« PreviousContinue »
world; a joy which has never found language to express itself, a peace that passeth all understanding. Now is the time, alas! not only now, but the time has ever been, to declare ourselves on the Lord's side. Men have been ever found, who have daringly and insidiously attacked the Religion of Jesus Christ; men, who have known how "to cast
"*O'er erring deeds and thoughts, a heavenly hue
Of words like sun-beams, dazzling as
which o'er them shed tears feelingly and fast;"
and a poor pitiful set have been more abundant, who resemble Spenser's
"Fruitful, cursed spawne of serpents small, The brood of Errour, which may encumber sore."
* Childe Harold.
I wish I could add,
"But cannot hurt at all."
No, it is by this "spawne of Errour” that the ignorant and happy poor are taught to doubt, are bewildered, and made miserable. It is by the weak and shallow arguments and misquoting of such persons, that many a young man of independent spirit is induced to give up the Bible, which he has perhaps never studied; the Religion that he has only professed: but I may talk thus for ever; only let me entreat, earnestly entreat every one, the young in particular, those just entering on the morning of manhood, to whom I address this volume, to take up the Bible, and (praying for the assistance of the spirit, which can alone guide us unto all truth,) in a humble and teachable mind, to read
and judge for themselves. If there be but the slightest chance that the Christian Religion is true, it is a positive duty to search into that truth. Who would refuse to enter some region of eternal happiness, because it was necessary to inquire the way? Let me conclude in these solemn words of a well-known author. "If you have done with Christianity, and determine to live and conduct yourself as if it were assuredly false, sit down then and make a memorandum of. that determination. Write it down on such a day, of such a year, I deliberately resolved that I would live and die rejecting Christianity myself, and doing all I could to overthrow it this day I determined to renounce all subjection to and expectation from Jesus of Nazareth, in calm defiance
of that day, when his followers assert, he shall appear in so much majesty and terror to execute the vengeance threatened to his enemies.' Dare you write this and sign it? if you dare not do it, whence does that small remainder of caution arise? The cause is plain: there is in your conscience some secret apprehension, that this rejected, this opposed, this derided gospel, may after all prove true. Go thy way for this time,' was the language and ruin of unhappy Felix, when he trembled under the reasoning and expostulations of the Apostle Paul. The tempter presumed not to urge, that he should give up all thoughts of repentance and reformation; but only, that, considering the present hurry of his affairs (as no doubt they were many,) he should defer it to a