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ceptions--NEWTON, whose science was truth, and the founda tion of whose knowledge of it was philosophy: Not those vişionary and arrogant presumptions, which too often usurp its name, but philosophy resting upon the basis of mathematics, which, like figures, cannot lie-Newron, who carried the line and rule to the utmost barriers of creation, and explored the principles by which, no doubt, all created matter is held together and exists."
• But this extraordinary man, in the mighty reach of his mind, overlooked, perhaps, the errors, which a minuter investigation of the created things on this earth might have taught him, of the essence of his CREATOR.'
“ What shall then be said of the great Mr. Boyle, who looked into the organic structure of all matter, even to the brute inanimate substances, which the foot treads jon? Such a man may be supposed to have been equally qualified with Mr. PAINE to look up through Nature to Nature's God. Yet the result of all his contemplation was the most confirmed and devout belief in all which the other holds in contempt, as despicable and drivelling superstition."
' But this error might, perhaps, arise from a want of duc attention to the foundations of human judgement, and the structure of that understanding which God has given us for the investigation of truth.'
“ Let that question be answered by Mr. Locke, who was, to the highest pitch of devotion and adoration, a Christian : Mr. Locke, whose office was to detect the errors of thinking, by going up to the fountains of thought, and to direct into the proper track of reasoning, the devious mind of man, by shewing him its whole process, from the first perceptions of sense to the last conclusions of ratiocination, putting a rein besides upon false opinion, by practical rules for the conduct of human judgement."
But these men were only deep thinkers, and lived in their closets, unaccustomed to the traffic of the world, and to the laws which practically regulate mankind.'
“ GENTLEMEN! in the place where we now sit to administer the justice of this great country, above a century ago, the never: to-be-forgotten Sir MATTHEW HALE presided; whose faith in
Christianity is an exalted commentary upon its truth and reason, and whose life was a glorious example of its fruits in man, administering human justice with a wisdom and purity drawn from the pure fountain of the Christian dispensation, which has been, and will be, in all ages, a subject of the highest reverence and admiration.”
But it is said by the Author, that the Christian Fable is but the tale of the more ancient superstitions of the world, and may be casily detected by a proper understanding of the mythologies of the Heathens.'
“ Did Milton understand those mythologies ? Was he less versed than Mr. Paine in the superstitions of the world ? No; they were the subject of his immortal song; and though shut out from all recurrence to them, he poured them forth from the stores of a memory rich with all that man ever knew, and laid them in their order as the illustration of that real and exalted faith, the unquestionable source of that fervid genius, which cast a sort of shade upon all the other works of man:
“ He pass’d the bounds of flamic.g space,
“ He closed his eyes in endless night.” But it was the light of the body only that was extinguished; the celestial light shone inward, and enabled him to justify the ways of God to man. The result of his thinking was nevertheless not the same as the Author's. The mysterious incarnation of our BLESSED SAVIOUR, (which this work blasphemes in words so wholly unfit for the mouth of a Christian, or for the ear of a Court of Justice, that I dare not, and will not, give them utterance,) MILTON made the grand conclusion of the Paradise Lost, the rest from his finished labours, and the ultimate hope, expectation, and glory of the world :
A A Virgin is his Mother, but his Siré, “ The power of the Most High; he shall ascend " The Throne hereditary, and bound his reign " With Earth’s wide bounds, his glory with the Ileav'ns."
* “ Piety has found “ Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer
« It was not,
Mr. E. next entered most forcibly and deeply into the Evidences of Christianity, particularly those that were founded on that stupendous scheme of prophecy, which forined one of the most unanswerable arguments for the truth of the Christian Relig an.
