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personal respect which his philological talents and his amiable character deserve; his arguments are treated with more respect than they deserve. At the same time, considering to what class of readers Mr. 'Timms had to make himself intelligible in prosecuting a train of argument so dry and abstract, we are not disposed to think him unnecessarily minute; we do not at all complain that he reiterates the proof of what should seem to be so obvious as to require no formal demonstration, or that he uses old arguments in demolishing for the hundredth time old absurdities; and if we were disposed on the first view of the matter, to think the undertaking
alinost superfluous, we are quite pleased that those who will read only what is in form new, should be furnished with this neat and luminous exposition of the question.
Dr. Clarke's notion, stripped of the jargon in which he has invested it, comes to this; that the knowledge of God springs from, or is dependent on, his will : God knows just şo' inuch as he chooses to know, and no more. He can know all things, but there are some things, called contingencies, which he chooses not to know. Being omniscient, (which the Doctor tells us means, having the power to be omniscient if he pleases,) he prefers not to know those things which he has left determinable by the free agency of man; he wills so far, 'not to be in fact omniscient.
The things which, by the supposition, are excepted from the Divine knowledge, are, in their own nature, either possible to be known, or they are not. If it is possible for God to know them, while yet in fact they are unknown to him, there future existence must be certain ; and as nothing can be future to God,
because he lives in all futurity,' those future certainties are to Him existing certainties, of which He prefers, according to this supposition, to be ignorant! They are certain, and yet the Omniscient Creator of all things does not know then to be so ! They are ever present to Him, but he wills to take no cognizance of their existence!
If it is not possible for even Omniscience itself to know these contingencies;' that is to say, if to suppose them known and yet contingent involves a contradiction; then what becomes of Dr. Clarke's representation, that God is not obliged to know
all that he can know ?" If God can foresee nothing as certain which he has suspended on the free agency of his creature, then, it is evident he does know all that he can know, and that only what is unknowable, is excluded from bis knowledge. According to this view of the Doctor's theory, Omniscience, even in his own sense of the terms, that is, the power to know all things', is no attribute of Deity. Infinite knowledge is not a perfectioni,
384 Timins’s Remarks on the Eureknowledge of God. or else the Supreme Being is not a perfect being! The former supposition is an absurdity; the latter is blasphemy,
But how is the case mended, if we recur to the former statement, that this partial ignorance of things future, springs from the will of God ? If it is good not to know them, if God can do otherwise than know them previously to their being brought into act, why should it be good or necessary that they should ever become known to God? Will the Almighty know more at some future period than he does know, and does He will to remain till then, less than perfect in knowledge? Were it possible in the nature of things that one perfection of Deity should be arbitrary in its origin, that God should, in any one respect, be what he wills to be, what hinders that some other perfection of Deity may not be the result of the Divine will? The Omniscience of God is not less necessary, less inseparable from the nature, or less essential to the perfection of the Eternal, Unchangeable Being, than his boliness. God cannot will to know less than all things, because He cannot be less than himself. He cannot pow but know all that at any future period he will know, because He ever was, and now is, all that through eternity He will be.
Upon this last point, the argumentum ad hominem is well managed by Mr. l'imms. He shews that Dr. Clarke's sentiment, that the knowledge of God may be considered as partial with respect to futurity, is neutralized by his own language.
« « The Foreknowledge of God,” says the Doctor, " is never spoken of in reference to himself, but in reference to us; in him properly, there is neither foreknowledge, nor afterknowledge. God cannot have Foreknowledge, strictly speaking, because this would suppose that there was something coming, in what we call futurity, which had not yet arrived at the presence of the Deity. Neither can he have any afterknowledge, strictly speaking; for this would suppose that some thing that had taken place, in what we call preteriety, or past time, had now got beyond the presence of the Deity. As God exists in all that can be called eternity; so he is equally every where : nothing can be future to him, because he lives in all futurity, nothing can be past to him, because he equally exists in all past time : futurity and preteriety are relative terms to us; but they can have no relation to that God who dwells in every point of eternity, with whom all that is past, all that is present, and all that is future to man, exists in one infinite, indivisible, and eternal now." Notwithstanding these observations; when speaking of future events in relation to this very Being, the Doctor divides them into those which are certain, and those which are contin. gent ; defining the latter thus. “By contingent, I mean such things as the infinite wisdom of God has thought proper to poise on the possibility of being or not being, leaving it to the will of intelligent beings to turn the scale."
