« הקודםהמשך »
scheme; but to causes of a very different nature. If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that cre lot: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the ininds of them that believe not, left the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should Jhine unto them. This view ought to alarm the fears, and rouse the attention of every man living; but especially of our unbelieving and sceptical countrymen. Rejection of the truths of religion is always in the Sacred Writings ascribed to a fault in the heart and will, rather than to any defect in the head. Ye will not come unto me, that ye may have life.--If any man will do his cuill, be shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of niya felf.—The wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked SHALL understand, but tbe wise SHALL understand. The ways of the LORD are right, and the juß SHALL walk it them: but the transgreffors SHALL fall therein. Say not then, MY FRIENDS, that you would believe if you could.
could. Deceive not yourselves by alledging want of evidence. Tell us no longer of the absurdities and contradictions of Scrip
The evidence is ample.* The absurdities will vanish, the contradictions will cease, when once your minds are brought into a humble, teachable, and religious frame; when the veil is taken from your hearts, and the scales
who left our world Jan. 26, 1796, that “ ir is no small triumph to the “ friends of Revelation to observe, in this age of Infidelity, that our Re
ligion has been admitted, and even defended by men of the most exi alted understanding, and of the strongest resoning powers The fin
gle testimony of DAVID RITTEN House in its favour outweighs the “ declamations of whole nations against it.”
* “ Reasonable Deists cannot but become Christians, where the Gospel «shines,”
These several pafsages of the Sacred Hritings account sufficiently well for the infidelity of our several deiltical writers. BollinBROKE, VOLTAIRE, GIBBON, PAINE, and most others, of whom I have had any knowledge, seem to have been destitute of the proper state of mind for the inveliigation of religious truth. " From several conversaústions,” says the learned BEATTIE, “ which it has been my chance to “ have with Unbelievers, I have learned, that ignorance of the nature of “ cur religion, and a disinclination to ftudy both it and its evidence,
are to be reckoned among the chiet causes of Infidelity.“
Allix's Refiections upon the books of the Holy Scrptures contain a large number of valuable thoughts, and should be read in opposition to all the fimiy objections of the above Deifts. KETT's Sermons at the Bampton
have fallen from your eyes. Deny yourselves, therefore Cease to live in fin. Mortify your lusts and passions. Part with the pride of falfe philosophy. Live in humility, purity, and virtue.
Be good moral men, conscientious worshippers of God, upon your own principles, sober enquirers after truth, praying for divine direction, and it will not be long before you become Believers in Jesus CHRIST. No moral man can, rationally, wish to reject the Gospel, because it is all purity and goodness, and the most powerful means, with which the world was ever favoured,' of making us virtuous and good.
Frr, whatever was the cause, it is plain in fact, that human reason, unaslisted, failed mankind in its great and proper business of morality; and, therefore, I repeat again, he that shall be at the pains of collecting all the moral rules of the ancient Philosophers, and compare them with those contained in the New Testament, will find them to come infinitely short of the morality delivered by our SAviour, and taught by his Apostles*. Add to this, that no other religion, which ever was in the world, hath made provision for pardoning the sins of mankind, and restoring
Lecture sufficiently invalidate the sophistry of Gibbon. Much fatisfactory light has lately been thrown upon the Plagues of Egypt by the learned JacoB BRYANT. The Old Testament has been more lately defended against the attacks of THOMAS Paine by DAVID LEVI, a learned Jeru, with considerable ability. But of all single bocks, none, I think, is equal to the admirable Course of Lectures by the excellent Dr. DodDRIDGE; a work which no inquisitive Christian should be without in his library. The Biographia Britannica afferts, that STILLINGFLEET's Origines Sacra is the best defence of revealed Religion ever written."
*" It is bigotry," says an elegant writer now living, “ to believe the sublime truths of the Gospel with full assurance of faith? I glory in such bigotry: I would not part with it for a thousand worlds; I congratulate the man who is poffefied of it; for amidst all the vicissitudes and calamities present state, that man enjoys an inexhaustible fund of conso-, lation, of which it is not in the power of fortune to deprive him."
us to the divine favour, in a way consistent with the pertections and government of the SUPREME BEING,
You will give these reatonings, O MY COUNTRYMEN, the weight you suppote they delerve. If you seriously and conscientiously think there is nothing in their worthy of your attention, by all means reject them if any of yo: a e convinced by what is advanced, that you have hitherto been mistaken, in rejecting Jesus Christ and his Gospel; or if you fee ground to suspect you may be wrong; let no confiderations of shame induce you to deny your convi&tions or fufpicions. Many men have been mistaken as well as you. I myself, you perceive have seen reason to change several opinions, which before I had thought founded in truth. Every perfon, indeed, must naturally and necessarily at first be a Itranger to the Gospel-redemption. Our efforts, therefore, should be made to be become acquainted with it, and to get into the good and right way. If we look back upon the foregoing pages, we shall see that several of the characters there mentioned had been much led astray. Through different means, however, they discovered their error. They acknowledged their fault. They lamented their sin. They laid aside their prepoffeffions, and sought for the truth with all their skill and abilities. They were convinced in their
“ There is not a book on earth fo favourable to all the kind, and all the sublime affections, or so unfriendly to hatred and persecution, to tyranny, injustice, and every sort of malevolence, as the Gospel.-It breathes nothing throughout but mercy, benevolence, and peace"
Mr. PAINE reflecis upon the Scripture for being deficient in moral precepts. I defy him, however, or any other Deist in the world, to produce from all the stories of Heathen writings any thing equal or second to Christ's Sermon on the Mount ; to the 12th chapter of Romans, or to the 13th chapter of the ift Corinthians. Let any man dhew us a system of morality equal unto these passages if he can.- .-The truth is, Mr. PAINE knows very little of the matter. - And, moreover, what has be to do with inorality? be that is ļo extremely immoral in his own conduct ? --Out of thine own mouth shalt thou be judged, O thou immoral man* !
