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First; Reasons for Inoculation ; in which he mentions, that, some time before he wrote this little piece, seven children, on an average, died each day of the small pox at Lisburn.
Second; An Account of the Well at Pool, near Clonis, in the county of Monaghan, famous for curing the jaundice. The cure he supposes not owing to the virtue of the waters, but to the mode of application.
Third; Observations on a late Resignation. It alludes to the conduct of the Rev. Mr. Robertson, late of the established church, a short account of whom may not be acceptable to the reader. He had the benefice of Rathvilly, in the diocese of Leighlin and Ferns; but which, as he could not believe in the Trinity, he resigned through a scruple of conscience. On his resignation he published his reasons, entitled rin Enquiry, &c. which Mr. Skelton thought a book very agreeably written. He then wrote to Mr. Robertson requesting he would come and spend the remainder of his life with him, and take part of what be had ; if not, he offered him a large share of his income to support him. In his letter to him, he said, “ we should often argue, but “ never dispute; if we could not concur in one Creed, we should at " least coalesce in one heart." Such were his proposals to a man, whose religious opinions differed so widely from his own. But Mr. Robertson nobly refused, and preferred retiring to a country part of England, where he kept a school for his bread. They were intimate ever after, and continued a regular correspondence with each other. When he sent his grandson afterwards to our university, he committed him chiefly to the care of Mr. Skelton, who would not allow him on urgent occasions, to be in want of money. This was a man that, without any pompous display of principle, quietly resigned a good living for conscience sake. Mr. Skelton observed, that Mr. Lindsey, who made such a parade about his honesty, was not influenced by motives equally pure, as the society which he established in London brought him more yearly than the vicarage he resigned.
Fourth; A Dream. This is intended to expose the folly of fashion. In imagination it is not deficient; but it is too long. It requires no ordinary skill to make fiction appear pleasant.
Fifth; Hilema. By this he means a copse or shrubbery. It consists of a variety of short observations. There are in it a few anecdotes well worth recording.
At Fintona this year there were some remarkable events. One or two people killed ihemsolves; others were murdered; one man, in particular, opposite to his window-which had such an effect upon him, that he instantly made his escape from the place in dread of his life; imagining that, if he staid, he also should be murdered.
It is to be hoped, for the honour of humanity, that Mr. Skelton was in no danger of his lite at Fintona; for they must have been worse than savages, had they attempted to injure a man, who was constantly doing yood among them. Even in plentiful times he gave nearly the half of his income to the poor; or should he occasionally happen not to give so much, he only reserved his money to be more liberal to them at a season of scarcity. At the division of the poor's money osory Easter, he alsays joined to the whole collection twenty, and
sometimes, thirty pounds of his own. Besides, he very often put a guinea in the poor's box, and seldom less than a crown. He also gave money to buy flax seed to those who stood in need of it. Indeed hę was constantly dividing his charities, either publicly or privately, among the necessitous. Yet in the distribution of these, he was scarce ever imposed on by improper objects; so strictly did he examine into the condition of those whom he relieved. To the strolling beggars he was not, I must own, very liberal; for he suspected the most of them to be impostors, In one of his pieces he says, " of all nuisances and “ grievances incident to poor Ireland, strolling beggars are the worst." · His strict and rigid æconomy enabled him to give so much away. Yet he was obliged at last, on account of his age and infirmities, to be at the expence of buying a chaise, which, as he got it not for shew but for convenience, was very plain.
About 1773 there was a dearth in that part of Ireland, at which time he, as usual, kept his poor alive, by his own money, and the assistance which he got from others. The land about Fintona was tolerably fertile, but cadgers bought up the oat-meal, and carried it off to the barren parts of the counties of Derry and Antrim, which made the dearth to be felt more severely at Fintona. It was therefore requisite at that time to bring meal from other places; but this was attended with some difficulty, as the people of the adjacent parishes, who were in a manner starving, strove to take the meal by force from the carmen. Of consequence, the people of Fintona found it necessary to arm themselves, and go in a body to meet the carmen, and conduct them to the town.
