« PreviousContinue »
observed similar appearances; but the former feems' chiefly to fail in extending this influence to other countries. He acknow. leges, that it is much lefs observable at Madrass; and yet fupposes that it has some effect on fevers in Atill more diftant climates. He has chiefly mentioned Hippocrates, as 'having observed the influence of the moon on the periods of fevers; but he might have added Ramazzini, Ballonius, Diemerbroek, and fome others. It may be alleged that, if this be true, it should long fince have been established beyond a doubt; but, independent of its having been little attended to, so strong are the preposfeffions against any regular progrefion in- fevers, that critical days are, even now, generally disbelieved.
Yet, on mature reflection, we see an epidemic fo gradual in its steps, and uniform in its appearances; we see attacks fo frequent, patients in different periods of the lunar revolution affected in the same way, and the events, at all times, so nearly alike, that we muit either disbelieve the influence of the moon, or suppose that our measures counteract it. In either case, attention to it; except as a 'inatter of curiosity, is useless. But we hould rather fufpect, that the influence is confined to the warmer climates ; for our author used the bark very liberally, a medicine that more effectually disturbs the operations of fever than any other.
This Treatise is written with candour and good sense. We shall select that part of it where the author endeavours to adapi his observations to the common purrid and pervous fevers of these climates. We muit, however, premise, that the three days previous to both the full and change of the moon, áre molt fatal, either in inducing dangerous fevers, or in influence ing the terminations. Each period confifts, therefore, of lix days, of which the most powerful are those of the full and change themselves. The intervals are comparatively mild.
* In the case of putrid fevers, continuing nineteen days, I supposed that there must have been a ftrong putrid tendency in the nabit, and that the febriferous influence of the air which prevails at the full and change, co-operating with this tendency at these periods, had the power of producing a fever on the second day from their commencement: and that before means could be used to itop or correct this disposition in the patient's habit, the fever continued to run.on through the first full or change, and succeeding interval, and also through a lecond full or change ; but that the putrid tendency being now in some degree overcome by medicine, and at the same time the febriferous influence of the full or change removed by the arrival of the second interval, a crisis of consequence imniediately took place at this juncture, juft about nineteen days from the first attack.
• In the case of putrid fevers continuing only feventeen days, I supposed that in them the putrid tendency of the habit was fomewhat less at the beginning than in the former case; and
that the febriferous influence of the full or change had not power to excite a fever until the fourth day of the period, when the putrid tendency was farther advanced ; that the fever continued to run on during the remaining days of that full or change, through the fucceeding interval, and also through another entire full or change, in the same manner as the fever of nineteen days; and that at laf; from the concurrence of the fame causes, it terminated critically, im inediately on the commencement of the second interval; just about seventeen days from the first attack.'
The Benevolence of the Deity, fairly and impartially confidered.
By Charles Chauny, D.D. Senior Pastor of the First Church
of Christ in Boston, America. 8vo. 45. in Boards. Dilly. THIS HIS work is divided into three parts. The first explains
the sense, in which we are to underítand benevolence, as applicable to God. The second asserts, and proves, that this perfection, in the sense explained, is one of his effential attributes. ---The third endeavours to answer objections,'
Under one or other of these heads,' Dr. Chauncy gives us to understand, in his title-page, that' occasion will be taken to view man as an intelligent moral agent; having within him. self an ability and freedom to will as well as to do, in opposition to necessity, from any extraneous cause whatever : to point out the origin of evil, both natural and moral : and to offer what may be thought sufficient to thew, that there is no inconsistency between infinite benevolence in the Deity, which is always guided by infinite wisdom, and any appearances of evil in the creation.'
Such is the method in which our author means to conduct his confiderations on this important subject. He seems sensible of its involving a solution of the great question of the origin of evil, which has hitherto baffled metaphysicians and divines. There is, however, reason to think fufficient data are wanting for a satisfa fory determination of this enquiry. It is not enough previously to demonstrate all the attributes of God; it fhould seem necessary to ascertain their measure in explicit an decisive terms, and then to prove their perfect consistency too gether, under the measures ascertained. Should we allow the first of these three points, namely, the existence of the divine attributes, as usually defined, to have been absolutely demon. Itrated, the measure of each still remains un fixed, and must remain so till clear ideas of their extent, and adequate terms to express them, can be found. To say that the attributes of the Deity are infinite, immeasurable, &c. is admitting that YOL. LX. 04. 1785.
we cannot comprehend their extent, and can consequently take no measures of them. Bat yet without them nothing fufficiently conclusive to satisfy the mind can ever, we apprehend, be done in any efforts to solve this mighty difficulty of the origin of evil. If it be answered, that we may draw all. the necessary conclusions from the nature of the divine attri. butes, without anderstanding their extent or confiftency, we think it too much to concede, in propriety of language, that even their nature can be wholly understood previously to our being able to ascertain these two important circumsances. If what is here said be admitted, it will feem to follow, as is above suggested, that we have not at present sufficient data to account conclusively for the origin of evili Great merit, how. ever, is to be given to those who have exerted the best efforts of learning and genius on fo momentous a subject. Although the author before us does not profeffedly make it his principal enquiry, it is nevertheless so involved in, and connečted with it, that we thought it incumbent on us to advert frequently to the above considerations ; and. we confess ourselves infiu. enced by them in rejecting some of his conclusions. But it is necessary to give our readers some idea of the execution of this work.
