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and that this primaeval curse of the earth was positively repealed in the days of Noah, according to the prediction of his father Lamech, that he should comfort them concerning the work and toil of their hands, because of the earth which the Lord had cursed? And accordingly God declares immediately after the Flood, 'I will not curse the ground any more for man's sake.' Would that Mr. Gisborne, as a means of dispelling that gloom which a peculiar system of theology appears to have diffused over his whole understanding and temper, would take, by way of antidote, a beautiful and cheeriug passage of the 65th Psalm—' Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice—Thou visitest the earth and waterest it—Thou crownest the year with thy goodness, and thy paths drop fatness—The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.'* To all this we may add, that had Paul and Barnabas been of Mr. Gisborne's mind, they would not have used the appearances of divine beneficence in the present world, as a proper topic for bringing the people of Lystra to a belief of the Being and Providence of the true God:— 'Nevertheless he left not himself without witness in that he did good, and gave us rain and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness;' whereas our author would make the witness to consist in the Almighty's continuing to curse the earth for man's sake, and to fill his hands with toil and his heart with sorrow. Were ever the sweet, the innocent, the healthful, the primaeval labours of the husbandman so misrepresented by gloom and melancholy before?
The peculiar turn of our author's mind is no where more conspicuous than in his reflections upon war, as a proof of the depravity of human nature. On this subject, St. James had told us truly and concisely that wars and fighting proceed from the lusts of men. Our author, with equal truth, but with that verbiage which every where deforms his style, has expanded this simple proposition into the following declamation:— ;.
'The employment of war—it is one which bears on its front the indelible brand of punishment and guilt' (an easy inversion would have prevented this hysteron proteron). 'It is penal in its nature—it has its root in unrighteousness. The conflict of man with man is not the encounter of the wild beast with its antagonist. The brute animal, of whatever blind passion he may be following the impulse, wars not against checks of conscience and conviction of duty. His aggressions
* We would seriously recommend to our author's perusal, for his better informatton on this subject, the fourth of Bishop Sherlock's masterly Discourses on prophecy, where the repeal of the curse on the earth for the sin of man is* discussed with a clearness and accuracy almost peculiar to that great author. The study of such writers, instead of the school of theology to which Mr. Gisborne has addicted himself, would have been of material service, both to his understanding and temper.
are not perpetrated nor planned' (another inversion)' in the face of moral responsibility and the knowledge of God.'
In the name of common sense, how should they, when the perpetrator has neither reason, conscience, responsibility, nor the knowledge of God bestowed upon him by his Creator f But it is not a mere unmeaning truism to which we here object. It is the spirit of Quakerism which the passage breathes throughout, the cold, heartless, unpatriotic tone which can include in one sweeping censure aggressive and defensive war, the wanton and unprovoked ravages of an invader, with the heroic resistance of an individual, or a nation bravely occupied in the protection of their hearths and altars.
In the next passage, our disapprobation is almost swallowed up in astonishment. It is imputed to original sin that man is not a bird, or flying insect, or that he cannot command the elements—the proper answer to which is, that Adam in paradise could no more do any of these things than we his fallen, descendants. They are denied to us, not because we are fallen creatures, but because we are men. Yet does our author plainly assert, that these incongruous faculties are withholden from us only because in our present state they would be made instruments of greater mischief.
But let us hear our author for himself.
'While he beholds insects, fish, beasts, birds, all indulging their respective modes of locomotion, man, unhappy man, is himself laboriously creeping upon the ground, incapable of achieving, without anxious preparation, a transit promptly accomplished by a swallow, a pigeon, or a fieldfare,—with the condition of a guiltless being, how accordant were the possession of this power! But look on man as a transgressor against his God, and ask yourself what corporeal endowment would be more fatally subversive of human happiness, than the possession by man of such powers of locomotion!'
