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patriot, who speaks much of the public good, meaning only his own. To the .man of covetousness and greedy ambition, what is the peace of the community ?what are the great interests of morality and order, of virtue and religion? The welfare of the people is the pretence, the lure ; but self is the moving power. Let the people be disciplined in virtue ; let a spirit of mutual kindness and goodwill govern them instead of a spirit of scorn, and hatred, and defiance; and they will not suffer themselves to become the instruments by which the unprincipled and worthless may lift themselves to office and power. Let them unite virtue with intelligence; and then will wholesome laws be uniformly carried into effect. .
But were the energy of our laws always sustained ; were our magistrates always men of upright, noble, disinterested views, having no aim but the public welfare; what is the amount of good which would spring from this perfection
government but this, that the facilities of procuring a subsistence or of acquiring wealth are increased, and that the people are protected in the enjoyment of their rights ? Let it be, that a good government will shield from injustice the lowest as well as the highest ; let it be, that such a government will shut out the losses, the corrupting influence, the desolating miseries of war. But can government stay the destroying plague, which, in its march from India, has trampled on the lives of fifty millions, and has come to our shores? government stay the prevalence of error and vice which infect our whole atmosphere, predisposing and preparing victims for eternal death? No. This freedom from sin and consequent misery is not the direct result of government; but of the truth of God. The gospel must come with its purifying energy to the hearts of mankind, or the deadly plague of sin will still prevail, and continue to people hell with its victims.
4. The confidence, which is placed in Philosophy for the advancement of human happiness, will be found fallacious. If even the general education of the people will not of itself secure the public welfare; what shall we think of those grand anticipations of human improvement and perfectibility, which are founded upon the progress of science among the learned ? Are they any thing more than the creations of fancy? The most learned nations, nations which have been the most prolific of philosophers, have not always been the most virtuous and happy. Science has ever been attended with a corruption of manners. It might be an error to regard them as bearing the relation of cause and effect. Both may have a common origin in a high degree of civilization and national prosperity, affording, on the one side, leisure and opportunity for intellectual culture in minds eager for philosophical inquiry; and, on the other side, furnishing scope for depraved and degrading indulgence. Who is not aware, that some of the most learned men have been abandoned to enormous vices? And who is not aware also, that, among nations holding a proud rank in science, the moral virtues have been, like the plants in a sandy desert, rarely seen, and, when seen, struggling for life in the arid plain and under a parching sun ?
Of all the sciences of the present day the most boastful'as to its effect on human happiness is Political Economy. Its aim is the production and distribution of wealth: but is wealth the highest good of man? Let it be, that this science may lead to the abrogation of many absurd laws, which put chains upon human activity, and may teach the few, who have leisure for its study, to add wisely to their individual wealth. But can political economy ever abrogate that law of God, which is stamped upon the condition of man, and which subjects him to the necessity of procuring his bread by the sweat of his face? Can the six
hundred millions of men live without food, and clothing, and habitations ?-and will the stubborn earth yield its fruit, without human labor, at the call of political economy?-or, while the hand of man is idle, will the prolific ocean deliver its finny tribes upon the shore for our subsistence? Though the wheel and the loom may move without human power,—yet can the materials for clothing be raised and collected by the magic of science, or will the rocks, and the clay, and the trees of the forest fashion themselves into houses for indolent, happy man? Political economy has for a few years past been the pride of Great Britain. What has it effected? Let the ten thousands of the degraded and starving population of Britain, who have been poured upon our shores in pursuit of work and of bread, bear witness.
It is Metaphysical Philosophy, which peculiarly and emphatically claims the name of philosophy, and which in different ages has called forth the utmost efforts of men of the most powerful intellect. If the truth makes men free, how can philosophy have any effect in promoting the liberation of man, unless it be true? And what has been the character of human philosophy? What has been its relation to truth? What have been the proud theories, which learned, contemplative men have constructed by the toil of years, and what have been most of the celebrated schools, which have succeeded each other from age to age down even to the present day, but theories and schools of error and folly ? What shall we think of the system of Pantheism, which makes all nature, all worlds, every plant and animal, a part of God? and what of the opposite system, which asserts, in the metaphysical language, an absolute unity, exclusive of all plurality, and which regards the world as having merely a shadowy existence, and our relation to it as an illusion ? Yet for these theories have learned philosophers in different ages contended,--for a world without a God and Creator, or for a God without a world ;--for a visible God to the denial of spirit, or for an invisible God to the denial of matter.
