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Lord and Master, encourages us pitiently to bear the revilings and reproaches of men. But surely there is something more than this to be dreaded ! Who can be ignorant that the frequent and irreverent use of God's sacred name, gradually lessens our awe and esteem of it? That by disregarding his name we insensibly lose all fear of his majely, his power and jusliče? That from not hallowing his fabbaths, we pass on to profane them? And that from thë neglect of religious duties, we proceed totaly to disufe and despise them ? And when we are involved in this complicated sin, how natural is it for us to expel the thoughts of future rewards and punishments? And when this barrier is once broken down, what torrent of wickedness rushes
in in upon
the foul; and whither cani it fly for refuge, but into the arms. of infidelity?
How miserable the comfort it alfords! for how fashionable foever it may be; and notwithstanding the contempt and ridicule that i
may subject myself to by such an attempt, yet I shall next endeavour to expose the dangerous nature and heinous ness of
INFIDELITY, whether speculative only, or practical allo.
Speculative infidels are either such as having never so much as heard of the christian religion, muit of courle remain in their heathenifin which do not fall under our consideration): or
such as having christianity offered them, have rejected it.
'Tis possible, that some few may continue infidels upon principle, after having used the fairest methods, and taken the greatest pains to convince themselves. And such, if any such there be, are so far from being condemned in the opinion of any man; that they demand our pity for their want of conviction, and our love and esteem for their honesty and industry: qualities capable of making them not only good citizens; but also morally righteous, and religious worshippers of God; though at the same time, they cannot be expected to come up to the purity and spirituality of the gospel.
These, These, indeed, are not the men that I am aiming at; but such as, being born in a christian country, and of christian parents; and having been instructed in gospel principles, have turned renagades to their native religion, with as little reason, as they might refuse the use of the language of their country; who having not examined, or not being capable of examining the evidences for christianity, have unfairly condemned it, and have preferred to the clear and unerring light of divine revelation, the faint and uncertain glimmerings of human reason : .who against the faith of history, established upon incontestible facts, and the veracity of the most credible witnesses, have pronounced the blessed Jesus an impostor; С
his religion, a visionary scheme of superstition; still supported by state
policy and priestcraft ; though, at the same time, they cannot deny that He hath advanced the moral law to an higher degree of perfection, than any reformer that ever lived before him.
And whilst they are thus endeavouring to demolish christianity, what is it that they would give us in exchange for it? No regular system whatsoever; but a crude, undigested mass of heathenish, philofophic morality, picked out of the writings of Socrates and Plato, who themselves could only guess at futurity.
Their great Diana is reafon, under whose name they would impose upon us a most unintelligible jargon of