Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]

A BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE EVIDENCES OF REVEALED TRUTH, AND A DEFENCE OF THE

CANON AND OF INSPIRATION.

INTENDED A8 A PRESENT FOR THE YOUNG.

BY JOHN MORISON, D. D.
AUTHOR OF “ AN EXPOSITION OF THE BOOK OP PBALMS," ETC.

PREFACE.

deigns to examine what I have said, to indulge a sneer, while As the forms of infidelity are constantly changing, it conscience tells him that he should offer ap a prayer to “ the becomes the duty of all good men to watch its versatile move- Father of lights” for wisdom to guide his devious course, and, ments, and to endeavour, according to their several abilities, above all, to rectify his wayward and erring heart. to counteract its subtle and pernicious influence. Standing, If there be any thing requiring distinct specification in the as we now do, in the full blaze of secular knowledge, there plan of the following work, it is the order pursued in laying is the utmost danger, through the depravity of our fallen down the series of evidence in support of the claims of Revenature, of our preferring the wisdom of man to the wisdom of lation. Whether right or wrong, I have wrought my way God; and if the advocates of revealed truth

not rush into from the interior

the outworks; and have made my first the field of conflict with the enemies of human happiness, attack on the citadel of the heart, by endeavouring to point there is reason to fear that scepticism will obtain a partial and out the adaptations of Christianity to the known and admitted momentary triumph :-I say partial and momentary, for the condition of human nature. In doing so, I flatter myself that truth of Heaven must ultimately prevail, and every power that I have pursued a simpler and more natural course than those would silence the voice of "THE LIVING ORACLES" must at writers upon the same important subject who have placed an last be crushed by the omnipotent energy of the Son of God. almost exclusive dependence upon external evidence. At the I am not afraid for the ark of the Lord; but I regard it as a same time, I have not dared to overlook any part of that proof solemn duty to contribute my aid, however humble, to the which shows the Bible to be the word of God. defence of revealed truth; and particularly to make my appeal In the views I have ventured to express, in reference to the to that portion of my fellow men who, either from mental momentous subject of Inspiration, I am fully aware that I tendency, or asscciation in life, are peculiarly exposed to the have exposed myself to the criticisms of some of my friends, desolating and pernicious onset of sceptical opinions.

eminent for their piety and their biblical erudition. But this I am aware there is nothing novel or peculiar in the treatise I cannot help. I have gone where truth led me; and I verily which I now place on the altar of the public; but I am fully believe, in the fullest sense, that the Scriptures are—

-The satisfied that the position I have taken is sure, and that the Word of God. Should any respectable individual, giving his sternest or the most insiduous infidelity has no honest argu-name, do me the honour to controvert my views of verbal ment to oppose to the conclusions I have ventured, with inspiration, I shall, if spared, endeavour to reply to his aniunhesitating confidence, to draw. I have written with the madversions. But I will not allow myself to be dragged into decision which becomes him who feels he has truth, and the the field of controversy by any one who treats this awful subtruth of Heaven, on his side ; and I beseech no man, whoject with irreverence. May all my readers be taught of God!

a

of his truth, and as the ministers of his mercy to the rest of PART FIRST.

mankind.

It would be easy to show, by an induction of facts, that it INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

