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son and godliness, as excited the ad- ligion ; and hence the veneration chemiration of those who were most inti- rished for him wherever he was mately acquainted with him. Though known. In the whole region where he was not in the habit of obtruding he had lived and laboured for nearly religious topics in social intercourse, forty years, it may be assumed that it was impossible for any one to be there was no individual, of any station long with him, and carefully to observe or character, who did not reverence his spirit, without being reminded, by Mr. Jarrom as a holy man of God.' his example, of the excellence of re
(To be continued.)
INFIDELITY CONTRASTED WITH CHRISTIANITY.
(Continued from page 120.) A view of the principles advanced believe an intelligent cause of all by modern unbelievers, on various things, or to believe that God is wise branches of religion and morality, and good. Bolingbroke asserts, that furnishes further evidence that infi- God concerns not himself with human delity is unrighteousness. Dwight's affairs, or, if he do, with collective sermons on infidel philosophy contain bodies only; that it is absurd or proan ample collection of the absurd, fane to maintain and believe a parwicked, and contradictory principles, ticular providence; and that God that modern infidels have advocated. possesses no moral attributes disMany deny the existence of a God. coverable by us. With equal irreveHume maintains that there are no rence they treat revelation and the solid arguments to prove his ex- Saviour. Lord Herbert, the father istence; Bolingbroke, that it is more of modern infidels, maintains, that natural to believe in many gods than revelation is useless; and he, like one. Toland believed the world to Lord Shaftesbury, asserts, that salvabe God. Voltaire at one time be- tion is a ridiculous thing. Chubb lieved in a finite god, but, in old age, ridicules the birth and resurrection of doubted the existence of any. Vol. Christ, prefers to his instructions those ney maintained that no God exists. of heathen philosophers and lawWhen in a storm on an American givers, and asserts that he was sinful, lake, he recanted, and exclaimed in though not a gross sinner. Shaftesagony, My God! my God! what bury most blasphemously insinuates shall I do!' and when a fellow- that Jesus was influenced by deep voyager said, “So you have a God designs of ambition, and cherished a now, have you?' exclaimed, O yes, savage zeal and persecuting spirit. O yes !' but, on getting safe to land, Infidels very generally deny a fuhe retracted his recantation, and again ture judgment and an immortal life. avowed himself an atheist. Buffon As they have no prospect for eternity, was fool enough to advocate the no- they fain would die like the brutes. tion that this world was formed from Shaftesbury asserts that the belief of a piece of the sun, knocked off by a future rewards and punishments is comet, and set a spinning in its orbit noxious to virtue, and takes away all by the blow.
motives for it; Collins, that man is a If the existence of God is acknow- mere machine, his soul material and ledged, the attempt is made to strip mortal. Chubb maintains that men him of his attributes, and to deny will not be judged for their impiety, his providential government. Hume or ingratitude to God; nor for their maintains that it is unreasonable to injustice or unkindness to each other ; but only for public offences. Hume that all men and women are un. asserts that man is a mere machine, chaste; that there is no such thing and that no rewards or punishment as conjugal fidelity; and that man's can be rationally expected beyond chief end is to gratify his appetites what is already known by experience and inclinations. There can be no or observation. Bolingbroke teaches doubt that in all this his own practhat there is no state of future re- tice accorded with his principles; and wards and punishments; that man it is reasonable to believe that he lives only in the present world, and formed his estimate of mankind geneis but a superior animal; and that rally from knowing what himself and the soul is material and mortal. In his brother infidels were. The conthe same spirit the French National ceited, contemptible atheist, Owen, Convention proclaimed that death is advancing, if possible, beyond his eternal sleep. Modern unbelievers predecessors in iniquity, maintains not only reject those truths which that marriage is an improper moare most adapted to repress vice, and nopoly. Hume further teaches that to promote holiness, but also deny pride and self-valuation are virtues ; the criminality of many vices, and Bolingbroke, that ambition, lust of expressly sanction flagrant sins. Lord power, avarice, and sensuality, may Herbert denies the sinfulness of be lawfully gratified ; and Chubb and lewdness and rage, by maintaining others, that all religions are alike. that the indulgence of lust and anger Were these, and other infidel prinis no more to be blamed than the ciples, carried out into general practhirst of a dropsy, or the drowsiness tice, what a scene of selfishness, of a lethargy. Hobbes asserts that a lying, robbery, oppression, lewdness, man may believe in Christ in heart, and universal crime, would this sinfal and yet lawfully deny him; in other world exhibit! All the ties of civil words, may lie, and act the hypocrite. and domestic society would be disVoltaire requested a brother philoso- solved; all would be covetous, unjust, pher, D'Alembert, to tell a direct and and dishonest; every man would be positive lie for him; and he wrote a whoremonger, and every woman a back, announcing that he had told harlot. Infidelity is indeed unthe lie. Hobbes maintains that every righteousness. man has a right to all things, and