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spiritual worship and this Christ himself has very elegantly told us in these words, God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John iv. 24.) Who could fill his mind with such elevated notions? And how comes it that he so excellently sets down in that short precept the genius of true religion, of which men before were wholly ignorant?

V. It may be said of all other religions, without exception, that they induce us to look after the pleasures and profits of the world in the worship of God; whereas the Christian religion makes us glorify God by renouncing the world. Thus the heathens, designing rather to please themselves than their deities, introduced into religion whatever could in any way flatter and divert them: and the Mohammedan religion not being incumbered with many ceremonies, at least affixes temporal advantages to the practice of its worship; as if the pleasures of the world were to be the future reward of religion: but certainly both of them are much mistaken: for the heathens should have known that the worship of God consisted not in diverting and pleasing themselves; and the Mohammedans should not have been ignorant, that since temporal and worldly advantages were insufficient in themselves to satisfy the boundless desires of the human heart, they could not come in competition with those benefits which true religion had peculiarly designed for him. But both these followed the motions of self-love, which being naturally held in suspense between the world and religion, imagines that nothing can be more pleasant than to unite them both, thinking thereby to reconcile its inclination and duty, consecrate its pleasures, and put no difference between conscience and interest.

But the first rule of true religion teaches us, that that mutual agreement is impossible; or, to use its own words, that Christ and Belial are incompatible one with the other; that we must either glorify God at the expense of worldly pleasures, or possess the advantages of the world with the loss of our religion: and this certainly shows the Christian religion to have a divine character.

VI. Other false religions debase the Deity and exalt man ; whereas the Christian religion humbles man, and exalts the Deity. The Egyptians, a nation that boasted so much of their antiquity, made monsters of their deities; and the Romans made deities of their emperors, who were rather monsters than men: the most famous philosophers were not ashamed to rank their deities below themselves, and themselves even before Jupiter; but the Christian religion teaches us that we owe all to God, who owes nothing at all to us. It humbles us by the consideration of that infinite distance which there is between God and us; it shows that we are miserable despicable creatures in comparison of God, who is a Supreme Being, and who alone is worthy of our love and adoration. Who then can but admire so excellent a religion?

VII. Other religions made us depend upon those beings which were given us to command, and pretend a power over that Supreme Being upon whom we ought only to depend. They taught men to burn incense to the meanest creatures, and impudently to equal

themselves to the universal monarch of the world. It is indeed no wonder that men should be so impious, as to desire to become gods, since they were so base as to forget that they were men; and yet how ill their pride became them when they disdained not to submit to fourfooted beasts, to the fowls of the air, and to the creeping animals and plants of the earth, as St. Paul reproaches them; and how basely superstitious were they, in that they were not content to deify themselves, but would also deify their own vices and imperfections! But the Christian religion alone restores that equitable order which ought to be established in the world, by submitting every thing to the power of man, that he might submit himself to the will of his God. And what can be the duty of true religion, but to restore such just and becoming order in the world?

VIII. We need no deep research into other religions to find that they chiefly tend to flatter the corrupt desires of men, and efface those principles of justice and uprightness which God has imprinted on their minds. But he that shall truly consider the Christian religion, will certainly find that it tends to the eradication of those corrupt desires out of our hearts, and restoring those bright characters of honesty and justice imprinted on our minds by the hand of God. The heathens flattered their passions to such a degree, as to erect altars in honour of them; and Mohammed was so well pleased with temporal prosperity, that he made it the end and reward of his religion. The Gnostics imagined, that when they had arrived at a certain degree of knowledge, which they called a state of perfection, they might commit all sorts of actions without any scruple of conscience; and that sin, which polluted others, would be sanctified in them. But what blindness! what impiety was this! How admirable is the Christian religion, which alone among all others shows us our own wickedness and corruption, and heals it with such remedies as are as wholesome to the soul as unpleasing to the body!

