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The reader shall have an opportunity, if so inclined, to observe a portion of this credulity. It shall be exhibited in the words addressed to the moralist we have named, by his friend, or in words of similar import.
* Dear sir, you believe that human sacrifices are cruel and cannot please God. You believe that drunken revels, or lascivious rites, cannot be acceptable worship in his sight. You do not think that self-torture pleases him, and you have no doubt but that he looks with dis. approbation upon adultery, theft, lying, or murder. You think that acts of kindness, of mercy, and of love are pleasing to our Maker. This, you think, your reason tells you of his character. Now observe, if reason taught you all this, then reason has done the same for the multitudes of the most ignorant, and the most be. sotted in all Christian lands. Mark well, I deny that reason was your instructer, but it is true that something has thus instructed men wherever the Bible is. Even those who cannot read it, know more truth about God, than does the Mandarin of China. You could not in any way prevail on the most stupid creature you meet in our streets, to fall down before a block of wood, and worship, believing it to be God. You may go to one hundred thousand of the most uninformed in Protestant countries, one after another, just as you meet them, and you will not find an individual who believes, or can be made to believe, that he can please God by killing his child, or by boring through his own tongue, or by drunkenness, or obscene rites, or revels. If reason has taught these unlettered, ignorant creatures so much truth, then it has taught them very uniformly ; and they all know much of what is right and what is wrong, in all moral deportment. But will you just reverse the
picture. Just look at the other side for a moment. Come with me across the ocean. Here is a populous nation. They have some science, they cultivate astronomy, and there is a class which may be denominated the learned. But the Bible has not been in use there for a thousand years. Go to one hundred thousand of the first you meet, one after another, learned or unlearn. ed, and talk with them. If reason should have told them some truth about God, it has not done it.-not one out of that whole nation, who does not either believe that to strangle that infant would please God, or he believes obscene revelry to be a part of worship; or he will talk of the intrigues of his gods, or in some way show that he looks upon them as gigantic in wickedness! The most learned there believe in human sacrifices, or sen.. sual rites, or absurd enormities, such as would excite the pity and the ridicule of the poorest and the lowest in our land! How is it that reason does not chance to teach where the Bible is not. Glance your eye entirely across heathenism. If the Maker of worlds intended reason to teach men there, some just notions concerning himself, it has failed in six hundred millions of instances in this generation, and in as many during the last generation, and as many the generation before that, and so on.
If he did expect that reason would tell men there, only a few truths respecting his own character, what would please him, &c. &c., he has been disappointed, or he has furnished an insufficient guide, for it has not succeeded in a single instance. If the wicked in the land of Bibles would do only what the Bible has taught them, they would need no more. That Book has succeeded in teaching until they know how they should act. The most degraded, and the most ignorant there,
know more of the proper worship of God, and of his proper character, according to the character given of God by the deist, than does the most learned, and the most exalted in heathen lands."
Now we are ready to look at what the worshipper of reason has to receive in his creed. In the United States of America, or in England, there are some twenty millions of the human race-each one of whom knows much of the proper character of God; much of what is lovely, and what is in itself hateful. Each one does know, with considerable correctness, that which would please God, and that which he must abhor. Here is a man who says, reason has taught them this.” If so, it has not failed in a single instance ! It has happened to be uniform in many millions of cases: surely we might suppose that, if reason is so sufficient that it has not failed in one out of twenty millions of cases, then leave it to itself in twenty millions
more, and it will succeed in half of them. -No; it has not in one. In Asia and Africa you may count two hundred millions of persons now alive whose reason has been at work for twenty years, and out of the whole two hundred millions, there is not one who does not either believe that the favour of the gods may be purchased by self-tor. ture, or human sacrifice; that sensuality is pleasing to them, or that they are opposed to each other, and may
be courted in different ways; or other sentiments equally absurd and grovelling.
So it has been in past generations. Those ancient Greeks had great statesmen, orators, and poets. Succeeding ages have gazed at them: they believed that to place that only son, that promising boy on an altar,
and whip him until his entrails could be seen through the quivering flesh, would please Diana. Are you admiring the wealth, or the polish and the splendour of the Carthagenians ? They believed sincerely, (so sincere. ly that they would perform it,) that it would please God if one or two hundred of their children at a time, were cast into that red hot metallic statue. Just such things were believed by Romans, Medes, Elamites, and all people where that singular old book did not circulate. Reader, if you believe that reason always did teach to avoid these cruel enormities where the Bible was found, but never did happen to instruct better where that page was not, then we have no further argument with you at present. If you believe that the low, and unlettered, and most ignorant in Bible regions, (who have more correct ideas of God, and of justice, and of loveliness, than have the most scientific in pagan countries,) have been thus instructed by reason; then will we cease all further discussion of that particular point with you.
MEN ADOPT FALSE OPINIONS WITHOUT INQUIRY.
Men often have an appetite for falsehood so spontaneous, that they receive it unquestioned.
A minister once delivered a discourse on the evidences of Christianity, in the city of New York. After the sermon was ended, and the audience dismissed, he descend. ed from the pulpit, and was met by an intelligent look. ing man, well clad, whose eye flashed, and whose voice trembled with emotion. He seemed angry at the cause
which had been advocated, and at the man who had spoken. He avowed, with indignant emphasis, that he had no doubt the Israelites had obtained their religion from the Greeks, and particularly from the Philosophy of Plato. The minister replied, “ Your argument would be worthy of some consideration, were it not for one circumstance, which certainly abates its momentum. You say that what the Israelites knew of God, they learned of Plato; but Plato says, that what he (and the Greeks in general) knew of the gods, they learned of the Israelites." The ancient Greeks, called the Jews Syrians, because they lived in the land of Syria, and because they called themselves thus. Every male of the Jews was ordered to stand, on a given day in each year, and avow his origin by pronouncing publicly, and with a loud voice, “ A Syrian ready to perish was my father.” The word fables was the epithet by which the ancient Greeks designated all narratives. Plato informs us (see Stackhouse's History of the Bible,) that one of the Syrian narratives from which his country. men obtained their knowledge, was the Fraternity of the human family, and that man was made out of the dust. Whoever will read ancient history, and notice the Greeks during their nocturnal mysteries, whilst youth. ful virgins, having baskets full of flowers with serpents in them, calling on the name of our first mother, Eva, Eva, all night, will not be at a loss to know which of the Syrian narratives they had in mind, or what event they commemorated during these ceremonies. The minis. ter's concluding remark to the scoffer above mentioned, was satirical, but certainly not incorrect. 66 You re. mind me,” said he, “ of the boy, who whilst looking in the glass, loudly averred, that his father's face took af.