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received, is by no means to be ascribed, either to its want of due evidence, or to its being an irrational scheme; but to causes of a very different nature. If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine 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 will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.—The wicked SHALL do wickedly, and none of the wicked SHALL understand, but the wise shALL understand.—The ways of the LORD are right, and the just SHALL wall in them: but the transgressors SHALL fall therein. Say not then, MY FRIENDS, that ye would believe if ye could. Deceive not yourselves by alledging want of evidence. Tell us no longer of the absurdities and contradictions of Scripture. The evidence is ample*. The absurdities will ples, have given religion a mortal blow.” History of his Own Times,
69. These two great men are mistaken. They confound pure evangelical religion with superstition. The latter we grant, and we glory in the truth, has received a mortal blow; but the former is as unshakeable as the throne of the ETERNAL:
One of the most extraordinary Philosophers of the present age was the late DAVID RITTENHOUSE, of America. Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, who is himself an able Philosopher and a determined Christian, observes very justly, when speaking of the decease of the above RITTENHOUSE, who left our world Jan. 26, 1796, that “ it is no small triumph to the friends of Revelation to observe, in this age of Infidelity, that our Religion has been admitted, and even defended by men of the most exalted understanding, and of the strongest reasoning power. The single testimony of DAVID RITTENHOUSE in its favour outweighs the declamations of whole nations against it.”
* « Reasonable Deists cannot but become Christians, where the Gospel shines.” These several passages of the Sacred Writings ac count sufficiently well for the Infidelity of our several deistical writers. BOLINGBROKE, 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 investigation of reli
vol. 1. p.
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 lave fallen from your eyes. Deny yourselves, therefore. Cease to live in sin. Mortify your lusts and passions. Part with the pride of false 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.
.“ In his blest life
For, whatever was the cause, it is plain in fact, that human reason, unassisted, 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
gious truth. “ From several conversations,” says the learned BEATTIE, “ which it has been my chance to have with Unbelievers, I have learned that ignorance of the nature of our religion, and á disinclination to study both it and its evidence, are to be reckoned among the chief causes of Infidelity."
ALLIX's Reflections upon the books of the Holy Scripture contain a large number of valuable thoughts, and should be read in opposition to all the flimsy objections of the above Deists. Kett's Sermons at the Bampton Lecture sufficiently invalidate the sophistry of GİBBON. Mych satisfactory 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 Jew, with considerable ability. But of all single books, 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 asserts, that STILLING FLEET's Origines Sacræ is “ the best defence of revealed religion ever written."
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 as to the divine favour, in a way consistent with the perfections and government of the SUPREME BEING.
You will give these reasonings, O My COUNTRYMEN, that weight which ye suppose they deserve. If ye seriously and conscientiously think there is vothing in them worthy of your attention, by all means reject them. If any of you are convinced by what is advanced, that ye have hitherto been mistaken, in rejecting Jesus Christ and bis Gospel; or if ye see grouụd to suspect you may be wrong; let no considerations of shame induce you to deny your convictions or suspicions. Many men have been mistaken as well as you. I myself, ye perceive, have seen reason to change several opinions, which before
" Is it bigotry,” says an elegant writer now living, " to believe the sublime truths of the Gospel with full assurance of faith? --- glory in such bigotry: I would pot part with it for a thousand worlds; I congratulate the man who is possessed of it; for amidst all the vicissitudes and calamities of the present state, that man enjoys
inexhaustible fund of consolation, of which it is not in the power of fortune to deprive him."
“ There is not a book on earth so favourable to all the kind, and all the sublime affections, or so unfriendly to hatred and persécution, to tyranny, injustice, and every sort of malevolence, as the Gospel.-It breathes nothing throughout but mercy, benevolence, and peace.”
Mr. Paine reflects 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 stores 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 1st Corinthians. Let any man shew us a system of morality equal unto these passages if be can.-.The truth is, Mr. Paine knows very little of the matter.–And, nioreover, what has he to do with morality ? he that is so extremely immoral in his own conduct?-Out of thine own mouth shalt thou be judged, O thou immoral man* !
See the Lije of THOMAS PAINE written by FRANCIS OLDYS, M. A. of ihe University of Pennsylvania, and that of the same person writien by PETER PORCUPINE. From these accounts it appears, thai, let Mr. PAINE talk about pliilosophy and morality as much as he pleases, he has been, at diiierent periods of his life, a very bad and imineral man, and, so far as appears, continues the same unto this day.
• Let Mr. Paine call to mind the story of the ten pounds at Dover !
I had thought founded in truth. Every person, indeed, must naturally and necessarily at first be a stranger to the Gospel-re demption. Our efforts, therefore, should be made to 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 prepossessions, and sought for the truth with all their skill and abilities. They were convinced in their 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 that every thing is not with you as it should be? You must allow, if the Gospel-account of things be true, it is inconceiveably important. Treat it not, therefore, with contempt, neglect, indifference, but examine the matter to the botton. 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 salvation. Examine the evidence, and, with all simplicity and humility of mind, judge according to that evidence. And if ye are finally convinced, that Jesus is the Christ, act nobly, confess his name, like ROCHESTER t, to the teeth of his op
* 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 Princess, vol. 1. 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 all proper occasions. And while his great Master declared that he found
more sure 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. 28.
+ We have another very respectable and honourable instance of this nature to present to the reader, which has just taken place, and which others our deistical gentlemen would find their advantage in imitating : Dr. OKELY, son, I believe, of the late eminent Greek scholar, Mr. FRANCIS OKELY, who is show physician to the Northampton Infirmary, some months ago, published an octavo
posers, and strive like him, to undo all the mischief you may have occasioned to others.
volume, entitled, Pyrology, or the Connection between Natural and Moral Philosophy, with a Disquisition on the Origin of Christi. anity;" in which it was completely exploded, together with the doctrine of a future state. It has pleased God, however, to shew Dr. OKELY the vanity of his philosophy, and he has done vimself the honour to publish the following manly renunciation of his errors:
“ 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 Christianity in its fullest extent. For bh. involuntary error he contidently hopes to be pardoned by Almighty God, through the merits of Jesus Christ; but at the same time thinks it his duty, in this public manner, to solicit the pardon of his readers for having, as much as in him lay, though he trusts ineffectually, contributed to lead them astray."
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. VANDERKEMP, a Dutch plıysician, was couvineed and recovered from Infidelity by an alarming providence, and has devoted himself as a Missionary for the conversion of the Heathen. Captuin Wilson also is another remarkable instance, who, in gratititude to God for his goodness to him, undertook to convey the Mis. sionaries 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 Walpoliana, that Gray, the poet, was a Deist, though a violent enemy to Atheists; and it does not appear that ever he was changed.---Monta. May for Oct: 1798.
HENRY REDHEAD YORKE, Esg. one of the gentlemen who was sentenced to a long imprisonment for seditious practices, may be mentioned as another instance of a person, whose mind has undergone a great change during his imprisominent; and he has been open and honest enough to avow it.
“ The vices and frauds of the professors of Christianity," says be, “ 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 itselt; it las nothing in common with the other systems of religion which have esisted in the world. It has God for is founder, and reason for its basis. where uniform, consistev!, and complete.”
See this Gentleman's very valuable Letter to the Reformers for more sentiments to the same purpose.
It is every