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from the place which it occupies in Indeed it is readily and cheerfully the writings of some systematick granted, that an enlightened and divines, we should be led to con cautious examination of the whole clude; how shall we account for frame and economy of nature, fur. the silence of the Scriptures con- nishes unequivocal marks of wise cerning it? Is it credible that a and comprehensive design, unwearevelation from God, designed to ried goodness, and irresistible powlead us into all truth, should furnish er. These are some of the invisible not the smallest hint of a doctrine things of God, which may be underso essential as this is represented stood by the things that are made. to be, to a rational vindication of But what facts can be pointed out the rectitude of his dispensations; in the constitution and order of the 30 indispensable to a satisfactory world, which prove that the present exposition of the system of Divine system of the universe is the best truth which it was the avowed ob- possible? By what process of deject of revelation to communicate? duction, by what rule of philosophi. These considerations are sufficient, zing, can it be inferred that the preit is believed, to prove that this the- sent plan includes the greatest ory is not entitled to occupy the amount of good which it is possible, place, nor adapted to answer the in the nature of things, can existi purposes in a system of divinity, The most accurate and extensive which its acute and learned advo- acquaintance with the works of cates have fondly imagined. No God can inform us only of facts, man can be justified in assuming a not of possibilities; of what the principle, not recognised in Scrip- Creator has been pleased to do, not ture, which must, in its conse of what it is possible for him to de, quences, lead to a new modification or not possible for him to do. This of Christianity; which must, to the will continue to be a correct stateeye of the theorist, bestow a new ment of the case, even if it should colouring upon its entire system of be proved that the universe is ten doctrines.
thousand times more extensive and Nor can the theory of Optimism perfect than ever the mind of man be inferred from that part of the has conceived it to be. constitution and course of nature We may be qualified to prowhich is submitted to our observa nounce a work of one of our fellow tion. Without the aid afforded by men, to be as good as he is capable Divine revelation, it has not been of producing. It is necessary, how. found easy to account for the nu ever, that, in this case, we should merous evils and disorders which have a perfect knowledge of the esconfessedly exist in the world. A tent of his capacity, of the whole view of these evils gave occasion structure and plan of his work, and to the belief, which anciently pre- of all the ends for which it is invailed very generally throughout tended. To make the decision the East, of the existence of two which I have mentioned, without principles : one, the author of all this knowledge, would be rashoess good; the other, the author of all and folly. Who then can be qualievil. The information conveyed in fied to pronounce a similar decisiota Scripture, furnishes a complete so- in relation to the works of God? lution of most of the difficulties de- Is any man so well acquainted with rived from this source; and enables Omnipotence, as to be able to deterus to perceive that the existence of mine the utmost extent of what it evil is not incompatible with the be- can accomplish? Who can pretend lief, that the universe is under the to a perfect knowledge of the imsole adıninistration of a Being of mense system of Creation, and of absolute and unlimited perfection. the various ends for which all its
parts are designed? The conclu- ty. There are certainly few men sion, then, is manifest: no man can who have not had opportunity, by be qualified to pronounce, that of the time they arrive at that age, of all possible systems, the present is acquiring acquaintance with some
the best which Omnipotence can diseases, and the medical treati produce; that it includes the great- ment proper for them. As it re
est sum of perfection and happi- gards dyspepsia, this I think has ness, which infinite wisdom and been eminently my case. And if I power can bring into existence. It have made no discoveries, it is not is presumptuous and hazardous to for want of having ruminated, as make assertions, limiting, in ap- well as read, much on the subject. pearance at least, the attributes of Yet I flatter myself, that my reJehovah.
searches have not been altogether The truth is, the friends of this in vain. A remedy has suggested theory do not pretend to find much, itself to my mind, which I am conif any, direct evidence in its sup- vinced is of inestimable value. port, either in the Holy Scriptures, Though it is not new, it is compaor in that part of the great system ratively little known, and very selof creation which comes within the dom prescribed by the medical falimits of our observation. Their culty. It operates both as a pre-. main dependance appears to be ventive and cure; and what enplaced upon the supposed necessity hances its value is, that its efficacy of the Divine determinations to reaches to most other complaints that which is best, or upon the man- beside those of the stomach, to ner in which they think it neces- which I have been so much the vicsary and proper for an infinitely tim. If you have not thought upon perfect Being to choose and to act. the subject, you will be surprised, A consideration of the arguments and perhaps smile, when I tell you derived from this quarter must be that this all-efficacious Panacea, is deferred till my next essay. the pure faith of the Gospel, taken
in sufficient quantity. I do not hesitate to assert, that all the spiritual
and eternal benefits of faith out of TRAVELS IN EUROPE FOR HEALTH IN view) its efficacy, simply as a me
1820. BY AN AMERICAN CLERGY• dicine, in preventing and curing the MAN OF THE SYNOD OF PHILADEL- maladies of the body, and I will even
say most maladies, entitle it to the Ship Nestor, Atlantick Ocean, first place in the whole catalogue
Oct. 20, 1820. of materia medica. I am far from My dear friend, -As narrative meaning that it will act miracufails, it will be necessary, in order lously and instantaneously, as was to keep up my practice of occupy- once the opinion, it is said, of the ing leisure hours in writing to you, celebrated Mr. Wesley; who, if my to resort to speculation. I think it recollection is correct, according good to guard against idleness in to some account I have seen, atthis floating prison, by trying what tempted the immediate restoration I can make upon paper of certain of himself from a particular illness, ideas which have been long in my by a direct act of faith. My idea is mind, on the subject of restoring different-I think it acts gradually, and preserving health; the great as other medicines do, and provalue of which I have had large duces its effect, according to the opportunity of knowing, from suf- quantity and perseverance with fering the want of it. It is an old which it is used. It must, too, be proverb, that every man is either a genuine. There is as much spurifool or a physician at the age of for ous faith in the Christian world, as Vol. V. - Ch. Adv.
