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city, which shall be opened for your reception; but, oh! be assured there is no other way by which you can attain to peace here, or to happiness beyond the grave!
INFIDELITY AND CHRISTIANITY COMPARED IN THEIR PRINCIPLES.-No. I.
"What is truth?"-JOHN Xviii. 38.
A GREATER question was never asked: applied to things secular, it is interesting and even momentous; but regarding things sacred, it acquires an importance truly infinite. In religion, then, what is truth? Who, what can answer? Reason? We see what it has done, and still does, for the heathen-is idolatry truth? But the heathen are not civilized. If reason does not civilize, can it religionize? Allowing that it can do the former, has it done the latter? For four thousand years mankind were left to its 'unaided guidance; what was the result? To say nothing of the more barbarous, even in the most polished and enlightened Pagan nations; not excepting those countries where Homer lived and Plato taught, where the harp of Virgil resounded its Moonian strains, and Cicero pleaded for the rights and liberties of mankind-countries which gave birth to paintings which modern art cannot approach, and produced statues which are still the masterpieces of the world,-the most superstitious notions and idolatrous practices obtained and prevailed. And is reason more instructive now than it was then? If we turn to the Hindoos, in mathematical science among the most accomplished people in the world, we find they have not less than three hundred and thirty millions of gods!-if to the Chinese, to whom pertains the discovery of the mariner's compass and of gunpowder, the most ingenious people, perhaps, under heaven, they have gods in every house and grove; for the modern traveller tells us, that he saw upon sign-boards, in China, "gods made and repaired in this house;"'-nor do other heathen nations disclose anything better, but much worse; as it is written, "Darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the people." If, then, reason, with the light of nature, alleged to be sufficient for the purpose, could not, cannot answer the question, what can? Every man of sense will admit that a revelation was not only possible and probable, but absolutely necessary to the enlightenment and happiness of mankind. That a revelation was possible, none who believe in the existence of a supreme, all-wise, almighty Being, can doubt; that a revelation was probable, appears clear from the fact, that a revelation had been given in the first instance, though lost in the second: for how, otherwise, was the first man instructed? and why did ancient philosophers, feeling their need, expect a revelation? and, that a revelation was necessary, the condition of the world demonstrated.
Without revelation how could the character of God have been
determined? We will not at present have to do with the atheistical, we seek only a comparison with the deistical sceptic-the man who believes there is a God, but disbelieves that the Bible is a revelation of that God. Discarding, then, the sacred volume, we ask, what is God? And, lest reason should take a tinge from revelation, we put the question to parties ignorant of revelation-the Athenians, the Egyptians, the Grecians, the Romans. What is their reply?—what was their practice? The mere tyro in history will tell you, those nations were given over to idolatry: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things," Rom. i. 22, 23. So much for the discovery of reason and the light of nature! But, replacing the book of God, inquiring of revelation, an answer to the question is immediately returned: "God is a spirit; God is light; God is love,"-descriptions of the Deity which at once commend themselves to every man's enlightened and unprejudiced understanding.
Without revelation, what opinion could we have formed as to the end of our present existence? What am I? whence came I? who sent me here? what is my business in this world? what will become of me when I go hence?-are problems which reason may institute, but which reason cannot solve. Ah! well might Hobbes, a celebrated infidel writer, exclaim, when dying, "I am going to take a leap in the dark!" Poor, weak reason! thy light accompanies me to the tomb, but leaves me there; nor does nature, with definite certainty, tell me of aught beyond,— .
"Shadows, clouds, and darkness rest upon it;"
and say, considering man's intellectual and moral capabilities, which his present limited and imperfect condition is so far from satisfying, which is more probable, the infidel's annihilation or the Christian's immortality?
Without revelation, how could we have been relieved from the criminality of our position? I am guilty-my conscience tells me so; nor are the accusations of that inward monitor to be charged wholly on revelation-the same conviction possesses those of our species who never saw or heard revelation. Else why their immolations? on what other principle are they to be accounted for? And am I, indeed, guilty and distressed? How am I to expiate my offences to relieve my soul? "What must I do to be saved?" Who, what can answer? Reason?-She is nonplussed. Nature?—She is dumb. Revelation?-Ah! yes; the cross exhibited to my view: I am directed and assured, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
Against the system of Christianity, however, as contained in the Scriptures, another system has been set up, usually denominated infidelity; a comparison of which systems we shall now institute, in
relation, more particularly, to the principles of the one, and the doctrines of the other: remarking
1. That the principles of infidelity are heterogeneous and doubtful; the doctrines of Christianity are uniform and certain.
One infidel writes, there is a God; another infidel writes, there is no God. One acknowledges that nature had a beginning; another contends that it never had a beginning, for that it existed from eternity. One declares the world came into being by chance; another maintains there is no such thing as chance. One concedes a hereafter, and, by sequence, the soul's immortality; another ridicules such notions as superstitious and absurd. It were easy to multiply their contradictions. Let any man examine the writings of Bolingbroke, Hume, Hobbes, Herbert, Blount, Shaftesbury, Woolston, Tindal, Chubb, Voltaire; and we defy him clearly and definitively to make out a statement what they believed. Now, the inspired writers are not so. You meet with no such irreconcileable statements in the Bible. True, there are seeming discrepancies: as where, for example, St. James says a man is justified by works, and St. Paul says a man is justified by grace; but a Sunday-school child will tell you, that the one speaks of justification evidentially, the other meritoriously-so they agree. The contradictions of the word of God are more apparent than real; they vanish before research: "the Scripture cannot be broken." But the more you canvass the productions of the writers alluded to, the more puzzled you become. If, then, infidelity be the truth, what is the truth in infidelity; for truth is one-truth cannot deny itself? We leave the sceptic to answer. But ask, What is truth in Christianity? and one harmonious reply is returned. Nor does the infidel gain aught by asking, "Why, then, are not Christians agreed amongst themselves?" It were more consistent if he told us, first, why are not infidels agreed amongst themselves? But Christians are agreed in the main; the things in which they differ being only minor, not essential. Are infidels so agreed? Let their writings testify.
