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-Rev. Mr. Bramin, of Rowley, This family consists of twenty

preached the sermon-Rev. Dr. five adults, five of whom are unmar

Thayer, of Lancaster, made the ried ladies, and sixteen children. consecrating prayer-Rev. Dr. PufThe missionaries have been assem

fer, of Berlin, delivered the charge bled from nine different states in

-Rev. Mr. Clark, of Rutland, made our union. On their way from New

York to Osage river, on the Mis

Shedd, of Acton, gave the right souri, they spent about five days in hand of fellowship and the Rev. the city of Philadelphia, and re

Mr. Cotton made the concluding newed our zeal in the missionary prayer. We cannot but feel a live.

At an ordination holden in St. lier interest in this family thah we Michael's Church, in Bristol (R.I.), should have done, had we never on Lord's day, March 4th, the Rev. seen their faces in the flesh; and

Stephen H. Tyng, of Boston, and we bless. God, therefore, for what

Rev. Silas Blaisdell, of New Hampour eyes have seen, and our ears

shire, were admitted by the Right heard of their devotion to the cause

Rev. Bishop Griswold, to the holy of our Redeemer among the heathen.

order of deacons. The public prints have given so full an account of the design and pro

At West Newbury, (Mass.) on gress of this mission, that we shall Wednesday, the 7th of March, was only add, that the agents of the ordained, the Rev. Mr. Demond, United Foreign Missionary Socie over West Parish. Rev. Mr. Perty, Robert Ralston and Alexander ry, of Bradford, read proceedings Henry, esquires, received, while of council-introductory prayer by the family tarried with us, in cash,

Rev. Mr. Bramin, of Rowley_serthe following sums: viz.

mon by Rev. Mr. Fay, of CharlesFrom the Second Presbyte

town, from Romans x. 1-conserian Church, a collection 140 52

crating prayer by Rev. Mr. Mil

timore, of Newbury-charge by From the Third do. do. 114 00 From the First Reformed

Rev. Mr. Allen, of Bradford-right Dutch Church, do. 111 62

hand of fellowship by Rev. Mr. From the Sixth Presbyte

Dennis, of Topsfield-concluding rian church, do.

300 33 prayer by Rev. Dr. Parish. From sundry individuals, as donations,

277 54 Besides sundry goods well calculated for the esta

In Dalton, (Mass.) Isaiah Wesblishment, the value of

ton, esq. aged 48, formerly pastor which cannot be accu

of the Congregational Church in rately given, but cer

Fairhaven, and subsequently coltainly exceeding 800 00

lector of New Bedford. $1744 01 In Gray, (Maine) 1st Feb. the

Rev. Samuel Nash, aged 67. Mr.

Nash graduated at Brown UniverORDINATIONS.

sity in the year 1760, and was orOn the 28th of February last, Mr. dained to the work of the gospel John Boardman was ordained over

ministry in Gray, in the summer of the Congregational Church and So

1775. ciety in West Boylston (Mass.). The venerable Dr. Sumner presided

PUBLISHED BY LITTELL & HENRY, on the occasion-Rev. Mr. Briggs,

74, South Second St. Philadelphia, of Boxford, offered the first prayer

At g3 per annum, or $250 if paid in advance.




APRIL, 1321.

Communications. light, into most parts of morals and

theology. These were the ChrisFOR THE PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE. tian heroes and genuine philoso

On the Nature of Virtue. phers, who regenerated Europe by As almost every part of our the simple exhibition of divine knowledge involves

some questions, truth. which are beyond the reach of our Metaphysics, consisting for the powers, the great practical wisdom most part of useless speculations or of the philosopher consists in di unfounded theories, had fallen into recting his inquiries to their proper some degree of discredit, when the objects.

incomparable Dr. Reid established The schoolmen discovered per it firmly upon the principles of comhaps as much acuteness and inge mon sense, and sound reasoning. nuity, as any other class of writers. Nothwithstanding these noble exBut the powers of their minds were amples, many still discover a strong wasted, and dissipated, upon subtle propensity to form theories, and to and unintelligible questions, which engage in speculations beyond the are now, almost universally, consi reach of the human powers. When dered as beyond the comprehension this spirit extends itself to religious of the human intellect.

subjects, it becomes exceedingly They were equally mistaken dangerous. An inquirer of this deabout the proper mode of philoso-scription, is soon dissatisfied with phizing. These ingenious men, sup the simplicity of revealed truth. posing that they could discover the Hence we are presented with a mysteries of nature by abstract spe

number of novel, and unscriptural culation and syllogistic reasoning, theories, about the universal sysdisdained to submit to the labour of tem-about the foundation and nacollecting facts, by observation and ture of virtue-about the powers of experiment.

