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But the Bible represents God as the creator. God did not commit the work of creation to other hands, but Himself created all things from nothing, by the power of his word and the skill of his infinite wisdom. Therefore is He called God. Now it is evident that if God had created the world by the hands of another, He must have given to him creative power, on which supposition a finite creature must have become infinite, and then there had been another God, which conclusion is blasphemous and injurious to God; for it is blasphemous and injurious to call a creature the creator. It is through your not apprehending this objection that you have left the Creator, and worship the creature.
3.--Examination of the god Vishnu. Your Shástras speak of Vishnu, as appearing in ten incarnations. I have paid some attention to these relations.
In the first place, Vishnu appeared in the form of a fish, a lakh of jojuns in length, in the time of the universal deluge. At this period, and before Bramhá had created the world, while he was fast asleep, Lankásur came and stole away the Védas. Vishnu assumed the form of a fish, and after slaying the giant, restored the Védas to Bramhá. Now, seeing that the whole earth was deluged, and was without a resting place, how was that giant left out of the universal destruction? and where was he ? and whence came he ?
Afterwards, when the gods churned the milken sea to obtain the waters of immortality, and made the Mandara mountain the churnstaff; this mountain sunk into the depths of the ocean, and Vishnu assumed the form of a tortoise for the purpose of supporting it in the water. Now, how could that mountain churn-staff work without a pillar behind it to support it ? And so how could the gods churn the ocean ? how could the serpent live ? and how could the heavenly prostitutes, and Lakshmi, and Tairavrata the elephant, and Uchchaisrava the horse, be produced from that water?
Also when Hiranya, the silver-eyed giant, stole the earth, Vishnu assumed the form of a boar, and after slaying the giant, he drew up the earth with his tusks. Now, seeing that there was no dry ground, in what manner did that giant exist? where was he? and upon what did he stand to fight?
Next, Vishnu assumed the form of a lion and man, for the purpose of destroying Hiranya-kasyapa, the blasphemer. Now, as to the dreadful form which you say Vishnu assumed, does it not, think you, appear to be the form of Satan, or some demon, rather than a divine form? God is long-suffering and gentle, your Narasing was wrathful and vindictive.
Again, when the king Bali possessed authority over the three worlds, Vishnu assumed the form of a dwarf, for the purpose of giving that inheritance to Indra ; to accomplish this, he asked three feet of earth from the king, and seized upon the three worlds, at the same time becoming a porter at his door. Now, after
he had filled the heavens with one foot, and the earth with another, where was Bali? Where did he set the other foot ? and where were mankind ?
Again, there was a certain Brahman, named Jamadagní, who had a son named Parasurama; which Parasurama, when the king Kaitabhajit (Vishnu) was taking away Jamadagní's cow, fought with him twenty-one engagements, and slew him, his sons, and all the kings of the earth. Now, consider this account, and judge if it were just to punish the guilt of one person by slaying thousands ?
The Shastras say, that Srí Ráma was born of Mahárajá Dasata. Ráma dwelt in the wilderness, lost his Sítá, and fell into great affliction. Then collecting an army of monkeys and bears, he made war upon Ravana, Kambhákama, Indrajot, &c. and slew them. Afterwards he reigned for some time and then died.
To slay Kansa and other wicked persons, Rám-Krishnu (Vishnu) appeared, teaching theft and robbery. He led astray and defiled 16,000 females of Gópí, married eight females as his own wives, and after having killed all his own children, he was slain by the arrow of Járá the bowman.
Then appeared the Baudh incarnation in three forms, made of Nim-wood, in a temple at Jagannath Pooree. This is clearly a piece of shameful imposition ; for it is known that the temple at Pooree was built about 633 years ago by Indradummond Rája ; but the Brahmans to obtain wealth proclaim these blocks to be the Baudh incarnation. See, O ye people, if you have any eyes, whether there are at Jagannath any marks of the presence of the deity. If God dwelt there, could there remain in the place such darkness, disease, murder, theft, adultery, malice, filthy language, &c., and were Jagannath God, would he be served with rice by such wicked people? would he be pleased with dances of prostitutes, unclean gestures, filthy songs, &c. This therefore is certainly an imposition practised on your ignorance.
Finally, it is said in your books, that at the end of Kalí-yug, there will be another incarnation, called Kalki. From the beginning this delusive prophecy has been repeated, but neither the end of Kali-yug, nor the Kalki incarnation has yet arrived, nor ever will, as your books speak of it.
Having well considered the above-mentioned incarnations, they appear to be the inventions of men, and have no signs of their being divine about them. Judging from their performances, they appear to have been kings, and employed themselves in fighting with, and destroying their enemies, and at all events their works are discreditable to God. They married wives, had friends, committed robbery, theft, and murder, and had many other mere human practices. They were devoid of power, small in understanding, without knowledge, and were in other respects like unto mortals. Besides, by them nothing was done to remove the sins
of mankind ; and of what use will it be us in this day, to think upon how they slew some wicked kings.
But in the Holy Bible, the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ is not after this sort. Jesus Christ, that he might destroy the sins of men, and bring salvation, by the power of the Holy Spirit, took a body in the womb of a Virgin, and became man. This was about 1800 years ago.