• The terms fore, and afterknowledge, whether applicable to God or not, must be retained in reference to man. This Dr. Clarke allows. And hence, in comparing the passages just quoted, a question naturally suggests itself, Would it be possible for the learned Commentator to make a division of past events into contingent and certain, similar to what he has made of those which are future, in relation to the knowledge of the divine Being? But why not : if futurity and preteriety, as applied to him, are precisely the same thing? After these counter. statements, the Doctor is reduced to this dilemma: either of giving to future events “ the certainty" which always attaches to those which are past : or to past events, that contingency" which he has chosen to attach to those which are future; for as he has asserted, in the strongest and most unequivocal language, “that preteriety and futurity, though relative terms to us," when applied to God, stand for the same idea, that to him, between past, present, and future, strictly speaking, there can be no difference: were he now to seek to make a difference, he would be convicted of contradicting his own assertion.
• Which of these alternatives is the Doctor disposed to choose ? for from both the horns of this dilemma it seems impossible for him to escape. Will he prefer the latter, and maintain, that the divine knowledge of the past may be also contingent ? Here it would be only necessary to remind him of his own definition of contingency, and to ask, Can any thing which has actually been, be" poised on the possibility of being or not being ;” and suspended on the will of man for its existence? To maintain this, would be to deny the being of the very thing to which he ascribes it, and to move in a circle of contradiction. A thing, when it has taken place, is denominated a fact; and what is a fact must be certain ; and where certainty is, contingency is necessarily excluded. It is true, indeed, there are many instances in which the human mind, because imperfect, may remain uncertain as to past events ; but the uncertainty in these cases attaches, not to the object, but only to the medium through which we contemplate it. It belongs solely to defect of evidence ; for no man was ever found simple enough to doubt the certainty of what he himself knew to be an actual fact. Our scepticism in all cases in relation to a past event, is confined entirely to the deficiency of evidence. But nothing of this kind can apply to God. “God exists," as Dr. Clarke expresses, it, “ in all that can be called Eternity; nothing can be future to him, because he lives in all
futurity : nothing can be past to him, because he equally exists in all past time," and it may be added, as to him there can be nothing future, so from him there can be nothing remote. He sits in the centre of his own works ; and his omnipresence touches every surrounding object. No intervening cloud therefore can darken his views; or cause either faintness, or fluctuation in his perceptions: He sees things always as they are ; but never as they are not. His views must ever accord with truth and reality. As the learned Cominentator himself informs us, he cannot see contingent events as certain, nor certain events as contingent ; for he see s things as they are : this is the purport of the Doctor's own assertionBut if he would contend that God contemplates past events as con
tingent, he must see them differently to what they are,' for contingency cannot possibly, by any latitude of interpretation, be applied to past events. If then Dr. Clarke should be compelled to abandon this side of the dilemma, will he find himself more secure on the opposite; vand, measuring the divine knowledge, of what to us is futurity, by his knowledge of what to us is preteriety; will he give to future events, the certainty which always attaches to those that are past? But then if so, he relinquishes the very position he is labouring to defend ; and the fallacy of his novel distinction of events into two classes, contingent and certain, is exposed by the light of his own argument. If the Doctor admits that juture events are as certain to the mind of God, as those which are past; then all the difficulties attending a belief in his absolute Foreknowledge, return upon him in their full force; and he has only to call to mind his own words, “ If no contingency, then no free agency, and God alone is the sole actor. Hence the blasphemous, though from the premises, fair conclusion, that God is the author of all the evil and sin that are in the world."
