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written law," that which proceeded from custom; that is, actions proceeding from custom, according to the common notions of mankind." And their crime was, the not obeying truth, according to the aids of knowledge afforded them, not the degrees of conviction they were under. By this law their consciences accused or excused them.

D. Surely I can repent of sin, as a reasonable creature, without the grace and atonement of your Saviour.

C. Never! Without the atonement of Christ, there is no warrant to hope for pardon of sin; and without hope, no one ever repented. And such is the strength of sin in the human heart, that nothing short of the grace of the revealed Saviour can deliver you from the guilt and power of sin.

D. Why not, if I exert my reason, without trusting to the grace of the Saviour?

C. Let facts answer you. The law of God convicts and condemns you, but affords you no assistance. Sin injures your health, your character, your peace, and your property; and yet you love sin. Human laws condemn you,-education checks you,-discipline restrains, good example invites; afflictions alarm you, and yet in childhood, youth, and manhood, you have indulged your sin. Individuals, families, nations, prove that sin is not conquerable by the strength of reason.

D. If sin is so powerful a principle, am I not rather to be pitied, than blamed and punished for it?

C. No: you boast of power to conquer it, and yet indulge it; you are self-condemned. Your experience proves that the love of sin is deeply rooted in your fallen nature,-firmly entrenched in the soul by custom, prejudice, and bad examples, nourished and inflamed by temptation, and yet you at one time deny the fact, and at another admit it, and make your depravity an excuse for your sins.

The Bible reveals a Saviour, who bears that name, because he saves those who trust his all-sufficient grace, from their sins. This remedy you reject, because you love your sins, and are unwilling to be saved from them.

D. Great men in the heathen and the Christian world have thought differently from you.

C. True: one has written on the excellency, the charms, and power of virtue ;-another proposes natural and moral philosophy as armour against sin;-a third has proposed music and the mathematics, as a sovereign remedy: but whose pride was humbled,-whose lusts were subdued,— whose soul was ever purified, by these means?

D. Then there is, by your account, no remedy for me.

C. There is no salvation for you in your sins:-no salvation for you by your own merit or resolutions :-no certain salvation for you or any other, but by the gracious Redeemer, whom you neglect and oppose.

D. There are other books besides the Bible; the volumes of nature and Providence, which I have long studied.

C. The Bible informs me that this great world is God's workmanship, that Providence is his powerful, wise, kind, and righteous government: but while they present many delightful displays of his goodness and patience, they proclaim no pardon for the guilty, no strength for the weak against sin, no promises of forgiveness of any sin, much less of many sins, of repeated and aggravated sins, of all sins; not one promise of acceptance for my person or prayers, no one promise of support in trouble and in death, nor the least assurance of eternal life. Without the Bible, I am without a Saviour, and without "a good hope."

D. Have not I a portion of common sense, of understanding, of reason? With this portion of intellect, I object to the doctrines of revelation.

C. You remind me of a man on the stage, who asked me if he did not possess the power of imitation in a transcendant degree above me; and added, Is imitation a gift? How am I to use it?

To this I answered,-in imitation of wise and good men, of Jesus Christ, of the blessed God,-" Be ye imitators of ME as dear children." You say I cannot equal you: I do not desire to imitate fools, madmen, or immoral men.

D. This proves a difference of taste.

C. True and this affords us the true cause of your objections to the Holy Scriptures. They prohibit the indulgence of your sinful appetites and passions. They command you to be chaste; you love to indulge the lusts of the flesh. They command gentleness; you indulge violent resentment. They require spirituality; you prefer worldly pleasures. They enjoin humility; you cherish pride. They demand purity of heart; you substitute an external morality, and that very partial. They inspire real joy; your joy is transient and superficial, and noisy; "like a child in the dark, who whistles and sings to keep up his courage." The sacred Scriptures inspire a good hope through grace:" your sheet-anchor and refuge from despair is, at best, dark uncertainty-conjecture.

D. I am happy in my ignorance.

C. That is impossible, since your ignorance of the Word of God is criminal; and how can that which increases your guilt, render you happy? Your ignorance is the effect of aversion to truth,-of the love of sin,-of a neglect of the means of obtaining divine knowledge. It is wilful ignorance; you "love darkness, and come not to the light, because your deeds are evil." "Light maketh manifest" your sins, your heart, your danger, and your duty; therefore you shun it, to maintain your pleasing delusions and your false peace. You are suspicious and fearful of the truth of the Bible, and think the real Christian's principles the safest.

D. I wish to be ignorant of sins and punishment.

C. I know you do. Proud of imaginary virtues, and forgetful of your greatest sins, all arguments against your conceits are weak as reeds, brittle as glass.

D. But if I can be happy without believing the Bible, why not allow me to enjoy myself?

C. I believe the Bible, which contradicts you; and I appeal to your CONSCIENCE as in the sight of God, for the truth of it in the following declaration." There is no PEACE saith my God, unto the wicked. The wicked are like the troubled sea." When Colonel Gardiner was congratulated by his wicked companions, as the happy rake, he told Dr. Doddridge, that on seeing a dog come into the room, he groaned inwardly, saying to himself," Oh! that I were that dog!"

