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whose cries will pierce your hearts, and which, by tightening the ties that bind you to the world, will retain your souls on earth, while they long to ascend to heaven. He will terrify you with ideas of divine justice, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries, Heb. x. 27. He will paint dismal colours to you, the procession at your funeral, the torch, the shroud, and the grave.

But he who is in you,' will render you invulnerable to all these attacks. He will represent to you the delightful relations you are going to form; the heavenly societies to which you are going to be united; the blessed angels, waiting to receive your souls. He will show you that in the tomb of Jesus Christ which will sanctify yours. He will



remind you of that death of the Saviour which renders your's precious in the sight of God. He will open the gates of heaven to you, and will enable you to see, without a sigh, the foundations of the earth sinking away from your feet. He will change the groans of your death-beds into songs of triumph; and, amidst all your horrors, he will teach each of you to xult, Blessed be the Lord my strength, who teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight,' Ps. cxliv. 1. Thanks be unto God, who always causeth us to triumph in Christ,' 2 Cor. ii. 14. 'O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1 Cor. xv. 55. God grant you this blessing. To him be honour and glory. Amen.


They say, the Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?

INVECTIVE and reproach seldom proceed from the mouth of a man who loves truth and defends it. They are the unusual weapons of them who plead a desparate cause; who feel themselves hurt by a formidable adversary who have not the equity to yield when they ought to yield; and who have no other part to take than that of supplying the want of solid reasons by odious


Yet, whatever charity we may have for erroneous people, it is difficult to see with moderation men obstinately maintaining some errors, guiding their minds by the corruption of their hearts, and choosing rather to advance the most palpable absurdities, than to give the least check to the most irregular passions. Hear how the sacred authors treat people of this character: 'My people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, they have no understanding. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass, his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart. O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?' Jer. iv. 22; Isa. i. 3; Hos. vii. 11; Matt. iii. 7; and Gal. iii. 1.

Not to multiply examples, let it suffice to remark, that if ever there were men who deserved such odious names, they are such

eye, He

as our prophet describes. Those abominable men, I mean, who, in order to violate the laws of religion without remorse, maintain that religion is a chimera; who break down all the bounds which God has set to the wickedness of mankind, and who determine to be obstinate infidels, that they may be peaceable libertines. The prophet therefore lays aside, in respect to them, that charity which a weak mind would merit, that errs only through the misfortune of a bad education, or the limits of a narrow capacity. 'O ye most brutish among the people,' says he to them, understand. Ye fools when will yo be wise?"


People of this sort I intend to attack today. Not that I promise myself much suc. cess with them, or entertain hopes of reclaiming them. These are the fools of whom Solomon says, though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him,' Prov. xxvii. 22. But I am endeavouring to prevent the progress of the evil, and to guard our youth against favourable impressions of infidelity and libertinism, which have already decoyed away too many of our young people, and to confirm you all in your attachment to your holy religion. Let us enter into the

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In the style of the sacred authors, particularly in that of our prophet, to deny the existence of a God, the doctrine of Provi

dence, and the essential difference between just and unjust, is one and the same thing. Compare the psalm out of which I have taken my text, with the fourteenth, with the fiftythird, and particularly with the tenth, and you will perceive, that the prophet confounds them, who say in their hearts, there is no God, with those who say, God hath forgotten; he hideth his face, he will never see it,' Ps. x. 11.


pain.' Tolerable reflections in a book, plausible arguments in a public auditory! But weak reflections, vain arguments, in a bed of infirmity, while a man is suffering the pain of the gout or the stone!

O! how necessary is religion to us in these fatal circumstances! It speaks to us in a manner infinitely more proper to comfort us under our heaviest afflictions! Religion says to you, 'Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil and good,' Lam. iii. 38. He formeth light, and createtli darkness; he maketh peace, and createth evil,' Isa. xlv. 7. Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?' Amos iii. 6. Religion tells you, that if God affiicts you it is for your own advantage; is, that, being uneasy on earth, you may take your flight towards heaven; that 'your light affliction, which is but for a moment, may work for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,' 2 Cor. iv. 17. Religion bids you not to think it strange, concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you,' 1 Pet. iv. 12, but to believe, that 'the


IV. His logic, or, to speak more properly, trial of your faith, being much more precious his way of reasoning.

than that of gold, which perisheth, will be found unto praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ,' chap. i. 7.

