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in its votaries, but even meritorious ; that its tendency is to perplex and counteract those distinctions between right and wrong, which natural religion has, in some measure, imprinted on the minds of men; and that it has universally degraded the female sex, by reducing them in the scale of existence, to no higher rank than that of be. ing the instruments of sensual pleasure.
For the correction of all these intolerable evils, there is but one Grand and Universal Remedy, and that is Christianity.
The Gospel is called light, and wherever it has so shone as to become the established religion of any country, it has effectually banished idolatry, with all its profligate rites; it has made human sacrifices the objects of horror to every human breast; it has established laws, by which the life of the weakest or the most deformed child, is rendered equally sacred, as that of the oldest citizen. Christianity has proscribed unnatural crimes as an abomination. It stamps upon all licentiousness of conduct, such marks of public disgrace and infamy, that they who practise the lusts it forbids, find it necessary to cover, as much as possible, their conduct from the view of society. It establishes as the ground of morality this noble maxim: “ Whatsoever things ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also unto them." On this Divine principle it has taught the legislatures of Britain and America, in opposition to the solicitations of gain, to abolish the slave trade: it has softened the rigours of war, by teaching men, to alleviate, as much as possible, the hardships of captivity ; and to pour balm into the wounds even of their enemies : it has raised the weaker sex to an equal participation of the comforts of life, and the endearments of society, with the male part of our species. Were,
therefore, this world the only and the final state of man, philanthropy would dictate, that Christianity is the noblest remedy, that the experience of the human race has ever been able to find, for the cure of those evils which proceed from the corruption and depravity of mankind. Christianity is the Tree of Life; of which, besides the spiritual fruits it yields to those who cordially embrace it, the very leaves are found to be for the healing of the nations. If, therefore, the love of our species is a virtue, every man is destitute of it who does not employ every means in his power, to give Pagans that healing balsam which alone
and close all their wounds. But when we consider that the present condition of man is only introductory, and preparatory to his final and eternal state, can we possibly suppose, that that idolatry, which is at once an act of rebellion against God's Moral Government, and a deliberate robbery of Him, and which his own word pronounces to be abominable, will ever introduce men to his favour, or make them meet for the inheritance of the saints in light ? Can we suppose that those tempers and dispositions, and those horrible cruelties which sink men almost to a level with infernal demons, that those bloody rites with which the furious Moloch was besmear. ed, are a proper school of discipline to qualify men for the Kingdom of our God, and of his Christ? Shall we suppose that to the enjoyment of Heaven not only no attainment of corresponding dispositions is necessary; but, what is still more absurd, that the habits of the spirits of darkness will prepare men for beholding God's face in righteousness, and for being satisfied with his image ?
• 1 Peter, IV, 3.
Ought we not (knowing the eternal law of Heaven, that without Holiness no Man shall see the Lord,) to endeavour, by every possible attempt to rescue from the danger of everlasting death, those who are preparing themselves for hell, by assuming its horror, and breathing the spirit of its inhabitants ? Ought we not to reflect that we ourselves are debtors to the labours of those men of God, who by the introduction of the light of the Gospel into our country, turned the shadow of death into the morning? And, finally, ought we not to feel, that to aid in the circulation of that unspeakable blessing, till the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth as the waters cover the channel of the sea, is the only way in which we can discharge the debt of gratitude that we owe to those messengers, whose feet have left upon our own mountains such vestiges of beauty ?
To conclude this article, Paganism is a Religion without the true God ; nor did this Religion originate merely from the weakness, bnt from the corruption of human reason.
We have the decision of God himself, “ that the invisible things of liim from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.” The blood-stained and obscene rites of Paganism have precisely the same origin with its idolatry. Were not man's reason deeply infected with the taint of moral depravity, and were it not under the influence of his corrupt passions and appetites, it would promptly pronounce both the one and the other to be absurd and abominable. Through the whole history of Paganism we find sacrifices have been adopted as the means of propitiating Heaven; and even human sacrifices have been generally offered up for the obtaining of the same end; though we are sure that by such immolations the wrath of Heaven was not appeased, but inflamed. But Paganism, with all its unavailing offerings, knows nothing of that one great sacrifice, through which alone, the remission of sins is to be obtained. Those of its rites which were not impious, were either useless, or nothing but trick and imposture.* It has no promises of eternal life, which, in the agonies of expiring nature, its votaries may grasp, and feel within them a well of living water springing up: it has no Redeemer, no Saviour, no Intercessor, able to save to the uttermost all who come to him: it has no Comforter, no Guide, no Sanctifier, no Holy Spirit, no good hope through grace, no everlasting consolations ; no word of God, no anchor sure and steadfast, and which enters within the veil ; no Kingdom of Heaven, no everlasting rest: it cannot remove that awful cloud which rests upon the eternal world, and which hides from the eyes
of men the everlasting abodes: it has no future state of glory to attract, to elevate, and to purify the soul, oppressed with a load of sorrows, and seeking to escape from them into a better mansion: it knows nothing of a paradise, where the servants of God are admitted to see his face, and to dwell with him for evermore. It knows nothing of the Resurrection of the Just, to shine as the stars, and as the sun in the Kingdom of God, for ever and ever : it knows no day of General Judgment, that great day for which all other days were made, the prospect of which awes or sublimates the feelings and the hopes of men. Paganism is a
Among the Romans, the Soothsayers pretended, (as Dr. Goldsmith observes in his History of Rome,) from observations on the flight of birds, and entrails of beasts, to direct the present, and to dive into futurity. They might as well have split a piece of wood or a stone and taken their observations from either of them. The whole was trick and imposture.
land of darkness, and the shadow of death. A land of darkness, as darkness itself, and of the shadow of death without any order, and where the light is as darkness.*
The inhabitants of the world have been supposed to amount to .....
2,500,000 The Pagans
482,000,000 The Christians.......... 175,500,000 The Mohammedans ... 140,000,000
OF MOHAMMEDISM AND MOHAMMEDANS.
This Religion takes its name from Mahomet, or Mohammed, its author, who was born at Mecca, a city in Arabia Felix, in the year of the Christian Æra 57). The tribe from which he descended was that of Koreish, the most honourable in Arabia, and which had even been possessed of regal dignity. Of that tribe, his father's family was considered as the most noble. His father's name was Abdallah. His father died soon after the birth of his son, and left but slender provision for the support of his widow Amena, and her infant. The education of Mohammed is said to have been limited, and to have been at. tended with but few advantages. In his own mind, which was capacious, he however possessed ample stores, and his
• Job, X, 22.