IX. It is, moreover, worthy of remark, that other religions are contrary to policy, either in favouring or restraining too much human weakness and corruption, upon the account of policy; whereas the Christian religion preserves its rights and privileges inviolable, independent of either. The pagan religion was against policy in giving too much to human weakness and corruption. It would have been much better for the good and welfare of the state, if men had framed to themselves a greater idea of the holiness of their gods; because they would have been less licentious, and more submissive to the civil laws whereas they were encouraged by the example of their deities to violate the most sacred and inviolable rights. Mohammed, desirous to avoid this irregularity, retained the notion of a true God; but then being willing also to flatter men's inclinations, in order to draw them to his side, he confusedly mixed with that idea the carnal and gross notions which the heathens had entertained of paradise, borrowing from Christianity such objects as must necessarily mortify our passions, and assuming those from paganism which serve to flatter our bad inclinations. But the Christian religion keeps no such measures either with policy or corruption. Policy complains that the

doctrine of Christ necessarily softens men's courage, and that instead of encouraging them to enlist themselves soldiers for the welfare and preservation of the state, it rather makes them lambs, who can hardly be exasperated against their enemies, whom they must continually pray for, and are obliged to love as themselves. And human frailty, and corruption, murmurs to see itself impugned by the Christian religion, even in the dispositions and most secret recesses of the soul; and that the veil of hypocrisy, and the pious pretences and dissimulations of the soul under which it ought to lie secure, are ineffectual against it. Who then, but God, can be the author of a religion so equally contrary both to the covetous desires of the mean, and the ambition of the great, and so equally averse both to policy and corruption? X. Other religions would have God bear the image of man, and so necessarily represent the Deity as weak, miserable, and infected with all manner of vices, as men are. Whereas the Christian religion teaches us that man ought to bear the image of God: which is a motive to induce us to become perfect as we conceive God himself to be holy and perfect. That religion then which restores to God his glory, and the image of God to man, must necessarily be of divine authority.

XI. Lastly, other false religions were the irregular confused productions of the politest and ablest men of those times; whereas the Christian religion is a wonderful composition, which seems wholly to proceed from the most simple and ignorant sort of people. The heathens have often condemned the extravagant notions which the common people had framed to themselves of the Deity; they have blamed the barbarous cruelty of those sacrifices which were offered to their gods in so many places, and the impurity of their mysteries, the falsehood of their oracles, and the vanity and childishness of their ceremonies. Cicero says, in some part of his works, that two augurs could not look one another in the face without laughter. We all know, that when the philosophers attempted to treat on religion, they always exceeded one another in extravagancies. And though we cannot deny that the heathens, the philosophers, &c. made several wonderful discoveries in arts and sciences; yet it will appear that a long succession of very understanding men among them were guilty of many repeated extravagancies in this respect, and that by a prodigy not to be paralleled, if the Christian religion did not offer a similar prodigy, by showing us a company of wise and learned men in such reputed ignorant persons as the disciples of Jesus Christ.

Certainly it is a strange thing to see the most understanding men become the most stupid, and the most ignorant prove the most understanding in matters of religion. It is a true sign that God designed to confound the understanding of the wise, and a proof that their religion was formed rather according to the corrupt desires of their hearts than the dictates of their understanding, for had it been according to their understanding, it would have been more reasonable in proportion to the wisdom and knowledge of the authors of it. But because it was made to sooth their corrupt desires and flatter their passions, it is as extravagant and irregular as those passions.



And now let us put together all these characters, and ask the opposers of revelation, whether they can be so extravagant as to ascribe to an impostor a religion so perfect in its original, that nothing could ever since be superadded to it, but what necessarily lessens its perfection; a religion that proposes its mysteries with such authority and boldness; that brings men from sensual objects to spiritual ones; that extirpates corruption; that restores the principles of righteousness and uprightness which were imprinted in our souls; that teaches us to glorify God without any regard to self-love or pleasure; to exalt God and humble ourselves; to submit ourselves to his will, who is above us all, and to raise ourselves above those beings which he has put in subjection under us: a religion that is contrary to policy, and yet more averse to corruption; that astonishes our reason, and yet gives us the peace of a good conscience; and, in a word, is as delightful to the one as it is comfortable to the other.