Such is the difference between the appearance of infidels, and the real misery they often feel. Colonel Gardiner afterwards felt the truth uttered by the incomparable Sir Isaac Newton, -"We account the Scriptures of GOD to be the most sublime philosophy."

D. Have you read Paine's works?

C. Yes; for the same reasons as medical men study poisons, and render them subservient to health. He is one of those characters which the Bible describes as serpents; and his subtlety is apparent, in flattering the pride, the passions, and prejudices of unbelievers. He exposes Christianity under the name of Popery; and exhausts his low wit, prophane ridicule and hypocritical artifice, against the Bible, as if that contained the absurdities, the lies, the avaricious policy, the impurity, the tyranny and blasphemy of the papal system.

D. Do you think these remarks against Paine, are consistent with candour and charity?

C. Yes; if genuine charity and candour are consistent with truth for Paine is well known to have been a prophane swearer and drunkard; and we have evidence upon oath, that religion was his favourite topic when he was intoxicated. "The Gospel of peace does not require that we should make peace with its adversaries, or cease to repel their attacks; or even that we should act on the defensive;" but endeavour to "pull down their strong holds."

Deists may flatter the pride of reason, accommodate the prejudices and passions of others,-exercise their "low wit, prophane ridicule and gross abuse; and pretend great admiration of morality, to give an edge to their reproach." But the Deist takes offence at the Scriptures, as "the HOLY Scriptures;" and at the God they reveal, as "GLORIOUS IN HOLINESS." They are Deists in opinion, Pagans in inclination, and Atheists in practice."

D. What could induce Paine's violent opposition to the Bible?

C. The love of sin, the love of money, the love of praise from the tongues and pens of infidels. Paine in his younger days was a professing Christian: in his latter days an apostate. Breaking the bonds of a religious education, forsaking the ministry of the Gospel, stifling the convictions of conscience, he became a blasphemer of Christ and the Bible: he "walked in the counsel of the ungodly,-stood in the way of sinners, and sat in the seat of the scornful." This wicked man hated the Bible, for the same reason that King Ahab hated the prophet Micaiah, because it " prophesied no good concerning him." The Holy Scriptures condemned Paine's infidel principles, his sinful practice, his pernicious conversation, "his evil heart of unbelief." The Bible was his accuser, -"a swift WITNESS against him," and a righteous judge pronounces the awful sentence against him.

D. Then what Paine produced against the Bible, you think evidence of its value?

C. Paine addresses the passions of the sensual. His writings betray his ignorance and insolence, his falsehood and malice; his false wit, empty declamation, scurrilous language, and bitter invective. It is an honour to the Bible to stand opposed by a drunken, lewd, and prophane man.

D. But Mr. Paine accuses the clergy of ignorance, as knowing little more than a, b, ab, and hic, hæc, hoc.

C. Whatever inconsistency he found in the clergy,-nothing but malignant falsehood could have denied a large

number of them to have been men of profound, various, and extensive learning, and eminent piety.

D. A lady, on taking her son to a boarding school, enjoined the master to take care that his taste was not injured by reading the Bible.

C. I pity the lady and her son; and would send them both to the feet of that illustrious scholar, Sir William Jones, who writes as follows:-"I have regularly and attentively read the Holy Scriptures, and am of opinion, this volume, independent of its divine origin, contains more sublimity and beauty, more pure morality,-more important history,—and finer strains of poetry and eloquence, than can be collected from all other books, in whatever language or age, they may have been composed."

D. I have often wondered, that the writings of unbelievers have not produced more effect on the believers of the Bible.

C. They have exerted all their faculties, employed every method to shake our faith in vain; and some of them, after using all their learning, experience and observation, to overthrow the gospel, have in the serious attempt, become believers and advocates of the Bible!

D. This I admit; but others have been confirmed in their unbelief, by the bad conduct of professed Christians.

C. I cannot deny this charge; but it is occasioned by practical Deists under the mask of the Christian name. There are hypocritical professors of Christianity and of Deism. Too many who are found in Christian congregations, intemperate, dishonest, deceitful, covetous, revengeful, and selfish. These are professed believers of that Bible which condemns them; like Judas, they cry, "Hail master! kiss the Redeemer, and betray him!

You are stumbled at the different opinions and sects, in religious professions, and ask,-what do I say to them?

That "the only wise God" has designs to answer by permitting them, worthy of his goodness, equity, and wisdom. First. To try our integrity, in searching after truth, by reading, hearing, inquiry, and prayer. If sincere, we shall love a Christian in every sect. Hypocrites will join the society where they can best indulge their lust of pride, covetousness, worldly interest, or sensuality.

Secondly. They exercise the gracious principles of good men, and improve them,-love, humility, forbearance, pa


Thirdly. They promote the propagation of the gospel.


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