« AnteriorContinuar »
two discourses on the “ Dangers of Infidel Philosophy.” It will therefore be unnecessary for me, as well as impossible, to repeat them here.
Were I warranted, in an interview with a person of this character, to exercise the frankness, as well as the candour, which a case so solemn would evidently demand; I would address him in some such manner, as the following. “Who art thou, that thús exaltest thyself against thy Maker? A worm, born yesterday of the dust, to return to the same dust to-morrow! and yet declaring thyself able to scan the Universe, to comprehend the thoughts of Omniscience, and to measure the arm of the Almighty !"
- Rend the veil, which has so long covered thine eyes; and open them upon
the world around thee. What dost thou behold? An Universe of wonders. Whence were they derived ? From fate," thou wilt answer; " or from chance; or from the attributes and operations of matter, proceeding in an eternal series." Dost thou not perceive, that in this assignment of so many, and so varjous, causes for the origination of all things, thou declarest thy absolute ignorance of any cause ?
If the true cause were known to thee, thou wouldest certainly point it out; and not creep, for a retreat, into these alternatives. If fate is the cause, then chance is not: if chance, then the cause is not found in the attributes and operations of matter."
6. What is fate? A word. What is its meaning ? Nothing. Search thy own mind, and thou wilt perceive, that this abstract term has there had, hitherto, no signification. Annex meaning to it; and it becomes, of course, God."
Survey yonder tree. Dost thou not perceive, that it is a wonderful system of contrivances; of innumerable parts, formed into a complete whole? Are the roots casually formed? Is the stem casually annexed to them? and successively, the branches, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds? If these things do not manifest contrivance; has the word any meaning ?
“ Examine thy own body. Are the bones, sinews, nerves, the vascular system, the limbs, the trunk, the head, and the features of the face, the offspring of casualty? Did chance arrange them, with such symmetry, into a frame so mysterious ? and commence its more mysterious, and more wonderful operations.???
“ Look at thy mind. Is chance the parent of thought? of science? of wisdom? of moral action ? of virtue ?"
“ Didst thou ever see, didst thou ever hear of, a. casualty ? Thou wilt be compelled to reply in the negative. Where. then, and why, and when, did this supposed torrent of casualties begin, and cease, to flow ?!!
“ If the inherent attributes of matter are the causes of its operations, those operations must have existed in an eternal series. But dost thou not perceive intuitively, that an eternal series is a self-contradiction??? “ Of what is the Universe composed ? Of Atoms.
What binds them together, so as to constitute worlds and systems ? Thou wilt say, Attraction. What is attraction? To this question thou canst give no answer. Dost thou not perceive, that this word denotes an effect; and not a cause ? a fact; and not the power, by which it is produced? Of this power thou knowest nothing: and yet it is boundless, unwearied. and eternal."
“ Remove, then, this mental rubbish of lofidelity; and acknowledge, what thou canst not deny, that there is a God. His hand lighted up the sun ; rolled the planets around him; kindled the stars; and marked out the mysterious course of the moon. The same hand sprinkled this world with verdure, beauty, and magnificence ; formed man upon it; gave him the breath of life; and caused him to become a living soul. He, also, has, from the beginning, given rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons ; and filled the hearts of mankind with food and gladness. In all this he has not left himself, to any sober, discerning eye, without ample witress of his existence, presence, agency, and character."
“Of this same great and glorious Being thou art the workmanship; indebted to Him for every thing, which thou hast enjoyed; and dependent on him for every thing, which thou canst hope. But against this Being thou hast sinned. By whatever law thou believest thyself governed, that law thou hast broken. To Him thou hast been ungrateful, impious, and rebellious; to thy fellowmen, unjust, unkind, and insincere; and to thyself, a continual source of moral pollution. For these sins thou canst make no atonement; and allege no excuse. Of them all he has been an cve, and an ear, witness. Thou durst not believe, that he is not
of purer eyes, than to behold iniquity. Thy own reason declares,
" Thou art a sinner. Thy own conscience has a thousand
“What then is thy hope ? Annihilation. But how dost thou know that God will annihilate thee? Stung by thy guilt, thou hast made thyself willing, or persuaded thyself that thou art willing, to see the living light of the mind go out in eternal darkness. But will He, who kindled it, suffer it to expire? Shouldst thou continue to exist after death, how terrible a state of existence will eternity prove to thee!"
" Accompany me to yonder cemetery. Whose graves do I see? In this thy father is interred: in that, sleep the remains of thy mother. They were Christians. They loved God; they trusted in the Redeemer; they practised holiness; and, from this melancholy world, they ascended to heaven. In that delightful world, amid all its glories, they wait impatiently for the arrival of thee, their beloved child, to complete their joys. But they wait in vain. Thy path is only downward. Thou hast destined thyself to the regions of annihilation. Nay, thou wouldst pluck them from the foot of the eternal throne; extinguish their immortal
life ; strip them of angelic happiness; and hurl them down to the same dark and desolate abyss. Miserable man!!!
“ Open thine eyes, if they are not finally closed in moral darkness, and see before thee the melancholy regions of woe, where the groan of anguish resounds, and the stream of tears flows without intermission, and without end; and where death and despair stretch their iron sceptre, forever, over the dreary solitude ! Dost thou tremble at the prospect? Look behind thee, and behold Goodness and Mercy, twin-born of heaven, and arrayed in robes of uncreated light, stand, anxiously watching thy course, and beckon thee back to life; while, at their side, Hope, with her lucid finger, points the path to immortality, and exclaims, with a smile of transport, Glory to God in the Highest; peace on earth ; and good-will towards men!'"
TIDINGS OF A SAVIOUR, TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY.
Luke ii. 10, 11.
And the Angel said unto them, fear not: for behold I bring you
good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born, this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which
is Christ the Lord.
In the preceding Chapter we are informed, that the Angel Gabriel was sent first to Zacharias, a priest; and afterwards to Mary, a virgin of the family of David; to announce to them, and through them to mankind, the birth of the Saviour. The birth of John, the Baptist, his harbinger in the great work of redeeming the world from sin and misery, was also predicted by the same illustrious person; and in the appointed season was accomplished. On this occasion, Zacharias, who had been deprived of his speech, both to punish his unbelief, and to manifest the certainty of the prediction, resumed it in the same miraculous manner; and uttered to those around him a memorable prophecy concerning the child already born, and the more wonderful infant whose birth was approaching.
The Context opens with an account of a decree, issued by the Roman Emperor, Augustus Cæsar, requiring all the inhabitants of Judea to enrol their names, for the purpose of being taxed. The ancient prophets, particularly Micah, had foretold, that the Mes. siah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. By means perfectly natural and easy this prophecy was now accomplished.