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Read these things in the prophetic Scriptures *; compare them coolly with the present state of Europe, and then, I say again, deny the truth of Divine Revelation, if you can. Open your eyes, and behold these things accomplishing in the face of the whole world. This thing is not done in a corner.
It would be well, MY COUNTRYMEN, if ye would seriously consider still further, that the opposers of the Gospel are no other than tools and instruments in the hands of that REDEEMErt, whom ye so cordially despise, and rashly reject. He sitteth in heaven at the right hand of power, and laugheth at all your puny and malicious efforts to impede the interests of his kingdom +. He permits his word, however, to be tried like as silver is tried. But the more it is opposed, the more completely will it be refined. The more it is scru
* There is an astonishing chain of prophecy in the Sacred Writings; and the argument from thence is invincible. Sir ISAAC NEWTON, Bishop NEWTON, and several other writers, have treated upon them with effect. The prophetic scheme may be ridiculed, but it can never be answered. Consult SIMPSON's Key to the prophecies, for a concise view of this indissoluble chain.- Bishops HURD, HALLIFAX, CLAYTON, and others, have written with ability upon these abstruse parts of Sacred Writ. Dr. APTHORP, Mr. MACLAURIN, and Brown, have thrown pretty much light upon them. But of all who have treated upon the book of REVELATION, none seems to me to have excelled LOWMAN.
+ See this matter discussed at large in Dr. GERARD's Dissertation, entitled Christianity Confirmed by the Opposition of Infidels.
I Would the reader be at the pains to compare the second and hundred and tenth psalms with the history of those persons who in the several ages have set themselves to oppose either the Jewish or Christian dispensations, he could not fail of receiving strong conviction of the truth of these two prophetical compositions. We may, indeed, deny any thing, and turn into ridicule every prophetical accomplishnient; as Josephus informs us the Jews did in the last dreadful ruin of his unhappy countrymen. It was familiar with them “ to make a jest of divine things, and to deride, as so many senseless tales, and juggling impostures, the sacred dracles of their prophets ;" though they were then fulfilling before their eyes, and even upon themselves.
If the reader is disposed to examine another prophecy, I will refer bim to the ninth chapter of DANIEL. The late eminent Philosopher and Mathematician FERGUSON has written a Dissertation upon it, which he concludes in these words: “ Thus we have an astrononical demonstration of the truth of this ancient prephecy, seeing that the prophetic year of the MESSIAH's being cut off, was the very same with the astronomical.” Astronomy, p. 373-377,
tipized, the more it will be approved. The severity of your criticisms will serve the cause it is intended to overthrow. Your assistance is advantageous to us, though infinitely dangerous to yourselves. Ye are co-operating, unintentionally indeed, with all the zealous servants of Christ, in carrying forward the designs of heaven, in like manner as JUDAS, with the Jews and Romuns, contributed to the fulfilment of the aucient prophecies, and the salvation of the world, in betraying the Lord of glory. The greater the learning, the more rancorous the hatred; the stronger
the opposition, the more brilliant the talents of its antagonists; the faster will the kingdom of Messiah come forward, and the more complete and honourable will be the victory*. The Gospel never triumphed more gloriously, in the first ages, than when Celsus and PORPHYRY drew their pens, DIOCLESIAN and JULIAN their swords, vowing its annihilation. Truth fears nothing more than inattention. It is too important to be treated with indifference. Opposition calls forth and sharpens the powers of the human mind in its defence. The cause of the Gospel hath ever gained by investigation. Credulity is the bane of it. Soand policy in the Deists would let it alone, and leave it to itself. It was by opposition from all the world that it was originally propagated. When that opposition ceased, and the GREAT ONES of the earth smiled upon and fostered it, a worse than Egyptian darkness of ignorance and delusion overspread Christendomt. It is by
* “ Christianity may thank its opponents for much new light, from time to time, thrown in on the sublime excellence of its nature, and the manifestation of its truth. Opponents, in some sort are more welcome than its friends, as they do it signal service without running it in debt;
and have no demand on our gratitude for the favours they confer. The stronger its adversaries, the greater its triumph: the more it is disputed, the more indisputably will it shine."-YOUNG.
+ In the middle ages, such thick clouds of barbarity and ignorance had overwhelmed all schools of literature, that the maxim then current was-Quanto eris melior grammaticus, tunto pejor theologus. ESPENCEUS, who was one of themselves, acknowledges, that amongst their best authors, Græcé nosse suspectum fuerit, Hebraice proprié hæreticum. ZUINGLIUS and COLLINÙS had like to have lost their lives for meddling with Greek and Hebrew. To give the derivation of the word Hallelujah racked the wits of whole universities. Doctors of Divinity were created, and pronounced most sufficient, who had never read the Bible. ERASMUS says, Divines of 80 years of age were all amazement at hearing any thing a revival of that opposition, and probably too, by a revival of the persecution of its most zealous advocates, even unto death, that it must be purified, retined, and restored to its primitive beauty and simplicity. Philosophical Unbelievers, as well as intolerant Christians, will proceed per fas utque nefas to carry a favourite point. Human nature is the same in all, however modified, and whatever our pretensions. The pure Gospel of CHRIST, too, never had more determined and well-furnished enemies in these latter ages, than Lewis the Fourteenth*,
quoted from St. Paul, and, that Preachers of 50 years standing, had never seen the New Testament. MUSCULUS assures us, that multitudes of them never saw the Scriptures in their lives. AMAMA tells us of the Archbishop of Mentz, that opening the Bible, he said, In truth, I do not know what this book is, but I perceive that every thing in it is against us. Cardinal Hosius's persuasion was, that it had been best for the Church, if no Gospel had been written.