was infidelity, in the days of old, which paved the way for

the abominations of polytheism. Men first discredited and “ THERE IS NO FEAR OF God before their eyes :"-Such opposed the true oracles of Heaven, and then they set themis the coucluding sentence of a description which strips fallen selves to serve God in their own way, and to proscribe a rehumanity of all its boasted excellence; which shows, by a ligion and a worship for themselves; and because they did most convincing train of reasoning, that Jews and Gentiles not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them are alike guilty before God; and which pictures, in vivid over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not colours, the awful depravity into which men sink without convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornificathe intervention and the vital recep:ion of the Gospel of peace. tion, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, As the whole race are involved in one common apostacy, there murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, back-biters, is only one remedy that meets their case, and that remedy is haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil Christianity. Wherever this divine catholicon is embraced, things, disobedient to parents; without understanding, coveit ultimately effects the cure of man's moral distempers; it nant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerpurifies his conscience from guilt, by an application of "the ciful; who knowing the judgment of God, that they which blood of sprinkling;" it purifies his heart by the operation of a commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the living faith; and it purifies his life by the all-subduing influence same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” It was such of motives which animate him with the love of God, and with infidelity as this, my esteemed reader, which prepared the the quenchless desire of being conformed to his moral image. minds of mankind for all the grossness and all the absurdity of Wherever Christianity is rejected, man remains the victim of heathenism; it was such infidelity as this which obtained in apostacy, the child of wrath, the sport of evil passions, and, Philistia, and Egypt, and Canaan; it was such infidelity as in the truest sense, “ without God, and without hope in the this which called forth the stupendous energy of Omnipoworld.” Whether we survey a state of pure heathenism,* tence, in confounding and territýing those evil powers who or contemplate a condition of society in which Christianity contemned the name of Israel's God, and oppressed the is rejected as a fable, we behold, in either case, a soil fertile chosen tribes; yea, it was such infidelity as this which in every species of wickedness that can insult the divine prompted all the idolatries of the ancient church, who no Majesty, or that can degrade and brutalize the human race. sooner forgot the Lord their God, than they set themselves Could we conceive of a community wholly made up of men to worship the gods of the nations among whom they sodenying Revelation, and wholly imbued with the principles journed. and feelings of modern deism, we should have presented' be- . Infidelity is no new thing. It is a plant indigenous to the fore our minds a scene of moral turpitude and guilt, too fear-sinful heart of man; it has sprung up in every age; it has ful to admit of minute examination. In such a community, more or less prevailed in every nation under the whole face we should see every social tie dissolved, every virtuous obli- of heaven; it is the palpable exhibition of that secret and gation trampled upon, and all the savage passions of the deep-rooted unbelief which is unwilling to accredit any comhuman heart brought into resistless and destructive play. In munication as divine that does not picture the Most High as the creed of an infidel there is nothing whatever to deter him a being altogether answering to the sinful imaginings of a from the basest actions, provided he can screen himself from depraved and apostate heart. the eye of public justice, and from the scorn and derision of By modern infidelity, then, we are simply to understand his fellow men. He is a man altogether without principle, those new forms, and that new energy which scepticism has who denies the legitimate distinction between virtue and vice, put on, in modern times, and more particularly since the era who resolves all human motive into a principle of self-love of the French revolution; by which it has mightily diffused and who is an equal foe to the laws of Heaven, and to the itself among all ranks of society, and has produced a class of wise and benevolent institutions of men. A powerful writer, writers capable of making their appeal to each separate and an acute observer of mankind, has said, that “modern un

branch of the community. It is modern, because those who believers are Deists in theory, Pagans in inclination, and are yet in middle life can remember the baneful period when Atheists in practice.”+ They profess, indeed, to believe in it began to exert its giant strength, and when, with a fiendone supreme and uncreated Intelligence, infinitely benevolent, like daring, it aimed a deadly blow at the thrones of inonarchs and infinitely holy; but they neither cultivate his benevo- and at the altars of religion. We can remember all this, and lence, nor imitate his purity; and as it respects prayer, and we can trace in the bloody and impure and ruthless steps of praise, and the homage of devout worship, they are as scorn- infidelity, the hateful character which belongs to it. It is fully neglectful of them as if there were no God, and are prac-modern, for it has decked itself forth in a thousand novel astically in that state of total irreligion, which shows that verilypects, -and at one time assuming the air of reason and phi“ There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Though they losophy; at another, appealing to the most vulgar prejudices talk loudly of one God, and profess to pay him homage in of the human, mind; now weaving itself into the texture of the temple of nature, it is most clear that in escaping from the history, and then clothing itself in the maxims of political folly and absurdity of the "gods many and lords many” of wisdom; in some instances, concealing itself beneath the the heathen, they have plunged themselves into a state of witchery of a well-imagined tale; and, in others, polluting reckless scepticism and doubt, which leaves every perfection even the very streams of salvation, by infusing a portion of of the Deity undefined, which utterly extinguishes his moral its deadly virulence into the theology of the age. government, and which renders even the belief of his very ex

