Page images
PDF
EPUB

Sept. 10th, 1840. The Scriptures in the Hands of the Church. I was, a few days ago, looking into the Summa of my old acquaintance Thomas Aquinas, to be certain that I had not forgotten the doctrines relating to saving Faith. I certainly retained an accurate recollection of those doctrines, but none of a Scripture proof, in support of the peculiar answer given to the question, “Whether the people are, by themselves, to search the articles of their Faith ?” This is answered in the negative, and the conclusive reason is taken from Job i. 14, where it is said, “The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them.” For, as Gregory the Great in his Moralia declares that the oxen are the Clergy, and the asses the people, it is evident the latter must follow the former, and feed their souls by Faith wherever their bigger guides lead them.

Into what curious hands did God place his infallible Church!

13th. The night rather restless. Grew much worse in the afternoon, till I broke out into a furious fit of convulsion, with all the symptoms of a severe ague. My pulse, at one in the morning, went at the rate of 136, and the attack went off with clammy perspiration.

16th. A restless night: increase of rheumatic pain. A self-moving chair arrived in the evening. It gives me great relief, even as a chair, besides the great advantage of being able to move about the room, as much as its small dimensions permit. It has always occurred to me that the mythological fiction of Vulcan's crutches originated in some mechanical contrivance for the relief of cripples.

17th, Letter from -,* wishing to renew his correspondence with me. I answered him without delay, and with the most sincere kindness..

21st. Night tolerable; morning very ill. Sent for the cupper. Was cupped at six in the evening; felt immediate relief.

22nd. Passed a day of solitude, that is, one of those when I feel most my solitude, from want of a regular occupation, and the feeling of great fatigue when I endeavour to occupy myself. Mr. S. Martin came in the evening

26th. Disturbed by violent rheumatic pains in the right shoulder.

* [* See p. 184.]

Oct. 2nd. Very bad night. The pain most violent. I fear this evil is spreading to the rest of the body. I have been trying to write with the left hand, but cannot succeed.

Oct. 6th. Night tolerable. A pair of crutches were sent here, to try; but the operation is too severe, and I have put it off.

Oct. 8th. Strong pain at different times: trying to stand on the crutches. Letter from Ferdinand from Kurrachee, Lower Scinde.

Sundoro

Sunday, Oct. 1lth. A restless night; very low in the morning. Julia Moore sat with me about an hour and a half, on her way to London.

Oct. 12th. Margaret wheeled me out into the lobby to see the house. A letter from Professor Norton.

Oct. 13th. A restless night; very much convulsed in the legs. Writing a long letter to Professor Norton, Cambridge, New England.

i must, if not all, the from my

completely exa your contro

To Professor Norton.
Carlisle Cottage, Whitfield-street, Park,

Liverpool, Oct. 13th, 1840. My dear Sir, Our friend, Mr. Thom, brought to me yesterday morning your letter of the 31st August last. As, though in much pain and exhaustion, I can still manage to write, I find it impossible to resist the desire I have of thanking you for that letter. Your kindness drew tears from my eyes. But alas ! I fear I may lose, if not all, the warmth at least of that kindness. I must, however, tell you explicitly that in your controversy with Mr. Ripley you have completely excluded me from the class of Christians. I do not blame you for openly stating your views. I only regret that I find myself under your condemnation, without any possibility of avoiding it. Nor do I contend for a denomi. nation which admits such a variety of definitions. But I fear that the spirit of Orthodoxy, which gradually has left me one of the most insulated men in the world, may still alienate from me one so kind, so friendly, and so enlightened as you. I confess that this fear has contributed a great deal to my silence. I would not, however, for the world keep you in ignorance of the fact, that it has long been, and still continues to be my conviction, that no historical evidence is sufficient to establish a miracle. This is the result of all my studies and meditations upon that subject. As it has happened to me in regard to all the other orthodox doctrines I have rejected, my convictions grew up slowly, and not without a feeling of regret; but what could I do? It is a fact, and I must abide the consequences. Having obtained my views in the sight of God, and thrown myself upon his mercy for the errors I may have committed, I could not shrink from the result, however painful, which my avowal may bring upon me. I am, besides, convinced that till that opinion be generally adopted, the spirit of Christianity must be obstructed by the dogmatic spirit. In consequence of this persuasion, having seen in the Christian Examiner (I believe) a Paper of Mr. Ripley which showed a tendency that way, I wrote to him a long letter, in the midst of pain and misery, endeavouring to urge him on in the examination of the important point he had touched upon. I think it is now about three years since I wrote to Mr. Ripley. It was to that letter I alluded. It has not been printed, and I have only an almost illegible copy. When the controversy between you and Mr. Ripley grew up to its full extent, I cannot express to you with what deep regret I read the productions to which it gave birth on both sides. The severity with which you treated the subject, seemed to recoil upon myself, and this feeling coming to embitter my other sufferings, I could not muster strength to touch upon the unfortunate question in a letter to you. I have done now what I wish I had done before. But your great kindness compels me to put you in full possession of the state of my mind. I need not add that to lose any portion of that kindness would be a source of great distress to ine. I find myself quite exhausted, and must conclude with an answer to your question about my works.

In Spanish I have been a rather voluminous writer, in two periodicals, El Español, chiefly political, and Las Variedades, literary and moral, intended chiefly for the HispanoAmericans. It was the labour I had to undergo during the four years that the Español appeared, that completely ruined my health. The first of my English works was Doblado's Letters. The Evidence against Catholicism followed; then a Letter to Butler, which the oppressive system pursued by the English publishers has eventually suppressed, because I published it at my own expense. I have not a copy, and cannot find one, owing to the failure of my printer, who had the whole edition in his warehouse.—A Letter on the Law of Anti-religious Libel, published in Dublin; a shorter Letter in answer to attacks on the former;

« PreviousContinue »