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trary. There have been some ty, as a fable ; it is natural to in every age, who have taken lend a favourable ear to that, unwearied pains to oppose and which he wishes to find true. discredit divine revelation ; but In proportion as arguments are at no former period has either palatable, they will appear plausitheir number, their influence, or, ble. The moral principle is their assurance of success, been weakened, the probable success so considerable, as in the press of the gospel is marred, and the ent day.
way prepared for his becoming a The late revolution in France, thorough infidel. conducted avowedly on the prin-: Temptations of this kind are ciples of universal skepticism, at this day numerous, and many if not of absolute atheism, has have listened to them with too had a tendency to render in- much partiality; and while fidelity more popular. It is not books, calculated to instil the fato be doubted, that the secret in- tal poison, circulate freely, and fluence of such demoralizing are read with avidity, what can principles has been much more we reasonably expect, but a gradextensive, than their open avow-" ual, if not a rapid increase of al. As the truly virtuous man infidelity ? For, although real loves religion, and chooses wis- Christians who love the duties, domi's ways for their pleasant- and have tasted the comforts of ness, as well as for the peace, vital religion, are in little danger, wbich they afford, he feels a dis- from such writers, as Boulanger, position candidly to examine the Thomas Paine, &c. and rather evidences of Christianity, and is turn with horror from their blaswell pleased with the thought of phemy; yets, as evil men and finding it true; on the other seducers are evidently, at this hand, as the vicious man has an day, waxing worse and worse, inward dislike to religious re- deceiving and being deceived; straints ; he is disposed to listen as it is natural for one, who has with partiality to whatever tends been deceived himself, to wish to to weaken or invalidate the testi- deceive others ; and as there are mony in its favour. It is not to always some to be found, ready be doubted, that in this way, a to swallow the pernicions bait; sense of inoral obligation is often the scheme becomes fatally sucgreatly weakened, and in some cessful. Doubtless one reason instances nearly destroyed, al- of this rapid success is, that though the pernicious maxims of infidelity usually begins, rather infidelity are not openly es- in the heart, than in the head. poused. When it is but barely The heavenly and spiritual docsuggested to a person, predispo- trines, and the holy precepts of sed to frec himself from religious the gospel, are in the first place restraints, and to stifie the pain- disrelished and disliked, because ful remonstrances of conscience, contrary to those corrupt inclinathat such and such eminent men, tions, which cannot brook re.. men of great literary endow- straint ; and, that conscience ments, statesmen, and philoso- may give no disturbance, while phers, disbelieved revelation, and violating the precepts of religion, esteemed and treated Christiani- its evidences are called in ques.
ţion, disputed, and denied. But certain prospect of poverty, disthe proofs of our holy religion grace, and dishonour, and even have hitherto always brightened of death itself in the most cruel by opposition. In the most vir- forms; and, if they believed an ulent attacks, which have been hereafter, in expectation of fumade upon Christianity from ture misery ; is a supposition so time to time, it ha's in the issue extravagant, that to admit it constantly appeared, like gold would require a degree of faith, tried in the furnace. This will or rather of blind credulity, inbe the result of the late and pres. finitely stonger, than is requisite ent attacks. The religion of for the belief of any of the supJesus carries its own evidences. posed mysterious, or improbable Had man been the framer of the doctrines of Christianity. . system, the complexion of it Of late the opposition to Chris. would have been totally different. tianity has been conducted by apIt has hitherto prevailed in spite peals to the passions, rather than of the fiercest opposition, and it to the reason of mankind. One will prevail, until the stone; cut popular topic, much insisted on by out of the mountain witliout the enemies of revelation, in ora hands, shall become great, and der to invalidate its evidences, fill the whole earth. . . has been to charge Christianity,