We are next informed, that at this hour, as twenty-five centuries ago, in the reign of David, (he ought rather to have said in the time of Moses, by whom, and not by David, the 90th Psalm was written,)' the days of our age are threescore years and ten. Man cannot check the volcano, nor the earthquake,—he cannot ensure or command a prosperous harvest,—he cannot call down a shower from the sky,—he cannot foretel the events of the morrow.' That is, be is not at once a man, a bird, a fish, an insect and a prophet, with omnipotence superadded to these characters, and all because this assemblage would have been inconvenient in a fallen creature. If it be not then a fair inference that Adam either did possess or had a right to all these qualifications, before the fall, we know not what an inference means. The learned Archbishop King, and his
more learned commentator Bishop Law, would have instructed our author, that evils of imperfection, such as he wildly enumerates, are no evils at all, but merely incidents necessary to a classification of beings, in a world so wisely and beautifully diversified as the present.*
The awful subject of death is treated by Mr. Gisborne in his best manner, which will lead to several important reflections:
'Death,' he says, and with great truth, 'death, in its simple character, is not necessarily a proof that the beings to whom it attaches, have offended their Creator. Existence bestowed might be intended by the donor, to be but temporary; and happy existence, even for a limited duration, would be a gratuitous gift to be enjoyed and acknowledged with thankfulness by percipient intelligences. Moreover, existence might be prolonged after death, and the stroke which seemed to involve the annihilation of the individual, might be the instrument of his removal into another scene, and a more exalted modification of life.'
In all and every of these remarks, we wholly acquiesce. How far to adopt those which follow, we have considerable hesitation.
'But death, sudden, wide spreading, supervening in an unknown and horrid form, bears the aspect, not of a placid dismission from existence, not of a gracious transplantation into another and a nobler province of the universal empire of the Almighty, but of the execution of a judicial sentence upon a race of transgressors.'
The death of man, we allow, as a separation of soul and body, is properly penal,'the wages of sin.' But with respect to the circumstances and forerunners of death, we would ask why, upon this hypothesis, is the death of brutes, when it takes place in the course of nature, apparently not less agonizing for the most part than that of man i They have never sinned, and if the pains of death be properly penal, why do they suffer? The probability is that, if the generations of mankind had multiplied upon the earth without a fall, the first and oldest would have been translated to some better state, without any violent shock to either part, the bodily or spiritual, of which they consisted,—but in this respect, moral evil was the parent of physical. The bodies of men, inflamed by violent and sinful passions, contracted with that lamentable change, were reduced, by a judicial and righteous connection between sin and dissolution, to the original condition of brutes, and became subject to death,— they were no longer in a condition to accompany the soul into that better and happier state to which they were destined, without undergoing a total decomposition. But with respect to the circumstances attendant upon that change, little more perhaps can be inferred,
* Here we must once more recommend to our author's most serious attention, Archbishop King's Origin of Evil, with Bishop Law's profound and elaborate notes, and more particularly the chapter on Evils of Imperfection.
than than that from the operation of some physical law, with which we are unacquainted, the tie which connects soul and body is so strong' as to require a violent, and therefore, in general, a painful disrupvtion.—Beyond this general truth, nothing appears with certainty The best men, in their last hours, are not exempt from the acutes t and most agonizing sufferings,—on the other hand, there are habits of sin which directly lead to a quiet and gentle or a momentary departure.—But, on the whole, our author's representation of the misery preceding death is as usual overcharged,—there is, or there would be no such word in the most expressive of all languages, au tuSavctirict, for which our author has made no allowance, but which we sincerely wish he and ourselves may experience. This is beautifully expressed in the language of an old divine, which we commend to our author as an antidote, a Christian antidote, to the prevailing gloom of his disposition. 'Morte Christi effectum est ut mors fidelibus jam non sit interims, sed quaedam quasi migratio commutatioque vitae, brevisque adeo et certa in caelum transmissio. Quocirca pii mortis metu, quae laborum, solicitudinum atque malorum hujus vita? omnium perfugium illis etdux in caelum erit, exhorrescere jam amplius aut trepidare non debent.' One more reflection on the subject, and we have done.
