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which it becomes us to reflect upon with care and to answer with candor. That there may not be some cases, where, from a defect of natural powers, or from a peculiar derangement of the intellect, the tendency is strong to this species of skepticism, I pretend not to doubt. There may be an insanity on this, as on every other subject, which argues no moral defect. But, in the great majority of instances, my conviction is irresistible, that this speculative Atheism has its origin, not in any defect of reasoning, but in the moral character, the awful degradation of him who holds it. To doubt or deny the existence of Deity, I must doubt or deny the reality of my own spiritual nature, or I must set at naught the first principles of the plainest and soundest philosophy. That man can do this is evident. There is almost no absurdity so great, — there is no vagary so extravagant, that man cannot entertain it. There have been those who have questioned at times the reality of their own existence, and it is not more strange that any should question the existence of God. But by what process can they do this? I answer, by blotting out the image of the Deity within them, by so degrading their natures that they shall cease to be reflections of the Infinite and the Eternal, by stifling the admonitions of conscience, by checking their aspirations for an infinite good, by suppressing within them all those sentiments of love, and gratitude, and reverence, which point so unerringly to the Supreme Being, by blinding the mind and hardening the heart against all that is beautiful and true and good in the universe,

- this is the process,

the terrible process, by which a man comes to doubt of the reality of his spiritual nature, and the reality of God. And what is the most lamentable consideration of all, where this process has been completed, there is no process of reasoning which can reach the case. There is no argument which can convince the mind, there is no ordinary appeal to the feelings which can melt the heart. The voices of reason, and conscience, and sentiment, and feeling, have alike been stifled. The man is literally without hope, as he is without God, in the world. Surely if any one is deserving more than another of the commiseration of the community, - if any one calls loudly for the pity of his race, it is this poor, and blind, and infatuated man. Cheerless and rayless as his path may seem, it is not for the Christian to give him up in despair, or to speak of him in the language of ridicule, or contempt. The time may come, when God in his Providence shall speak to his heart with a voice that shall raise the dead to a new conviction of his spiritual relations and immortal destiny.

“But the expression in our text, 'without God in the world,' does not apply solely to the state of mind which has been described. As we look round upon the world, and see the great mass of mankind acknowledging at stated seasons that they believe in God, and yet living as if they believed him not, - going forth to the duties of the

ous, than

day, and lying down to the slumbers of the night, without one thank-offering for his goodness, without one prayer for his protection and blessing, as we look at that indifference to God, and that negligence of duty and of truth, which are so often manifest in the words and the actions of men, we are compelled to say, there is a practical Atheism which is far more common, and no less danger

any speculation which we call by that name. The belief in God, it is to be feared, is with very many but little more than a speculation, or a tradition. They may hold it, perhaps, as an irresistible conviction, – as a truth which cannot be denied, and ought not to be doubted, but they use it not as a principle of action, and it makes no impression on their hearts, or their lives. But we are emboldened to ask, where this is the case, of what advantage is such a belief? It may argue perhaps a little more soundness of intellect, it may show that reason and conscience are not wholly obliterated, but to what good purpose, to what useful end, is the specu. lation employed? We have spoken of Atheism as implying great degradation of mind and heart. There is one advantage which even Atheism possesses over this indifferent state of mind, and that is the advantage of consistency; of consistency between the inward principle and the outward life.

“From this view of our subject the appeal lies directly to our own hearts and consciences. You say, my hearers, that you believe in God. You believe, that he has created you and keeps you in being,

that it is strictly in him you live and move. But do you, let me ask you, acknowledge this dependence, do

you

with each returning day, in your families or your closet, offer him your thanks for his goodness, and implore the continuance of his mercies? If you do not, let me assure you, you are living without him in the world,

your belief is little better than unbelief. If your own heart condemns you, remember that God is greater than your heart, and knoweth all things. Again, you believe in the presence of God. You say, that he is always with you, on your right hand and your left, and that the thoughts of your mind and the feelings of your heart are all open before him. Is your life, let me ask you, conformable to this idea ? Are there not actions performed, and words spoken, and wrong thoughts and feelings indulged in secret, which, if they were blazoned to the world, would make you blush for shame? And is it nothing to affect the character of these things, that there is an eye which watches over you, and penetrates through you, in the darkness as well as in the light, an eye which cannot look upon sin but with displeasure ?

Again, you believe in the providence of God. You admit that the world is governed by a wisdom that is higher than yours, and that all things are ordered to the best ends. But when you have discharged your duty according to the best of your knowledge and

ability, are you not often over anxious about the success of your schemes ? And when those events which are beyond your control have come to cut off your hopes, and disappoint your fond expectations, when the afflictions of life clothe you in sackcloth, do you not give way to murmuring thoughts, or speak of these events as matters of accident or chance ? In proportion as these things are so, you need not be assured that your practice is a contradiction to your belief, and that you are so far living without God in the world.

“Once more; you believe in the unspotted purity, the holiness, and the justice of God. You acknowledge that his will and his law should be the rule of your life. It is a rule which no circumstances can change, which no condition can annul. But suffer me to ask, my hearers, is it so regarded and so used ? Are there no occa

on which worldly policy and temporary expediency lead you to swerve from this great idea of what is right and true? Does the question, what is God's will, go with you to your farms, your shops, and your merchandise ; is it present in your hours of business, and your seasons of relaxation? Or do you act upon the principle that religion should not be mingled with your worldly affairs? But remember, I beseech you, that God is as just as he is holy, and that the time is coming when you and all of us will be summoned before the judgment-seat of Christ, that we may give an account of the things done in the body.