The wickedness of infidelity is ermay lawfully get them, if he can: hibited in its pandering to human that is, may rob others whenever he depravity. It has in its favour the has the opportunity. He also asserts bias of the sinful heart, for 'men that rulers are not bound by any love darkness rather than light, beobligations of truth and justice. cause their deeds are evil.' Infidelity Hume teaches that self-denial and not only beholds this evil with comhumility are not virtues, but useless placency, but extols its basest votaand mischievous; that self-murder is ries as virtuous. On this subject, lawful and commendable; that adul- Dwight, referring to France, obtery must be practised to gain all the serves, 'In the treaties, laws, and advantages of life; that this crime, in measures, brought into being in that women, is a small thing, if known; nation during its late wonderful if unknown, nothing. Bolingbroke struggle, the people were uniformly maintains that the sole foundation of declared to be good, honest, virtuous, modesty is a vain desire of superiority influenced only by the purest motives, to mere animals ; that polygamy, and aiming only at the best ends. adultery, incest, and lewdness of These very people, at the same time, every kind, except incest between the were employed in little else than nearest relations, are warrantable; unceasing plunder, uniform treachery,
the violation of all laws, the utterance he must believe that some one later of all falsehood, the murder of their than Moses persuaded the whole naking, nobles, and all the boundless tion that their ancestors witnessed all butchery of each other. In a state this, and induced them to receive of immorality, in a prostration of all laws and institutions in commemoraprinciple, at which even this sinful tion of these facts, though every man world stood aghast, this despicable and woman among them knew that flattery was continually repeated.' they had never heard of such things Thus, like ancient heathen philoso- before, and that no such institutions phers, infidels not only do the things existed. In adopting either position, which God abhors, but have plea- the infidel evinces that nothing is sure in those that do them.'
too absurd for his belief, if he may The wickedness of infidelity is fur- but reject the truth of God. In rether displayed in the credulity of its jecting the miracles of Christ and his votaries. When men reject truths apostles, an infidel must believe that supported by the strongest evidence, all their professed miracles were imand eagerly catch at every silly tale position, that the sick were not cured, that they hope will sanction that re- the lepers not healed, the blind not jection, they betray the hatred of restored to sight, the deaf to hearing, truth, and the love of error, which nor the dumb to speech; that the reign in their hearts. This course dead were not raised; but yet that infidels have long pursued. While the imposition was so complete, that refusing to believe the certainties of neither friends nor enemies could christianity, they have welcomed detect the fraud; that, of the former, every ridiculous statement that might thousands suffered and died sooner for a time bolster up their unbelief. than renounce a faith resting upon Egyptian fables, Chinese records, miracles that they supposed they had Hindoo shasters, however obscure, seen performed, but which were all however absurd, have all been vaunted delusion; that enemies could detect as sources whence proofs would be no imposition; that no apostate was derived against the system of the ever able to justify his conduct, by Bible ; but, alas, for infidelity! their, betraying the frauds of his renounced hopes of help from these quarters associates; but that enemies allowed have successively proved baseless. the reality of these miracles by at
Their credulity has been manifested tributing them to magic, or to a also in reference to the miracles, and stolen name. To believe all this, prophecies, that attest the truth of might seem credulity sufficient; but revealed religion. Rejecting the the credulity of infidels must advance miracles of Moses, they must believe beyond this; they must further bethat he persuaded the whole nation lieve that the blessed Jesus was a of Israel that they passed through deceiver, that his apostles were the Red Sea, though they never did wicked impostors; and yet that these so; saw the fire, and heard the voice, wicked, lying impostors, renounced that spake at Sinai, though they all the comforts of life, suffered inneither saw nor heard any thing of numerable hardships, bore scourging, the kind; had their thirst supplied by prisons, tortures, and death, for the water flowing miraculously from sake of diffusing upon earth a system stricken rocks, though no such water of truth and holiness-a system, that, ever flowed; and were for forty with the utmost plainness, doomed years fed by manna in the wilder- themselves to everlasting damnation, ness, though they never tasted for their falsehood and imposture. any. An infidel must be cred. Credulous would he be who could ulous enough to believe this, or believe that the sun makes darkness
and night by rising, and light and christ; but here also, though the day by setting; or that water always events have accorded with the preruns uphill, and never down; but not dictions, they who uttered them were more credulous would he be than the perfectly ignorant of what they prefool who looks at this creation, and tended to foretell, and actually foresays in his heart there is no God; or told. They who credulous the unbeliever who gives credit to enough to believe such multiplied such a tissue of absurdities as he absurdities, should never taunt chrismust believe that is an infidel. tians with the charge of credulity.