Throughout the present work, Mr. Gisborne shews a most unhappy propensity to mistate his question, and to adduce, with an air of great self-complacency, facts which are admitted by his antagonist, as irrefragable proofs of his own positions.* Thus he quotes, like a philosopher of the last centurv but one, the existence of marine remains on the tops of mountains, as evidences of a deluge, and what is more, of the Noachian deluge alone; and thus too, in his verbose and declamatory manner, lie enlarges on the traditionary evidence of an universal deluge. This is not the point at issue between the parties. Every Christian philosopher admits the fact, nay more, he admits it on the faith of Revelation, corroborated by that very tradition. But with respect to the auxiliary evidence adduced by Mr. Gisborne's school, evidence deduced from existing
* A remarkable proof of this will be found in the following passage.—'But natural theology is endowed with organs of hearing no less than of vision. From every quarter of the world she hears the voice of pagan tradition, proclaiming the memory of an ancient and a penal flood ; with a concurrence bearing a resemblance to that with which on the day of Pentecost, so many languages united in publishing the wonderful works of God, she hears the Roman and the Greek, and the Mexican, and the Hindoo, referring to a judicial visitation of waters, by which their forefathers were overwhelmed.*—And then after two pages of vague declamation, our author proceeds. 'Is not the general tradition a positive fact—is it not a fact as distinct and demonstrable as the disarrangement of the strata in the Alps, or the discovery of an uucorrupted rhinoceros in Siberia ?'—That is to say, there is a general tradition of a deluge—there is a disarrangement of the strata in the Alps,—therefore, not only has the latter event been produced by the former, but it could not have been produced by any other cause.
appearances in the crust or on the surface of the earth, he takes leave to hesitate, perhaps to deny the consequences. He will say to Mr. Gisborne, We are agreed as to the fact of an universal deluge, and the force of the united proof from Scripture and tradition, by which it is established,—but when you require me to believe, on pain of being called an infidel, not only that every phenomenon, in or beneath the earth's surface, is solvable on that hypothesis, but on that alone,—nay, more, when 1 am obliquely threatened with the penalties of unbelief, unless I renounce all the lights which modern research and modern science have thrown tipon a subject even yet comparatively new; when in every stratum and every fissure of the earth, I meet with appearances, which, according to my apprehension, negative such an hypothesis, in the use of my senses and in the operations of my understanding, I will no more be intimidated by a bigot, than by an inquisitor. I cannot accept of loose declamation for irrefragable argument, nor unwarranted assertion for legitimate proof,—I am not disposed to believe, that in a world, constituted of elements like the present, subterraneous fires could not be kindled, nor steam expand, nor earthquakes rend the surface, nor volcanos burst forth from its bowels, till their several principles were put in action by the sin of man.—Without exploring the recesses of the earth, without being affrighted by the marks of disorder on its surface, 1 see enough in the character of the human species, to assure me that, in its present state, man both sins and suffers in consequence. This is matter of experience,—why then am I so imperiously called upon to accept what I already allow, on proofs weakly hypothetical, or on no proofs at all?
Sorry we are to have felt the necessity of animadverting with such freedom, on the work of so good a man and so good a scholar as Mr. Gisborne; but it is the hard fate of revealed religion in the present day, to suffer as deeply from the injudicious assistance of its friends, as from the open attacks of its enemies, who are only to he encountered by observers and reasoners not inferior to themselves. On the subject now before us, it must be admitted that they appear to be right in their facts, while they are certainly wrong in their conclusions. Their facts, grounded as they are upon the latest discoveries, ought, in this work, to have been admitted, and their consequence denied. Our author, on the contrary, undertakes to deny a minor, which, in our apprehension, has been satisfactorily proved, and sincerely do we hope, for the sake of revealed religion itself, that Mr. Gisborne will be the last Christian writer who shall attempt to shew that the present appearances on, and immediately beneath, the surface of our earth, can only have been occasioned by the Noachian deluge. The maintainers of a contrary opinion have Vol. xxi. nO. xu. E been,