It is modern, for where, at any former period in the history istence a powerless and uninfluential admission.

of the world, did a thing so worthless and abominable put on. By the aid of Revelation, indeed, they have wrought their such an imposing air, and give itself forth as an angel of mercy way out of the Pantheon ; but, standing in the full blaze of to the afllicted race ? Tlough it has taught men, that “adulcelestial discovery, they have set themselves to blasphemetery must be practised if we would obtain the advantages of " the only living and true God.” Ungrateful return for that life; that female infidelity, when known, is a small thing; light which the God of mercy has shed upon their path, and and, when unknown, nothing ;”t that “ there is no merit or which was never surely intended to heighten their guilt, or to crime in intention;"I that the civil law is the sole foundaaccelerate their condemnation !

tion of right and wrong, and that religion has no obligation What, then, are we to understand by modern infidelity ? but as enjoined by the magistrate ;'& that all the morality of

" Not surely that infidelity is a new thing; for since man lost our actions lies in the judgment we ourselves form of them;"'U the image of his God, he has, in all the periods of his event

" that lewdness," in certain cases only, “ resembles thirst in ful history, evinced a tendency to discredit his Maker, and a dropsy, and inactivity in a lethargy; 'T that virtue is only even when he knew him, not to glorify him as God.” To the love of ourselves ;"** though these are the scandalous provide, in some degree, against this tendency, and to pre

lessons which it has unblushingly taught mankind, yet is it serve the successive revelations of Heaven from being utterly loudly proclaimed as the only system calculated to model and lost, the Most High selected one family as the depositaries perfect humanity; as the last and only refuge for the sorrow

In proof of this, see Professor Milman's History of the Jews, * It may be fairly questioned, from the practices of all pagan coun- and many other productions savouring of the Neological school. tries, whether there be any people in a state of pure heathenism.

+ Hume.

# Volney's Law of Nature. Tradition seems every where to have spread some faint glimmer.

$ Hobbes.

| Rousseau. ings of celestial light.

Lord Herbert, the father of English Deists. | Rev. Andrew Fuller. See his Works, vol. i. page 17.

** Lord Bolingbroke.

[ocr errors]

ing, suffering, and unhappy children of men! This it is They enjoy a pleasure, it is allowed, in contemplating the which is to rescue them from all unworthy prejudices, which productions of wisdom and power; but as to holiness, it is is to dissipate the mists of ages, which is to bring back the foreign from their inquiries : a holy God does not appear to golden period of wisdom and reason, which is to convert the be suited to their wishes."* whole earth into a paradise, and wliich is to make men happy After tracing the conflicting views of modern infidels, in reas angels under its mild and benignant sway!! There is no ference to the proper standard of morality, the same powerful cant so disgusting as that of infidelity. Though most of its writer adds,—" It is worthy of notice that, amidst all the disadvocates have been libertines, though its footsteps may be cordance of these writers, they agree in excluding the Divine traced in the blood which it has spilt, though it has trampled Being from their thcory of morals. They think after their on all the laws of personal property and of individual right, manner; but . God is not in all their thoughts.' In comparthough it pollutes and degrades wherever it touches, yet are ing the Christian doctrine of morality, the sum of which is its advocates ever and anon boasting of its sublime virtues, love, with their atheistical jargon, one seems to hear the voice and its blessed achievements. One thing we may be quite of the Almighty, saying, who is this that darkeneth counsel sure of, that no one will listen to their vain and empty decla- with words without knowledge ? Fear God, and keep his mations till he has lost a certain portion of self-esteem, and commandments; for this is the whole of man.' "! till he wants to find an excuse for his conduct in the laxness and uncertainty of his belief. Looking at both the literary and vulgar part of modern infidels, we are constrained to say of them, in the words of the great apostle, 6. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

CHAPTER II.