The Clergy of the Church of Rome, all through Europe, in the last and present ages, though much superior to those in the middle centuries, are still in a situation truly deplorable. They have had, indeed,' some very considerable individuals, especially among the Jesuits; but, taking them as a body, there has been a most melancholy deficiency of literary attainments. The French Clergy seem to have excelled those of most other countries, which profess the Romish faith.
Bishop BURNET's Truvels will afford the reader considerable information upon the state of Popery in the close of the 17th century, and Dr. John Moore's View of Society and Manners, in Italy, will furnish us with a tolerable knowledge of its present state.
If it had not been for the Reformation, most of the riches of Christendom would at this day have been in the hands of the Clergy. The revenues of the present Archbishop of Mexico are said to be 70,000 pounds a year! The bishopric of Durham is said to be now 20,000 pounds a year. Winchester also is very considerable, and some others are the same,
* It is calculated, that the Roman Catholics, since the rise of persecution, in the seveuth or eighth century, to the present time, have butchered, in their blind and diabolical zeal for the Church, no less than fifty millions of Protestant Christians of different descriptions. Cursed be their anger for it was fierce, and their wrath, for it was cruel. A righteous Providence is now taking vengeance on them for their horrible transactions! It is about 300 years since the Spaniards discovered America and the West Indies. The GOVERNOUR of the world has a quarrel with them also for their dreadful cruelties towards the poor unofferding inhabitants. Twelve mlllions, it is calculated, they butchered on the continent, besides the many millions who fell in the Islands. Arise, O GOD, and plead the cause of these thy creatures!
BOLINGBROKE, and VOLTAIRE ; never more true and powerful friends. The sword of the first, the philosophy of the se
And is England legs guilty, with respect to her trade in human beings[*]? In ages to come, it will scarcely meet with credit, that we, who boast ourselves of being the most free nation upon earth, the most religious people in Europe, and the purest and best constituted Church in the world, should have been capable of buying and selling annually, upon an average, 60,000 souls. If there were no other cause, this is enough to bring down the severest of the Divine judg, inents! No political motives whatever can justify the diabolical traffic. And is it not strange, that when the abolition of this trade had passed the 558 members of the House of Commons, it should not be able to pass the Flouse of Lords, where are assembled 26 Shepherds and Bishops of souls? Blessings on the head of those few worthy Prelates, who pleaded the cause of humanity, and stood forth as the advocates of universal freedom!
We have long enjoyed a large share both of civil and religious liberty. We have made our boast of this privilege, sometimes very insolently insulting other nations, because they did not enjoy the same. And yet we have the impudence, the inhumanity, the cruelty, the horrible villainy, to enslave 60,000 poor helpless souls every year! England! “ Canst thou, and honour'd with
forc'd the door,
Cowper's Poems. Without being carried away with the violence of any party whatever on this great question, I think, it is clear, upon every Christian principle, and on every principle of sound policy, that the importation of fresh slaves into the islands should be absolutely prohibited; and that every proper mean should be used to meliorate the condition of those who are already imported. Much wisdom and experience would be necessary to enable any man to determine what ineans would be most proper for these purposes.
It is to be feared we have also a long and dreadful account to settle with DivinE PROVIDENCE for four rapacious conduct in the East Indies. This wonderful country has at the same time enriched and ruined every nation which hath possessed it. So the Spaniards, by a just re-action of a righteous Providence, bave been enriched and ruined, by the possession of Mexico and Peru. Every man who goes 10 tle East Indies, with mercantile views, goes to make his fortune.
cond, and the ridicule of the third, have already had very considerable effects. The French themselves at this moment, though This is frequently done, and too often in ways the most dishonourable. In the year 1769 three millions of the vatives of Bengal perished for want, through the avarice and rascality of a few Englishmen!
Hast thou, though sucki'd at fair freedom's breast,
COW PER's Poems. For numerous re-actions of Providence, consult 29th and 30th sections of SIMPSON’s Key to the Prophecies.
By way of softening our resentment against the traders in human creatures, it may be here observed, that the most polished of the ancient nations were over-run with slaves of the most oppressed kind. Every person acquainted with profane history knows well the miserable condition of the Helots in Sparta.
Even in Athens, where slaves were treated with less inhumanity, they found their condition so intolerable, that 20,000 of them deserted during one of the wars in which they were engaged.
About the year 310 before Christ the small state of Attica alone contained 400,000 slaves.
Slavery greatly abounded in the Roman empire also. Among them, slaves were frequently mutilated in their youth, and abandoned in their old age. Some whom age or infirmities had rendered unfit for labour, were conveyed to a small uninhabited island in the Tiber, where they were left to perish with famine. In short, all sorts of punishments, which the wickedness, wantonness, cruelty, or caprice of their owners could inflict, were frequently made use of. The Ro man writers are full of horrid tales to this purport.
Such has been the general practice of mankind in every age preceding the introduction of the Gospel! And it is the introduction and profession of that Gospel, which render the dealing in slaves so enormously wicked! A Christian buying and selling slaves! A man who professes, that the leading law of his life is, to do as he would be done by, spending his time, and amassing a fortune, in buying and selliog his fellow-men!
- Is there not some chosen curse, Some hidden thunder in the stores of heaven,