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drais tigh. We may brave it out against death. We may set at defiance all the threats of heaven. But, usually, we discover certain symptoms, even here, of what our future destiny is like to be. Fear, horror, indifference, hope, trust, faith, reliance, joy, will all more or less prevail, according as the state of our minds shall be, in those solemn moments, when death is making his approach*. So it was in the seve
* There is a very affecting narrative just published by a JOHN COOKE, of Maidenhead, in Berks, entitled Reason paying Homage to Revelation, in the Confession of a Deist at the gates of death." The gentleman in question
was a very respectable person of the ruedical profession in that town, and died at the age of thirty-three. He was a man of pleasure, as far as business would permit; but his favourite amusement was the card-table, at which he spent much time, and would frequently say to Mr. COOKE, who seems to be a dissenting minister, “I am prodigiously fond of cards." While he was visiting one of his patients, he was suddenly taken ill. His conscience was. alarmed. His deistical principles, of which he had long made his boast wbite in health, gave way. He lamented his sad condition in most affecting and pitiable accents. Among other things, lie ackuowledged with unutterable distress, his neglect of the Lord's day, and the public worshipof God. When he was well, he could say,
" he was easy without the Bible, he had no fears for his soul--he believed it would die with his body-and he was never disturbed about these. things-t be could read profane history with as much pleasure as another reads his Bible.” But, when he was ill, and apprehended himself to be on the brink of the grave, he was thrown into such unulterable agony, as to be bereft, at times, of his reason." In the most bitter terms he bewailed his past folly-nourned over his lost opportunities --declared his full purpose, if restored, of attending to the great concerns of his soul--and solemnly warned his companions not to follow his example--and cried unto God for inercy. At length, after having lain for some time in a senseless state, he breathed out his soul with a dismal groun.
If THOMAS PAINE was as easy and confident in his deistical principles under the views of approaching dissolution, as he pretends, and,
suppose, he really was, this is by no means a sure criterion of those principles being the only true ones. No man's private persuasion, or conviction, can be a sure test of truth. For we find men fully persuaded of the truth of their sentiments under the most varie Otis, and even contradictory opinions. The most; therefore, that can be inferred from a declaration of this nature, is, that THOMAS PAINE thought his opinions were according to truth, not that they really were so. BOLINGBROKE was an immoral man, and yet he too died a deist. ROUSSEAU had been a wretch, and yet he died avowing his innocency, even to the ALMIGHTY himself. THOMAS PAINE IS by no means an excellent moral character, aud vet he rejects every * idea of a SAVIOUR. What then? Shall their self-righteous convictions
ral cases we have recorded in these pages. And the time is not at any great distance when we too, must bear our final
ve the standard of truth? If THOMAS PAINE had well read and considered Sterne's Sermons on the Abuses of Conscience in Tristram Shandy, he never would have produced his being easy in the views of apparent dissolụtion, as a proof that his deistical principles are founded in truth, Conscience may be lulled to rest by a vast multitude of soporifics. And there is such a thing too as having it seared as with a hot iron!
One of the most remarkable instances of the power of conscience; I recollect to have read, is related by Mr. Fordyce, in his Dialogues on Education, vol. i. p. 401; and inserted in the Enciclopedia Britannica, vol. v. p. 1; and in the Evang. Mag. vol. vi. p. 327. : If dying with ease, and a conviction that our own religious prin.ciples are the only true ones, were a certain proof of truth, and that we are right, then would the most absurd and contradictory opinions be proved to be true. How many Christians of the most opposite sentiments depart this life, under the firmest persuasion of the truth of their principles, and the most confident assurance tlrat they are going to eternal rest? Would THOMAS PAINE allow this to be a just proof, that their opinions are founded in truth? Besides, SPINOZA, the Atheist, was both a much greater, and a much more moral man thian Thomas Paine, and he died avowing his stheistic priuciples. Is this a proof that those principles are true ? Shall we conclude there is no God, because a poor misguided man is mad enough to die in that persuasion? Because BRUNO is such a fool to burn at a stake, in defence of the same atheistic principles, shall, the whole deistic schepie be thereby subverted, and atheism considered as the only true doctrine? If this be conclusive reasoning, what becomes of Mr. PAINE's boasted principles ?
How different are men's convictions under, the asilicting hand of GOD! THOMAS PAINE continues hardeneci, and resolves to die in his Infidelity. CASPER BARTHOLIN, the celebrated Danish Physician, when affliction was heavy upon him, made a yow and promise to Heaven, if he was restored to health, that he would give up his medical pursuits, and apply,'himself wholly to his religious concerns. He was restored, and kept the vow he had so solemniy nadie unto GOD. THOMAS PAINE is restored, and rages more than ever against the LORD and his Christ!