The evidences of Christianity as being the cause of all the need not now be particularly wars, by which the world has considered. I will only remark, been ravaged. This topic has that if the Christian religion be been abundantly urged by almost a forgery, it must be one, which every infidel writer from Volhas been effected by the worst of taire down to the meanest scriba men, for the worst of purposes ; bler in the cause of impiety. under the influence of some very Could we give full credit to their powerful, though corrupt mo- assertions, we must believe that, tives. But to suppose that the if Christianity, and with it all most benevolent system ever pretences to revealed religion, devised and published to the were discarded, as useless and world, a system every way cal- pernicious, and reason set up, as culated to promote civil, social, the only universal guide in all and individual happiness in this matters of religion and morality, world, as well as to open the all mankind would quickly be prospect of a glorious immortali- united, as a band of brothers, and ty hereafter, owed its origin to a reign of peace, benevolence and i combination of the worst of harmony would soon universally men for the worst of purposes, prevail throughout the world. and acting under the influence How fluently have the French of the basest of motives ; not on. pbilosophers, from time to time,' ly without any of those incited declaimed on this topic ? The ments, derived from the prosdeluded nation, listening to the pect of riches and honour, which syren 'song, has proceeded to have frequently great influence make the fatal experiment ; on the human mind and conduct, Christianity has been formally but in direct opposition to every and publicly renounced. The such inducement, and with a Bible has been, in some places, Vol. II. No
burnt with every circumstance of than formerly, and in modern malicious contempt, and Reason times with less in those countries, has been set up, as the only called Christian, thạn where the guide, and even appealed to, as a benevolent principles of that relispecies of divinity. But what gion are unknown. Notwithhave been the consequences standing all the fair pretences Have the promised halcyon days, and promises of modern philosoof peace returned ? Have we not phers to the contrary, we find, rather witnessed the entire dis- that instead of that peace and solution of every moral principle, harmony which had been so the most unbounded licentious. liberally promised, the renouncness, the most open avowal of ing of Christianity is attended bribery and corruption, and such with the revival of the ancient a series of inhuman murders, or asperity of war in all its rather of promiscuous butcher- horrors. ies, as have had no para el But right or wrong, Christianifrom the days of Nero, to the ty must be overthrown; and so present time ; accompanied too self consistent are its opposers, with a lawless thirst of domin- who have raised the hue and cry ion, which has not been equalled against it, on account of its being in any civilized nation ?
the cause of cruelty, war, and Many wars have been in the bloodshed, that in the next breath, world, it is true, ostensibly on they accuse it of making its account of religion, but really for votaries mean spirited slaves, and the want of it. But, in order to cowards. substantiate the charge against It is apparent, that in these Christianity, as being the princi- observations infidelity is not pal cause of wars throughout the considered as barely a speculaworld, it ought to be proved, that tive error of great magnitude, before its introduction mankind but as a moral evil, arguing a were troubled with no wars, and depraved heart. This will be that those nations, which are more or less criminal, according ignorant of revelation, constantly to the degrees of light, and the enjoy the blessings of peace. Several advantages, which people To this kind of evidence the enjoy. In our country, particu: enemies of revelation will not larly in New England, there is appeal. The most stubborn something to aggravate the guilt facts stare them in the face. of rejecting Christianity, beyond The gospel breathes nothing, what occurs in France. The but peace and love ; and, where. French nation have long seen ever the spirit of it prevails, it their national worship debased will prove a check to the asperi. by superstition, and the simplity of war. Notwithstanding the city of the gospel veiled by hu. comparatively slender influence, man invention. Many of their which religion has had on the more enlightened characters have minds of mankind in general, confounded these additions it is an undoubted fact, that since which were the effect of super the introduction of Christianity stition, with religion itself; and, into the world, wars have been while they saw the absurdity of the carried on with less barbarity one, rejected both together with
out any examination ; and upon Mr. Tennent proceeded to trithese superstitious additions al, against all human probability built the principal part of their of a right issue, on the ground arguments against Christianity of these considerations,“ I know itself. But in our country, my innocence; and that God, Where we have free access to whose I am and whom I serve, the lively oracles, and the gos will never suffer me to fall by pel is exhibited in a clear and these snares of the devil, or by convincing. light, 'undebased by the wicked machinations of his superstition, the guilt of reject- agents or servants."* ;, ! ing it will be more aggravated. Now my inquiry is, how he 6 You only have I known of all could be confident of this. From the families of the earth,” saith Scripture and the perfections of God to Israel, “therefore will I God, the Christian has sure punish you for all your iniqui- ground for believing, that God Fies,"> mg 4 di ji T." will do all things well, that he . ..)
. ..] will restrain human w.rath, when, . . . . . . .alo ever it is most fit that he should .... For the Panoplist. restrain it, and that he will in.