Though In fidels profess to hold the doctrine of the Divine Exis

tence, yet they refuse or neglect all religious worship. CHAPTER I.

In this feature of their character, they are more inconsist

ent, and more irreligious too, than even pagan idolators The views which Infidels have entertained respecting the moral themselves, who evince great zeal and make many sacrifices character of God.

in the service of their dumb idols. One would imagine, that

if there be one great first cause, the Creator and upholder of God cannot be duly feared, as the proper object of religious all things, the benignant source of all the happiness which homage, where his moral attributes and perfections are lost creatures in any part of the universe enjoy; one would imsight of. If we disconnect his wisdom and power from his agine, I say, that if such a Being exists, he is entitled to the holiness and goodness and justice, it is impossible to conceive devout and spiritual worship of all his intelligent creatures. of him with reverence, or to think of him with complacency. Such is the dictate even of unassisted reason, as has been In the Christian Scriptures, God's natural attributes are inva- demonstrated by a reference to the rudest and most brutalized riably represented as the ministers of his benevolence, integ- portions of the human race. How astounding then is the rity, and faithfulness. They declare him to be “a God of fact, that only in Christian countries can men be found denytruth, and without iniquity; just and right” in all his ways. ing the validity of stated worship to the Deity; as if the They proclaim him to be is the Lord, the Lord God, merciful only use to be made of Revelation were to employ it for the and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and in horrid purpose of obliterating all our natural feelings of retruth ; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, trans- verence for his awful perfections! In the inspired volume gression, and sin, and yet by no means clearing the guilty.” we learn that “God is a spirit, and that they who worship They describe him as “ of purer eyes than to behold evil,” him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” This supand tell us that he cannot look upon iniquity.” They ex- poses the duty of worship, and prescribes the qualities by hibit him as “righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his which it is to be distinguished. The language of those who works.” They teach us, that he is not a God that hath know the divine character, and who possess a right spirit, pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with him.” will ever be, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord ; let us Such is the God of Revelation; a Being infinitely wise and make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us powerful indeed, but one, at the same time, “glorious in ho- come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyliness, fearful in praises, and ever doing wonders;" a Being ful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great before whom the highest orders of created intelligences pros- God, and a great King above all gods. O come, let us wortrate themselves and exclaim, “ Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord ship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

for he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and How unlike are these descriptions of the eternal and immu- the sheep of his hand.” Men may boast as they please of table God, to the vague, contradictory, and even wicked re- their belief in one God, but if they do him no actual homage, presentations of infidelity. “We cannot,” says Lord Boling- if they have no stated seasons and places of devotion, they broke, “ascribe goodness and justice to God, according to are in a far worse condition than were those benighted Atheour ideas of them, nor argue with any certainty about them;"|nians, whom Paul beheld prostrate at an altar dedicated to and again, “ it is absurd to deduce moral obligations from the “ the unknown God.” It is the temper, the disposition of moral attributes of God, or to pretend to imitate him in those infidelity, no less than its preposterons creed, which disattributes.” The language held by Bolingbroke is common tances it from the spirit of true worship., Devotion cannot to the infidel school. The entire moral character of God is grow in a soil on which the inexpressible levity of scepticism overlooked by them, unless when they talk of his mercy, has cast its withering blight. Religious awe cannot be felt which they always do in a manner totally inconsistent with in a mind that has no sensible hold of God's moral persecthe existence of any such thing as a moral government. Mercy tions. Love to God, drawing the soul forth in repeated and displayed at the awful risk of prostrating the claims of im- habitual acts of grateful adoration, cannot dwell in a heart mutable holiness, can only be another name for injustice ; where worldly lusts and enmity against the moral governand can therefore have no affinity to that infinitely benevolent ment of the Most High are struggling for the mastery. Being who, in all the distributions both of his goodness and The very same thing which led men of old to forsake the mercy, acts in a manner worthy of himself, the source and worship of the only living and true God, and to betake thempattern of all the rectitude and purity which exist throughout selves to the abominations of idolatry, is that which banishes the universe.