moral agents about the essence of In opposition to these erroneous holiness and sin; and many others. views about the nature and object These remarks are sufficient to of our investigations, Bacon and show the duty, and the wisdom, of Newton introduced a more rational adhering to the simple truth, as it philosophy. They clearly under is revealed in the word of God; of stood that the only proper business suspecting, nay of rejecting, withof the student of nature, is to ob out hesitation, every system of theserve its phenomena, and to ascer ology, the first principles of which, tain its general laws.

instead of resting on the infallible In the same manner, the illus truth of God, have no other support trious reformers, abandoning the than some doubtful, or demonstrably jargon, and sophistry, of the middle erroneous, metaphysical arguments. ages, poured a pure and salutary True philosophy is always favourVOL. I.


able to Christianity, and to the ge “is in the holy scriptures reduced nuine doctrines of Christianity. It to one simple principle, love; and has a tendency to repress that arro made to consist wholly in this: by gant and impious boldness, which which is evidently meant disintewould lead us to doubt or reject rested good will to being in geneevery thing which we cannot fully ral, capable of happiness, with all comprehend. It disarms the infidel that affection necessarily included and the sceptic of those weapons,

in this.”+ which to ignorance appeared so for “ The primary object,” remarks midable. It shows that the clear Dr. Emmons, “of true benevolence est dictates of reason, and the so is being simply considered, or a berest conclusions drawn from our mere capacity of enjoying happiobservation of the works and provi ness or suffering pain. It necessadence of God, are perfectly accord rily embraces God and all sensitive ant with the dictates of inspiration. natures." • It is therefore the naBut that which has most commonly ture of true benevolence to run pausurped the name and the honours rallel with universal being, whether of philosophy, has obscured and per uncreated or created, whether raverted the plain and simple truths tional or irrational, whether holy or of the gospel.

unholy." “Christian philosophers,” says a

From the extracts which have late writer, “ labour with vast inge been given, it appears that, accordnuity and mighty zeal, so to pare ing to these writers, virtue consists down and fashion the gospel of primarily in love to being in geneChrist, as that it shall harmonize ral; to being simply considered ; with their self-invented systems." without any regard to moral charac

These remarks are applicable to ter or common nature, or the relathe different theories, invented by tion which the individual bears to philosophers to explain the nature

us, except that he belongs equally of virtue. I shall however confine with ourselves to the same great myself in this essay, to the consi system of universal being. deration of a theory of virtue adopt I. Respecting this theory we may ed and defended by several writers observe, that the language in which in our own country.

it is expressed is rather obscure and The theory to which I allude indefinite. All the objects existing makes virtue to consist primarily, in nature are individuals. There is and essentially, in disinterested be nothing in the universe correspondnevolence, or in love to being in ge ing to the terms being in general. neral. The illustrious president In the use of this phraseology our Edwards, expresses his doctrine on ideas terminate upon

the mere this subject, in the following lan-words, except we transfer guage. “ The primary object of thoughts from the general terms to virtuous love is being simply con an individual included under those sidered, or that true virtue prima- terms, and then the object of our rily consists, not in love to any par thoughts is particular. ticular beings, because of their vir If therefore in using the exprestue or beauty, nor in gratitude be sion “ being in general,” our concause they love us; but in a pro-ceptions do not extend beyond the pensity and union of heart to being mere words; it is manifestly vain simply considered, exciting abso to place virtue in loving, or in lute benevolence (if I may so call having a disposition to love, mere it) to being in general,"*

words. “ Holiness," says Dr. Hopkins, II. President Edwards observes


* The Nature of True Virtųe, p. 131.

† System, p.351, vol. i.

# Sermon IR

that "the first object of a virtuous But we are required to love God, benevolence is being simply consi because he is a being of infinite, dered.”

eternal and unchangeable perfecUpon this I would remark, that tion; because he is our creator, prewe can form no conception of “ be server and benefactor; because he ing simply considered.” It is al has revealed himself not only as together beyond our power to sepa holy, just and true, but as boundrate from any individual all his na less in mercy, and unchangeable in tural and moral qualities, and rela- love, to all who believe in the Lord tions, and to conceive of mere ab Jesus Christ. stract existence. We can talk and The second commandment is to reason about one quality of an ob love our neighbour as ourselves; ject, distinct from its other quali not the mere abstract being of our ties, whilst we judge it impossible neighbour, for this is absurd; but for them to exist separately. Thus our neighbour, possessing all the we can reason about the extension, common qualities and properties of without considering the colour, of human nature. an object; but we cannot conceive God has implanted certain affecof an extended substance, without tions and dispositions in our naattaching some colour to it.