His incarnation was foretold by a long series of prophecies, and when he came, he proved himself to be God, by many miracles, and in much wisdom did he teach the way of life. He cured the diseases of mankind, cast out devils, raised the dead ; and by many more such miracles, displayed the great power of God. Also, as an incarnation of God, he displayed his glory, his compassion, and his holiness before the eyes of men. Moreover, being in the form of man, he offered himself a sacrifice unto God, and by the shedding of his blood, opened a way by which man could draw nigh to God, and now he is the mediator between God and man, and ever intercedes with God for the salvation of all those who believe on his name.
(To be continued.)
My weary soul would flee;
From sin and vanity!
And as a bark, sore toss'd
And masts, and bulwarks lost,
The sport of every wave;
I sink, dear Saviour, save !
Come quickly to my aid :
Speak ! let the storm be laid.
And Peace and Love again;
And Hope my soul sustain.
“Shall with the soul remain,
“Of deep distress and pain.'
For unto thee I call,
Sprague's Lectures on Revivals of Religion.
(SECOND NOTICE.) " It would,” says Edwards, “ be such a Revival of Religion as never was, if, among so many men, not guided by infallible in. spiration, there had not been many notable errors in judgment and conduct ; otherwise our young preachers and young converts must vastly exceed Luther, the head of the Reformation, who was guilty of a great many excesses in that great affair in which God made him the chief instrument. If we look back into the history of the church of God in past ages, we may observe that it has been a common device of the devil to overset a Revival of Religion, when he finds he can keep men quiet and secure no longer, then he drives them to excesses and extravagances. He holds them back as long as he can ; but when he can do it no longer, then he will push them on, and, if possible, run them upon their heads. And it has been by this means chiefly, that he has been successful, in several instances, to overthrow most hopeful and promising beginnings.” These are the sentiments of a great man, reading the future by the experience of the past ; but at the time they earned for him no slight share of suspicion and reproach from many in the church of Christ. While the enemies of Revivals vainly strove to fix on him the charge of enthusiasm, their friends were loud in angry remonstrances against his lukewarmness and overcaution. It was indeed an exciting period. Conversions multiplied amazingly ; souls came, as it were by flocks, to Jesus. When the minister looked round on his congregation, it was enough to make his heart burn within him. Every eye was intent; every hearer eagerly drinking in his words ; nearly the whole assembly from time to time dissolved in tears: sighing and sobbing, rose on all sides, some weeping for their own sins, others with joy or love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their brethren. “In all companies, on all days, whenever men met together, Christ was to be heard of, and seen in the midst of them.” Old quarrels were reconciled, old vices given up, taverns deserted, the minister's house continually full of persons, crying, What shall we do to be saved ? Some had such an abiding terror of damnation, that they could not sleep at night, and their health was seriously affected by their distress of mind. Many again had their minds so filled with spiritual delight, that their bodily appetites seemed suspended.
And while," says Edwards, “the supreme attention of their minds was on the glorious excellences of God in Christ,' and their prospects of the future eternal enjoyment of him; yet all things
abroad, the sun, moon, and stars, the clouds and sky, the heavens and earth, appeared with a cast of divine glory and sweetness upon them. There was no book so delighted in, as the Bible, especially the Psalms, the prophecy of Isaiah, and the New Testament: no time so prized as the Lord's day, and no place in this world so desired as God's house.” The last distinguishing mark, which we shall here mention, was an exceeding desire for the conversion of others.
We may readily imagine, that this was not a state of things which Satan would leave untroubled. It was not easy for the most experienced, it was almost impossible for the young minister, amidst such a glorious work, to keep constant watch over his feelings, and to have his imagination sobered down to the true pitch of judgment. He was not a cool spectator ; he was an impassioned actor; he was, humanly speaking, the very soul of all he saw around him. Carried beyond himself, perhaps by the fervour of his spirit, he made some animated appeal to the sympathies of his hearers, or he demanded of them some pledge, some out-breaking from the common beat of Christianity, which might in some measure answer to the extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit. It was answered in a manner that surprised him. The tears redoubled, some groaned, others trembled, not a few fell to the earth in a swoon. The Spirit of God was plainly among them : was he “ to quench the Spirit," or throw a damp on the work of God ? He repeated the appeal; he added to it greater energy, he ventured on measures adapted to produce a more striking effect. The work went forward; and the prediction of Edwards was realized. In other countries the standing objections against Revivals, unremoved until this day, are the excesses by which they have occasionally been disgraced; in America itself the results have been more signally fatal. We refer particularly to the deplorable occurrences in Kentucky, about thirty years ago : we borrow Professor Miller's account of them:
My impression is, that the most enlightened and sincere friends of vital piety, who had the best opportunity of being intimately acquainted with the Revivals referred to, believe them to have been a real work of the Holy Spirit, or at least to have been productive of a number of genuine conversions. But that this work of grace was attended, and finally overshadowed, disgraced, and terminated by fanaticism and disorders of the most distressing character, will not, probably, now be questioned by any competent judges.
This excitement began in Logan county, in Kentuckey, but soon spread over all the state, and into the neighbouring states. Besides increased attention to the usual seasons, and the ordinary means of religious worship, there were, during the summers of the years just mentioned, large camp-meetings held, and a number of days and nights in succession spent in almost unceasing religious exercises. At these meetings, hundreds, and, in some cases, thousands of people might have been seen and heard, at the same time, engaged in singing and prayer, in exhortation and preaching, in leaping, shouting,