from every circle of infidels everything like the semblance of “ The object,” says a distinguished author, “ of the Chris- religious homage to the Deity. Is it demanded what this tian adoration is Jehovah, the God of Israel ; whose charac- said thing is? I reply, in the language of the Apostle, ter for holiness, justice, and goodness, is displayed in the " they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” They doctrines and precepts of the gospel, in a more affecting light lost all delight in his holy character, and hence they sought than by any of the preceding dispensations. But who or relief for their guilty feelings in the exercise of a religion what is the god of deists? It is true they have been shamed which corresponded with the dictates of their own impure out of the polytheism of the heathens. They have reduced hearts. their thirty thousand deities into one, but what is his charac- Deists are placed somewhat peculiarly. As they are found wr? What attributes do they ascribe to him? For any thing only where Revelation has cither completely banished the that appears in their writings, he is as far from the holy, the just, and the good, as those of their heathen predecessors. * Fuller's Works, vol. i. p. 11. + Fuller's Works, vol. i. p.

66

VOL. II.-V

27.

grossness of idolatry, or where, at least, it has shed its be-lumes as to his notions of morality. Hume, the most disnignant rays, they cannot for shame revel in the impurities honest and prejudiced of all historians,* died as a fool dieth, of heathenism; but as they take no delight whatever in the cracking vulgar jokes with some of his unhappy companions.f character of that one God whom they profess to adore, they Voltaire so little regarded truth, that, in speaking in his live in the habitual and avowed neglect of his worship. The "Ignorant Philosopher” of the tolerative spirit of the ancient ancestors of paganism forsook his worship, “because they Romans, he observes, “they never persecuted a single phidid not like to retain him in their thoughts;" and for the losopher for his opinions from the time of Romulus till the same reason precisely infidelity has no temple, no altar, no popes got possession of their power.” In this passage a sacrifice, no avowed, habitual, and well-defined worship to veil is drawn over the massacre of thousands and tens of that glorious Being, from the near contemplation of whose thousands of unoffending Christians. In like manner, this character it shrinks with instinctive dislike and dread. boasted friend of liberty and reason, when he describes the

Could we see infidelity cultivating the spirit of prayer, expatriation, or cruel death of one million of French Protestlaying aside its extreme and disgusting levity, and evincing ants, speaks of them as “ weak and obstinate men.". As these an anxiety to arrive at the true knowledge of God, we should Protestants, not being infidels, were stripped of all claim to begin to hope on behalf of its unhappy victims; but reckless philosophy, we suppose it was a small matter to murder such as its advocates are of all devotion, and leaning as they do to vulgar persons in cold blood! We find this same champion their own understanding, and evincing an utter contempt for of infidelity requesting his friend D'Alembert to tell for him a every thing sacred, we are compelled to look on them as in direct lie, by denying that he was the author of the “ Philosoa condition peculiarly hopeless, and must say respecting phical Dictionary, His friend told the lie for him; and he them “ There is no fear of God before their eyes." has himself well described his own character in the following

words :-“ Mousieur Abbé, I must be read, no matter whether I am believed or not.” Voltaire, after all his infidelity, being threatened by the authorities, died a Catholic.

Rousseau was profligate and immoral from his youth up.

“ I have been a rogue," says he, “and am so still sometimes, CHAPTER III.

for trifles which I had rather take than ask for.” He abjured

Protestantism and became Catholic; “for which," says he, A brief survey of the character of that morality which Infidelity" from this interested conversion, nothing remained but the

" in return, I was to receive subsistence; but," he adds, inculcates and displays.

remembrance of my having been both a dupe and an apostate." All who read the Bible attentively, whatever they may denied the rights of Christian citizens, he renounced popery

