice it by the express words of Nir. Burneti's request; and the manner in which he has conducted the enquiry, evinces both good sense and good feeling. He does not rashily promise a perfect solution of the difficulis. Ail that he undertakes to shew is, ibat neither the existence, nor edie enient, of natural and moral evil, can reasonably interfere with that belief of the benevolence of the Creator, which the preponderating tendency of his works obliges us to entertain. to an oprejudiced mind, his argument must, we think, bring conviction; and unliappy as the topic certainly is, he has made the discussion of it a vehicle for many truly sensible and truly pious remarks, on a variety of important subjects, intimately connected with our present and future happiness.
After all, difficulties will occur to those who seek for them; and moral demonstration cannot force conviction upon the mind So istesistibly as mathematical; but this very circumstance has, in this case, its attendant advantages. It affords an unescep. tionable opportunity of prolation, admirably adapted to exercise the highest faculties of a reasonable being.
“ The divine plan, as far as we are able to trace it, exhibits a design of giving our faculties this exertion, and of making belief not a necessary assent of the mind, but, in a certain sense, à moral virtue. Throughout the sacred writings there is a remarkable absence of all endeavour to avoid, or meet, or satisfy objections. And that a sceptical mind, determined to reject what it cannot reduce tu a pre-conceived standard of probability, lay tind, both in the Jewish and Christian revelations, things inscrutable to its limited powers, it would be either inconsiderate or hy. pocritical to deny. Free enquirers say, that they should expect the very contrary, I should expect the contrary, ia an iw posture; or at least an attempt to obviate such objections: but if I find them in what indubitable evidence forces me to receive as revelation, then it becomes my business to inquire, whether no end could be proposed or answered by leaving things as they are.
“ Suppose, then, that the facts which Revelation has declared respecting the creation and final destination of man were rendered as sensibly clear to us as his existence or dissolution, a principal opportunity of making out their probation and displaying their moral faculties would be taken away from half the civilized world. From the constitution of things, there must always be a large proportion of persons whom want of education or leisure incapacitates from inquiring into the grounds and evidence of their faith. The same may be observed of many in a higher class, whom youth and ignorance make too careless to doubt, and pleasure too giddy to inquire. These of necessity must be instructed in their faith from the conviction of others : and to act in con. formity with the religious belief they thus adopt, is to them a sufficient trial. But there is still another class, not inconsiderable: in number, whose rational desires are satisfied by enjoyment, and whom refinement of taste, absence of passion, love of personal character, or the noble resources of a cultivated understanding, withdraw from all temptation to irregular indulgences. Their probation is that of the mind; which is required to subdue its pride and discard its prejudices, and with candour and simplicity to exänine Revelation, and hold an impartial balance between moral evidence and speculative objections. For, as to the testimony on which it is to be received, Revelation has, from its first promulgation, appealed to human reason: and only after that evidence is acknowledged, refuses reason as a judge of its consistercy with the nature and supposed intentions of its Author. In points where human experience can afford no clue of direction, there Revelation requires submission to superior wisdom.” Vol. II. P. 384.
It is truly melancholy to reflect, how many highly gifted persons have fallen under this trial!
We should not have introduced so many quotations from Mr. Sumuer, but that we wished our readers to decide, for themselves, on the merits of a work, to which a second prize had been adjudged. From what they have seen of this second best production, they must suppose, that the victorious essay either is, ir ought to be, by this time, in every body's hands. if it has fallen without a full share of notice from the press, either the world, or the umpires, must have very incorrect notions of literary merit.
There is a work, (Apostolical Preaching considered) of which we lately said, “it is the production of no ordinary mind. Piety, candour and solidity of judgment are conspicuous in Kk 2
every page, and the general impression which the work is likely to produce, must be highly favourable ty the real interests of religion *."
The very same words will serve to express our opinion of the present Essay. Both works are the productions of a calm, benevolent and practical divine, of one who, what. ever may be his powers in controversy, has for his leading purpose, that first, that brightest object of a christian mind, the desire of real, extensive and unmixed utility.
To doubt whether future editions of Mr. Sumner's Essay will be called for, would be to cast a very severe imputation on the good sense of all those amongst us, whose duty it is to give, or whose wish it is to receive instruction, on the subjects to which it is devoted. We shall venture, therefore, to offer some suggestions to Mr. S. for its improvement. It certainly might be considerably compressed. We were too frequently led to reflect, in the course of our perusal, (a critic's perusal) that the laborious avocations of its author had not given him time to condense the suggestions of a full mind. Writing, probably, at distant intervals, Mr. S. would, no doubt, find it very difficult to remember, on every occasion, what be had already said on some similar topic. To proceed to particular passages, we should wish Mr. S. to revise what he has said in pag. 40 et seq. vol. i. on the manner in which Moses acquired his knowledge of the facts, which he has related as occurring at the period of the Creation. We think that the language used by Mr. S. in his text, will not convey the opinion, which he has himself formed on this important topic.
