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THE APOSTLES RETURN TO JERUSALEM-CHAP. IX.

Julian Pe 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he Jerusalem.
riod, 4742. through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto
Vulgar Æra,
29. the apostles whom he had chosen :

negligent lives of its professed followers, or their too indolent
security in the goodness of their cause.

Let us then leave for a short time the impregnable walls of the
Christian truth, and make our incursion into the entrenched
camp of the enemy. Let us at once inquire who are these
proud boasters who have so long encouraged themselves in their
empty blasphemies against the light of Revelation ? What are
their claims to our veneration? Where are their discoveries ?
What will they substitute in the place of Christianity? Where
is to be found a complete and perfect system of truth and
morals among these prelended illuminators of the human race?
I appeal to the records of all ages for an answer, and implore
the impartial inquirer to search into the history of all nations,
in all periods from the day of the Creation, to the present
moment, and see whether human reason has been able to frame
a consistent religion for itself. If the same one only true reli-
gion which is revealed in Scripture, under the three several
forms of the Patriarcbal, Levitical, and Christian dispensations
had been withheld from the world, have we any reason whatever
to suppose, that its advantages could have been supplied to the
world by any discovery, cither of the invention, or speculation
of man.

One thing only is necessary to be premised--the Christian in this great controversy appeals to facts, experience, and history, while he shrinks from no abstract reasoning, from no metaphysical inquiry, from no supposed philosophical deductions, he asserts that his religion is established throughout upon attested and undeniable facts. He demands only of the opponents of Christianity, that the religion they would establish in its place be founded upon facts equally well attested; and upon evidences equally satisfactory and undeniable.

It is certain that evil is every where around us. It is concealed in our heart within-it is visible in our bodies without, in a countless train of infirmities, diseases, and afflictions. It is seen above us in the storms of heaven, around us in the evils of life, and beneath us in the graves of the dead.

The question whence, and why is evil permitted in this world? baffles all but the Christian. If God could prevent evil and did not, where is his benevolence? if he wished to prevent evil, and could not, where is his power ? Here the infidel is baffled, and his proud reason staid. Reason without revelation has not, and cannot solve the dark and mysterious diff. culty. Christianity alone unfolds to man the origin of evil in this world, and while it explains the cause, appoints the remedy. "An enemy hatb done this,”—and “ the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.” We are assured that an evil and malignant spirit superior to man, influenced the mind of map to an act of disobedience. This is the recorded fact, and daily experience confirms its reasonableness and probability. Evil is still continued by the same means, by which it originated. Thousands are hourly misled by one powerful or depraved mind. The sophistries of infidelity, the splendour of ambition, the gold of avarice, are demons all pointing to the forbidden fruit, to a transgression of the sacred law: and the authority of custom, the fear of ridicule, the false sbame of the cowardice that dares not differ with the multitude, are all the enemies of our virtue, and poisoners of our happiness. Man tempts man

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Jalian Pe. 8 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his pas- Jerusalem. riad, 4742. sion, by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty Valgarðra,

to sin: if wicked men, ambitious conquerors, &c. &c. can con-
tinue the dominion of evil solely from their superiority of talent
(and such has been in every age the history of crime); if their own
habits of evil were induced by the prior example of others, act.
ing upon minds liable to sin; is it irrational to believe that the
influence and mental superiority of an evil being, originated
the first crime that contaminated the human race. The causes
which continue evil may naturally be supposed to bear some
analogy to the cause which primarily produced it; and no cause
is more probable than the influence of mental superiority over
a mind capable of error, and endowed with the liberty of choice.
Hence we find, “ that they who remain in the state, in which
the fall left them, are called the children of the devil; and it is
their pleasure to propagate that sin and death which their
father introduced. “As he was a liar from the beginning, so they
are liars against God, as well as man; he was a murderer, and
they are murderers; he was a tempter, a deceiver, a subtle ser-
pent, a devouring lion; and tbeir works, like his, abound with
deceit, enmity, subtlety, avarice, and rapacity. There have
been two parties from the beginning, the sons of God, and the
seed of the serpent. Their opinions are contrary, and their
works contrary. Christianity is at the head of one party, and
infidelity at the head of the other. As time is divided into light
and darkness, so is the world between these two. The dispute
between them has subsisted throughout all ages past, it is now in
agitation, and it will never cease till the consummation, when
the Judge of men and angels shall interpose to decide il” (a).

We are called upon to believe rather than to fathom these
depths of Omnipotence; and we know, and are assured, that
the two great works of the destroyer, sin and death, shall be
finally annihilated by the Saviour of mankind, who was revealed
from the beginning as the conqueror of evil.

But wbat arc the discoveries of infidelity which could supersede this religion? What philosopher in ancient days, or what speculator in modern times, who have dared to reject the account of the origin of evil in this world given us in revelation, has been able for one moment to propose any satisfactory explanation of this great mystery; or offer any tbing either to allay its bitterness, or to remove its sting. All is wild and vain conjecture; they know only that evil exists, and they have no remedy whatever for the melancboly conviction, but a gloomy patience without hope of future good, or deliverance from present sorrow.

