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true as there is a God in Heaven,” Christ went into hell, after his crucifixion, and preached there during the three days before his resurrection, that so those who died before his birth, should hear his voice and have the means of re. demption, some speak of a purgatory, some are equally certain of a visible world, and of churches and thrones; some of a state of fixedness, others of a progression of happiness and of misery beyond the grave; others again, attempt to prove, that souls of righteous men alone ever realize immortality. Such views, though seriously entertained by many grave men, appear to have no connexion with religion : why do we attempt to look beyond the grave? we know nothing of that state, a veil of deadly silence is drawn, which we cannot penetrate.
It is the remission of sin of which I speak, I might speculate about a future existence, and show scripture authority for or against any pár. ticular faith; but as I have no knowledge, nor anxiety, and do not realize that religious minds heed have any concern about it, if they have any confidence in the justice of their heavenly Fa. ther; I shall not enter into the subject. But for their carnal views, I should most sincerely unite with them, that Christ was the means of sålvation; but I should refer to that principle
alone which is spoken of, “as Christ within, , the hope of glory,” as “ the wisdom and power of God," &c. &c. and herein there is no diffi. culty, in knowing how each individual is sayed by Christ; because this Christ was in the be. ginning with God, thịs was the Rock which the Israelites drank of in the wilderness, this is the bread which came downfrom heaven, whịch men must eat of, to be saved; and which is no other than the spirit of God, operating upon the hearts of all men.
For as the most exalted name or most beautiful forms of religion, never have, nor ever can bring a man any nearer to the kingdom of heaven; so on the other hand, no outward circumstances can of themselves separate him from it; but they have precluded a large proportion of the rational creation from a knowledge of the outward manifestation of Christ in the person of Jesus. Hence the di. lemma to which people are put, to reconcile how men are saved by the sacrifice of a person they never heard of.
If I could for a moment conceive, that that small portion of mankind, who have heard of, and know of Jesus Christ: or any sect among them, have any peculiar privileges conferred upon them by the great Father of mercies, – that he has extended bis power to give them any
means of salvation or of happiness, which he had not dispensed in a proportionate degree, to eve. ry other part of his intelligent family ; I should almost wish every feeling to leave me, that was founded upon so partial a religion ; and desire rather to be classed among the beasts of the field, than to receive the boon of happiness, while thousands of other men as worthy as myself, created by the same power, and equally dependant upon it, were placed without the reach of salvation.
My views of religion are not so contracted. The religion which Jesus Christ spoke of had not its beginning with his outward.dispensation. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus distinctly speaks of that God “that is in thee to rule over thee,” and the “unbiassed reason” to which Socrates yield. ed the government of his life, was no other than a degree of that spirit, which Jesus testifies of; and which was manifested to each of their minds by the equal light of truth. Confucius makes use of a tera nearly similar to express the same thing -names do not alter realities–I contend not about them; if one man calls that reason or con. science, which I call the power of God, I am not at issue with him ; I have no preference in terms" unbiassed reason," is no more the principle of deduction by which man weighs
and ballances, and decides by consequences, which he can throw into one or the other scale, than it is fate or chance..
It was doubtless by the power of truth, that Socrates gained the entire dominion over his passions and appetites, and exhibited one of the most extraordinary instances of wisdom and virtue. And thus he triumphed over the fear of death, “ It would be inexcusable in me,” said he, “ to despise death, if I were not persuaded that it would conduct me into the
pre. sence of the Gods, who are the most righteous governors, and into the society of just and good men;" and being queried of, respecting the disposition of his body after death, he said, “ is it not strange after all I have said to convince you, that I am going to the society of the happy, that Crito still thinks, that this body which will soon be a lifeless corpse, is Socrates ? Let him dispose of my body as he pleases, but let him not at its interment mourn over it as if it were Socrates."
In accordance with the life and death of So. crates, were the principles of many of those, who are distinguished as heathen philosophers. Though they did not all speak the same language, any more than men do in the present day; yet many of their doctrines will be found
to be of the most sublime and exalted character, and exactly to tally with those of modern time. Some made virtue to consist in benevolence, and promoting the happiness of their fellow creatures-others looked to some ultimate end-others again, declared virtue and happiness to be independent of all outward circumstances. The rule to regulate their conduct, being placed within their own breasts, was considered to have been given them by Jupiter, and that happiness consisted in the disinterested discharge of thcir duty, without any anxiety about the event. That this led to a state, in which, participating in the divine har. mony, they rejoiced even at those events which are considered the most adverse to happiness, and received health or sickness, riches or po: verty, with an equal mind : that by imitating the love and charity of God, the perfection of virtue would be attained, and the soul assimi. lating to the Divine nature, would participate in its attributes of benevolence and love, and ulti. mately attain to an immediate converse and communion with Deity.
These are the outlines of the different views of virtue, handed down to us from the ancient sects, in those nations which are considered to have been the most civilized; but the cternal