In effect, although the last of these doctrines may be maintained without admitting the first, yet the last is no less essential to religion than the first. And although a man may be a deist, and an epicurean, without being an atheist, yet the system of an atheist is no more odious to God than that of an epicurean, and that of a deist.

I shall therefore make but one man of these different men, and, after the examble of the prophet, I shall attack him with the same arms. In order to justify the titles that he gives an infidel, I shall attack,

1. His taste.

II. His policy.

III. His indocility.

V. His morality.

VI. His conscience.

VII. His politeness and knowledge of the world.

But religion is above all necessary in the grand vicissitude, in the fatal point, to which all the steps of life tend; I mean, at the hour of death. For at length, after we have rushed into all pleasures, after we have sung well, danced well, feasted well, we must die, we must die. And what, pray, except religion can support a man, struggling with the king of terrors? Job xviii. 14. A man, who sees his grandeur abased, his fortune distributed, his connexions dissolved, his senses benumbed, his grave dug, the world retiring from him, his bones hanging on the verge of the grave, and his soul divided between the horrible hope of sinking into nothing, and the dreadful fear of falling into the hands of an angry God.

In all these reflections, which I shall proportion to the length of these exercises, I shall pay more regard to the genius of our age than to that of the times of the prophet: and I shall do this the rather, because we cannot determine on what occasion the psalm was composed of which the text is a part.

I. If you consider the taste, the discernment, and choice of the people, of whom the prophet speaks, you will see he had a great right to denominate them, most brutish and foolish. What an excess must a man have attained, when he hates a religion without which he cannot but be miserable! Who, of the happiest of mankind, does not want the succour of religion? What disgraces at court! What mortifications in the army! What accidents in trade! What uncertainty in science! What bitterness in pleasure! What injuries in reputation! What inconstancy in riches! What disappointments in projects! What infidelity in friendship! What vicissitudes in fortune! Miserable man! What will support thee under so many calamities? What miserable comforters are the passions in these sad periods of life! How inadequate is philosophy itself, how improper is Zeno, how unequal are all his followers, to the task of calming a poor mortals when they tell him, 'Misfortunes are reneweth the inward man day by day,' 2 Cor. inseparable from human nature. No man iv. 16. It is that which dissipates the hor should think himself exempt from any thing rors of the valley of the shadow of death,' that belongs to the condition of mankind. If Ps. xxiii 4. It is that which cleaves the maladies be violent, they will be short; if clouds in the sight of a departing Stephen; they be long, they will be tolerable. A fatal tells a converted thief, 'to-day shalt thou benecessity prevails over all mankind; com-in paradise,' Luke xxiii. 43, and cries to all plaints and regrets cannot change the order true penitents, Blessed are the dead which of things. A generous soul should be supe- die in the Lord,' Rev. xiv. 13. rior to all events, it should despise a tyrant, II. Having taken the unbelieving libertine defy fortune, and render itself insensible to on his own interest, I take him on the public

In sight of these formidable objects, fall, fall, ye bandages of infidelity! ye veils of obscurity and depravity! and let me perceive how necessary religion is to man. It is that which sweetens the bitterest of all bitters. It is that which disarms the most invincible monster. It is that which transforms the most frightful of all objects into an object of gratitude and joy. It is that which calms the conscience, and confirms the soul. It is that which presents to the dying believer another being, another life, another economy, other objects, and other hopes. It is that which, while the outward man perisheth,


interest, and having attacked his taste and discernment, I attack his policy. An infidel is a disturber of public peace; who, by undertaking to sap the foundations of religion, undermines those of society. Society cannot subsist without religion. If plausible objections may be formed against this proposition, it is because opponents have had the art of disguising it. To explain it, is to preclude the sophisms which are objected against it. Permit us to lay down a few explanatory principles.

