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Containing a brief view of the present state of the world,
the claims of Christianity, Missionary operations, character and efforts of Infidelity, foc.
At the present moment, there is, in the very heart of the Christian world, a principle directly subversive of the faith once delivered to the saints, the hope of the gospel, and that charity which is the bond of perfectness. It claims to be the friend of man, but it is, in truth, his greatest enemy. It offers to guide the wanderer through the wilderness of this world, and over the stormy ocean of life, but it only bewilders and misleads in the one case, and diverts and draws aside from the proper course in the other. Its watchword is, “ Beware of superstition and priestcraft, and the union of church and state.” Its motto is, “ Reason, Equality, and Liberty.” Its boast is, “Superior intelligence, and common sense;" and its continual cry is, “ Down with religion and fanaticism.” Its proper name is INFIDELITY. It is the first born of Apollyon, and is the determined enemy of God, of man, and of all right
In direct opposition to this, there is another principle, which, like its author, came down from heaven, and" is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
Between these two principles there is an avowed hostility, and so far as human agency is concerned, it remains for Christians to say which shall prevail. That victory will be eventually proclaimed on the side of Immanuel, admits of no question ; “ For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet;" but that Christians are justifiable in remaining at ease in Zion, while the whole world lieth in wickedness-standing all the day idle, while so many are destroyed for Jack of knowledge, admits of a doubt.
The superior excellency of Christianity above every other form of religion, is admitted by all who have examined, with an eye of candor, the comparative claims of each. As a light to guide our feet into the way
peace, its claims are pre-eminent. As a balm to heal the wounded conscience, it stands unrivalled. As offering the only foundation on which it is safe to build our hopes in life and in death, it has proved itself all-sufficient, and in the case of those who have long been the victims of contending claims, and to those who have turned away from every other help and have fled to lay hold on the hope it sets before them, it has proved itself a refuge in time of trouble. As a system of doctrines, it is sublime and pure, worthy the character of God and the acceptance of man. As a code of laws, its excellency is undisputed—its precepts have been eulogized even by its enemies ! Its predictions bear the marks of inspiration, and relate to the grandest features of human history.
The resurrection of the dead—the final judgment of all mankind, and the eternal destinies of all created intelligences, are also among its revelations. Its promises are eminently calculated to support the mind of the sinking penitent, the afflicted believer, the persecuted disciple, and the dying saint, and its faithful warnings have been the means of turning many to righteousness, who shall “ shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever."
The rites and ceremonies of pure Christianity are few and simple, and easily comprehended; its yoké is easy and its burden is light. It reqires no pilgrimages but those of faith, and prayer, and love; the first to the cross; the second to the throne of grace; and the last to the abodes of affliction and want. It enjoins no penance but that of unfeigned sorrow for sin, and a life of self-denial. To the guilty it offers pardon without money and without price. To the weary and heavy laden, it affords rest; and to the troubled, peace. Judaism, in comparison of Christianity, is as the light of the moon to the light of the sun ; while Mahommedanism and Paganism are as the glimmering of the stars ; and Infidelity is as a sky obscured by clouds, whose angry thunders roll, and vivid lightnings flash but to alarm and terrify, and whose meteors blaze but to astonish and affright.