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But God governs the world. It is not in his design to permit such men to arise. The Infidel has always had something about him, which has ascertained his obliquity to the eye, that has not been dimmed by the moral indisposition of the heart.
The low and scurrilous writers against Revelation carry their own condemnation with them. They are like an ill-looking fellow, who comes into a Court of Justice to give evidence, but carries the aspect, on the first glance, of a Town-Bully, ready to swear whatever shall be suggested to him.
Burke has painted the spirit of Democracy to the life. I have fallen in with some Democrats, who knew nothing of me. They have been subjects of great curiosity, when I could forget the horrid display of Sin that was before me. I saw a malignant eye-a ferocity- an intensity of mind on their point. Viewed in its temper and tendencies, Jacobinism is Devilism-Belialism. It takes the yoke of God and man--puts it on the ground and stamps on it. Every man is called out into exertion against it. It is an inveterate, malignant, blaspheming, atheistical, fierce spirit. It seems a toss-up with these men, whether Satan himself shall govern the world. Before such
I say not a word. Our Master has commanded us not to cast pearls before swine. I am vastly delighted with character-true and original character: but this is an awful and affecting display of it.
The Church has endured a PAGAN and a PAPAL persecution. There remains for her an INFIDEL persecution-general, bitter, purifying, cement
It is, perhaps, impossible, in the very nature of things, that such another scheme as Popery could be invented. It is, in truth, the Mystery of Iniquity: that it should be able to work itself into the simple, grand, sublime, holy institution of Christianity; and so to interweave its abominations with the truth, as to occupy the strongest passions of the soul, and to controul the strongest understandings! While Pascal can speak of Popery as he does, its influence over the mass of the people can excite no surprize. Those two master principles-That we must believe as the Church ordains, and That there is no salvation out of this Church-oppose, in the ignorance and fear which they beget, an almost insuperable barrier against the truth.
I have not such expectations of a Millenium as many entertain: yet I believe that the figures and expressions of prophecy have never received their accomplishment. They are too grand and ample, to have been fulfilled by any state, which the Church has hitherto seen. Christianity has yet had no face suitable to its dignity. It has savoured hitherto too much of man-of his institutions--of his prejudices-of his follies--of his sin. It must be drawn out-depicted exhibited demonstrated to the world. Its chief enemies have been the men by whom, nnder the profession of Hail, Master ! it has been distorted, abused, and vilified.
Popery was the master-piece of Satan. I believe him utterly incapable of such another contrivance. It was a systematic and infallible plan, for forming manacles and mufflers for the human mind. It was a well-laid design to render Chris tianity contemptible, by the abuse of its principles and its institutions. It was formed to overwhelm to enchant-to sit as the great Whore, making the Earth drunk with her fornications.
The Infidel Conspiracy approaches nearest to Popery. But Infidelity is a suicide. It dies by its own malignity. It is known and read of all men. , No man was ever injured essentially by it; who was fortified with a small portion of the genuine spirit of Christianity--its contrition and its docility. Nor is it one in its efforts : its end
is one; but its means are disjointed, various, and often clashing. Popery debases and alloys Christianity: but Infidelity is a furnace, wherein it is purified and refined. The injuries done to it by Popery, will be repaired by the very attacks of Infidelity
In the mean time, Christianity wears an enchanting form to all, who can penetrate through the mists thrown round it by its false friends and its avowed foes. The exiled French Priest raises the pity and indignation of all Christians, while he describes the infernal plots of the Infidel Conspirators against Christianity, and shews them in successful operation against his Church*. We seem, for a while, to forget her errors; and we view her for the moment, only so far as she possesses Christianity in common with ourselves. But, when he charges the origin of this Infidel Conspiracy on the principles asserted by the Waldenses or the Church of Geneva, the enchantment dissolves. We see that he is under the influence of a sophism; by which, having imposed upon himself, he would impose upon others. With him, Christianity and his Church mean one and the same thing. A separation from his Church, is a separation from Christianity; and proceeds on principles which lead necessarily, if pursued to their issues, to every abomination of Infidelity. But let him know that the Church of
Alluding to Barruel's Memoirs of Jacobinism. VOL. III.
Geneva protested against the false friend of Christianity; and that, if the avowed enemy of Christianity had then elevated himself, she would have protested with equal zeal against him. Let him. know, that, if his Church had listened to the voice of the Reformer, the enemy of Christianity would have wanted ground for footing to his attacks. The Papist falsely charges the Reformer, as the father of Infidelity: the Infidel maliciously confounds Popery and Christianity: but the true Christian is as far from the licentiousness of the Infidel, as he is from the corruption of the Papist.
I am not inclined to view things in a gloomy aspect. Christianity must undergo a renovation. If God has sent his Son, and has declared that he will exalt him on his throne-the earth and all that it inherit are contemptible in the view of such a plan! If this be God's design--proceed it does, and proceed it will. Christianity is such a holy and spiritual affair, that perhaps all human institutions are to be destroyed to make way for it. Men may fashion things as they will; but, if there is no effusion of the Spirit of God on their institutions, they will remain barren and lifeless. Many Christians appear to have forgotten this.