First. When we say, Society cannot subsist without religion, we do not comprehend in our proposition all the religions in the world. The proposition includes only those religions which retain the fundamental principles that constitute the base of virtue; as the immortality of the soul, a future judgment, a particular Providence. We readily grant there may be in the world a religion worse than atheism; for example, any religion that should command its votaries to kill, to assassinate, to betray. And as we readily grant this truth to those who take the pains to maintain it, so whatever they oppose to us, taken from the religions of pagans, which were hurtful to society, is only vain declamations, that prove nothing against


Secondly. When we affirm, Society cannot subsist without religion, we do not pretend, that religion, which retains articles safe to society, may not so mix those articles with other principles pernicious to it, that they may seem at first sight worse than atheisin. We affirm only, that to take the whole of such a religion, it is more advantageous to society to have it than to be destitute of it. All, therefore, that is objected against our proposition concerning those wars, crusades, and persecutions, which were caused by superstition, all this is only vain sophistry, which does not affect our thesis in the least.

Thirdly. When we say, Society cannot subsist without religion, we do not say, that religion, even the purest religion, may not cause some disorders in society; but we affirm only, that these disorders, however numerous, cannot counterbalance the benefits which religion procures to it. So that all objections, taken from the troubles which zeal for truth may have produced in some circumstances, are only vain objections, that cannot weaken our proposition.

Fourthly. When we affirm, Society cannot subsist without religion, we do not affirm that all the virtues which are displayed in society proceed from religious principles; so that all just magistrates are just for their love of equity; that all grave ecclesiastics are serious because they respect their character; that all chaste women are chaste from a principle of love to virtue: human motives, we freely grant, often prevail instead of better. We affirm only, that religious principles are infinitely more proper to regulate society than human motives. Many persons, we maintain, do actually govern their conduct by religious principles, and society would be incomparably more irregular, were there no religion in it. That list of virtues, therefore, which only education and consti

tution produce, does not at all affect the principle which we are endeavouring to establish; and he, who takes his objections from it, does but beat the air.

Lastly. When we affirm, Society cannot subsist without religion, we do not say, that all atheists and deists ought therefore to abandon themselves to all sorts of vices; nor that they who have embraced atheism, if indeed there have been any such, were always the most wicked of mankind. Many people of these characters, we own, lived in a regular manner. We affirm only, that irreligion, of itself, opens a door to all sorts of vices; and that men are so formed, that their disorders would increase were they to disbelieve the doctrines of the existence of a God, of judgment, and of providence. All the examples, therefore, that are alleged against us, of a Diagoras, of a Theodorus, of a Pliny, of a Vanini, of some societies, real or chimerical, who, it is pretended, lived regular lives without the aid of religion; all these examples, I say, make nothing against our hypothesis.

These explanations being granted, we maintain, that no politician can succeed in a design of uniting men in one social body without supposing the truth and reality of religion. For, if there be no religion, each member of society may do what he pleases; and then each would give a loose to his passions; each would employ his power in crushing the weak; his cunning in deceiving the simple, his eloquence in seducing the credulous, his credit in ruining commerce, his authority in distressing the whole with horror and terror, and carnage and blood. Frightful disorders in their nature; but necessary on principles of infidelity! For, if you suppose these disorders may be prevented, their prevention must be attributed either to private interest, to worldly honour, or to human laws.

But private interest cannot supply the place of religion. True, were all men to agree to obey the precepts of religion, each would find his own account in his own obedience. But it does not depend on an individual to oppose a popular torrent, to reform the public, and to make a new world: and, while the world continues in its present state, he will find a thousand circumstances in which virtue is incompatible with private interest.

Nor can worldly honour supply the place of religion. For what is worldly honour? It is a superficial virtue; an art, that one man possesses, of disguising himself from another; of deceiving politely; of appearing virtuous rather than of being actually so. If you extend the limits of worldly honour farther, if you make it consist in that purity of conscience, and in that rectitude of intention, which are in effect firm and solid foundations of virtue, you will find, either that this is only a fine idea of what almost nobody is capable of, or, if I may be allowed to say so, that the virtues which compose your complex idea of worldly honour are really branches of religion.

Finally, Human laws cannot supply the place of religion. To whatever degree of perfection they may be improved, they will


1 JOHN iv. 4.

Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

which we are going to fix their attention, Greater is he that is in them, than he that is in the world. Amen.