The first part; or section, being employed in ascertaining the sense in which perfect and absolute benévolence is to be attributed to the Deity, we select the following fummary paragraph, as conveying the author's ideas on this topic as fully as can be done through our medium.
6. The fum of what has been said conceming benevolence, as attributed to the deity, is, that it fupposes a natural ftate of mind, inclining him to the communication of good; a state of mind analogous to kind affection in us men, only as kind affection in us is attended with frailty, in him it is absolutely perfect, both as to mode of existence; and manner of exercise : that, as he exifts a free agent, in the highest and rroft glorious sense, he is not mechanically, or neceffarily, urged on, from this natural disposition, to the communication of good; but acts herein voluntarily, and of choice : and, in fine, thaty, as he is an infinitely wife and intelligent, as well as free, agent, his exertions, in order to the production of good, are never unfit, never unreasonable, but always fit, reasonable, and absolutely and perfectly so. So that, in one word, benevolence in the Deity signifies precisely the same thing with " a disposition freely to communicate all the good that is consistent with wise and fit conduct:" for, fupremely perfect benevolence of nature, being, in him, conjoined with an all-comprehending understanding, and unerring wisdom, he must know all the
ways of producing happiness, and the greatest sum of it that can be wisely produced: and this, therefore, is the happiness that may reasonably be expected should be produced by him'; that is to say, all the happiness to the whole, and every part of the creation, that can be, not in respect of omnipotence, confidered as a natural power, but in the way of fit and reasonable conduct. What this comprehends, 'is not distinctly and fully known by creatures, formed with such narrow capacities as our's: for which reason, in all perplexed cases (as. to us there muit necessarily be many) it becomes us to be inodeit and cautious; ever taking care that we do not rahly determine that to be inconsistent " with goodness, wisely and reasonably dispenfed,” which, in reality, may be a good argument in proof of it, and would appear to us to be fo, had we one entire vieiv of the whole case, in all its connections and dependencies.'
They who admit, as fatisfactory, the mode of analogical reasoning, from the qualities of men to the attributes of God, will find little to object to, in this passage.
Dr. Chauncy, before entering formally into argument on the main subject of his second section, desires the following remarks, which might have been styled poftulates, may be well considered. We can only transcribe them without their several illustrations, which extend to many pages.
1. This system of ours is not to be considered Jingly and by itself, when we are arguing about the benevolence of the Deity. And for this plain reason; because there are other systems of beings, to whom God has made manifestations of his goodness.
• 2. In arguing concerning the divine benevolence, we ought not to consider its displays as they affect individual beings only, but as they relate to the particular systems, of which they are parts. All particular systems are probably related to some univerfal one, and, properly speakirg, are fo many parts conftituting this great whole, designed by the Deity for the full manifestation of his infinitely perfect benevolence.
3. We must not judge of the benevolence of the Deity merely from the actual good we see produced; but should likewise take into consideration the tendency of these general lazus, conformably to which it is produced ; because the tendency of these laws may be obitructed, and less good actually take place than they are naturally fitted to produce.
4. We muft, in judging of the divine benevolence, carry our thoughts beyond the present to some future state of existence, and consider them as connected in the divine plan of operation for good.'
The author, after having fufficiently expatiated upon these postulates, to leave little doubt of their reatonableness, pro.
ceeds to take a comprehensive view of the natural and moral
have it not in my view, here, minutely to consider all the effects of benevolence apparent in the constitution and go. vernment of this world of our’s. This would be beyond the reach of my ability, and a needless labour. It will be a fufi, cient enforcement of the present argument, if so much is said as to make it plain, that all the good, suitable for such a fyfteni as this, is apparently the tendency of nature, and the divine adminiftration ; and that it actually prevails so far as this tendency is not perverted by the creatures themselves, whom God has made ; for which he is not answerable, as, has been hinted already, and will be more fully thown hereafter,
• The way in which I shall endeavour to illustrate this im. portant fabject shall be by giving, in the first place, some general touches on the visible frame of inanimate nature; then by taking some tranfient notice of the inferior creatures made capable of happinefs; and finally by viewing more critically and fully the intelligent moral beings, in this world, towards whom the divine goodness has been displayed, in the larget measures.'
On the whole of this section we must remark, that the au. thor has displayed considerable ability, and has presented his argument with force and perfpicuity.
Although we cannot follow him through the train of his reasoning, our readers will not be difpleated to see here fome particular passages of this section. Dr. Chauncy's account of the different degrees of perfection in the intellectual powers of different men, is worthy of attention.
• This difference in men's capacities, whatever it is owing to, whether a difference in their original implantation, or a difference in the body's mechanism, either of which amounts to precisely the same thing, in the present argument: I say, this inequality of powers is so far from arguing want of good. ness in the Deity, that it strongly illutirates the glory and perfection of it.
• Possibly, the gradation in beings, by means of which all spaces are filled up, could not have been fo accuracely complete, unless there had been a difference between the individud als in each fpecies as well as between the species themselves.