What shall we think of a philosophy, which wastes its strength in the discussion of Ideas as the eternal essence of things residing in absolute intelligence, and as general existences, which make the foundation of all true knowledge ? Yet such was the philosophy of Plato, which still clouds the minds of many learned men. What shall we think of the philosophy, which asserts that pain is no evil ? or of that, which says that motion is impossible, and that nothing is certain excepting its own skepticism? What shall we think of the philosophy, which asserts that all human volitions result from causes beyond the control of man, who is thus made a machine, instead of being a moral agent, and which infers, that man has no occasion for the sentiment of remorse, and cannot be exposed to future punishment ? Yet such is the doctrine of modern Socinianism and of -ancient materialism. The same philosophy is that of Kapila in India, maintaining, that our determination or volition, which we imagine to be free, is only a necessary effect, thus subjecting man to fatalism. We might let huge errors or absurdities pass unnoticed, were they harmless; but if philosophical theories, which God permits in order to humiliate the pride of reason, are perilous to morals and religion, then it is time to examine the foundation on which they are built. If the ancient atomists deduced from the doctrine of fatalism conse, quences unfriendly to virtue; if the same consequences were deduced by the materialists of India; if the infidels of France and Great Britain have as an inserence denied the guilt of man or transferred it to God; if Socinianism conçludes confidently, that the necessarian has no cause for self-reproach; and if modern universalism, in its influence blasțing to morals and piety, derives all the
nourishment at its root from the conceit
, that God absolutely and irresistibly forms every man's sinful character; then surely they who hold to the doctrine of necessity 'must have a difficult task to prove, that all these. conclusions, in which men of different ages and nations and intellect and moral character have concurred, are really illegitimate deductions, and that man, though bound in chains of iron, walks forth unshackled, free, and moveable as the air of heaven.
The present most distinguished philosopher in France, after describing the succession of what he deems the four great and best systems, into which the philosophy of every age may be resolved, sensualism, idealism, skepticism, and mysticism,--all, in his opinion, very good and useful, though in part erroneous, comes to this conclusion, which strikes as with a thunderbolt the pretensions of philosophy,—“Error is the law of our nature; we are condemned to error; and in all our opinions, in all our words, there is a great mixture of error and even of absurdity.” Such is the sentence, which the eloquent lecturer at Paris pronounces upon the host of philosophers, who have preceded him for three thousand years. His own attempt to present an eclectic system, in which the wheat is winnowed from the chaff, shows very clearly, that his sentence upon others is not inapplicable to himself. Such is the judgment of a distinguished metaphysical philosopher: “Error is the law of our nature.” But Jesus Christ'says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. He that believeth in me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
After examining the history of philosophy in the different ages of the world one is constrained to believe, that, by the wild, contradictory, incredible, monstrous philosophical systems, which have risen one upon the ruins of another, it has been the purpose of Providence to “ stain the pride” of human reason, and to show to the universe, that "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God." The mere philosophy of man is thus brought into contempt, that the revelation from God might be honored, and that men might see the wisdom of receiving with the docility and the implicit confidence of children the instructions which their omniscient Father has given them.
The conclusion from this survey of philosophy is this,—we must come to the Bible as the fountain of moral and religious wisdom. When the Scriplures are proved to be the word of God, and the plain, obvious meaning of the revelation from heaven is unfolded ; when the truth is thus brought to the mind of the sinner; then and then only can we hope to see the blessings of salvation descend upon the soul. Philosophy is powerless in this work of
saving. If it does not lead down to hell, it can never guide up to heaven. The Bible, the Bible only, contains the true philosophy, which, accompanied by the Divine Spirit, reconciles man to God, changes the depraved character into the form of excellence, and conducts the poor child of mortality through the dark valley of death to mansions of eternal light and glory.
5. The general happiness of the world can never be secured by irreligion, nor by any erroneous and corrupt form of religion.
What has been accomplished by atheism and infidelity for the benefit of mankind? You may learn by looking at ancient Rome, when the retraints of superstition were loosened by the prevalence of the atheistic system: for soon the general dissolution of manners destroyed the foundations of public order, and despotic power rose upon the ruins. From the horrors of the revolution in France, at the close of the last century, it is impossible to separate the systems of atheism and infidelity, which, by the banishment of all moral restraints, had
prepared, the minds of men for every, enormity, of crime. A decided and thorough spirit of irreligion pervaded the people. Infidelity extinguished the fear of God; it resigned conscience to passion ; it rescued no victim from the bloodthirsty aspirant, nor lifted a voice of mercy against the ferocious madness of the times, Noru It is not by denying a God, a Providence, a future reckoning, an eternal judgment, that the dagger is wrested from the hand of the assassin ; that property, is secured against the grasp
of covetousness ; and that the pollution of universal lust is changed into purity and honor. There must be a divine law of unchanging rectitude, and a stern sanction, which is competent to bend the iron sinew,of pride, and to bring the terrors of eternal justice to bear upon the solicitatìons of appetite, and the otherwise ungovernable energies of passion.
