A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 794 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13.
and for this opinion, I have, among other respectable authorities, that of the Bible.  ’Shall we,’ says Job, ’receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ The Supreme Being is equally wise and benevolent in the dispensation of both evil and good, as means of effecting ultimate purposes worthy of his ineffable perfections; so that whether we consider ourselves as Christians or philosophers, we must acknowledge that he deserves blessing not more when he gives than when he takes away.  If the fall of a sparrow, as well as its preservation, is imputed to Providence, why not the fall as well as the preservation of a man?  And why should we attribute to Providence only what appears to be good in its immediate effect, when we suppose that the whole concatenation of events, whether the preservation or destruction of particular parts, tends ultimately to the good of the whole?  The same voice commissions the winds to plough up the deep, which at the appointed time rebukes them, saying, ‘Peace, be still.’  If the adorable Author and Preserver of Nature was such a being as Baal is represented to have been by the prophet, when he derided his worshippers; if he was sometimes on a journey, and sometimes asleep, we might with propriety say that a fire happened to break out, or a storm to rise, but that by the interposition of Providence life was preserved, expressions which imply that the mischief had one origin, and the remedy another; but such language certainly derogates, from the honour of the great Universal Cause, who, acting through all duration, and subsisting in all space, fills immensity with his presence, and eternity with his power.

“It will perhaps be said, that in particular instances evil necessarily results from that constitution of things which is best upon the whole, and that Providence occasionally interferes, and supplies the defects of the constitution in these particulars; but this notion will appear not to be supported by those facts which are said to be providential; it will always be found that Providence interposes too late, and only moderates the mischief which it might have prevented.  But who can suppose an extraordinary interposition of Providence to supply particular defects in the constitution of Nature, who sees those defects supplied but in part?  It is true, that when the Endeavour was upon the rock off the coast of New Holland, the wind ceased, and that otherwise she must have been beaten to pieces; but either the subsiding of the wind was a mere natural event, If it was a natural event, Providence is out of the question, at least we can with no more propriety say that providentially the wind ceased, than that providentially the sun rose in the morning.  If it was not a mere natural event, but produced by an extraordinary interposition, correcting a defect in the constitution of nature, tending to mischief, it will lie upon those who maintain the position, to shew, why an extraordinary interposition did not

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