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and will have.' Cardinal de Brienne, archbishop of Toulouse, was a friend of D'Alembert, and became an open apostate from religion. He was followed by the bishops of Autun, Viviers, Orleans, Lydda, Babylon, &c. In the infidel association of the "Illuminati" were many priests, and even a high dignitary of the German Church. The names of the Abbés Raynal, De Prades, Condillac, De Leire, Morrelet, Terray, Marsy, &c., are unhappily but too well known as connected with infidelity. Numbers of Jacobin and infidel priests were also found in Italy, Spain, and other parts of the Continent. The majority, however, of the Roman clergy throughout Europe retained their faith, and, under the most grievous afflictions and persecutions for the name of Christ, evinced an increased measure of zeal and piety.
Voltaire was received with a sort of popular triumph at Paris in 1778; but very shortly after, this enemy of God and man expired in the most dreadful torments of agony and remorse. His associates did not long survive him; but the seed which they had sown was soon to produce its bitter fruit.
All religious and all moral principle being now extinguished, and every passion of man's nature being left without control, human society perished amidst the horrors of the FRENCH REVOLUTION of 1789. Amidst rebellion, anarchy, plunder, desolation, famine, massacre, and every imaginable evil, the reign of infidelity commenced. The worship and ministry of Christianity were proscribed, and God was no longer acknowledged. Then was beheld the woful spectacle of bishops and priests hastening to the infidel assembly of France, casting from them the ensigns of their ministry, and proclaiming themselves no longer believers in God. The Roman Church, scourged for her sins, and
especially for that spirit of pride which resists all efforts for the removal of superstitions, beheld her pope despoiled of his territories, and the captive of Buonaparte; her revenues plundered in France and Italy; her monasteries suppressed; her bishops driven from their sees into exile, or dying beneath the guillotine; her clergy perishing by the hand of the executioner, or by more wholesale massacre. She beheld faith vanishing away, and a generation of men arising without religion.
Although the return of peace and order has been favourable to the restoration of Christianity, and though additional fervour may have been added to faith so sorely tried and afflicted, yet it is certain that the effects of the infidel conspiracy of last century have been deep and lasting. It is true, indeed, that Christianity has for many years past been less directly assailed; that infidelity may have been less industriously propagated; but still an infidel and perverse generation lives without God in the world; and in France, more especially, the prevalence of this deadly evil is so great, that an eloquent ecclesiastic of that nation (La Mennais) some years since declared, that "the state to which we are approaching is one of the signs by which will be recognised that last war announced by Jesus Christ: nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth ?'" "What," said he, "do you perceive every where but a profound indifference as to duties and creeds, with an unbridled love of pleasure and of gold, by means of which any thing can be obtained? All is bought, for all is sold; conscience, honour, religion, opinions, dignities, power, consideration, even respect: a vast shipwreck of all truths and all virtues." Indifference, total indifference to religion; the uttermost neglect and contempt of Christianity, as a thing unworthy of examination,
are the characteristics of modern infidelity in France.
In Germany the spirit of unbelief assumes the name of Rationalism, and pretends to respect the character of Christ; while, under the guise of Christianity, it boldly subjects the revelation of God to the judgment and criticisms of man's reason, rejects all that is incomprehensible by our limited faculties, deprives the Gospel of all its peculiar and divinely revealed doctrines, tramples in contempt on the universal belief of all Christians from the beginning, arraigns the Scriptures themselves of falsehood and folly; and leaves the mind at last without one particle of Christian faith or hope. This destructive system arose among the Protestants of Germany after the middle of the last century. It has unhappily become almost universally prevalent amongst them.
Though England has, through the infinite mercy of God, been comparatively unvisited by the scourges which have so terribly afflicted the nations of the Continent, and though open infidelity has been always met, confronted, and subdued by the energy of religious zeal, it cannot but inspire alarm to behold the wide dissemination of principles which tend, by a very short descent, to the overthrow of all faith. Such appears to be the character of that most erroneous notion, that sincerity is the only test of religion; so that he who persuades himself that he is right in his faith, believes all that is necessary for his salvation; for if this be true, it cannot be necessary to believe any particular doctrine of Christianity; it cannot be necessary to prefer Christ to Mahomet; and belief in Christ cannot be (as the Gospel says it is) the condition on which men shall be saved. How true is it that the Evil one clothes
himself as an angel of light! In the last century
infidelity appeared under the specious garb of philosophy and freedom of thought: it is now insinuating itself under the disguise of charity, kindness, and liberality. All modes of faith are treated with impartial favour, all are regarded as equally true; and the hour may be at hand, when the necessary conclusion will be drawn, that they are all equally false. There is much in the spirit of the age to threaten such lamentable results;-a spirit of insatiable inquiry, not always accompanied by modesty or patience; a thirst for novelty; a superficial information; the adoration of intellect and of knowledge; and the exclusive devotion of men to sciences which relate to merely material objects. All combine to shew the danger to which belief is exposed; and to warn the Church of God that renewed watchfulness, and humility, and zeal, are more than ever imperatively called for.
E have now briefly traced the progress of the Church of Christ through eighteen centuries of its varied existence. In the midst of temptations and dangers, the ark of eternal truth has still been preserved by an Almighty hand. That "city set on an hill," that "ensign" which was once 66 set up to the Gentiles," has never been concealed. The Church has always continued to preach "Christ crucified" as the Saviour of the world, and to urge the necessity of believing and obeying his words; and amidst the existing diversities of religious doctrine, it will be found, that all the Churches which ve not
arisen from schism or voluntary separation from the universal Church, agree to a very great extent in their belief. In proof of this, it may be observed, that the three creeds, called the Apostles', the Nicene, and the Athanasian, are accepted and approved equally by the Greek or Oriental, the British, and the Roman Churches, as well as by the relics of the foreign reformation. The same doctrines which were universally received in the second century are still so in the nineteenth. All Churches believe, and with one mouth confess, one God, who created the world by his only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who being co-eternal with the Father, and of equal glory, and power, and majesty, came down from heaven and became man for our salvation, and in his human nature suffered death on the cross, and ascended into heaven, making an eternal and all-sufficient atonement and intercession for us. All believe that the condition of man by nature is such, that he is unable without the aid of Divine grace to turn to God and become pleasing and acceptable to him; that to sinful man Divine grace is given by the free and unmerited mercy of God; and that he is enabled by the sanctifying influences of the eternal Spirit of God, the third person in the most blessed Trinity, to triumph over the sins and infirmities of his nature, and to become sanctified by faith and the love of God, bringing forth the fruits of obedience. All believe that we shall give an account of our works at the last judgment, when the righteous shall be rewarded with life eternal, and the wicked consigned to everlasting fire. The holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are universally acknowledged to be the word of God, given by inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The sacraments instituted by Christ are celebrated amongst all nations; and the same Christian ministry has