there are adulterated drugs in the ance, in deranging the animal sysapothecary's shop. The infallible tem; but it is not sufficiently concriterion of genuine faith, is point- sidered, that every immoral induled out by the apostle.-It works
by gence, whether of mind or body, has love, and purifies the heart. In- as truly its legitimate effect, in imdeed, by the medicinal faith of pairing the functions of animal life
, which I speak, you will understand as the excess of excitement from inme as intending the great princi- toxicating drink. Now you will ple of holy obedience; and of course, agree with me, that the faith of the the piety and morality which ne- Gospel is the great principle of ge; cessarily grow out of faith, are nuine piety and morality; and of comprehended with it, and have course, it is the only effectual pretheir proper agency in the cures it ventive of all those bodily com. effects.
plaints, which have their origin in As a preventive, I think it deficient morality. Let a man be above all price; and the old proverb in the exercise of strong faith from has much truth in it—that an ounce early youth—from its excitements
, of prevention is worth a pound of let him apply himself diligently to cure. There are very few of the dis- wisdom, to prudence, to active useorders with which the human body fulness, to temperance, to chastiis afflicted, which cannot be traced ty; let him be mortified to pride, distinctly to moral, or rather, im- to anger, to fear, to discontent; moral causes-either the follow- let him rejoice always, or in the ing, or others similar, viz: ignore words of Solomon, let him possess ance, imprudence, intemperance in the merry heart, which does good eating or drinking, slothfulness of as a medicine-and he will possess body or mind, sinful indulgence of a protection from indigestion, nerthe passions of grief, anxiety, fear, vous affections, and all other bodily anger, love, &c. We are fear- maladies, of more efficacy, twice fully and wonderfully made; and over, than all the drugs of the apoin nothing is this more evident, thecary. Should he even have inthan in the mysterious influence herited a predisposition to particuwhich mind and body exert over lar complaints—the visitation of each other. The mind, from igno- the sins of his ancestors, which is rance, or the undue excitement of
a very common case; his faith, if some passion or appetite, fails to it come sufficiently early, and act regulate the conduct of the man, with sufficient power, will go far to according to the laws of rectitude. lessen, if not to remove, this unhapA sinful measure of sloth is per- py seed of bodily indisposition. mitted from day to day, or an un As a positive remedy, in the gedue indulgence of some appetite nerality of complaints, the faith of or passion is allowed.
This the Gospel has an efficacy little inproduces a slight irregularity in ferior to its power as a preven. the bodily functions, from which tive. The celebrated Dr. Rush, in at first no inconvenience is felt; one of his essays, has some thoughts but as the dropping water gradual- on the cure of certain moral infor ly wears away the stone, so this mities, by physical remedies; and slight irregularity, silently and that such remedies may be used as gradually operates, until at length auxiliaries, with benefit, in the way serious disease is induced; while he speaks of, I have no doubt. But the cause is never suspected by sure I am, moral remedies, the the unhappy sufferer, who thinks chief of which is faith, and all of only of removing his disorder by which have their origin in faith, the drugs of the apothecary. Every may have a far greater efficacy in body knows the effect of intemper. curing physical diseases, and that
of almost all kinds. So strong is many instances, I have no doubt, of this conviction, that I do not hesi. fatal result, in which, had the cordial tate to assert, that in all cases support of faith, in full measure, which will admit of its exercise, been enjoyed, the powers of nature faith ought to make an item in the would have been assisted to throw physician's prescription, and in very off the disease, and recovery would many cases, it ought to be the very have been the consequence. You first; and this from a simple regard have often read accounts of deathto its healing virtues. Its healing bed scenes, where the inward happivirtues will be found, I apprehend, ness of religious feeling has been so in three respects.
strong as almost to swallow up the 1st. In all cases where immo- agonies of very acute disease, and rality, either immediately or re- render them scarcely felt; and motely, is the exciting cause of the have you not noticed in many such disease, it will tend to remove it. instances, that dissolution was reAnd every person may know, as markably lingering, so that the pawell as a physician, that until the tient lasted quite beyond his own, exciting cause is removed, a per- and the expectation of all who manent cure can never be effected. waited on him. Now, as every The most that medicine can do, thing not miraculous is the result will be to palliate, and give tempo- of natural causes, may it not be, in rary relief. A relapse will soon some of these instances, that the take place.