After this, settling at Geneva, and finding that there he was think of its divine origin, must be struck with the perfection of its moral precepts, and especially with the sublime and wretched man was one continued and uninterrupted scene of

and conformed to the religion of the state. The life of this cogent reasons which it assigns for the performance of every hypocrisy, fornication, seduction, base intrigue, and, withal, duty which we owe both to God and man. That monster of wickedness, Thomas Paine, whom no man

constant violation of the rules of honesty. What he said of

one of the events of horror which marked his career may be that ever knew could trust, has said respecting the Bible“ I feel for the honour

of my Creator in having such a book applied, with too much truth, to his whole history—“Guilty called after his name.” He must surely have meant, that without remorse, I soon became so without measure.” he felt for himself, when he discovered in the Bible, if he ever read it, such an array of holy and benevolent precepts upon which it had been his habitual practice, during a long life, to trample with proud disdain ! The morality of the Bible is not the morality of mere de

CHAPTER IV. corum, the garnishing of the outward man, the “making clean the outside of the cup and platter;" it is the morality of principle; it is the morality of right dispositions; it is the

The practical effects of Infidelity. morality of love to God and love to man, Infidelity says, “there is no merit or crime in intention;" but Christianity

It is no wonder surely that such a race of men should have that we must "love the Lord our God with all our heart; itself for the exhibition of infidelity in its own native colours. says, that hatred is murder, that secret lust is adultery, and prepared the minds of their disciples for deeds of unusual

atrocity. In a neighbouring country, a fit theatre presented and strength, and mind, and our neighbour as ourselves.” It prohibits the resentment of injuries, and urges the forgiveness ernment on the other, led thousands virtuously to sigh for na

There gross superstition on the one hand, and arbitrary govof enemies. It tells us “to weep with them that that weep, tional deliverance. With loud professions of love of liberty and rejoice with them that rejoice.” It enforces every relative duty by an appeal to motives equally tender and sublime,

and self-devoted patriotism, infidelity rushed into the field of and it demands a personal sanctity of manners, which admits

conflict; but though she professed to be an angel of mercy, of no reserve, and leaves room for the indulgence of no single

she soon proved herself to be but a fiend of perdition. There habit of transgression.

was no deed of horror which she did not perpetrate. Within If infidelity were from above, it would bear the marks of

her destructive sphere life and property ceased to have any

value attached to them. The most virtuous citizens fell its celestial origin. God must be holy; and a religion suited to his intelligent creatures ought to carry with

victims to her insatiable cruelty. Personal aggrandizement

some resemblance to his moral nature. Infidelity has no such resem

became the sole object of her ambition ; and, under the fair blance in either theory or practice. In theory it is an apology to the public weal, a whole nation was laid in ruins, every

pretence of philosophy, of enlightened policy, and of regard for almost every crime that disgraces human nature; and in the different codes of its advocates, every species of trans- public institution was plundered, the state was sunk in gression is either defended or palliated. And what it is in anarchy and confusion, deeds of blood too shocking to detheory, it is yet more abundantly in practice. Its leading ficiently degraded, was made the organ of propagating blas

scribe were perpetrated, and the church herself, already sufcharacters have been worthless beyond expression. What were Herbert, and Hobbes, and Shaftesbury, and Woolston, phemies the most hideous against the God of heaven. Infiand Tindal, and Bolingbroke, but so many notorious hypo

* How can the guardians of the rising generation still leave crites, who, for a piece of paltry self-interest, professed to them to the guidance of such a sycophant in politics, and such a love and reverence® Christianity, while they were all the sceptic in religion? while insidiously endeavouring to lower its credit in the Nothing but the most frivolous dissipation of thought can world ? In the long and gloomy catalogue of human delin- make even the inconsiderate forget the supreme importance of every quents, where shall

we find two miscreants such as Roches-thing which relates to the expectation of a future existence. Whilst ter and Wharton? They were indeed a reproach to our their credulous fears, their childish errors, or fantastic rites, it does

the infidel mocks at the superstitions of the vulgar, insults over common nature. Morgan's dishonest quotation of Scripture not occur to him to observe that the most preposterous device by to serve a purpose, and his miserable cant in professing him- which the weakest devotee ever believed he was securing the happiself to be a Christian, notwithstanding his amazing zeal to ness of a future life, is more rational than unconcern about it. Upon subvert all the peculiarities of revealed religion, speak vol- this subject, nothing is so absurd as indifference ; no folly so con

temptible as thoughtlessness and levity.”-See a work entitled

The Nature of the Proof of the Christian Religion, &c.” by D. * See the second part of this Treatise, chap. i. sect. 3. B. Baker, A. M., p. 42.

