||Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. I
Table of Contents
GENERAL INTRODUCTION. (continued)
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 or not; 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 take place rather to prevent the ship’s sinking, than to prevent her being beaten to pieces after she had struck: a very slight impulse upon the ship’s course would have caused her to steer clear of the rock, and if all things were not equally easy to Omnipotence, we should say that this might have been done with less difficulty than a calm could be produced by suspending the general laws of Nature which had brought on the gale.
I have, however, paid my homage to the Supreme Being, consonant to my own ideas of his agency and perfections; and those who are of opinion that my notions are erroneous, must allow, that he who does what he thinks to be right, and abstains from what he thinks to be wrong, acquits himself equally of moral obligation, whether his opinions are false or true.
© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page xxi, 2004
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