mental enjoyments operated as cor20. in all severe casas, it will dials to support the sufferer, quite counteract, or rather prevent, the beyond what the powers of nature highly unfavourable action upon would have been capable of without the system of a disturbed state of them? If, instead of these animatmind, arising from fear, anxiety, ing feelings, gloom, fear, and deremorse, guilt, &c. A very anxi. jection had operated, would not ous distressed state of mind, will the patient have expired much often induce disease, where there sooner? was previous health; and how much I may remark, that the declaramore, co-operating with disease, tions of scripture appear to be in mast it tend to defeat the good ef- direct accordance with the foregofect of medicine, and sink the pa. ing opinion. To you, quotations tient, who might otherwise have need not be multiplied. You will recovered.
recollect the explicit declaration of 3d. The peace, the tranquillity, Solomon. “Let thine heart keep the hope and joy, which spring from my commandments, for length of faith, when in due measure, and act- days and long life and peace shall ing as a cordial, will have a positive they add to thee.” So frequently, healing efficacy. Every physician in the writings of the Old Testaknows the very great importance of ment, are the enjoyment of health, simple hope, to the recovery of his long life, peace, and prosperity, patients; and too many will not scru- connected with a due observaple to cherish it at the expense of tion of the Divine requirements; truth, by declarations of encou- that a strange opinion has prevailragement, quite beyond what their ed among commentators, that these own judgment will warrant. But blessings were promised much more the simple hope of recovery is a to the church under the Old Tesvery inefficient feeling, compared tament than under the New, while with the confidence and joy, that the fact is just the reverse. For spring from strong faith, which obedience to the Divine governare exhilarating in proportion as ment, being the instrumental cause their object is elevated. There are of health, longevity, and general
prosperity; that dispensation which was done through an operating includes a much larger amount of cause, and to what other cause can knowledge, a greatly purified rule it be ascribed, but the one which has of duty, and a larger measure of been mentioned. But it seems a the spirit of faith and holiness, law of animal being universally, must include a greater measure of that whatever has been deteriorated those outward blessings, which ne- by bad management, may, by processarily flow from knowledge and per treatment, be restored to its piety. It is necessary however to primitive standard ; and why not remember, that as the duties are also human nature? There is noenjoined on the whole community, thing in scripture, in the shape of and the whole community are held law, that fixes human life beyond in a measure bound for one ano the hope of improvement, to four ther, the outward blessings con score years. In the 90th Psalm templated, can only be realized in it is simply declared, that “our their full extent, when the whole days are three score and ten,” &c. community are brought to the obe- But make men wise, prudent, humdience of faith.
ble, self-denied,-in other words, For myself, I have no doubt that give them the faith and purity of the peace, the prosperity, the health the Gospel, to all the extent to and longevity, which all who look which, through grace, they are cafor a millennium, allow to belong to pable of receiving it in this imperit, will be simply the fruit of the fect state, and the result must be, faith and piety of the Gospel, in that war, slavery, intemperance, due measure pervading the whole bad government, with the whole mass of the community, without any catalogue of those outward calamimiracle in the case; except it may ties which now desolate society, be the increased outpouring of the will in a great measure cease. The Holy Ghost, under 'whose opera- comfort of living in society, must tion, mankind generally will be be increased more than an hundred not only converted, but carried for- fold; and is it an extravagant ward in the duties of the Divine supposition, that the same causes life, until “the knowledge of the should, under that gradual imLord shall cover the earth, as the provement of which human nature waters cover the seas," then their is susceptible, in the course of many piety will be in accordance with generations, operate on improvethis increased measure of know- ment in health, and longevity al. ledge. May we not suppose that most tenfold? Then will be accomhuman nature is capable of great plished what the scriptures clearly improvement, even in its vital ener: predict: “they shall not build, and gy, as well as its moral acquire. another inhabit; they shall not ments. An opinion has grown up plant, and another eat-for, as the in my mind, that the gradual short- days of a tree, (i. e. five and six ening of human life, which took hundred years) shall be the days of place from Adam down to Moses, my people, and mine elect shall when it reached its minimum of three Jong enjoy the work of their hands." score and ten and four score years, I have one idea farther to offer. may be imputed to the gradual weak- Society is already in possession of ening of the energies of human na- knowledge, which, but for the imture, under the excessive wicked- morality that exists, would be adeness of these times. After the fall, quate to banish nearly the whole human nature had a vigour and vi- tribe of pestilential disorders, and tality, that carried it to the age of bring salubrity to places the most Methuselah. From this it weaken- unhealthful. "What is it but war, ed down gradually, until life reach- bad government, avarice, and is. ed its present brief span. Now this norance, in the mass of the people,