" Finally, you believe that God is the proper object of your supreme affection, reverence, and love. These sentiments are of course inconsistent with every species of blasphemy or profane conversation. The man who indulges in the irreverent use of the name and titles of the Deity, — who vents his anger in curses, and interlards his conversation with useless oaths or impious jests, can hardly be said to recognise the existence of God. But these sentiments of affection and reverence for Deity require more than a negative virtue. You are engaged, it may be, in the business of the world. You acknowledge the obligations you are under to lead a devout and humble life; but as yet you have not time to think of these things. You intend, perhaps, at some future time, in some happy moments of convenience and leisure, to cultivate more carefully this sentiment of piety ; but at present you are engrossed with the cares of business, and the anxieties of life. Rely upon it, my hearers, if this is your state of mind, you are yet without God, and your danger is, that you may continue without him to the end of your days. What! let me ask you, have you in reality no time now for piety? Believing, as you do, that God requires and deserves your best affections, is it right that you should bestow them upon these miserable elements of time? You receive to-day the proofs of God's goodness, — you are to-day dependent upon him; without VOL. XXI.-30 s. VOL. III. NO. III.

37

his assistance you could not lift a finger in your daily occupation, and without his blessing your plans would be fruitless, your efforts unavailing. I put it then to your conscience, whether it be right and fitting that you should live this day prayerless, thankless, thoughtless. Is it right and fitting that you continue without God in the world, when it is God that upholds and supplies you from hour to hour? If you look upon Atheism as unnatural and unreasonable, how can you regard otherwise this indifference to acknowledged truths, this negligence of your avowed principles?

“Such, my friends, are the questions by which we can test the practical influence of our belief in God. They show us that there may be a renunciation of Deity, - an indifference to his character, a negligence of his will, — which is in reality but little in advance of an absolute denial of his existence. Between this state of mind and the speculation called Atheism, there is a closer connexion and deeper sympathy, than we at first imagine. If it be true, as I have attempted to show, that the denial of God has its origin in the degradation of the character, then the first step in attaining to it is the habitual neglect of religious principle in the heart and the life. We are accustomed to speak of Atheism with the greatest abhorrence. Let us regard with equal abhorrence that state of thinking and feeling which is so evidently the preparatory and introductory step. We say the only remedy for Atheism is an elevation of the character, a new unfolding, a regeneration of the spiritual man.

I lay it down therefore as a truth all-important to us to remember, that the surest safeguard against it in ourselves, and the strongest argument against it in others, are to be found in the steady cultivation of the religious nature, the habitual leading of a religious life. To the believer in God, the spectacle of an Atheist is a monument and a warning. The blindness of mind, and the bard. ness of heart, which can look upon this universe and see in it no author, are the natural consequences of habitually living without God in the world. It is the good man who has the strongest assurance of God's existence and perfections ; for he has the witness in himself that cannot be controverted. The Spirit beareth witness with his spirit, that he himself is a child of God.”

The last sermon Mr. Goodwin preached was from the text, “I know not the day of my death.” It was occasioned by the death of his parishioner, the late Charles C. Emerson, Esq., whose extraordinary talents and beautiful religious character gave promise of high and extensive usefulness, which was disappointed by his early and sudden decease, before the community could have an opportunity of appreciating the loss it has sustained in him, but not before he had won himself a place in the hearts of many friends, by whom the memory of his generous, elevated, and holy character will never cease to be affectionately cherished. We subjoin the conclusion of the discourse. The admonitions and consolations it contains may with perfect appropriateness be laid to heart by all who are interested in the death of him who uttered them.

“We have been often taught, - the affecting lesson has been recently repeated to us, – it is not the old merely that should be exhorted to be ready; it is not to those who have ceased to be useful or vigorous or happy, that Providence speaks. Oh no! the voice is to the young, to the active, to those who are tenderly beloved, to those who have high hopes and bright prospects before them in life. The voice is to all. For we have seen one pass from us as a shadow, called suddenly away, in all the vigor of opening manhood, in all the brightness of earthly promise, and in the sunlight of friendship and affection. Bright hopes have indeed been withered, fond expectations have been blasted. To some this event may appear dark and mysterious. It is mysterious ; for all change is mysterious, and we are surrounded with mysteries from the cradle to the grave. We are travelling amongst shadows, and we see but a little of the purposes of Providence. But then there is a Providence; there is a purpose; and that Providence is guided by infinite wisdom and boundless love. This is our faith; let us hold to it, and not let it go. And it is delightful to think, when the child of bright promise is taken from earth, that God has some use, some higher, some purer, some more glorious use for that spirit, in other portions of his dominions. Let us not think of him then as one whose usefulness is ended; for even upon earth the usefulness of the good does not end at their dying. Let us not speak of the separation as eternal. Above all, let us be careful that we are not selfish in our sorrow. In fine, let us always remember, that he is now as a treasure that is laid up in heaven, which nothing earthly can destroy, which nothing earthly can corrupt.”

C. P.

Art. II. - Fanaticism. By the Author of “ Natural History

of Enthusiasm." New York and Boston. 1834.

The author of this work is a pbilosopber. His mind goes round in a large circle. He looks on men with a generous and sympathetic spirit. Though a theologian, a member of the Church of England, and sufficiently attached to his church, he

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