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the bosom of that gentle river, and look to the slope where the quiet sunshine rests on those lonely and solitary dwellings during the stillness of evening, nothing on earth is more calculated to bring into the bosom a feeling of desertion and desolation, than this image from the prophet's pén, picturing the decay of Jerusalem.
This self-important man afterwards confessed that the deficiencies were in his own stupid soul, and that the language of the Bible was indeed the style of heaven.
* Perhaps one confession ought to be made to the infidel world. It is, that Christians should not be too loud in their voice of condemnation, so long as they practise the same sin which they reprove.
Christians believe that their heavenly Father has sent them a long kind letter from heaven; that they owe it to him to read every line of it to their children, and make them acquainted with all interesting concomitant facts. For want of this knowledge, many of the youth of our nation have grown up scoffers. Rather than risk this, encounter any trouble and expense; better have a professor at college for every book in the Bible;
better recite a morning lesson on every line in the book ; better endanger the loss of all other knowledge. How is the actual practice of the church in these things ? When the Christian parent places his son in the academy or college, does he say to the teacher, “Whatever else you may omit, see that you teach him the ancient literature connected with the Bible ?" No, this is not his charge, this is not his expectation. He knows that his son will be taught daily, laboriously, and invariably, Virgil, Horace, and other heathen authors, containing many most exceptionable passages. But if a college has a rule that the Bible is to be part of the course, it is an unpopular rule, and often the teachers are themselves ignorant of Bible facts and Bible language. The haters of God have
MEN HAVE LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT.
We have endeavoured to hold up to view that strange tendency and natural leaning towards falsehood (in matters of religion) which we possess without being aware of it. We will endeavour to illustrate this same truth by another process. It should be presented in another attitude. We think the weakness of props on which opposers rest gives a full exhibition of this truth. If men base a fabric of their eternal expectations on decayed weeds, whilst an enduring rock is close at hand, there is some strange reason for such a choice. There is something defective in his heart or in his head, who is content to cast away the Book of God, and venture all the terrors of the judgment day upon some one feeble ca. vil, which is annihilated as soon as a few facts are presented.
Out of many, we must select a few, and such as we have heard urged most frequently.
Case 1.-An amiable lawyer, after urging his toil. some but successful course for many years, at last won a seat in Congress. On his way to the meeting of that
exclaimed, " the college is no place to learn religion ;" and this weak dogma Christians have obeyed scrupulously, and Bible facts and Bible language form no part of the nation's study. Books on these points, (Lardner, Grotius, Shuckford, Prideaux, &c. &c.) are almost out of print; they may be found in a preacher's library, but even there will, in many cases, be sought in vain,
assembly he was taken with a disease which at first did not seem alarming. A physician, with whom he was on terms of intimacy, went to see him. This physician was one who thought the soul of great value. He believ. ed the disease one of those which flatter but destroy. He felt impelled to tell his friend so, and to ask as to his preparation for crossing the river of death. The lawyer answered him that he could not believe in Christianity. The doctor asked if he had ever investigated the matter? He replied that he had read such and such books on the subject, (naming over some five or six infidel authors,) and that he deemed this a sufficient research. Being asked if he had never read any thing on the other side, he confessed he never had. His friend told him that he deemed this a strange investigation, but would wish to hear the argument of his strongest confidence, that on which his hope leaned with the most quiet security: His answer was substantially as follows: “I can never believe in the darkness said to prevail over the land at the crucifixion of Christ. The strange silence of all writers, except the evangelists, disproves the statement: the elder Pliny particularly, who devoted a whole chapter to the enumeration of eclipses and strange things, would surely have told us of this occurrence had it been true.” His friend the physician answered him with the following facts :
“ My dear friend, permit me to tell you where you obtained that statement concerning the silence of cotêmporary authors, and the chapter of Pliny devoted to eclipses. You read it in the second volume of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. There would be some degree of force in the statement, were it not for one individual circumstance; that is, it is not true!
A tree painted on paper may resemble an oak, but it is not an oak. There is not a word of truth in Mr. Gib. bón's account, although the falsehood is polished. That which he calls a distinct chapter of Pliny devoted to eclipses seems to have taken your full credence. Pliny has no such chapter! It is only a sentence, an incidental remark as it were. It consists of eighteen words. I will repeat them to you, if you wish to hear them. The import of the remark is, that eclipses are sometimes very long, like that after Cæsar's death, when the sun was pale almost a year. A man hears of many things which he does not write. Pliny does not mention the darkness, but Celsus does, and so do Thallus and Phlegon, Origen, Eusebius, Tertullian, and others, some of them Christians and some of them pagans.” (The reader can see Horne's introduction, 1 vol., chap. ii.) “ I am sorry you took the word of that author, splendid as were his talents, for he sometimes penned falsehood without scruple, if religion was his topic.”
The sick man was silent--fell into a long deep reve. ry-after a few days he said to a relative, “If what I read in youth gave my mind a wrong bias, I suppose I must abide the consequences, for I cannot investigate now.” He fell into convulsions and died.
Reflections.--Poor man! The truths of the Gospel and the evidences of Christianity were presented to him, and he turned away. He read a statement against the Bible, made by a modern historian who hated Christian. ity, and he received it at once, without asking further ! He took hold on a falsehood without one moment's delay
hesitation, relied upon and continued to believe it for twenty years, never asking after further testimony ! Surely men love darkness rather than light. Ten thou.
sand fruitful facts were before him and around him, on the page of history—they favoured Christianity, and he did not observe or remember them. The first historic lie he met, satisfied him. It seemed opposed to revelation.
MEN HAVE LOVED DARKNESS RATHER THAN LIGHT.
Case 2.-Several physicians of Virginia declared to each other that the Bible could not be true, because the doctrine of the resurrection was taught there, and this they deemed impossible. They mentioned the case of a man whose body was carried in fragments to different parts of the earth, and asked, with exulting laughter, how he was to recover his body after it had been dis. solved, mingled with earth, grown again into vegetables, then again forming a part of other animals and other bodies, age after age? Hundreds and thousands make this the strongest prop of their system of unbelief, but physicians are mentioned here because they are familiar with facts which would utterly forbid any one being in. fluenced a moment by such reasoning, unless he had a strong appetite for falsehood, and a full disrelish for the truth. That men of science have trusted in the hope that the resurrection could not take place, because part of the same body may have belonged to different men and different animals, exhibits so glaringly and undeni. ably the love for darkness, that we must take some time and some space to review the fabric of their confidence. We must encounter some toil, and exercise some pa. tience, to make that perfectly plain to the youthful, or