[ocr errors]

delity," observes a spirited and able chronicler of these events, lies and nations under heaven, how would it change the face “having got possession of the power of the state, every nerve of society! how would it stem the torrent of pride, ambition, was exerted to efface from the inind all ideas of religion and and vain glory! how would it cause wars, and rumours of morality. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul, ora future wars, to cease to the very ends of the earth! how would it state of rewards and punishments, so essential to the preser- unite the whole family of man in one common bond of brothervation of order in society, and to the prevention of crimes, hood! how would it banish injustice, cruelty, oppression, and was publicly ridiculed, and the people were taught to believe licentiousness from the earth! In proportion as Christian that death was an everlasting sleep.

principles have triumphed, in that same proportion immorality “They ordered the words • Temple of Reason' to be inscrib-has disappeared, and all social virtues have been practised"; ed on the churches, in contempt of the doctrine of revelation. and when it is universal, which we are assured it will be, it Atheistical and licentious homilies were published in the will bring moral health along with it to all the dwellers upon churches, instead of the old service; and a ludicrous imita- earth. tion of the Greek mythology exhibited under the title of. The “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political Religion of Reason. Nay, they went so far as to dress up, prosperity,” said the immortal Washington, “ religion and with the most fantastic decorations, a common strumpet, morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man whom they blasphemously styled • The Goddess of Reason,' claim the tribute of patriotism who should labour to subvert and who was carried to church on the shoulders of some jaco- the great pillars of human happiness, those firmest props of bins selected for the purpose, escorted by the national guards men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the and the constituted authorities. When they got to the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume church, the strumpet was placed on the altar erected for the could not trace all their connexions with private and public purpose, and harangued the people, who, in return, profess- felicity. Let it be simply asked, Where is the security for ed the deepest adoration of her, and sung the Carmagnole and property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obliother songs by way of worshipping her. This horrid scene; gation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investialmost too horrible to relate ; was concluded by burning the gation in the courts of justice? And let us with caution inprayer-book, confessional, and every thing appropriated to dulge the supposition that morality

can be maintained withthe use of public worship; numbers, in the mean time, danced out religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of round the flames with every appearance of frantic and infernal refined education on minds of a peculiar structure, reason and mirth.” I might also notice the fiend-like malignity which experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can was directed against the institution of the Sabbath, during prevail in exclusion of religious principle."* the reign of terror in France, as if the sole design of that des- In a happier age, fast approaching, Christianity will dicperate faction was not only to efface all reverence for the tate rules of right government; it will establish equitable Deity from the public mind, but also to destroy every memo- principles of national commerce; it will teach kings and senrial of an intelligent creature's obligation to him, and every ates how to rule in wisdom and love ; it will remove the great symbol of the existence of a moral government.

barriers to national tranquillity and national prosperity out of Let revolutionary and infidel France teach mankind, by one the way, by constituting the people all righteous," and setgreat and effective lesson, what the enemies of Revelation can ting up the authority of God as the best possible support of do to heighten the standard of national morals, and to render laws which accord with his word. inviolable the persons and properties of men. With the page Infidelity can dream of no such renovation. Its past steps of their own infamous history before them, let sceptics of may be traced in blood and anarchy; and the prospect which every school blush to talk of the benefits which their system stretches before it is scarcely less appalling. It has no link is fitted to confer on the human race. And let them remem- whereby to bind man to man, because it severs man from his ber, that the grand reason why the prevalence of their princi- Maker. It is essentially heartless and cruel. It rules withples has ever issued in the disruption of every social and out God, and would exclude him from his own world, and moral tie, has been because there was no fear of God before nothing awaits it but the exposure and infamy which must their eyes."

sooner or later overtake all systems of evil,

because he doubted about the oaths prescribed, and his reverence for the glorious Creator induced him to pause whenever he pronounced his name. From such a student we may expect the truth.