ture, such as the natural and social In the same manner, we may

affections, which it is our duty, in talk and reason about “ being sim obedience to the command of God, ply considered,” without taking and in subordination to his glory, to into consideration qualities and re cultivate and exercise. These ori. lations; but it is impossible to form ginal principles of our nature are any conception of a being corres not eradicated by divine grace, ponding to our reasoning.

much less are they superseded by But as our affections are founded, a more enlarged and undistinguishnot upon reasoning, but upon a dis ing love to being in general; but tinct knowledge and conception of they are sanctified and made the their object, it follows that love to means of glorifying God, and probeing simply considered, cannot moting the happiness of men. exist.

President Edwards remarks that III. Were it even possible to

virtue has an “ultimate propensity have any knowledge of mere ab to the highest good of being in gestract existence, of being simply neral.” It is very evident, that if considered," without any qualities the highest good of being in geneeither good or bad; and without ral,” were made the motive, and any

connexion with us, even the the rule, of virtuous conduct, all most remote, except that of belong virtue would soon be banished from ing to the same great system of the the world. If the highest good of universe, I apprehend such a being being in general were made the imcould not be the object either of mediate object of pursuit, and men love or hatred.

were left to infer the means of its But if we were capable of exer accomplishment “from a calculacising benevolent affection towards tion and comparison of remote efsuch an object, it would not be vir fects, we may venture to affirm, that tuous, because God has nowhere there would not be enough of virtue required us to love being in gene

left in the world to hold society toral, or being simply considered. gether."* Those writers whose docThe first and great commandment trines we are considering, accordof the law, is to love God, not the ingly disavow those pestiferous conbeing of God abstractly considered, sequences which were so eagerly for of such a God we have no knowledge.

* Stewart's Elements, vol. ii. p. 462.

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embraced by Godwin and Hume, mind are not capable of any emoand in some degree by Dr. Paley. tions so infinitely different in deAlthough they contend, that the

gree. highest good of being in general is “ 2. Since our views of the exthe ultimate object of all virtue; tent of the universe are capable of and some of them assert that the

perpetual enlargement, admitting sole reason why any action is vir the sum of existence is ever the tuous is because it has a tendency same, we must return back at each to promote the good of the whole; step to diminish the strength of yet they deny that utility is or can particular affections, or they will Þe a rule of conduct to us.

become disproportionate; and conThis arises from the fact, that the sequently on these principles, vihuman mind is too limited to deter cious; so that the balance must mine whether an action would be be continually fluctuating by the useful on the whole, or not. They weights being taken out of one have recourse, therefore, to the scale and put into the other. word of God, as the only rule of “ 3. If virtue consists exclusiveconduct; convinced that the good || ly in love to being in general, or of the whole will be most effectually attachment to the general good, the promoted by practising those pri particular affections are to every vate and relative duties which the purpose of virtue useless and even scriptures enjoin.

pernicious: for their immediate, nay Now, is not this really abandon their necessary tendency, is to ating their own system? Is it not an tract to their objects a proportion acknowledgment that virtue, upon of attention which far exceeds their their principles, is an impossibili comparative value in the general ty? Is it not an admission, that al scale. though all virtue primarily consists “ To allege that the general good in love to being in general, yet from is promoted by them will be of no the necessary imperfection of our advantage to the defence of this knowledge, human virtue consists system, but the contrary, by conin something very different ?-in fessing that a greater sum of happithe exercise of affections, and the ness is attained by a deviation from, performance of duties, which neces than an attachment to its princisarily regard a more private circle ples; unless its advocates mean by -a very limited range of objects. the love of being in general, the IV. President Edwards remarks,

same as the private affections, which that “that being who has most of is to confound all the distinctions being, or has the greatest share of of language, as well as the operaexistence, will have the greatest tions of the mind."* share of the propensity and bene To these very acute and excelvolent affection of the heart." lent remarks, it may be proper to

To this there are several objec add, that if the “ benevolent affections, some of which I will state in tions of the heart” are to be prothe language of the Rev. Robert portioned to quantity of being, or Hall, of England.

“share of existezce," then it be“1. That virtue on these princi comes necessary to ascertain with ples is an utter impossibility: for perfect accuracy the “share of exthe system of being comprehending istence” possessed by each indivithe Great Supreme is infinite; and dual, before we can know what protherefore to maintain the proper portion of our affection to bestow proportion, the force of particular upon him. But how is this to be attachment must be infinitely less done? Who shall furnish us with a than the passion for the general good; but the limits of the human

Sermon on Modern Infidelity, p. 57.

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