"This extract will give the reader'a more just idea of the present Writer's style of reasoning, than any analysis of the pamphlet. It is, however, a fault that he has not presented any syllabus of its contents. The remarks are distributed into six general positions. The first is, that if what Dr. Clarke bas adVanced respecting the Divine Prescience, was correct, it would leave the difficulties it is employed to remove, undirbinished; since nothing short of entire ignorance in God, would go far enough to serve the purpose of bis argument. Secondly, the Dr.'s definition of Omniscience is shewn to include either too little or too much for his purpose, while it is in itself an absurdity. Thirdly, the Dr.'s reasoning against the certain foreknowledge of God, as incompatible with the free agency of man, is shewn to rest 'on two false assumptions: Ist, that the certainty of an action destroys its freeness, and, consequently, its moral qualities; 2dly, that fore-knowledge implies some impelling influence over the agent. Fourthly, it is shewn that the attempt to establish an analogy between Omnipotence, or the power of doing all things, and Omniscience as the power of knowing all things, is a mere fallacy. Fifthly, the reasoning of Dr. Clarke with respect to the Divine knowledge, is shewn to be self-contradictory. Sixthly, it is remarked that “ Dr. C.'s hypo
thesis, if fully realized, would tend to shake our confidence in the Divine government, and render Him incompetent to the management of the Universe.'
Mr. Timms has made a proper use of Edwards's treatise on the WiH, in which all that can be said on the subject is to be found, although not in a popular form. Had Dr. Clarke ever seen that work, it is scarcely conceivable that he could have
laid himself open to the remarks of the present writer. Howe is also cited, but there is in some part of his works, (we believe in his “ Living Temple,”) a passage directly to Mr. Timms's purpose, exposing the absurdity of imputing limitation to the Divine Ompiscience. These are writers which the great mass of Dr. Clarke's subscribers are not likely ever to look into; but be ought not on that account to have felt himself at liberty to take no notice of their reasonings.
Art. XI. The Brothers, a Monody; and other Poems. By Charles
A. Elton, Author of a Translation of Hesiod, and of “ Specimens
of the Classic Poets.” 12mo. pp. 120. Price 5s. London. 1820. MR.
R. ELTON is advantageously known to the public as the
Author of the Translation of Hesiod to which his title-page, refers, and of some fugitive originals, by which his poetical talents bave been sufficiently attested. Had he not been so known, we still could not have made the present volume an occasion for instituting a rigid examination into his claims. The subject of the present poem is so mournful, and the publication bears upon it such strong marks of having originated in deep feeling, that, had its intrinsic merits been far below what they are, we must have inerged the critic in the common sympathies of humanity, The Monody is written to commemorate the loss of two brothers, the children, we presume, of the writer, who were drowned; the elder in the attempt to rescue the younger from the waves,
There is a well-founded prejudice (if a prejudice may be well founded) against monodies in general, arising from the idea that the feelings which they so elaborately express, or at least imply, would disqualify for the cool artifices of verse. This certainly holds true, not only as to the first moments of strong emotion, but as to every subsequent stage of passion, until the imagination has become so far reconciled to the idea which at. first shocked and pained it, that the pleasures of recollection preponderate. The effort to which the mind is then prompted, has for its object, to perpetuate those vivid impressions, in the fading of which it would seem to part with its last hold on the treasure it has lost. It has no readier way of bringing back the distinct idea of what was once its own, than by calling up the feelings which the recent loss occasioned; feelings at the time insupportable, but in the remembrance of wbich there is a pleasure bordering upon complacency. There is a pleasure, then, in assembling every incident connected with the period of suffering, in beaping up every circumstance of aggravation, in order to transport ourselves back nearer to the tiine when we touched upon possession. The imagination is thus set at work to assist the sluggish and treacherous memory; and it is in this state of excitement, under the pleasing recollection of keenly