The impression given, by a first perusal, certainly is, that he supposes Moses to have written down, as any other person might hure done, what he had received from tradition, that the tradition was founded on an original revelation, and that therefore no subsequent assistance was necessary from inspiration. But tradition cannot reasonably be expected to convey any information with accuracy, with the accuracy at least necessary for detailing what is to form a subject for religious faith. Where information, so derived, was to be com. municated as the word of God, it would surely be necessary, that the Spirit should interpose, so far, at least, as to strengthen the memory of the historian, and preserve him from mistakes on all points, on which any doctrine could depend. From an attentive comparison of certain expressions in the note and in p. 43, we are quite satisfied that this is Mr. Sumner's opinion as well as our own. Indeed, otherwise, he would not be borne out by Macknight, Benson, or Burnet, to whose authority he has appealed.
* See Brit. Crit, før Sept. 1816. No. xxxii, Art. 1. p. 237.
In the latter part of the note to p. 281, Mr. S. quotes a certain report, as if that report stated that only 14 children out of 3000 had died in a certain manufactory, in the course of twelve years. Now if any person made such a statement, Mr. S., with a moment's reflection, would have perceived that such a statement must have been an unfair one. The reporter could only have spoken of the number who died actually at their work. There must be some equivocation or mistake, where the return is so far from the natural average.
We fear too, that the gentleman alluded to in the beginning of the same note, as a person from whom the world looks for valuable information, will prove to be, at best, an amiable visionary.
Had we thought less bighly, than we do, of Mr. Sumner's work, these trifling objections would not have been made.
Art. III. Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde, accompanied by
a Geographical and Historical Account of those Countries, with a Mup. By Lieutenant Henry Pottinger, of the Hon. East India Company's Service, &c. 4to. 21. 58. Longman and Co. 1816.
WE have lately noticed with due commendation, an account of an expedition to the kingdom of Caubul, under the sanction of the East India Company. The objects of the mission were to counteract the menaced invasion of Hindostan by the French, through the northern provinces of Persia, by contirming and strengthening the alliances which already subsisted between the Company and the several princes whose dominions were contiguous, as well as to extend and improve the geographical knowledge of the countries to the north-west of our oriental territories, which were at all likely to afford a passage to an invading army. As far as this latter object was concerned, the views of the Company were effectually accomplished; but the precarious tenure of sovereign authority in those regions, 'renders all political alliances dependent upon contingent circumstances.
With precisely the same views, the expeditions which are narrated in an interesting and agreeable manner in the volume now before us, were planned and executed. It became expedient to obtain some knowledge of the countries to the northwest of Caubul, as well as that between the territories of the Sinds and Sheeraz, which region, is denominated Beloochistan, and of which but very little has hitherto been known in Europe. It was alşo deemed necessary to cement the amicable treaties
which already subsisted between the Government of Bengal and the Princes of Sinde, whose power has of late years been gradually on the increase. A formal deputation was accordingly sent to the Court of Sinde, and two British officers, in every respect well qualified for 'the arduous undertaking, were directed to explore their way to join General Malcolm, who was then on a mission to the king of Persia, either through Beloochistan direct, or by such other route as might appear most practicable and most likely to accomplish the proposed object.
This volume exhibits the description of these several enterprizes by Lieutenant Pottinger. Unfortunately Captain Christie, his superior officer, died before he had the opportunity of methodizing and completing his observations on the very intricate and perilous journey which he performed, and which we shall notice in its place.
Lieutenant Pottinger has performed his part ably and well, and has distinguished himself, as well for his presence of mind and intrepidity on the most trying occasions, as from his availing himself of every opportunity which presented itself of attaining a familiar knowledge of the country, people, and manners of this remote but extensive region. That the reader may be qualified to form some idea of what was undertaken and performed by these gentlemen, it may be sufficient to observe, that Captain Christie traversed a space which, according to his computation, was two thousand two hundred and fifty iniles, and that the amount of Lieutenant Pottinger's route was two thousand four hundred and twelve.
We shall commence our account of these respective routes, in the order in which they are here detailed, and will first introduce our readers to Lieutenant Pottinger's uarrative of his journey shrough Beloochistan lo Sheeraz in Persia.
The object of the travellers was to ascertain the nature and resources of these countries, through which an invading European army might advance towards Hindostan, and more particularly to explore the regions between India and Persia. For this service, Captain Christie and Lieutenant Pottinger offered them-selves as volunteers. They assumed the characters of agents who were to purchase horses for a Hindoo merchant of great respectability and wealth, and caused it to be understood that they were dispatched by him for this purpose to Kelat, the capital of Beloochistan.
Leaving Bombay, they arrived at the port of Sonmeany, celebrated in Grecian history as being called by Nearchus, the port of Alexander. Advancing from hepce towards Kelat, the first place they arrived at, deserving consideration was Bela, or Bayla. The person here exercising supreme authority is called