Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine, 3rd ser. 3 (1824), 318–21.
[Review of Theological Institutes, Part 2, by Richard Watson]
Christianity, Error, Metaphysics, Natural Theology, Infidelity, Biblical Authority, Theology of Nature, Causation, Materialism, Immaterialism, Creation, Gravity, Natural Law, Plenitude, Design, Instinct, Reason, Race, Human Species, Taxonomy, Natural Economy
Joseph Butler , Daniel Waterland
Clarke 1705 , Paley 1802 , Howe 1675
The reviewer welcomes this second part of the publication, noting that Richard Watson detects the 'sources of error' on every subject discussed, 'even though shaded by the branches and foliage of false philosophy and metaphysics'. Having established in the first part the authority of the Bible, Watson proceeds in the second part to derive from it such foundational doctrines as 'the Existence of God, and the Perfections of his Nature'. The reviewer observes that 'once the fact of God's Existence is communicated by his own revelation, it is found to be capable of ample confirmation; and hence, on no subject has argument been more triumphant than on this'. (318) Details Watson's account of the à priori argument. Observes of Samuel Clarke that, 'having discovered, as he thought, by the force of his own wit, what God was and must be, in all respects, he rejected the christian doctrine of the Trinity' and quibbled with the Bible. Relates that Watson 'discards the argument à priori, as being both defective and useless, and rests the weight of his cause upon the argument à posteriori'. Describes William Paley as 'one of the most perspicuous and powerful reasoners this country has ever produced'. Praises Watson's disquisitions on 'the sceptical philosophy of Hume, in regard to the connexion between cause and effect' and on 'the immateriality of the human soul, and the spirituality of the divine essence, in opposition to the doctrine of materialism, as espoused by Lawrence, and by the Philosophists of France, from whom Lawrence has borrowed his arguments and illustrations'. (319) Gives a lengthy extract on the wisdom of God in creation, which particularly emphasizes the variety of created things. A footnote to the extract quotes [Prichard] 1813 in attributing the 'rash hypothesis, that the negro is the connecting link between the white man and the ape' to the 'arbitrary classification of Linnæus, which associates man and the ape in the same order' (320n). Concludes by praising the first volume of this work, observing: 'There are few modern publications, the value of which we estimate so highly' (321).
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