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brought about. The novelty of the doctrine attracts hearers, some of whom, it will certainly be no disparagement to them to say, are more attentive than reflecting. It is wonderful to see how they will drink in the sage predictions uttered with all the gravity of oracular secrecy. All at once the truth flashes upon their minds, that, during the tedious revolutions of six thousand years, the world has not come into possession of a single truth; that the systems of education, law, philosophy, and religion, which now prevail, are defective at the very core, and that, even if no others are as yet decided upon, it is best to give them up entirely. As we before remarked, if the whole system of “ Modern Philosophy” be kept together, its very folly will render it harmless. But neither its friends, nor its enemies, receive it in this manner.

There will always be found some restless spirits, who are inflamed to acts of the most inconsiderate rashness, merely by a love of something new, or a feeling that they have come into the possession of a great truth, which it is of the utmost importance the world should know. Calm reflection is, in such a case, entirely dispensed with. We have in our view a man who was once a minister of the Gospel, but is now an active infidel, and one of the main pillars of the cause in this section of the country. He professes to have discovered that men were under a great delusion, at least so many of them as acknowledge the divine origin of Christianity, and to have been prompted by a sense of duty to make known his discovery. Whether he pretends to any originality, we know not; but we should be inclined to suppose that he did not, from the air of antiquity which pervades the arguments by which he hopes to prove that Christianity is a delusion, and that religion and superstition are synonymous terms. But the subject is of too serious a nature, io be spoken of in other than a serious manner. The same discovery is made by others, and is nothing less than that man does not need the influences of religion, nor morality the sanction of a revelation. We have spoken of the kind of arguments which the infidel uses to establish these points. They are necessarily directed against the divine origin of Christianity, and the moral nature of man, and, though not openly grappling with these truths, strive by covert attacks and implied motives to effect their object.



These arguments are such as we should expect to see made use of, when we consider the characters and conditions of those who frequent the halls of modern infidelity. It may be considered a rash assertion, but it is one which observation and inquiry have convinced us is true, that there is not'a man in this country, whose mental and moral attain

are above the common standard, who is willing openly to advocate the doctrines of modern infidelity. We say mental and moral attainments. We know there are

men who seem willing to rank themselves among “Free Inquirers,” who maintain a respectable standing in

" society, and earn an honest subsistence as mechanics or traders; but the arguments and the reasoning which satisfy them of the correctness of their views, put the strength of their intellectual powers in rather a questionable light. But, though there may be some whose moral character is irreproachable, and whose errors are to be laid entirely to a neglect or perversion of intellect, by far the larger number of professed infidels consists of those who are followers of Paine in freedom of action, as well as of thought, and care as little for the laws of man, as for those of God.

The bloated countenances of the victims of intemperance and crime, which crowd the halls of Free Inquiry, give us an index not likely to deceive us, of the kind of instruction to which they listen. The ignorant and those who have been disappointed in their schemes or prospects, will give their presence, where they may hope to be on a level with the rest, and perhaps acquire the possession of unearned happiness. There also is the wretch who lives only for the gratification of his appetites, and thinks the lowest principles of his nature worthy of his sole attention. There will be found the drunkard, the gambler, the libertine, herded together in a fellowship of iniquity, and uniting their various tastes in the same unhallowed objects. The excitements of music and of dancing are added to complete the thoughtlessness of the scene, and thus, by artfully mingling enjoyment with the doctrines of infidelity, the deluded mortals would hope to convince themselves that pleasure belongs peculiarly and exclusively to their freedom from all religious influences. It is enough to excite the indignation as well as the pity of the most charitable observer, who has risked his person in the tainted atmosphere of the infidel lecture



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room, when he sees around him a crowd of vagabonds, collected from every sink of corruption which a populous city contains, listening to the words of a deluded man, while he strives to undermine the foundations upon which the social campact is sustained, and classes the noblest truths to which the human understanding can attain along with the prejudices of infancy. He will hold up to them the doctrines of infidelity, as the result of all the wisdom which man has acquired in the long course of ages. So far from admitting, what is nevertheless an indisputable truth, that Christianity has been the principal agent in enlarging the circle of human knowledge, and of opening the highest sources of inquiry at the same time that it stimulates the mind to action, he would ignorantly think to prove, that, had the Christian religion never been known, man would now be all that his most enthusiastic dreams have ever fancied. Still the only point in which infidelity appears consistent with itself, is, in claiming for the mind to which it assigns so low an origin, no nobler objects of inquiry, than its supposed cause may present. Man's motives, duties, and hopes are confined entirely to a few short years on this unstable mass of matter. Every aspiration after higher pursuits, every tendency to an enlarged exercise of the mental powers, is checked as the offspring of a superstitious and deceitful fancy.