Shall we go on to the next great event after the birth of the world ? The testimony of revelation bas sometimes been rejected in this question also. If, however, the discoveries of our present eminent geologist, and the conclusions of scientific or curious inquirers, both at home and abroad, may be received as arguments; there is sufficient evidence to assure us that at no very remote period, an universal deluge overspread the wbole surface of the globe, the traces of which are every where distinguishable. The traditions of all nations confirm the same truth. Their records in no one in. stance proceed bigher than this event; the chronology of the Egyptians, and the Hindoos, which boasted a more ancient descent, have been long since consigned to oblivion. Let me then put this question, and ask if any invention of natural religion, that vain idol of the imagination, can discover an ade

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THE APOSTLES RETURN TO JERUSALEM_CHAP. IX.

Julian Pe- days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the king- Jerusalem.
riod, 4742. dom of God:
VulgarÆra,
29.

quate cause for this universal deluge; or does tradition relate
any thing concerning it, which does not confirm the only
rational and

consistent account which is revealed to us in Scrip.
ture (b)? There is abundant evidence to prove that the most
absurd and superstitious ceremonies, and the most inconsistent
and irrational theories of the Pagan world, were at first useful
emblems or remembrances instituted in commemoration of this
great event, though they were subsequently perverted ; and
every species of idolatry, from the Hindoo to the savage, origi-
nated in the corruption of some primæval truth, revealed to
their patriarchal ancestors (c).

On this view of the subject, every difficulty respecting the
Polytheism of antiquity is solved. All the mystery of its early
origin, and the causes of the institution of barbarous rites and
absurd notions respecting the Deity, are easily and satisfacto-
rily explained. Let him who rejects Revelation, and yet be-
lieves in the power of the unassisted reason of man to frame
for itself a consistent system of rational religion, contemplate
the history of his species, and account for the incomprehen-
sible series of mysterious absurdities he there surveys. 'Was it
not the real, genuine, undoubted majesty of human reason
which fully displayed itself when the scientific Chaldean paid
his homage to fire, as to a God-when the dignified Persian

bowed down to the host of heaven-and the deeply-learned
| Egyptian acknowledged the divinity of the reptile or the vege-
i table. If the advocate of the supremacy of human reason would

be further gratified, I would refer him to the contemplation of
the more northern nations, and bid him there behold its tri-
umpbs in the massacre of human victims, when the blood-
bedewed priest, as in the plains of Mexico, in a subse-
quent period, tore the palpitating heart from the still living
breast of the sacrifice, and spoke in his mystic augury the will
of a ferocious Deity. Human reason proposed tbe worship of
the sword of God Attila, and reveled in the banquet of those
warriors, who drank mead from the skulls of their enemies in
the halls of Valhalla. Human reason, unincumbered by revela-
tion, gradually instructed the passive population of Hindostan
to burn their widows, to murder their infants, and to torture
their own bodies. Cruelty, lust, and ignorance assumed the
place of repentance, faith, and knowledge ; and the conquest
of unassisted reason over the mind of man, was consummated in
the golden clime of India, till the white horse of Brunswick pas-
tured on its fair meadows, and the sons of Japhet forsook the
shores of England to overthrow this proud temple of the idol
God.

We will now consider human reason in its most admired form
in the schools of philosophy in Greece, of which the Pythago-
rean or Italic was the most distinguished for the reasonableness
of its doctrines, the purity of its precepts, and the excellence of
its discipline. Among the Pythagoreans was taught the exist-
ence of a Supreme Being, the Creator, and providential Pre-
server of the Universe the immortality of the soul, and future
rewards and punishments. Though these opinions were blend-
ed with many sentiments which are not warranted by Revela-
tion, there is certainly much to be admired and wondered at in
the systems of Pythagoras. Yet even here, if the advocates of the
sufliciency of human intellect should here feel inclined to tri-
umpli, they must do so upon Christian principles only; for it

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Julian Pe. 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount Jerusalem.
riod, 4742.
Vulgar Æra,
20. is demonstrable that this great philosopher kindled his faint |

taper at the ever-burning firo on the holy altar of truth. He
conversed, we have reason to believe, with those favoured
people who held in their hands the sacred records of Moses and
the prophets. For Pythagoras, it is asserted, by all the re-
maining evidence, travelled among the Jews in their dispersion,
both in Egypt and in Babylon, and also with the remnant
of them who were left in their own country at Mount Carmel.
Before he proceeded on these travels he visited Thales at
Miletus, who happened to be in Egypt at the time when Jehoa.
baz was brought there a prisoner of war by Pharaoh-Necho (d),
with many of his captive countrymen : and these were the
two men who founded the Ionic and Italic schools, from which
descended all the schools of philosophy in Greece. Their pre-
decessors had by no means such clear ideas of a Supreme God
and a superintending Providence; and the reason seems to be,
that they had no communication with the depositors of truth,
but were embarrassed with the mixed traditions of ancient
times, and the stupid idolatry of their own days. Socrates and
Plato were the two principal philosophers who next distinguished
themselves by their superiority to their countrymen. Tbese
seem to have been permitted to shew to the world to what
height of excellence the intellect of man could attain, without
the possession of the inspired volume. Both taught the exist-
ence of one God, though both practised the worship of the
numerous gods of their country. And such is the superiority
of Revelation, that a little child, of our own day, who has been
made acquainted with the common truths of Christianity, is a
wiser philosopher, and a more accurate reasoner than both of
them.