See the Life of THOMAS Paine written by FRANCIS OLDYS, M. A. of the University of Pennsylvania, and that of the same person written by Peter PORCUPINE. From these accounts it appears, that; let Mr. PAINE talk about philosophy and morality as much as he pleases, he has been, at different periods of his life, a very bad and immoral man, and, io far as appears
continues the same unto this day. * Let Mr. Paina call to mind the story of the ten pounds at Dover! X
understandings * ; converted in their hearts; they believed in the REDEEMER; obeyed his Gospel; and, through infinite and unmerited grace, were eternally saved. Why then should not you pursue the same measures, if you have any suspicions every thing is not with you as it should be ? You must allow, if the Gospel-account of things be true, it is inconceivably important. Treat it
Treat it not, there. fore, with contempt, neglect, indifference, but examine the matter to the bottom. Follow the example of WEST and LITTLETON, on a former page, and let no man lead you by the nose to destruction, or sneer you out of falvation. Examine the evidence, and, with all fimplicity and humility of mind, judge according to that evidence. And if you are finally convinced, that Jesus is the Christ, act nobly, confefs his name, like ROCHESTER t, to the
# The reader will find a very clear and concise account of the true foundation of all human knowledge in the Letters of the celebrated EULER, the greatest mathematician of the present age, to a German Princefs, vol. i. Let. 115. p. 511. This extraordinary man, second to none but the immortal Newton, was a serious and conscientious Christian, and avowed his belief in Christ upon
occasions. And while his great Master declared that he found « more fure marks “ of authenticity in the Bible, than in any profane history whatever;" he writes to the above Princess, that “ the holy life of the Apostles and
of the other primitive Christians appeared to him an irresistible proof « of the truth of the Christian religion." Letter 114. For the above declaration of Sir ISAAC NEWTON, see Bishop WATSON's admirable Apology for Christianity in answer to Mr. GIBBON, Let. 3. p. 287.
+ We have another very respectable and honourable instance of this nature to present to the reader, which has just taken place, and which others of our deiftical gentlemen would find their advantnge in imitating Dr. OKELY, ton, I believe, of the late eminent Greek scholar, Mr. FRANCIS OKELY, who is now physician to the Northampton Infirmary, fome months ago, published an octavo volume, entitled, " Pyrology, or the Connection beiween Natural and Moral Philosopby, with a Disquisition on the Origin of Christianity; ” in which it was completely exploded, together with the doctrine of a future 'state. It has pleased God however, to fhew Dr. Okely the vanity of his philosophy, and he has done himself the honour to publish the following manly renunciation of his
“ The Author of PYROLOGY feels himself irresistibly impelled to make known, that he is now thoroughly convinced of the moral government of God, the immortality of the human soul, or future state, and of the truth of Chrstianity in its fullest extent. For his involuntary cnnfidently hopes to be pardoned by Almighty God, through the merito
teeth of his opposers, and strive like him, to undo all the mischief you may have been the occasion of to others.
" But, if we should be so seriously religious, as you “ seem to think necessary, we shall lose all the comforts « of life, and become dull and melancholy.”
If this were true, one hour's enjoyment of the glory of heaven would more than make amends for all your present loss. It is not; however, true. The ways of godliness are grievously belied. For there is no happiness like the happiness of religion, even in the present world; and no peace like that of God, which passeth all understanding.
" The Men of Grace have found
Glory begun below; of Jesus CHRIST; but at the same time thinks it his duty, in this public manner, to folicit the pardon of his readers for having, as much as in him lay, though he truits ineffectually, contributed to lead them aftray.”
Missionary Magazine. We may observe upon this subject, that there are other conversions in the present day from Deism to Christianity, besides this of Dr. Okely, and those we have already mentioned in these papers. Dr. VANDERA KEMP, a Dutch physician, was convinced and recovered from Infidelity by an alarming providence, and has devoted himself as a Misjonary for the conversion of the Heathen. Captain Wilson also is another remarkable instance, who, in gratitude to God for his goodness to him, undertook to convey the M.fionaries to the Southern Ocean, and has accomplished the undertaking with great and surprising success, without putting the Society to the smallest expence,
We are told in the Walpaliana, that Gray, the poet, was a Deift, though a violent enemy of Atheists; and it does not appear that ever he was changed.
Month. Mag: for Oct. 1798. Henry REDHEAD YORKE, Esq. one of the gentlemen who was fena tenced to a long imprisonment for feditious practices, may be mentioned as another instance of a person, whose mind has undergone a great change during his imprisonment; and he has been open and honelt enough to
« The vices and frauds of the profeffors of Christianity," says he, “ have nothing to do with Christianity itself. To know what it is, we must look to the only proper place, THE SCRIPTURES. The Christian religion is peculiar to itself; it has nothing in common with the other systems of religion which have existed in the world. It has God for its founder, and reason for its basis. It is every where uniform, consistent, and complete.”
See this Gentleman's very valuable Letter to the Reformers for more sentiments to the same purpose.