Infidelity, nevertheless, quotes its great names. referred to some few, but eminent philosophers, who, after having looked deep into the mysteries of mind and matter, were content to stop at secondary causes, desiring to look no higher. That there have been some, who, in a civilized state of society, have maintained the ground that religion was absolutely unnecessary in the individual and social concerns of life, is thought to be sufficient proof, that religion, with all its forms and observances, is at best a cumbrous and unnecessary appendage. That some have lived respected and esteemed, though unbelievers, is brought to prove that morality is independent for a sanction as well as a code upon religion. That some have supported themselves in adversity, and quietly passed out of life without the consolations of a religious faith, is considered satisfactory proof that happiness is independent of such a principle. No distinction is made between what have been the effects

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of infidelity upon single individuals, and what would be the consequences, were it a general thing. The manner in which the few who have professed it, have been influenced by those who opposed it, is not considered in the discussion.

The advocates of infidelity well know that no man willingly resigns the hope of another life, if he can see any reason for sustaining that hope. It is on this point that they make use of all the sophistry which the infidelity of former times has brought together to disprove the immortality of the soul. Materialism, with all its bold decisions upon points far beyond the reach of man's intellectual capacities, is advocated, to prove that the mind is dependent upon the body, and that consciousness must cease with death. Still, as might be expected, they find it to be a hard matter to convince their hearers, that men may live a good and happy life, and die a happy death, without the influence or support of a religious faith. A book has lately been published and circulated among infidels, which professes to give an account of the last moments of celebrated " Liberal Writers.” We have not been able to obtain the book, and can judge of it only by the remarks of those who seem willing to receive it as true. The last moments of infidel writers have indeed been often appealed to as proofs, that the soul can sustain itself in the dark hour without the consolations of religion ; but it is all a deceitful mockery. The death-bed of those who have lived without God in the world, who have sneered at every principle of religion, and, by the help of an abused philosophy, have striven to undermine the foundations of Christianity, - the groans of conscience there felt, the gloomy prospect of annihilation, and the unconquerable dread of punishment, increasing tenfold the agony of the moment which separates soul and body,will read a mournful lesson to the unbeliever. We have the testimony of physicians who attended their wretched exit, and it cannot be disputed. We know the pertinacity with which Voltaire persisted in sending for a priest, in spite of all the remonstrances of his friends, when his philosophic mind was terrified at the prospect of dissolution. The pusillanimity which he displayed was such as to excite his own ridicule, when for an interval he recovered. But with the return of danger, fear again subdued him. Total annihilation seemed to him desirable, for he feared some

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thing far worse, and, in the humility of his agony, he implored his physician to procure him a treatise, written against the eternity of future punishment. It was Gibbon who said, that “the immortality of the soul is at some times a comfortable doctrine.” There probably never lived a man who felt more the value of existence than he did, and nothing can surpass the despondency of the words, in his letter on the death of Mrs. Posen, where he says, "All is now lost, finally, irrecoverably lost ! It was Hume who said, “I am affrighted and confounded with that forlorn solitude, in which I am placed by my philosophy. When I look abroad I foresee on every side, dispute, contradiction, and distraction. When I turn my eye inward, I find nothing but doubt and ignorance. Where am I, or what ? From what causes do I derive my existence, and to what condition shall I return. I am confounded with these questions, and begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness.” * When the French philosopher, Diderot, felt that his end was approaching, he sent for a priest, and determined to confess and renounce his errors. But his friends, not being pleased at the idea of his renouncing atheism, surreptitiously hurried him into the country, where he died.

But it would be a waste of words, to prove that the most philosophic apathy, cannot fortify the bed of death against the fear of an hereafter. Atheistical philosophers may have enjoyed some moments of happy unconcern, and prided themselves n their elevation above what they call the superstitious fears of those who recognise the existence of an immortal soul in this frail tenement; but an age of such an existence would not afford an equivalent for an hour of that happy joy which the Christian feels, though it were the last of a short and unhappy life, and passed in the darkness of midnight on the bed of death.

It would not be possible, even if it were desirable, to give the statistics of infidelity among us.

Unless we could look into the hearts of men, and form a correct opinion of the precise state of their religious impressions, we must be unable to say whether they are believers or infidels.

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* Treatise on Human Nature, Vol. I. p. 458.

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