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words inflexible obstinacy; and when he informs us that there were certain things which they could not, by any means, be compelled to do, he has told us all the fortitude and faithfulness we were asking after. Reader, become acquainted with similar declarations and other scraps, or detached passages, from different heathen writers, and you will not demand information from Christian authors.
The unbeliever had pronounced it hard of belief, that many congregations, in the circumstances named, for many years at a time, should think themselves capable, by using the name of Christ, of curing lepers, the blind and lame, unless it were so.
To think that they lived long with those who had once been dead, and were in habits of intimacy with those who were born blind; and to think that they remembered the Sabbath, and the hour when they saw them restored, &c. he thought that these delusions were not likely to happen in many congregations, say one hundred, at the same time, or to continue very long, week after week, say for five years, particularly if all the profit to each member was the loss of goods and worldly honour and life! He was reminded by his friend, that his difficulty would be somewhat increased after taking into account the fact, that those who sustain insult-meekly, and suffering uncomplainingly, but with a quiet fortitude, immoveable and deathless, are not the characters easily led into any vain delusion. It would be no harder to believe that a leper was cleansed, or a blind man made to see, at the command of the Creator, than to believe that ten thousand eyes, belonging to such characters as we have named, were deceived in supposing that they saw incurable diseases healed every Sab.
bath, for many months, when it was not so! It would be to believe in a miracle indeed, one hard of belief, to suppose that in very many different and distant na. tions at the same time, in open day and public streets, in cities, towns and villages without number, ten thou. sand eyes were deceived in thinking they saw, ten thousand ears in fancying they heard, and ten thousand hands in supposing they handled, those who had been dead, or dumb, lame or afflicted with all manner of diseases, healed and restored.
Again, this aged unbeliever was asked, if it were easy to believe that these Churches had all united to deceive? That they were not deluded themselves, but had entered into a combination to delude others ? His friend observed that he seemed somewhat perplexed. He remembered that it was the testimony of their enemies, that they were formidable to cheats and impostors. He remembered, that according to Pagan authors, it was a noted part of Christian character to be often in the habit to renew their solemn pledges, never to cheat, lie, or deceive! He confessed it was hard to believe that the pure, and meek, and firm, kind and inflexible, who would lose life at any moment, rather than deny their word, all of which peculiarities their different enemies avow of them, should be the actors in such a scene of deception. Any limb of his creed, any part of his system, when taken and followed out, he would agree was hard to believe ; but that our kind Creator should have pitied our condition, should have descended to in. struct and to die for us, should then offer us a heaven of purity, where he himself resides, was what that aged immortal never would believe. It is true, that the willfully ignorant, who do not
know what either friends or enemies said of the chara acter of early Christians, are incapable of understand. ing any arguments on such points. Nevertheless, it is a fact, that the sceptical, who have partially informed themselves (we say partially, for we never knew one who had industriously informed himself,) will swallow the greatest absurdities, they will take down the widest incredibilities on the side of darkness, rather than believe any one plain, simple gospel fact, as related in the New Testament. And of all men on earth, unbelievers have to be the most credulous. They dare not carry out their creeds into particulars. Their doctrines wound and destroy each otherto such an extent, that they do not venture to state them clearly, but let it pass, saying, “ I do not know how it is."
YEN, WHO CAST AWAY THE BIBLE, ARE CREDULOUS IN
Case of a Moralist.-—There was a man who scorned Christianity, but was at the same time a great advocate for orderly behaviour. He seemed to rely much
upon his honesty in dealing; he defrauded no man. His friend said to him : “ Let me ask
you what do you believe? You must believe something. You say that you believe that God has made us, and placed us here. Thus far I agree with you, for here we are. The world he has made for our abode, is one of considerable size, and well made. Our bodies are strangely made. We are curiosi. ties to ourselves. We feel at times a strong inclination
to know if our spirits are to die with our bodies, or if they are to live on. It would not have been very hard for our Maker to have given us some information on this, and on similar points, if he had chosen to communicate
with us. I should love to know how long I am to exist. I should love to know what my Maker likes, and what he dislikes ; what he approves, and what he hates. He must be a Being of preferences. Intellectual beings always have choice. Some conduct must please, and the opposite of it displease him. I should have been glad to know some of these things, had he been able to inform me.
Has he placed me here a wonder to myself, to guess at his will; or has he told me something of my origin, how long since man was made, what he expects or wishes from him, and what is to be his future fortune? Is my Creator amusing himself at my perplexities, or has he left some guide by which I may find out all necessary knowledge ?” The moralist allowed that our heav. enly Father had not left us in the dark, unkindly, or neglectfully. He said that reason was to be our in. structer. He was loud and eloquent in praise of that celestial lamp, as he called it, which was to show the path of duty to every man.
He said he had no use for the Bible, but reason directed him in every strait. His friend replied to him, in substance as follows : “My dear sir, all your system of rectitude, &c., so far as it is worth any thing, you have stolen from the Bible. You are like the man who had taken up some strange hatred to the orb of day. He turned his back upon the sun and exclaimed, I have no use for your light. I can see with. out your beams. My Creator has given me eyes for that purpose, and I use them, and do see all around me without looking at you.
He thought that because his
eye was never directed towards the sun, that therefore he did not use his light. But he was using light which had been reflected and thrown in a thousand different directions. So because you never read in the Bible, you hope you are not using its contents. All you have, and all
you know, which is valuable, you obtained from thence, or from those who received it thence for
you.' Reader, this position we will prove, and then show what the moralist has to believe who thinks differently.
If you will take the map of the world, and a pencil, then sit down and draw a black line around that portion of the earth, where the Bible has been in the longest and most plentiful circulation, where every class, high and low, are able to read, and do read the volume most commonly, and with most ease, such as England, Scotland, and the United States of America, there you will find men most enlightened, and most amiable in demeanor. There, wherever are most Bibles, men are less cruel, less polluted, and less unprincipled. There they are less inclined to kneel before images of wood and stone, and more ready to understand, and to practice the law of forgiveness and of love. Then sit down and draw a vis. ible line around those countries, where there are no Bi. bles, where none have been for generations, and there you will find most cruelty, most pollution, most absurd notions of Deity, and most darkness. Finally, mark off those sections of earth where that book has a partial circulation, as in Catholic countries, where it is read by a portion of the people, and with a medium frequency only, and there you will find a twilight in every thing.
The moralist is either afraid to look long at, or to fol. low out such facts, or he says “it happened so." He believes in casualty to an almost unlimited extent.