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mon on the Mount, as contained in the 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of St. Matthew? or the prayer that he taught his disciples to use? or the lesson on charity which St. Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth? A professed Atheist once asked me the question, - What is God?" I answered, “God is a Spirit.” He asked me a second time, “ What is God?” I answered, “God is Light.” He asked me a third time, “ What is God ?" I answered, “ God is Love." He inquired again, “ Who ever saw God, or heard him speak?” I answered,
“ Thou hear'st the rustling among the trees,
"Tis the wind that rustles among the trees,
The wind is something thou canst not see,
And those who are under the Spirit's control,
Sacred Musical Offering.
Our religion is of divine origin—“It is from above, and is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” Witness the con
duct of Christ, and of the first martyr, who both prayed for their murderers. Can this be said of Deism, and of its disciples ? Our religion teaches us to deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Can this be said of Infidelity? Our religion is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Our Bible tells us that the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. xxxv. 10.) It tells of a state when “ God shall wipe away all tears from his servant's eyes, and when there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, nor pain.” (Rev. xxi. 4.) Can any thing like this, calculated at once to inspire our hope, to exercise our faith, to dissipate our fears, and increase our love to God, be found in any or all the infidel writings in the world?
Who are they that fill our hospitals, penitentiaries, and prisons—the true believers or unbelievers ? Or, to soften the question a little, To what does Bible Christianity lead, when carried to its utmost point ? And to what does a bold and fearless infidelity lead, when traced to its final result ? Many infidels have been converted on a death bed, but no one ever abjured Christianity in a dying hour!
ON THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF HUMAN NATURE.
“ The Lord looked down from heaven upon the chil
dren of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy : there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”—Psalm xiv. 2, 3.
The source of all infidelity is the depravity of the human heart, the universal corruption of our common nature. Aside from the declarations of Scripture, we have proofs innumerable, that man is totally depraved; but one passage from the book of God is sufficient to settle this question—“ The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” The Scriptures, however, are uniform and invariable in their testimony on this point. From Genesis to Revelation, in one way or other, they most unequivocally declare that “man is
from original righteousness.” In the sixth chapter of Genesis, it is recorded that “ God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only
evil continually—the earth was filled with violence -for all flesh had corrupted his way.” This is an awful account, and from it we learn that the depravity of man, at that time, was as original as the first germs of thought; as universal as every imagination of his heart; as constant and unceasing as the act of breathing; as extensive as the race of men, and as daring as their powers would admit. 6. The surface of the earth was the theatre of crime ; its productions were abused to the nourishment of the worst passions; the atmosphere was rent with oaths, and polluted with blasphemies; the springs of domestic life were poisoned ; its sacred ties were burst asunder ; authority was derided and defied; oppression reigned, and robbery and murder were the incidents of every day.”—(Rev. P. M'Owan.)
Such was the condition of the old world, which, according to the testimony of Moses, was so overrun with crime, so overspread with iniquity, that “it repented the Lord that he had made man.” So hopeless was their case, that their recovery was impossible. Except in the family of Noah, there was no religion in the world, not even the form of godliness, much less the power; there was not even the semblance of piety, nor the least vestige of the worship of the true and living God—“God was not in all their thoughts." But if the Old World was destroyed for its impiety, might we not expect that the New World would profit by such a solemn admonition? Yet such was not the case, for 6 when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” So little was the heart of man improved by those heavy judgments, which had swept into one common grave all the original inhabitants of the earth, except one single family. And the descendants of this chosen family, instead of profiting by the chastisements of Heaven, fell on a new expedient of offending the God of their fathers. 66 The Old World,” says an old divine, " was destroyed for its no-religion, and the New World was soon overrun with a false one, which is worse than none at all.” And it is remarkable, that this second and greater error of mankind, which was worse than the first, was the dictate of what some people call Reason, or “ wisdom,” as the Apostle Paul styles it. “Professing themselves wise,” says he, " they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God, into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to four-footed beasts, and to creeping things."
This was the origin of idolatry, which was introduced into the world by the descendants of Noah, soon after the flood, and was at once the project of their wisdom and the proof of their folly; for what greater stupidity can man evince, than to pay his devotions to a dumb idol? We sometimes account Atheism the greatest folly, but it would seem that Idolatry is, at least, one remove farther from true wisdom than even Atheism itself, for it were better to acknowledge no God at all, than to say to a stock or a stone, “ Thou art my God.”
That tremendous account of the depravity of man, given in the first chapter of Romans, is but too true a picture of the Gentile world, from the