If the Christian religion then has all these qualifications, as it certainly has, we cannot doubt but that it is directly, as to these qualifications, opposite to all other religions. And if it be thus opposite to all other religions, it must necessarily have a principle opposite to them so that as all other religions peculiarly belong to the flesh, the Christian wholly appertains to the spirit: and as the former are the products of the corrupt desires and imaginations of men, so the latter must have for its principle the God of holiness and purity.

The preceding considerations will derive additional force if we contrast the advantages which infidelity and Christianity respectively afford to those who embrace them.

Let it be supposed then that the deist is right, and that Christianity is a delusion; what does the former gain? In what respects has he the advantage? Is the deist happier than the Christian? No.- Is he more useful in society? No.-Can he meet the sorrows of life with more fortitude? NO. Can he look into futurity with more composure? No. His highest bliss arises from base lusts: his conscience is his daily tormentor; his social circle is a wilderness overgrown with thorns; his life is perfect madness; and of his death it may be said, that he dieth as a fool dieth. But the Christian is happy in himself, or rather in his Saviour; he is useful in his day; amid all the tumults and anxieties incident to mortality, he enjoys a peace which the world can neither give nor take away; his mind is supported under all the sorrows and afflictions of life; and, in that awful moment, when the great problem is about to be solved, of annihilation or eternity, — he looks forward to futurity with holy tranquillity. At least, he is as safe in his death as any of the children of men!1

On the other hand, let it be supposed that the antagonist of revelation is wrong, and that Christianity is TRUE (and TRUE it will be found), what advantage has the Christian more than the infidel, — the believer than the unbeliever? or what does it profit us to be Christ's peculiar people? Much every way. For if our happiness in

1 On the subject of the preceding paragraph, the reader will find several admirable and eloquent observations in Dr. Dwight's Two Discourses on the Nature and Danger of Infidel Philosophy, pp. 69-98.

a future state, as is highly probable, shall increase in proportion to what we know, believe, and practise of our duty, upon a principle of obedience to the will of God, in the present life; the consequence is indisputable, that the more we know, believe, and practise of our duty here, so much the more pure and exalted will be our joys in the eternal mansions of bliss hereafter. This then is the Christian's boasting, and this our serious triumph, that the Holy Scriptures have made us fully acquainted with all the various relations in which we stand to the Divine Nature, as our Creator, Preserver, Redeemer, and constant Assistant in our progress towards perfection; that our whole duty is laid open to our view, and that we never can be igno rant of what is the good and acceptable will of our Sovereign Lord; that we have the strongest motives of gratitude and interest to animate us to live up to the law of our being; and that we are filled with the comfortable assurance, that our merciful God and Father will receive our sincere, though imperfect, endeavours to serve and please him, in and through the death and mediation of his Son Jesus Christ. The best Christian must be the best, and consequently, upon the whole, will be the happiest man. Let it not, therefore, be imagined, as is too often the case, that God arbitrarily assigns to Christians a higher degree of happiness than to others, without having a proper regard to their moral agency, and that this is the doctrine of the Gospel. On the contrary, the faith of sincere Christians is always directed to the right and best object, their piety is of the noblest kind, and their virtues the most pure and extensive: to be uniformly engaged in an upright, benevolent, and religious course of action is the solemn vow and profession of Christians. In a word, the deist, by wilfully rejecting all moral evidence, forfeits all things, and gains nothing; while THE CHRISTIAN HAZARDS NOTHING, AND GAINS ALL THINGS.



ALL the objections, which can with any colour or pretence be alleged against the Scriptures, have at different times been considered. and answered by men of great learning and judgment, the result of whose inquiries we have attempted to concentrate in the present volume; and several objections, particularly those relative to the Mosaic history of the creation and of the deluge, have been demonstrated to be groundless and frivolous. But even though all the difficulties, that are alleged to exist in the sacred writings, could not be accounted for, yet this would be no just or sufficient cause why we should re

1 For the materials of this section, the author is indebted to Dr. Jenkin's Res sonableness and Certainty of the Christian Religion, vol. ii. pp. 548-554.; to Dr. Ryan's Evidences of the Mosaic and Christian Codes, pp. 293-296.; and to Dr. Samuel Clarke's Discourse on the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion, &c. Proposition xv. (Boyle Lectures, vol. ii. pp. 192-196. folio edit.)

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