Priests, of every denomination, are objects of the highest possible contempt to all our deistical gentlemen. One of that fraternity who has since been taught the error of his ways, in a manner very much out of the common way, was known to declare, :". He hoped to see the day, when there would not be a priest--and that he would not believe the Christian religion while he had luis sentse?.' --Thugh then ip a good state of health, within a couple of hours fre became deranged, and soon after made various efforts to destrovinaril, wiskaing to be in hell-as soon as possible, that lie iniyht for the vist vi his Three physicians aitended him for some time; sie rich
testimony; when the scene of life shall cluse; and our eternal state commence. If so,
“Nothing is worth a thought beneath,
That never, never dies! 6
A náusion in the skies." If you are hardy enough to reject the scriptural representa tions of future misery, give credit, at least, to your own Bible, the writings of the niost respectable of the Heuthen They had their Elysium aud Tariarus as we cur Heaven and Hell. Nor was there ever any religious systitution, which held not out promises of reward io the obediunt, and threa:enings of pu. nishment to the disobedient. Indeed, * every govermoient whether human or divine, must naturally and necessarily do it, or there is an end to al order. Every law must have iis sance tion. Accordingly, we find HOMER, PLATO, VIRGIL*, and others, have said every ihmg that is horrible concerning the future 'nuisery of lost sou's. Our great English Drumutist, who bus copied from their writings, shall speak their opinions:
*** Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
promises of the Gospel being held out to him, he was at length restored to a sound mind, and is now a happy witness of the power of redeewing grace.--Vide Evang. Mag. for, Sep. 1798.
* The reader will find an account of the rewards of the righteous, and the pullishments of the wicked, in HOmer's tourth aud eleventh books of his Odyssey: in PLATO's Phædon, or Dialogue on the Imimortality of the soul; and in the sixth buok of VIRGIL'S Æneid.
: If this, or any thing like this, is to be the future destiny of a certain class of our fellow-creatures, we shall gain little by rejecting the Gospel representations. We shall be extremely unwise to suffer our probationary period to pass away unimproved. If our race be indeed in a state of moral ruin; if the ALMIGHTY, hath devised means for our recovery; if, among other messengers, he hath sent a person higher than the heavens to be our REDEEMER *; we shall be strangely Wanting to ourselves, if we treat this glorious person, and the doctrines of salvation which he hath taught, with neglect or contempt. At all events, therefore, let us examine well the ground upon which we stand. Negligence in such a cause, is Ďearly as culpable as contempt. And be it never forgotten, that, on every system, a strictly moral, and religious conduct, is the duty, the interest, the felicity of all reasonable Beings. What an idivt must that man be, who rejects his Saviour, his Bible, and all his immortal expectations, because of some chronological, or genealogical, or geographical difficulties in the records of his salvation, which he cannot reconcile to the full satisfaction of his mind? I had almost said, if the Bible were as full of blunders, contradictions, and absurdities, as the Koran of MAHOMET, yet might Jesus be a propbet sent from God. The reality of his mission does by no means den pend upon the validity of the Scripturest, though the Scrips
* For a very clear and satisfactory defence of the doctrine of redemption by Jesus CHRIST, see the first vol. of Bishop Porteus'S Sermons, discourse the tenth, aud vol. ij. discourses the second and third; and that he is the real and proper Son of God, see the 14th discourse of the same volume. The reader who remains unconvinced after considering the various arguments advanced by the above learned and amiable Prelate, will probably resist every thing ibat can be said by
any other writer. If, however, he is desirous of seeing the matter fairly argued between Christianity and Deism, let him have recourse to a volume of Sermons preached at the Temple Church by Bishop SHERLOCK. I myself remember that this book convinced a determined Deist, who is now an eminent instrument in the hands of Praga vidence for the conversion of others. I would, therefore, to all such, use the words of AUGUSTINE -Tolle et lege; tolle et lege.
+ If we have any doubis concerning the truth of the Gospel of CHRIST, it would be but fair to examine carefully all the other religions that now are, or ever were, in the world, and compare them impartiaily--not with Christianity as established in the several coun. tries of Europe--but -- with the pure, womixed Gospel, as taught by our SAVIOUR, and left on record in the Aru Testament, and then give the preference to that which is most excellent. If the reader is
tures are as genuine and authentic as if all depended upon them.
Be wise, therefore, MY COUNTRYMEN, to know the time of your visitation. Make the most of your little span of life. Seek Truth with modesty and humility, with patience and perseverance, and follow wheresoever it leads the way. Take the safe side. Believe in Christ, if you can.
Believe as far as you can. Examine every principle, step by step. And should the evidence for Infidelity fall ever so little short of demonstration, if you act a reasonable part, you will believe in Jesus, because infinite danger presses on that side, and no danger whatever on the side of faith and obedience. Submit then, to his easy and delightful yoke. His ways (make but fair trial of them) you will always find to be ways of pleasantness, and all his paths to be paths of peace*. In our opinion, and in the opinion of all wise and good men of every age and nation:
“ 'Tis Religion that must give
disposed to make this survey, he will find some assistance in J. STEPWENS, Esq's. book on the Principles of the Christian Religion, com pared with ihose of all the other Religions and Systems of Philosaphy, which have litherto appeared in the world.
To the books in favour of Christianity, mentioned on a former page, may be added Dr. JOHN ROGERS's eight Sermons on the Necessity of Divine Revelation; Dr. CONYBEARE's Defence of Rerealed Religion; GASTREL's Certainty and Necessity of Religion in general, and bis Certainty of the Christian Revelation.
* For a view of the pleasures and cheerfulness of the religion of Jesus, see Bishop PORTEUS's Sermons, vol. ii. p. 1.
+ Though Infidelity is making its way rapidly among the nations, and among all orders of men, yet is the cause of the Gospel by no neans desperate. The Europeans in the Eust Indies are said to be almost universally Infidels. The state of France is too well known. The saine spirit is running through America. THOMAS PAINE has sent over among them, it is said, 14,000 copies of his deistical public cations. But though every possible effort is making to establish the reign of in delity, there are equal efforts at least, I think, making by good men of all denominations, for the propagation of evangelical truth. The conflict is severe. But it is easy to see how the contest will terminate. Let every man that is on the LORD's side come for