From such a philosopher we receive, with unmixed pleasure, “A CHAPTER V.

Treatise of the high veneration which men’s intellect owes to God;'*

or a discourse • Ön greatness of mind promoted by Christianity.'”+ A contrasted view of Infidelity and Christianity. *

The same excellent author furnishes the following admirable con

trasts :From such scenes as these, how delightful to turn to the ment of such an infidel as Rousseau, and such a Christian as Dodd

“ Contrast, in point of mere benevolence, the lives and deportpure, and mild, and benignant genius of Christianity! Were ridge; the one all pride, selfishness, fury, caprice, rage, gross senher golden rule, “ as ye would that men should do unto you, suality--casting about firebrands and death-professing no rule of do ye even so unto them” the universal law of all the fami- morals but his feelings, abusing the finest powers to the dissemina

tion, not merely of objections against Christianity, but of the most

licentious and profligate principles ;-Doddridge all purity, mildThe Bishop of Calcutta, in his twenty-second lecture on the ness, meekness, and love, ardent in his good will to man, the friend “Evidences of Christianity,” has finely contrasted the character of and counsellor of the sorrowful ; regular, calm, consistent ; disVoltaire with that of the Hon. Robert Boyle. “Now contrast," pensing peace and truth, by his labours and by his writings ; living, says be,“ with this character, any of the eminent Christians that not for himself, but for the common good, to which he sacrificed his

health and even life. adorned their own country and Europe about the same period. Take the Hon. ROBERT BOYLE, of whom it is difficult to say whether

“ Or contrast such a man as Volney with Swartze. They both his piety, as a Christian, or his fame, as a philosopher, was most visit distant lands,—they are active and indefatigable in their remarkable. Consider the compass of his mind, the solidity of his suits, -- they acquire celebrity, and communicate respectively a judgment, the fertility of his pen, the purity of his morals, the certain impulse to their widened circles ; but the one, jaundiced by amiableness

of his temper, his benificence to the poor and distressed, infidelity, the sport of passion and caprice, lost to all'argument and his wiform friendships, his conscientious aim at truth in all his right feeling, comes home to diffuse the poison of unbelief, to be a pursuits and determinations. At an early age he examined the misery to himself, the plague and disturber of his country, the dark question of the Christian religion to the bottom, on occasion of calumniator of the Christian faith. The other remains far from his some distracting doubts which assaulted his mind. Confirmed in native land to preach the peaceful doctrine of the gospel on the the truth of Christianity, his whole life was a comment on his sincer-shores of India ; he becomes the friend and brother of those whom ity. He was admitted to certain secret meetings before he had he had never seen, and only heard of as fellow-creatures,—he diffureached mature years—but they were graced and enlightened asso-1 ses blessings for half'a century,- he insures the admiration of the ciations for canvassing subjects of natural philosophy, at a time heathen prince near whom he resides,-he becomes the mediator when the civil wars suspended all academical studies, and they led between contending tribes and nations,—he establishes

a reputation to the formation of one of the noblest establishments of his coun- for purity, integrity, disinterestedness, meekness, which compel all try. His disinterestedness and humility were such that he refused around to respect and love him,-he forms churches,-he instructs the provostship of Eton, and the honours of a peerage, that he might de-children, --he disperses the seeds of charity and truth,--he is the movote his talents and time and noble fortune to works of public utility del of all the virtues he enjoins." and benevolence. His uniform regard to truth made him the example and admiration of his age. His tenderness of conscience led

* Published in 1685.

+ Published in 1690. him to decline the most honourable officet in the scientific world,

Washington's Farewell Address to the people of the United The Royal Society. + President of the Royal Society. States.

« PreviousContinue »