About this time Mr. Eccles, the squire of his parish, lodged with him, when they lived very agreeably together, as Mr. Eccles, who is a gentleman of real piety, was fond of religious conversation. He was, indeed, so remarkable for this, that Mr. Skelton used often to say, he had too much religion for a gentleman. We need not, however, be apprehensive, that others of his station will catch the infection,
Mr. Eccles had a brother, a clergyman, who offered to preach in Fintona church; but Mr. Skelton refused him leave, as he suspected him to be a Methodist. But having a friendly communication at Mr. Skelton's lodgings, where they were a week together-all which time he spent in examining into Mr. Charles Eccles's principles he was at length convinced, that, strictly speaking, he was not a Methodist : of consequence he then allowed him to preach in his church. Two thirds of the parish belong to Mr. Eccles, yet he would not allow his brother the use of his pulpit till he was convinced he was not tinctured with false principles.
This clergyman met with his death in 1780, in the following mana ner: while he was studying a sermon near the banks of a river in England, he saw a boy just drowning; upon this, he ran to it, ind, leaping in to save him, was drowned in striving to preserve his life.
REPLY to J. W. on the APPEARANCE of SAMUEL to SAUL.
TO TIIE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
GENTLEMEN, V OUR correspondent I. W., in your last month's Magazine p. 349,
I has called the attention of your readers to what fell from my pen in my first letter, which you have inserted in your Magazine for September 1803, p. 170, on the subject of SAMUEL's appearance to SAUL, as recorded i Sam. xxviii. From the tenor of my first letter you may however perceive, that I had not absolutely made up my inind on the question, as I was so far from speaking in positive terms of it, that I expressly stated it to “ admit of a query, as it was viewed itifferently by different orthodox divines !" I stated indeed that some “great authoritics" had defended the negative of the proposition, and that the arguments advanced in support of that hypothesis “ carried considerable weight with them;" and these considerations, I own, had their effect upon my mind to make me peruse, at least, before I abso, lutely decided. What I threw out, therefore, in my first letter was with an intention of having the doubts, which floated in my mind, either completely dissipated, or else completely established. Whatever respect I may therefore have for my great authorities, and for the ingenious ar, guments which have been produced, I must candidly confess that your correspondent hath fully and most decidedly convinced me that " greater than these is love;" viz. the plain and unadorned language of Holy Scripture on the opposite side of the question. I assent to the remark of J. W., that it is very dangerous to depart from the literal meaning of the words of Holy Writ in order to admit of fanciful illustrations, &c. and it seems therefore certain to me, (and I hope it will also appear in the same light to my correspondent who furnished me with my first mentioned interpretation, and who, I know, is a constant reader of your Magazine) that we ought to understand this narrative as speaking of the appearance of the real Samuel, and not, as I once doubted, of any diabolical delusion, or of an evil spirit who assumed the likeness of the deceased.
To convince you that I once had doubts concerning the true interpretation of this passage of Holy Writ, I will take the liberty of giving you an extract from my letter in reply to the arguments which were offered in support of the real Sannuel not having appeared to Saul, as Thave preserved a faithful copy of the same; and you will find that it corresponds in an extraordinary manner with the observation of J. W. on this important passage of Holy Writ. The following is a literal transcription of it.