If, then, the learned, deeply-reasoning and talented Greek, was
not able, by his own powers of reasoning, to frame any consistent
code of religion by wbich to govern bimself, or to benefit man.
kind, much less shall we find that the more modern philosophers,
who have ventured to reject Christianity, are more perfect
guides, or are favoured with greater discernment. Shall we, for
instance, follow Lord Herbert of Cherbury, who assures us that
the indulgence of the passions is no greater crime than the
quenching of thirst, or yielding to sleep?-Or shall we believe,
with Mr. Hobbes, that inspiration is madness, and religion ridi-
culous, and the civil law of a country is the only criterion of
right and wrong?-Shall we agree with Blunt, the disappointed,
self-possessed suicide, that the soul is material or with Lord
Shaftesbury, that the Scriptures are an artful invention, that
the idea of salvation is absurd, and join in his untranscribable
blasphemies against the meek and blameless Jesus ?-Shall the
Jew Spinoza direct us, when he teaches us that God is the soul
of the world, and not the ruler ; but that all things proceed,
not from the will or government of an all-wise Creator, but
from a necessary emanation from the physical energy of the
material universe, the passive fountain of existence? Shall we
agree with him that there is no Creator, no providence, no
necessity for worship, nor any well grounded expectation of a
future state? --Or shall we rather become the votaries of Collins,
and believe that man is a mere machine, and the soul is mate-
rial and mortal ?-Or praiso, with Tipdal and Morgan, and
Chubb and Bolingbroke, the dignity of reason, the excellence
of natural religion, prosessing to admire Christianity, while we
deny its doctrines and ridicule its truths ? --If these Hiero.

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6

THE APOSTLES RETURN TO JERUSALEM-CHAP. IX.
Julian Pe. called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath-day's Jerusalem,
riod, 4742. journey.
Vulgarfra,
29.

phants are not received as our guides into the templeof their natu.
ral religion, shall we turn to Gibbon, to pander to our frailties,
and lead us to the shrine of vice, "a worthy priest, where satyrs
are the gods?"--Or shall we rather submit our intellects to the
wisdom of Hume, to learn from him that we cannot reason
from cause and effect, and therefore, oh sublime discovery!
the beauty of the visible creation does not prove the existence
of God? or, that experience is our only guide, and therefore
miracles are impossible, and not to be credited on any evidence
whatever? If these lights of the world are not to have the
honour of conducting us, shall we rather barter our veneration
for the Christian Scriptures, for the reveries of Drummond, who
would change the Bible into an almanac; or the still worthier
votaries of infidelity, who are alike* distinguished from their
countrymen by the double infamy of their

politics and their
religion? The good principles of England have rejected the
teaching of such men with scorn and contempt. “ The etherial
light has purged off its baser fire victorious." Not even their
names shall pollute my pages. In other lands, the follies of the
rejectors of Revelation have been known in the misery of mil-
lions. These were the men, who professing themselves wise, be-
came indeed fools. God with them was the Sensorium of the
Universe, or the intelligent principle of nature. They reject-
cd, therefore, all idea of a Providence, and a moral governor
of the world. They ascribed every effect to fate or fortune, to
necessity or chance; they denied the existence of a soul dis-
tinct from the body; they conceived man to be nothing more
than an organized lump of matter, a mere machine, an inge-
nious piece of clock-work, which, when the wheels refuse to
act, stands still, and loses all power and motion for ever. They
acknowledged nothing beyond the grave; no resurrection, no
future existence, no future retribution; they considered death
as an eternal sleep, as the total extinction of our being; and
they stigmatized all opinions different from these with the name
of superstition, bigotry, priestcraft, fanaticism, and idolatry (e).

Let us now advert, for a moment, to the effects produced by these principles on an entire people, and also on individuals (f). The only instance in which the avowed rejectors of Revelation have possessed the supreme power and government of a country, and have attempted to dispose of human happiness according to their own doctrines and wishes, is that of France during the greater part of the revolution, which it is now well known was effected by tbe abettors of infidelity. The great majority of the nation had become infidels. The name and profession of Christianity was renounced by the legislature. Death was declared, by an act of the republican government, to be an elernal sleep. Public worship was abolished. The Churches were converted into “temples of reason,” in which atheistical and licentious homilies were substituted for the proscribed service; and an absurd and ludicrous imitation of the Pagan mythology was exhibited, under the title of tbe Religion of Reason. In the principal church of every town a tutelary goddess was installed, with a ceremony equally pedantic, frivolous, and profane; and the females selected to personify this new divinity were mostly prostitutes, who received the adorations of tho attendant municipal officers, and of the multitudes, whom fear, or force, or motives of gain, had collected together on the occa. sion. Contempt for religion, or decency, became the test of

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