« ForrigeFortsett »
Julian Pe- 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he Jerusalem.
negligent lives of its professed followers, or their too indolent
Let us then leave for a short time the impregnable walls of the
One thing only is necessary to be premised--the Christian in this great controversy appeals to facts, experience, and history, while he shrinks from no abstract reasoning, from no metaphysical inquiry, from no supposed philosophical deductions, he asserts that his religion is established throughout upon attested and undeniable facts. He demands only of the opponents of Christianity, that the religion they would establish in its place be founded upon facts equally well attested; and upon evidences equally satisfactory and undeniable.
It is certain that evil is every where around us. It is concealed in our heart within-it is visible in our bodies without, in a countless train of infirmities, diseases, and afflictions. It is seen above us in the storms of heaven, around us in the evils of life, and beneath us in the graves of the dead.
The question whence, and why is evil permitted in this world? baffles all but the Christian. If God could prevent evil and did not, where is his benevolence? if he wished to prevent evil, and could not, where is his power ? Here the infidel is baffled, and his proud reason staid. Reason without revelation has not, and cannot solve the dark and mysterious diff. culty. Christianity alone unfolds to man the origin of evil in this world, and while it explains the cause, appoints the remedy. "An enemy hatb done this,”—and “ the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.” We are assured that an evil and malignant spirit superior to man, influenced the mind of map to an act of disobedience. This is the recorded fact, and daily experience confirms its reasonableness and probability. Evil is still continued by the same means, by which it originated. Thousands are hourly misled by one powerful or depraved mind. The sophistries of infidelity, the splendour of ambition, the gold of avarice, are demons all pointing to the forbidden fruit, to a transgression of the sacred law: and the authority of custom, the fear of ridicule, the false sbame of the cowardice that dares not differ with the multitude, are all the enemies of our virtue, and poisoners of our happiness. Man tempts man
Jalian Pe. 8 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his pas- Jerusalem.
to sin: if wicked men, ambitious conquerors, &c. &c. can con-
We are called upon to believe rather than to fathom these
But wbat arc the discoveries of infidelity which could supersede this religion? What philosopher in ancient days, or what speculator in modern times, who have dared to reject the account of the origin of evil in this world given us in revelation, has been able for one moment to propose any satisfactory explanation of this great mystery; or offer any tbing either to allay its bitterness, or to remove its sting. All is wild and vain conjecture; they know only that evil exists, and they have no remedy whatever for the melancboly conviction, but a gloomy patience without hope of future good, or deliverance from present sorrow.
Shall we go on to the next great event after the birth of the world ? The testimony of revelation bas sometimes been rejected in this question also. If, however, the discoveries of our present eminent geologist, and the conclusions of scientific or curious inquirers, both at home and abroad, may be received as arguments; there is sufficient evidence to assure us that at no very remote period, an universal deluge overspread the wbole surface of the globe, the traces of which are every where distinguishable. The traditions of all nations confirm the same truth. Their records in no one in. stance proceed bigher than this event; the chronology of the Egyptians, and the Hindoos, which boasted a more ancient descent, have been long since consigned to oblivion. Let me then put this question, and ask if any invention of natural religion, that vain idol of the imagination, can discover an ade
Julian Pe- days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the king- Jerusalem.
quate cause for this universal deluge; or does tradition relate
consistent account which is revealed to us in Scrip.
On this view of the subject, every difficulty respecting the
bowed down to the host of heaven-and the deeply-learned
be further gratified, I would refer him to the contemplation of
We will now consider human reason in its most admired form
Julian Pe- 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount Jerusalem. riod, 4742. Valgarðra, 2. is demonstrable that this great philosopher kindled his faint
taper at the ever-burning fire on the holy altar of truth. He conversed, we have reason to believe, with those favoured people who held in their hands the sacred records of Moses and the prophets. For Pythagoras, it is asserted, by all the re- ; maining evidence, travelled among the Jews in their dispersion, both in Egypt and in Babylon, and also with the remnant of them who were left in their own country at Mount Carmel. Before he proceeded on these travels he visited Thales at Miletus, who bappened to be in Egypt at the time when Jehoabaz was brought there a prisoner of war by Pharaoh-Necho (d), with many of his captive countrymen : and these were tbe two men who founded the Ionic and Italic schools, from which descended all the schools of philosophy in Greece. Their predecessors had by no means such clear ideas of a Supreme God and a superintending Providence; and the reason seems to be, that they had no communication with the depositors of truth, but were embarrassed with the mixed traditions of ancient times, and the stupid idolatry of their own days. Socrates and Plato were the two principal philosophers who next distinguished themselves by their superiority to their countrymen. Tbese seem to have been permitted to show to the world to what height of excellence the intellect of man could attain, without the possession of the inspired volume. Both taught the existence of one God, though both practised the worship of the numerous gods of their country. And such is the superiority of Revelation, that a little child, of our own day, who has been made acquainted with the common truths of Christianity, is a wiser pbilosopher, and a more accurate reasoner than both of them.
If, then, the learned, deeply-reasoning and talented Greek, was not able, by bis own powers of reasoning, to frame any consistent code of religion by wbich to govern himself, or to benefit mankiad, much less shall we find that the more modern philosophers, who have ventured to reject Christianity, are more perfect guides, or are favoured with greater discernment. Shall we, for instance, follow Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who assures us that the indulgence of the passions is no greater crime than the quenching of thirst, or yielding to sleep?-Or shall we believe, with Mr. Hobbes, that inspiration is madness, and religion ridiculous, and the civil law of a country is the only criterion of right and wrong?-Shall we agree with Blunt, the disappointed, self-possessed suicide, that the soul is material-or with Lord Shaltesbury, that the Scriptures are an artful invention, that the idea of salvation is absurd, and join in his untranscribable blasphemies against the meek and blameless Jesus ?-Shall the Jew Spinoza direct us, when he teaches us that God is the soul of the world, and not the ruler ; but that all things proceed, not from the will or government of an all-wise Creator, but from a necessary emanation from the physical energy of the material universe, the passive fountain of existence? Shall we agree with him that there is no Creator, no providence, no necessity for worship, nor any well grounded expectation of a future state?-Or shall we rather become the votaries of Collins, and believe that man is a mere machine, and the soul is material and mortal ?-Or praiso, with Tipdal and Morgan, and Chubb and Bolingbroke, the dignity of reason, the excellence of natural religion, professing to admire Christianity, while we deny its doctrines and ridicule its truths ?-If these Hiero,
riod, 4742. journey.
Julian Pe. called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath-day's Jerusalem.
phants are not received as our guides into the templeof their natu.
politics and their
Let us now advert, for a moment, to the effects produced by these principles on an entire people, and also on individuals (f). The only instance in which the avowed rejectors of Revelation have possessed the supreme power and government of a country, and have attempted to dispose of human happiness according to their own doctrines and wishes, is that of France during the greater part of the revolution, which it is now well known was effected by tbe abettors of infidelity. The great majority of the nation had become infidels. The name and profession of Christianity was renounced by the legislature. Death was declared, by an act of the republican government, to be an elernal sleep. Public worship was abolished. The Churches were converted into “temples of reason,” in which atheistical and licentious homilies were substituted for the proscribed service; and an absurd and ludicrous imitation of the Pagan mythology was exhibited, under the title of tbe Religion of Reason. In the principal church of every town a tutelary goddess was installed, with a ceremony equally pedantic, frivolous, and profane; and the females selected to personify this new divinity were mostly prostitutes, who received the adorations of tho attendant municipal officers, and of the multitudes, whom fear, or force, or motives of gain, had collected together on the occa. sion. Contempt for religion, or decency, became the test of