“ he said, “ the purpose of God to de.. stroy free agency by overpowering the human mind with the irresistible light and conviction of revelation, but to leave men to collect its truths, as they were gradually illustrated in the accomplishment of the divine promises of the Gospel. Bred as he was to the consideration of evidence, he declared he considered the prophecy concerning the destruction of the Jewish nation, if there was nothing else to support Christianity, absolutely irresistible. The division of the Jews into tribes, to preserve the genealogy of CHRIST; the distinction of the tribe of Judah, from which he was to come; the loss of that distinction when that end was accomplished; the predicted departure of the sceptre from Israel; the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, which imperial munificence in vain attempted to rebuild to disgrace the prophecy; the dispersion of this nation over the face of the whole earth; the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world; the persecutions of its true ministers, and the foretold superstitions which for ages had defiled its worship.” These were topics upon which Mr. ERSKINE expatiated with great eloquence, and produced most powerful effect on every part of the audience *.
Lord Kenyon then, in addressing the Jury, among other important things, said, “I sincerely wish that the author of the work in question may become a partaker of that faith in re. vealed religion, which he has so grossly defamed, and may be enabled to make his peace with God for that disorder which he has endeavoured to the utmost of his power to introduce into society. We have heard to-day, that the light of nature, and the contemplation of the works of creation, are sufficient, without any other revelation of the divine will. SOCRATES, PLATO, XENOPHON, TULLY---each of them in their turns professed they wanted other lights ; and knowing and confessing that God was good, they took it for granted the time would come when he would impart a farther revelation of his will to mankind. Though they walked as it were through a cloud darkly, they hoped their posterity would almost see God face to face. This condition of mankind has met with reprehension to-day. But I shall not pursue this argument; fully impressed with the great truths of Religion, which, thank God, I was taught in my early years to believe, and of which the hour of reflection and inquiry, instead of producing any doubt, has fully confirmed me in.”
" Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews.
Cowper's Task, b. 3. Though I greatly admire the defence of Mr. Erskine in this oration, I am not clear the prosecution can be justified upon the genuine principles of Christian liberty: 8
He that feels not conviction enough from these reasonings and authorities to make him pause, at least, in his deistical courses, is out of the reach of all ordinary means of conviction, and must be dealt with in some more fearful manner. God his conscience may be alarmed as with thunder-that the arrows of the ALMIGHTY may stick fast within him-that his soul may feel the terrors of hell following hard after him—that, like the unhappy person just mentioned, he may be made a monument of divine justice in the sight of all men—and that, like the celebrated RocHESTER, he may be finally snatched as a brand from the burning by the power of sovereign grace ! May that blood, which speaketh better things than the blood of ABEL, and an
which he now profanely and insolently tramples, be applied to his soul by the energy of the eternal SPIRIT! And may there be joy in the presence of the angels of God at his conversion, and heaven's eternal arches resound with hallelujahs at the news of a sinner saved ! READER!
The Author of this little book, which is here put into your hand, cannot help being extremely alarmed for the safety of his friends in this day of abounding Infidelity, when
he considers the declaration of CHRIST, that, Whosoever shall be' ashamed of him, and of his words, in this adulterous and sinful generation ; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when be cometh in the glory of his FATHER with the holy angels.
It is impossible to add any thing to the weight of these words. The heart that is unappalled by them is harder than the nether mill-stone, and incapable of religious melioration. · When you have perused the pamphlet two or three time's carefully over, if you think it calculated, in ever so small a degree, to impress the mind with conviction, have the goodness to lend it to your unbelieving neighbour, remembering the words of St. James: Brethren! if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death, and shall bide a multitude of sins.
If you are dissatisfied with what is here advanced in favour of Religion and the Sacred Writings, by no means give up the cause as desperate, but do yourself the justice to procure Bishop WATson's Apology for the Bible in answer to THOMAS PAINE, and his Apology for Christianity in answer to Mr. GIBBON. They are books small in size, but rich in value. They discover great liberality of mind, much strength of argument, a clear elucidation of difficulties, and vast superiority of ability on this question to the persons he undertook to answer.
The best edition of the Apology for the Bible, which is the more popular and seasonable work of the two, is four shillings; but an inferior one may be had from any of the booksellers at the reduced price of one shilling.
Considering the sceptical spirit of the present age, and the danger young and inexperienced people are in of being seduced into the paths of irreligion, this, or some other antidote, ought to be in every man's hand, who has any
concern, either for his own felicity, or that of his friends and neighbours.
Sept. 12, 1802.