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Reason has not taught, of course it is an uncertain guide, or there is no information given us. I thought the colour of the rainbow a token of the Creator's kindness, but I would rather it had been black than not to have known whether I am to live after I am buried. I wish he had told me. I thought that our Father made the colour of the forest leaf green, because it fits the eye, but I would agree it should be red always hereafter, if I could only find out whether or not I am to be judged for my conduct. Is my everyday conduct to be reviewed hereafter ? I wish our Father had told us. It would not have been hard for him to have done this, or cost much time. Thus I was tossed from point to point of several sharp prominen.
To say that reason was our heavenly lamp, and that her worshippers never had yet discovered these things, or that they discovered differently, for they thought differently, was somewhat awkward. To say that I must act every minute, and yet it was not very important for me to know whether or not I was ever to be tried for my actions, did not sound smoothly. To
say that reason had taught us what our Creator hated most, was too hard, because the disciples of reason all differed fundamentally here also. Some thought one way and some another. To say that I need not know what pleased or displeased him most, was still un. harmonious. I began to doubt whether the celestial lamp would show me objects more distinctly than the page of Matthew.
THE LAST RESORT.
If I sat down and inquired of reason soberly, whether the great First Cause had made man as we now find him, or we are a fallen race, I found the pathway more than cloudy. If I said that man is a fallen creature, and did not come as he now is from the pure hand, I seemed to be running into the old Bible track. If I said that men were not wicked, that a majority of them were not depraved, it seemed to sound sweetly, and to harmonize with what all my companions said when together and whilst disputing on religious doc. trines. But when deists talk elsewhere, when they speak, having forgotten all controversy, their testimony is not the same. I heard one of them speaking of a class of men opposed to him in politics. He pronounced them utterly destitute of principle. He declared them dishonest in every thing; and when excited, would mingle curses with his expressions of contempt. When speaking cf those who were called the pious, the devotedly pious, he was also severe. Their zeal he call. ed either fanaticism or hypocrisy, often both. When dealing with his fellow-men he always took notes, bonds, &c., and was as certain to treat every one as though he was defective as they are who believe in man's depravity. In short, I found the three following facts to exist in the world.
1. Those who denied the fall of man spoke as complainingly, when not discussing the doctrine, of the pre.
valence of slander, of avarice, selfishness, &c. as did the disciples of the Bible !
2. They spoke from day to day of having discovered something censurable in those of whom they had thought better; but it was not a matter of continuous occurrence for them to speak of surprise at having found one and another more honest, disinterested, and amiable than they were supposed to be!
3. The following question is answered by the candid with entire agreement.
Question. --Suppose you were to take a number of children and try to teach them all that is lovely and good; again, take an equal number and try to teach them all that is bad and unlovely, in which case would you most readily succeed ? In which are children the more apt scholars: in honour, honesty, self-denial, temperance, humility, &c., or in haughtiness, self-conceit, ignorance, sensuality, injustice, &c. ? I believed that the man who would say our race is not fallen into sin 80 as to make it easier for us to be taught vice than virtue,” had been handling sin himself, and that it did not appear unlovely to him.
I believed that those who admit the three facts stated above, might as well admit the fall of man.
I believed that he who, after looking fairly around on his fellow-creaturcs, denied those three facts, had certainly fallen himself, if others had not.
I had been told, and I could not dispute it, that God was a being of infinitudes. Christians and unbelievers agreed that there was no boundary line belonging to his wisdom, his power, or the number of his days. They said that there was no possibility of numbering the animals or the worlds he had made ; that there was no limit to creation. And all the glasses through which the philosopher looked spoke the same language.
If endless might be written on his works around us, I could not tell but that it might be his plan for our existence to be endless. I hoped it might be so, for an. nihilation always looked dark to me. At times it seemed as though it would be cruel, if, after making me taste the cup of existence, he should dash it from my lips. I should prefer never having been, to giving up my identity at death. I was ready to exclaim, “My Maker might have told me how long I am to exist;" but the Bible scemed to reply, “ He has." If my feel . ings called out that a Being of infinite goodness might have offered me the glorious prize of unending happiness on some terms, the Bible seemed to reply,“ He has.”
I knew that the soul which inhabits these bodies was in the habit of craving. It has been so made, that it craves, and craves much happiness, hating any decay in its felicity. I thought that if in a shining country, where nothing cold or gloomy was ever to en. ter, and in a society of beings peaceful and beautiful,
I should be offered joys which were never to diminish, it would indeed be a prize. O what a prize! This would resemble what it would take a God to offer, a God of benevolence! Who knows but our God may have made us this offer? The Bible seemed to say, “He has.” I thought if any one man had this offer, he had good reason to leap for joy. Has this offer been extended to any one? The Bible seemed to answer,
“ To all.” And the terms easy? I knew that, if I listened to that book, the answer was bare acceptance ; and I could not complain that it was added, "Nothing unjust or unclean must be taken into that abode."
A collateral inquiry presented itself, which was this: " What does reason say concerning the offer, if it is made, or if it ever should be intended-can man reject, or forfeit it ; neglect, or turn away from it? I looked around me upon facts which none could question. I saw that amidst the train of our mercies and enjoyments health is not the leastyet thousands are easting it from them utterly and for ever. I looked into a family : peace would sweeten all their joys—yet how many cast it from them, and their happiness expires. I could not look at any good thing between the earth and skies, which man might not trample on. And I did not know but in one more instance he might turn away from an offered favour: viz. the offer of heaven.
If the Creator does not depart from his usual method, he will not compel me to receive any savour. What if he should act consistently with