Two preliminary remarks will elucidate our subject:

THAT appearance, which is recorded in the second book of Kings, chap. vi. 8, &c. was very proper to embolden the timid servant of Elisha. The king of Syria was at war with the king of Israel. The wise counsel of the prophet was more advantageous to his prince than that of his generals was. The Syrian thought, if he could render himself master of such an extraordinary man, he could easily subdue the rest of the Israelites. In order to ensure success he surrounded Dothan, the dwelling place of the prophet, with his troops in the night. The prophet's servant was going out early the next morning with his master, when on seeing the numerous Syrian forces, he trembled, and exclaimed, Alas! my master, how shall we do?' Fear not, replied Elisha,' they that be with us, are more than they that be with them. To this he added, addressing himself to God in prayer, Lord, open his eyes that he may see!' The prayer was heard. The servant of Elisha presently saw the sufficient ground, of his master's confidence; he discovered a celestial multitude of horses, and chariots of fire, which God had sent to defend his servant from the king of Syria.



1. Although the proposition in my text is general, and regards all Christians, yet St. John wrote it with a particular view to those persons to whom he addressed the epistle from which we have taken it. In order to ascertain this, reflect on the times of the apostles, and remark the accomplishment of that prophecy which Jesus Christ had some time before delivered. He had foretold, that there would arise in Judea false Christs, and false prophets, who would show great signs and wonders, insomuch that (if it were possible), they would deceive the very elect,' Matt. xxiv. 24. This prophecy was to be accomplished immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem: and to that period learned men assign the publication of this epistle. St. John calls the time in which he wrote, 'the last time,' chap. ii. 18, that is to say, in the Jewish style, the time in which the metropolis of Judea was to be destroyed: and adds the sign by which Christians might know, How often, my brethren, have you trem- that it was the last time; as ye have heard bled at the sight of that multitude of enemies that Antichrist shall come, even now are which is let loose against you? When you there many Antichrists; whereby we know have seen yourselves called to wrestle, as St. that it is the last time.' Remark those words, Paul speaks, not only against flesh and as ye have heard: the apostle meant by blood, but against principalities, against pow-them, to remind his readers of the propbecy ers, against spiritual wickedness in high pla- of Jesus Christ. ces; against the sophisms of error, against I do not pretend now to inquire what sedu the tyrants of the church, and which is still cers Jesus Christ particularly intended in this more formidable, against the depravity of prophecy. Simon the Sorcerer may be playour own hearts: how often in these cases ced in the class of false Christs. There is a have you exclaimed, Alas! how shall we do? very remarkable passage to this purpose in Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Cor. the tenth verse of the eighth chapter of Acts. ii. 16 'Who then can be saved?' Matt. It is there said, that this impostor had so bexix. 25. witched the people of Samaria, that all, from the least to the greatest, said, This man is the great power of God.' What means this phrase, the great power of God? It is the title which the ancient Jews gave the Messiah. Philo, treating of the divine essence, establishes the mystery of the Trinity, as clearly as a Jew could establish it, who had no other guide than the Old Testament. He speaks first of God; then of what he calls the logos, the word (the same term is translated word in the first chapter of the gospel of St. John), and he calls this word the great power of God, and distinguishes him from a third person, whom he denominates the second power. Moreover, Origen says, Simon the sorcerer took the title of Son of God, a title which the Jews had appropriated to the Messiah.

But take courage, Christian wrestlers! < they that be with you are more than they that are against you. O Lord! open their eyes that they may see! May they see the great cloud of witnesses,' Heb. xii, 1, who fought in the same field to which they are called, and there obtained a victory! May they see the blessed angels who encamp round about them, to protect their persons, and to defeat their foes! May they see the powerful aid of that Spirit which thou hast given them! May they see Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, Ps. xxxiv. 7; 1 John iii. 24, and Heb. xii. 2, who animates them from heaven, and the eternal rewards which thou art preparing to crown their perseverance! and may a happy experience teach them that truth, on

As there were false Christs in the time of St. John, so there were also false prophets, that is, false teachers. These St. John has characterized in the chapters which precede my text; and the portraits drawn by the apostle are so exactly like those which the primitive fathers of the church have exhibited of Ebion and Cerinthus, that it is easy to know them. A particular investigation of this subject would divert our attention too far from our principal design; and it shall suffice at present to observe, that these impostors caused great mischiefs in the church. Simon, the sorcerer, indeed, at first, renouncing ed his imposture; but he soon adopted it again. Justin Martyr informs us, that, in his time, there remained some disciples of that wretch, who called him the first intelligence of the divinity, that is, the word; and who named Helen, the associate of Simon in his imposture, the second intelligence of the divinity, by which title they intended to describe the Holy Ghost, Only they, who are novices in the history of primitive Christianity, can be ignorant of the ravages, which Ébion and Cerinthus made in the church.