Infidelity in Great Britain and America is seen in a different point of view from the public theatre on which it was displayed in France ; its appropriate influence is to be sought in the professed principles and in the more private lives of the masters of the school. In their lives we shall find either degrading vices and crimes, or a dearth of the great and generous virtues; and in their doctrines we shall find loose moral instructions, accommodated to the unholy passions of the heart, and designed to fortify the depraved spirit in its hostility to the pure and perfect law of God. It has been manifested and proved to the world, that the system of infidelity, by denying the righteous government of God and the rewards and punishments of eternity, subverts the foundation of morals ;-that it breaks down the distinction between right and wrong, substituting every man's variable judgment, in the place of the immutable standard of heaven ;—that under powerful temptations to crime, arising from insatiable cupidity or raging ambition, it removes, if there be a prospect of present impunity, all restraint ;and that it cherishes an absorbing egotism or vanity, an unpitying ferocity, and an unbridled, sensuality, by the indulgence of which the tranquillity and happiness of society are laid waste.. --Paganism is the great parent of iniquity and of unutterable abominations among several hundreds of millions of the human family. Shall we ask for truth, for instance, from the religion of India ? Among the sects of the Braminic system, to which shall we apply? Shall we ask the followers of Vishnoo, of Sheeya, or of Bramhu? The voice that responds to us will speak of numerous forms, and incarnations of male and female gods ; of successive annihilations and reproductions of all created existence, including the gods ; of interminable and ridiculous fables; and of idolatrous and shameless worship, which in a Christian country cannot even be named.. Shall we ask for virtue, purity, goodness, from the religion of India ? Alas, the question will excite only a smile. Indian idolatry is drenched in pollution, and the idolatry of every other country is associated with crime and misery.
Mahomedanism is the religion of sensuality and of violence, awakening the spirit of scorn instead of a spirit of benevolence, and cherishing with the utmost care and as the first object the ferocious energies of war. Ignorant, degraded, prof. ligate, enslaved Turkey, exhibits at the present day the benefits which the world may expect from Islamism: the millions who have perished by the sabre of the prophet and his followers, could they rise from the dead, would speak aloud of the character and tendency of the Mahomedan religion.
Romanism has set up an authority on the earth, which comes in the place of God, and exhibits an ecclesiastical monarch at Rome, often of a notoriously profligate character, who either by himself or a council, claims the right of set
tling for the whole human race the faith of the understanding and the decisions of conscience, and which thus.would enslave to ambition, pride, lust, and covetousness, the intellect and moral feelings of all mankind. Popery appears under the double aspect of a frightful persecuting power, and the teacher of most pernicious and fatal error. In its history we may see mingled the ilames of persecution, the blood of the martyrs, the tortures of the inquisition, the various massacres of heretics, with the idolatry, covetousness, pollution, pride, and horrible crimes, which have marked the seat of the beast on the seven-hilled “eternal city.” Is the dread of popery an idle apprehension, produced by a bugbear ? We trust it may be so soon. It
may be so now, in some Protestant countries : it
may be so in our own. But popery has been in past ages, and is still, in many nations, a most terrific power.
indeed look without trembling on the yellow-maned lion of Africa, who is brought to America in a strong cage. But on his native sands, where he roams in majesty, king of the desert, there is neither man nor beast that can abide his roaring. Has not the foot of the pope trodden on the neck of monarchs ? It was but a few years before the French revolution, that the degraded, enslaved states of Europe. annually poured into the treasury of the Roman church more than two millions of dollars, while the revenue of the papal territory itself was three millions, making an income to the pretended vicar of Jesus Christ of five millions annually. Had the pope been indeed the vicar of Jesus Christ, with this sum annually put into his bands, it would seem, that in any period of half a century it would have been in his power to have sent out such an agency of truth, as would have converted the whole family of man to the Christian faith, and made this desolate earth as the paradise of God. But instead of being employed in building up the kingdom of Jesus Christ, the revenue of the Catholic church has been wasted in supporting the regal splendor of the servant of servants; in providing for his nephews, as a nearer relationship is conveniently expressed; in purchasing curious works of art; in building splendid churches and palaces; in keeping up a standing army, and in carrying on war; and the consequence is, that this god on the earth is now burthened with a public debt of a hundred millions of dollars, which he will never be able to pay. Popery, as to its physical power, is now comparatively weak. Its spiritual dominion also has been much curtailed by the resistance of reason and common sense to absurdity and tyranny, resulting, from the want of Protestant light, in a wide-spread infidelity in the Catholic countries of Europe. Still a great part of the people of Europe know nothing of the Christian religion but in that new form of idolatry, into which it has been cast by the great magician at Rome. And who is not aware, that popery exerts in no country a powerful moral influence, and that the history of the past forbids the hope that it will ever be able to meliorate the condition of the
pagan nations of the earth? We may hope, that at no remote period, as the authority of Romanism sinks into contempt, and the judgments of God strike the guilty city, the kings of the earth, whose fetters shall be broken, will say,--Alas, alas! that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. Then will the merchants of the earth wecp and mourn over her, saying, alas, alas ! that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to naught. And then will all, who love the truth, say,--Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath avenged you
The various forms of error among the Protestant Christian sects cannot be