“ There is one very great difficulty which is thrown around the narration of SAMUEL's appearance to SAUL, at the magical incantation of the witch of Endor, of which you seem to be well aware, for you say, “ It is not clear to me that we are at liberty to decide against what appears to be the literal interpretation of this passage of Scripture.” I have formerly, under an anonymous signature, communicated to the Editors of the Orthodox Churchman's Magazine what appeared to me a
proper and invariable " Rule of interpreting Holy Scripture;" viz. that we must adhere'to the literal interpretation of Holy Writ, whenever it does not contradict some other passage, &c. &c. We must preserve this rule, or else we open a door to all the GEDDEAN BLASPHEMY which has been so infamously bellowed forth against the inspired Writings, not only by that ARCH-INFIDEL himself, but by all who belong to the same school; and indeed by artful and wicked men in every age of the Church. Admitting this, it is very difficult to put any but a literal meaning upon what appears to be a plain and unadorned narration of a matter of fact. On the other side, the arguments are very strong which you have produced in proof of the position that the appearance of SAMUEL which SAUL saw was a PHANTOM raised by the Evil-Spirit. Of these the third seems to me to carry the greatest weight. For I perfectly agree to the position, that there is much difficulty in the supposition, that “SAMUEL's soul was really brought from the Mansions of Peace to satisfy the forbidden curiosity of SAUL;" and especially, “ as all the purposes of SAUL's information would be answered by the appearance of a PHANTOM.” These opposite difficul. ties make it hard to determine the question.
Allow me, gentlemen, to return my thanks to J. W. for dispelling all my doubts concerning the true meaning of the above passage of the sacred Volume, and for confirming me most fully in the sentiment of adhering closely to the literal meaning of the Holy text, whenever it can be fairly and properly done. Give me leave also to recommend the same safe and excellent rule to all your readers; and, with earnest wishes for the utmost success to your excellent Miscellany, to conclude myself, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient
and very humble servant, January 9, 1804.
QUÆSTOR ON THE INTERMEDIATE STATE.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
THEN I made inquiries so long ago as the month of November, W 1802, concerning the state of human souls in the interval betwixt death and the general resurrection, I did not imagine that what I then advanced would have given rise to so much elaborate reasoning as hath appeared on that subject in the pages of your Magazine. The LONDON CURATE will please to accept my warmest thanks for his kind attention to my wishes, in entering so deeply as he hath done into the subject. I think his collation of the texts of scripture concerning GEILENNA and Hades learned, and the arguments he hath produced ingenious. I am sorry to perceive, that sume of the writers on the other side of the question have maintained their opinions with so much
warmth; as this conduct, if persisted in, must inevitably excite unfriendly passions, which are directly repugnant to our Saviour's religion. Let me therefore request the contending parties to forbear any further discussion of this subject, which I now perceive may be continued ad infinitum, and not brought to any positive conclusion at last. There are certain degrees of knowledge which the Almighty hath permitted us to attain, and beyond those fixed boundaries the most sagacious and enlightened reasoner cannot penetrate. These boundaries of human knowledge, and the reasons why they are such as we find them to be, are clearly ascertained in that excellent sermon of the elegant DOCTOR BLAIR on these words; “ Now we see through a glass darkly," &c. Let me recommend the careful perusal of this discourse to all who enter into disputes concerning things which are above the capacity of Man, in his present state of confined and very circumscribed knowFedge, to understand. As to myself, I have made up my mind no longer anxiously to inquire after this or any other point which does 'not seem to be clearly and indisputably revealed in the sacred Volume of everlasting life. If it had been necessary to be known, the goodness of the Deity, I am sure, would not have left it to be a matter of doubtful disputation; as it is not thus clearly revealed, I am satisfied, that it is much better for mankind that it is wrapped up in its present state of darkness and obscurity. Whatsoever is necessary to direct our conduct, enlighten our understanding, and purify our hearts; in a word, to conduct us by a faithful performance of it to the realms of everlasting peace, is so clearly revealed, that “ he who runs may read it ," whatever belongs to a future state citlier before or after the resurrection is properly concealed from us. When we arrive in the Land of Spirits we shall fully know what belongs to that state.
Let us satisfy ourselves therefore with this state of the question; and rest assured, that if we make it our study and uniform endeavour to please and obey HIM, while we continue upon earth, he will conter in us a mighty reward in the world to come. Whether this reward will commence in part immediately, on the separation of the soul and body, or wherher we must wait for it till the great last day of accounts, we may be certain it will be so ordered by infinite Wisdom and unbounded Goodness as to be full of Mercy and full of Grace !!