2. But this produces another difficulty, and the solution of it is my second article. It should seem, if the apostle had reason to say of them who had persevered in Christianity, that he who was in them was greater than he who was in the world,' seducers also had reason to say, that he who was in those whom they had seduced, was greater than he who was in persevering Christians. Satan has still, in our day, more disciples than Jesus Christ. Can it be said, that Satan, is greater than Jesus Christ? Can it be said, that the means employed by that lying and murder


But Jesus Christ had foretold, and all ages have verified the prediction, that the gates of hell should not prevail against the church,' Matt. xvi. 18. The most specious sophisms of Ebion and Cerinthus, the most seducing deceptions of Simon and his associates, did not draw off one of the elect from Jesus Christ; the faithful followers of the Son of God, notwithstanding their dispersion triumphed over false Christs, and false teachers. St. John extols their victory in the words of my text; 'Ye have overcome them (says he), because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.'

spirit to seduce mankind, are superior to those which the Holy Spirit employs to illuminate them? No, my brethren; and our answer to these questions, which requires your particular attention, will serve to elucidate one of the most obscure articles of religion. We will endeavour to express the matter clearly to all our attentive hear ers.

We must carefully distinguish a mean applied to an irrational agent from a mean applied to an intelligent agent. A mean, that is applied to an irrational agent, can never be accounted superior to the obstacles which oppose it, unless its superiority be justified by success. A certain degree of power is requisite to move a mass of a certain weight; a degree of power superior to the weight of a certain mass will never fail to move the mass out of its place, and to force it away.


But it is not so with the means which are applied to intelligent beings; they are not always attended with that success which, it should seem, ought to follow the application of them. I attempt to prove to a man, on whom nature has bestowed common sense, that if an equal number be taken from an It seems almost needless precisely to equal number, an equal number will remain. point out here whom St. John means by I propose my demonstration to him with all him, who is in believers,' and by him who possible clearness, and he has no less faculty is in the world;' or to determine which of the to comprehend it, than I have to propose it. different senses of commentators seem to us He persists, however, in the opposite prothe most defensible. Some say, the apostle position: but his obstinacy is the only cause intended the Holy Spirit by him who is in of his error; he refuses to believe me, beyou; others think, he meant Jesus Christ; cause he refuses to hear me. Were an atand others suppose him speaking of the prin- tentive and teachable man to yield to my ciple of regeneration, which is in Christians, demonstration, while the former persisted in and which renders them invulnerable by all denying it, could it be reasonably said then, the attacks of the world. In like manner, if we that motives of incredulity in the latter were endeavour to affix a distinct idea to the other superior to motives of credulity? We must terms, 'him who is in the world;' some pre-distinguish, then, a mean applied to an inteltend that St. John means Satan; others, that ligent being, from a mean applied to an irrahe expresses, in a vague manner, all the means tional being. which the world employs to seduce good men. But, whatever difference there may appear in these explications, they all come to the same sense. For if the apostle speaks of the inhabitation of Jesus Christ, it is certain, He dwells in us by his Holy Spirit; and if he means the Holy Spirit, it is certain he dwells in us by the principles of regeneration. In like manner in regard to the other proposition. If it be Satan, who, the apostle says, is in the world, he is there undoubtedly by the errors which his amissaries published there, and by the vices which they introduce there. The design of the apostle, therefore, is to show the superiority of the means which God employs to save us, to those which the world employ to destroy us.

Farther. Among the obstacles, with which intelligent beings resist means applied to them, physical obstacles must be distinguished from moral obstacles. Physical obstacles are such as necessarily belong to the being that resists, so that there is no faculty to remove them. I propose to an infant a conclusion, the understanding of which depends on a chain of propositions, which he is incapable of following. The obstacle, which I find in him, is an obstacle merely physical; he has not a faculty to remove it.

I propose the same conclusion to a man of mature age; he understands it no more than the infant just now mentioned: but his ignorance does not proceed from a want of those faculties which are necessary to com

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