2. The principles of infidelity are corrupt and degrading; the doctrines of Christianity are pure and elevating.
Lord Herbert declares, that lust and passion are no more blameworthy than thirst or hunger. Hobbes maintains, that right and wrong are mere quibbles of man's imagination; and that there is no real distinction between them. Lord Bolingbroke asserts, that the chief end of man is to gratify his lusts and passions; that he is so made; and, when he gratifies these, he gets his greatest happiness. Hume says, that self-denial and humility are positive vices; and that adultery rather elevates than degrades the human character. Rousseau affirms, that whatever man feels is right. Voltaire advocates the very depths of the lowest possible sensuality. Owen, the socialist, denounces marriage as a system of moral evil; a horrid sacrifice of the happiness of human life; blasphemy, if anything is blasphemy, against the laws of nature; the origin of all prostitution,
of more demoralization, crime, and misery, than any other single cause, with the exception of religion and private property; and these three together, he adds, form the great trinity of causes of crime and immorality among mankind. Such ethics need no comment; to read is to repudiate them. What are the morals of Christianity? As pure and elevating as the other are corrupt and brutalizing; in comparison with which the purest maxims of ancient moralists and philosophers are, in dignity a toy, in reality a bauble. Infidels themselves have conceded this in one part of their writings, but denied it in another. The fact is, no man in his proper senses can inveigh against the morality of the New Testament; and to say that that morality is too strict, is vain as the school-boy complaining of his master, because the latter insists on his learning his lesson.
3. The principles of infidelity are wretched and destructive; the doctrines of Christianity are happy and saving.
Only read the biography of infidels and Christians, and you have a full confirmation of the truth of this statement. Compare, for example, Voltaire, and Paine, and Rousseau, with the evangelists, the apostles, or with Philip Henry, Oliver Heywood, and William Howard, and what a contrast meets the eye! In the former you have envy, malice, intemperance, perfidy, avarice, the vilest sensuality-almost everything bad; in the other, love, meekness, temperance, fidelity, generosity, chastity-almost everything good. We should by no means fear a comparison between modern infidels and Christians, persuaded as we are that the moral difference would turn out vastly in our favour: "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." But what have infidels and Christians been in tribulation, sickness, death? While, in the one case, there have been perturbation, wretchedness, horror-the deepest possible agony; in the other there have been patience, serenity, resignation-the most undisturbed peace and felicity. Ah! well might the silent wish escape even the false prophet's lips, as it has escaped the lips of thousands since, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." Their rock is not as our rock, our enemies themselves being judges." No! if rock, indeed, it be, it is only as the salt rock, which melts before a rainy day; it cannot stand the ordeal of afflic tion, much less of death itself: for, "at the last, it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." W. ATHERTON.
TYPES AND SHADOWS.
THERE is something very beautiful and
"Behold the LAMB of God!" a nobler sacrifice. This is the Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world." The Paschal lamb must be "without blemish." So Christ was "holy, harm
He was the incarna-mendous work " given him to do," and had dismissed his spirit to God-that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “a bone of him shall not be broken." How wondrous the providence of God! The Lamb was also to be eaten: "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire." There was meaning in this; for the Saviour himself said:
the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life." It is thus we obtain spiritual subsistence, and receive strength to labour and to run the Christian race with vigour and success.
tion of purity; the perfection of holiness. "I find no fault in him," said the judge, who delivered him up to be condemned and crucified. Thus he offered himself "without spot" unto God; and the offering was accepted, for it was his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased. Again; the Lamb was set apart four days before the day" Except ye eat the flesh and drink of the feast, that is, on the tenth day of the month. Christ was set apart to his work and suffering by the Father, who is said to have "foreordained him before the foundation of the world," to have "sanctified and sent him into the world;" by the Spirit, who descended upon him at his baptism; and by himself, when he said, Lo, I come!" and when, in his intercessory prayer, he dedicated himself anew to the glory of God and the salvation of men: "For their sakes I sanctify myself." Oh, wonderful offering! Oh, costly sacrifice! Further, the Lamb was to be slain and roasted with fire: "And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire." Here was the suffering and death of the innocent; and so Christ was "led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." The fires of Divine justice were kindled on his soul, till it was "poured out unto death." Then was the living sacrifice offered unto God. Another typical item is seen in the strict observance of that injunction: "Neither shall ye break a bone thereof." How was it with the victim that was bound to the altar of the cross? Contrary to all usage, and to their treatment of the malefactors associated with Jesus, "they brake not his legs," for the sufferer had already expired; he had accomplished the tre
The Paschal lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs; suggesting the idea, and animating the reminiscence of that bitter bondage from which the Lord delivered them; and how this is applicable to the case of the Christian is manifest. When he approaches the table of his Lord, he should remember "the wormwood and the gall" of his unconverted state, giving thanks to God that he has been released, not only from the gall of bitterness, but from the bonds of iniquity; and when he looks by faith on that crucified Saviour whom his sins have pierced, he will mourn and be in bitterness, as one is in bitterness for a first-born-his heart will melt, and his soul be poured out in gratitude to God: "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning."
Another incident of the Passover was, that the Israelites partook of it in a waiting posture. "And thus shall ye eat it, with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste." So should the Christian ever