. . :. El terpose for the deliverance of MESSRS. EDITOR$g!
vi his persecuted children, on all · I have read with considerable
occasions, on which infinite wis: interest, the life of Rev. William
dom and goodness dictate such
dom Tennent. Among many uncom- interposition. He may there. mon incidents recorded in this fore with confidence commit his account, one presents itself,
ways to the Lord, in a prudent which is thought to deserve pars use of his own reason and of all ticular inquiry.
. lawful means for his security. • When Mr. Tennent had the But it could not, without imme. affliction to be indicted for perju; diate revelation, be certainly ry, and the time of his trial known, that the contemplated came, he is represented as having trial was an occasion, . on which a very extraordinary confidence, the perfections of God would rethat he should be acquitted ; quire him to interpose. God's which confidence induced him ways are unsearchable: he does. to proceed to trial, when he in his infinite wisdom, some knew of very strong evidence times permit the wicked to to be produced against him, little prosper against the just, The or nonę ip his favour, and in di- God, whom Ste! rect opposition to the united « suffered him to fall by opinions and warm remon; snares, of the devil, or by the strances of his counsel.
wicked machinations of his .. The weight of Mr. Tengent's
agents or servants ;" and Stepiety and talents ought never to
phen's Master, though he did al. be thrown into the scale of er.
ways the things, which pleased rør. I do not affirm, that thiş his heavenly Father, was by conduct of his, was erroneous ; wicked hands crucified and slain but, with a sincere desire to be
. ..... informed, would humbly submit
* Panoplist, July, 1806, page 61, the following ipquiries.
31. 019 36 71intr. Cogn bú i noiC/ETTYY V The indictment on which Jesús tion is sometimes attended with Christ was tried, was for blasphe- good consequences ; a prudent acp
was no less a charge, nor better with bad. 11. mi tudi .. supported; than was the alleged The preceding remarks are perjury of Mr. Tennent. With- made with much deference, to out recurring to these illustrious the venerable personage to whose instances, Mr. Anderson might life they relate,!!, Laine be mentioned, who was actually to The same inquiries, which put in the pillory, on the same have been made concerping Mr. indictment. g ! Tennent's confidencey will apply
Mr. Tennent's faith, if good, to the confidence of some permust have been supported a sons concerning their temporal some ground; but what ground circumstances... Some persons, there could have beer, it is not when engaging in a particular easy to see. Scripture ground, pursuit, have a strong confidence it is conceived, there could be of success, though they acknowlnone. - Scripture assures us that edge that all appearances are a. God will do well, and that all gainst them. “I have an unthings shall work for good to them shaken faith," says such a person, that love God; but it no where that God will never süfter me tells us that they shall not be to be reduced to extreme pover. pilloried, stoned, sawnasunder, ty" Pray what supports such a or crucified. Howeves viet ji i faith as this? We are bound to
- But eit will be said, that the believe God's word and test up event proved the faith of Mr: on it. But where has God tora Tennent to be well grounded! us, that no good person istiall be I answer, the event proved no come extremely poor? Was not such thing. The providence of Job poor ? Was not Lazarus reGod was indeed very visible in duted to wretchedness and begin the issue ; but this proved noth; gary? Was not. Jesus Christ ing, as to the propriety of going himself in such circumstances to trial, under the circumstances that he had not Where to lay his which we have noticed. I may head? How can I assure my. be persuaded that a large quanti: self of future compétency,for å ty of wine will recover my friend freedom from extreme want,
from a fever ;' and may admin when some; the latchets of whose · ister wine contrary to all .pru- shoes, I am unworthy to stoop
dence, and the best medical addown and 'unloose, have actually vice. My friend may recover ; experienced such want durer13!, but will this prove the pru. True confidence in God, tit" is dence of my conduct? Anoth, conceived, does not lead men to er person has a fever ; 'and, in- believe, that he will do this part fluenced by the same confidence, ticular thing for them, but only, which no remonstrances will in general, that he winido right. shake or diminish, I give him The language of a ratiénal Chris. wine. The patient dies ! Now tian' is not, I have faith to be my faith was just as good in one fieve that God will always precase as in the other. A'rash ac- serve me from worldly embar
..See Panoplist, for July, p. 60. rassments ;" it is this, " I know