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So it was in the several cases we have recorded in these pages. And the time is not at any great distance when we too, must bear our final testimony ; when the scene of life shall close; and our eternal state commence.
If you are hardy enough to reject the Scriptural representations of future misery, give credit, at least, to your own Bible, the writings of the most respectable of the Heathens.
ciples being the only true ones. No man's private persuasion, or con- . viction, can be a sure test of truth. For we find men fully persuaded of the truth of their sentiments under the most various, and even contradictory opinions. The most, therefore, that can be inferred from a decla. ration of this nature, is, that THOMAS Paine thought his opinions were according to truth, not that they really were so. BOIINGBROKE was an immoral man, and yet he too died a deift. Rousse A u 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, and yet he rejects every idea of a SavioUR. What then? Shall their self-righteouconvictions be the standard of truth? If THOMAS PAINE had well read and considered Sterne's Sermon on the Abuses of Conscience in Tristram Shandy, he never would have produced his being easy in the views of apparent diffolution, 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 feared as with an 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. 2. p. 401; and inserted in the Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. 5. p. 1; and in the Evan. Mag. vol. 6. p. 327.
If dying with ease, and a convičtion that our own religious principles 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 Chriftians of the most opposite sentiments depart this life, under the firmelt persuasion of the truth of their principles, and the most confident assurance that they are going to eternal reit? 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 than Thom AS PAINE, and he died
They had their Elysium and Tartarzis as we our Heaven and Hell. Nor was there ever any religious institution, which held not out promises of reward to the obedient, and threatnings of punishment to the disobedient. In
deed, every government, whether human or divine,- mult 7 naturally and neceffarily do it, or there is an end to all
order. Every law must have its fanćtion. Accordingly, we find HOMER, PLATO, VIRGIL*, and otheis, have said every thing that is horrible concerning the future misery of loft fouls.
Our great English Dramatist, who has copied from their writings, shall speak their opinions:
" Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
avowing his Atheiflic principles. , Is this a prcof those principles are true ? Shall we conclude there is no Gon, because a poor misguided man is mad enough to die in that persuafion ? Because Bruno is such a foal to burn at a Blake in defence of the fame At keific principles, shall the whole deistic scheme be thereby fubverted, and Atheism confidered as the only true doctrine? If this is conclusive reasoning, what becomes of Mr Paint's boafted principles?
How different are mens convictions under the amicting hand of God? THOMAS PAINE continues hardened, and resolves to die in his Infidelity. Casper BARTHOD.IN, the celebrated Danish Physician, when aftliction was heavy upon him, made a vow and promise to Heaven, if he was reflored to health, that he would give up his medical pursuits, and apply himself wholly to his religious concerns. He was restored, and kept ihe vow he had so folemnly made unto God. THOMAS Poine is restored and rages more than ever againit the Lord and his CHRIST!
Priests, of every denomination, are objects of the highest posible con. tempt to all our deiflical 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 lee the day, “ when there would not be a priest—and that he would not believe the
Christian religion while he had his fenjes." - Though then in a good ftate of health, within a couple of hours he went deranged, and foon aiter made various efforts to destroy himself, wishing to be in hell as foon as poflible, that he might feel the worst of his cale. Three physicians attended him for some time; and the rich 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 redecming grace,
Vide Evang. Mag. for Sep. 1798. * The reader will find an account of the rewards of the righteous, and the punishments of the wicked, in HOMER's fourth and eleventh bocks of his Odyssey ; in PLATO's Phædron, or Dialogue on the Immurla'ity of the Soul; and in the sixth book of VIRGIL's Aneis.
" This sensible warm motion to become
C:n lay on nature, is a paradise
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 reprefentations. We shall be extremely unwile to fuffer 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 falvation he hath taught, with neglect or contempt. At all events, therefore, let us exarcine well the ground upon which we stand. Negligence, in such a cause, is nearly as culpable as conten:pt. And be it never forgotten, that on every fyftem, a strictly moral, and religious conduct, is the duty, the intereit, the felicity of all reasonable Beings. What an idiot must that man be, who rejects his Saviour, his Bible, and
For a very clear and satisfactory defence of the doctrine of redemption by Jesus CHRIST see the firit vol. of Bishop Porteus's Sermons, discourse the tenth, and vol. 2. discourses the fecond 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 refilt every thing that can be said by any other writer. If, however, he is desirous of i:eing the matter 'fairly argued between Christianity and Deism, let hiin have recourse to a volume of Sermons preached at the Temple Church by Binop SHERLOCK. I myself remember this book to have convinced a determined Deifi, who is now an emi. nent instrument in the hands of Providence for the converfion of others, I would, therefore, to all such use the words of AUGUSTINE-Tolle et lege; tolle et lege. T 2
all his immortal expectations, because of some chronologi cal, 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 faid, if the Bible were as full of blunders, contradictions, and absurdities, as the Koran of MAHOMET, yet might Jesus be a prophet fent from God. The reality of his mission does by no means depend upon the validity of the Scriptures*, though the Scriptures are as genuine and authentic as if all depended
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 Believe as far as you can.
Examine every principle ftep by step. And should the evidence for Infidelity fall ever so little sort 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 fide of faith and obedience. Submit, then, to his eafy and delightful yoke. His ways (make but fair trial of them) you will always find to be ways of pleasantness, and all bis parks to be paths of peacet. In our opinion, and in the opinion of all wise and good men of every age and nation :
• If we have any doubts concerning the truth of the Gospel of CHRIST, it would be but fair to examine carefully all the other religions that now are, or that ever were, in the world, and compare them impartially, not with Christianity as establihed in the several countries of Europe but—with the pure, unmixed Goffel, as taught by our Saviour, and left on record in the New Testament, and then give the preference to that which is moft excellent. If the reader is disposed to make this survey, he will find some aslistance in J. Stephens, Ejqr's. book on the Princi: ples of the Christian Religion compared with thoie of all the other Reli. gions and Systems of Philosophy, which have hitherto appeared in the world.
To the books in favour of Christianiey,"mentioned on a former page, may be added Dr. John Rogers's eight Sermons on the Necesity of Divine Revelation; Dr. CONYBEARE's Defence of Revealed Religion ; Gastrel's Certainty and Necessity of Religion in general, and his Certainty of the Christian Revelation.
+ For a view of the pleasures and cheerfulness of the religion of Jesus, see Bishop PORTsus's Sermons, vol. 2. p. I.
'Tis Religion that must give
The Rev. Mr. CAREY, late of Leicester, and row a Missionary among the Hindoos, says, Europe contains
Sub-divisions among Christians may be thus :
90,000,000 Total 170,000,000