Rejecting the claims of prophets The wickedness of infidelity appears to divine inspiration, the infidel must awfully great when the nature of the be also credulous enough to believe gospel dispensation is considered. that all the predictions in their writ. Why do men reject christianity? Is ings were but the lucky guesses of it destitute of evidence to support its deceitful, and consequently, of wicked claims as a divine revelation? Far
These have been fulfilled in from it. The most powerful and many cases with astonishing exact- most intelligent minds, the deepest ness; in some, that fulfilment has thinkers, and the most patient investaken place hundreds, or even thou- tigators of truth, have acknowledged sands of years, after the predictions that its claims to a divine origin canwere uttered, and some of them are not be refuted. Locke, and Newton, now fulfilling before our eyes; yet, and Bacon, and others scarcely less according to infidelity, all these are distinguished, have searched into its imposition. Their authors knew evidences, and confessed that they nothing respecting the events they were overpowering. Why then do foretold, which have taken place, or men reject christianity? Are its are taking place now. Moses, above discoveries unimportant ? Proclaims 3,000 years ago, exactly foretold the it no benefits to man? Instead of present character of the Arabs, and this, its discoveries are supremely imthe condition of the Jews, though he portant; it proclaims glory to God, knew nothing whatever about either. and good will to man, and becomes, Other prophets predicted the fall and to all its sincere votaries, the source present condition of Babylon, Nine- of solid comfort, tranquil peace, joyful veh, Tyre, Edom, and other eastern hope, and of a thousand other blesscities or countries; but they were
ings. Why do men reject chrisperfectly ignorant of the subject, tianity? Is its tendency baneful? though their predictions are exactly Is its influence mischievous ? Does accomplished. Micah foretold the it promote strife, riot, faction, displace of Christ's birth ; Daniel, the order, selfishness ? As opposite as period of his appearance; other pro- possible to all this, it diffuses harphets, numerous particulars, all ac- mony, quiet, peace, benevolence. complished in him; but neither Why then do men reject christianity? Micah, nor Daniel, nor the other This question may often recur to a prophets, knew any thing about the thoughtful mind; and the more the events they predicted, though they subject is considered, the deeper exactly came to pass.
will be the conviction, that the one tensions were all fraud. Jesus pre- reason for its rejection is its holiness. dicted the destruction of Jerusalem, It is too holy a system for a sinful and its condition for the last world. Heathens expressed the grand 1700 years, and at the present day, objection of men, in every clime, to with perfect exactness; some of his christianity, when they said, “Our apostles, with equal correctness, fore- gods are sinful; and so are we: we told the rise and character of anti- will not worship a holy God.' Hu
man nature is every where the same; nected with wilful and great ignoand, would the rejecters of christ- rance. The one subject which above ianity avow the real ground of their all others claims the attention of man, rejection, to that benign religion, it is the subject most generally disrewould be, “Our hearts are sinful; we garded. Tertullian, 1600 years ago, wish not to forsake sin. Christianity charged the enemies of the gospel is too holy a religion for us.'
with hating christianity ignorantly, This is the only real cause for and observed. This very ignorance rejecting christianity that an impar- binds the heavier guilt upon you; for, tial inquirer can possibly discover; it show me a grosser piece of iniquity is too holy for this sinful world. than for men to hate what they underBut can its holiness furnish any valid stand not:' and then he remarks, of objections to its claims ? Then the enemies that had become friends, splendour of the sun may be its chief • Their hatred and their ignorance fell disparagement, and the brightness of together.' Thus many infidels have its light, its defect, instead of its been ignorant of the nature of the glory.
religion they opposed. Others have The wickedness of rejecting chris- wilfully confounded christianity with tianity because of its holiness, appears popery and superstition; and some, more conspicuous when the ingrati- that were once its enemies, on extude of such rejection is taken amining its nature, have become its into account. The gospel displays decided friends. Lord Lyttleton and the wonders of Divine love as man- Gilbert West were unbelievers. They ifested in behalf of ruined man. both proposed to write against chrisThe love of God is its glorious tianity, but, previously to doing this, theme; the person, character, suf- set themselves to examine the Scripferings, and design, of the Lord tures. The result was, they both Jesus Christ, are fully exhibited. For became converts to the gospel, and man, the Father, in infinite pity, sent each wrote an unanswerable treatise the Son to be a Saviour. For man, in its support. When Lord Lyttleton the Son of God assumed human died, he said, “When I set out in the nature, suffered, and died. Through world, I had friends who endeavoured his death, pardon, peace, full salva. to shake my belief in the christian tion, and everlasting life and blessed. religion.— I saw difficulties that stagness, are tendered as the gift of God gered me; but I kept my mind open on believing in Jesus. Thus, the to conviction. The evidences and greatest of all possible blessings, pro- doctrines of christianity, studied with cured by a sacrifice the most costly attention, made me a most firm and imaginable, are proposed to the lost, persuaded believer of the christian and guilty, and undone. Such dis- religion. I have made it the rule of plays of mercy demand the most my life, and it is the ground of my devout gratitude from every one to future hopes.' whom the glad tidings are addressed; Many infidels, pursuing a very but, instead of giving them such a different course from Lyttleton, have reception, infidelity treats them and been wilfully ignorant. Paine contheir great Author with indifference fessed that he had not a Bible, when or contempt, with scorn or blasphemy. he sat down to write against that Who can estimate aright the atrocity sacred volume. Dr. Johnson of such wickedness!
marked, that Hume owned he had Yet even this wickedness has ad- never read the New Testament with ditional aggravations. This ungrate- attention. Franklin confessed that ful rejection of heavenly instruction he had not attended as he ought to and gospel blessings, is often con- the evidences of christianity. Dr. VOL. 7.-N. S.