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prove more powerful and more successful, in the hands of truth, than in those of error; and let us, with that view, give all possible encouragement to a Society, which is instituted for the very purpose of furnishing us with a constant supply of the best helps towards counteracting the pernicious designs of those who "set themselves against us;" who make use of every artifice to deprive us of all religion, or to introduce a corrupt oneInconsiderable and trivial as the little treatises dispersed by the Society may seem, yet it is by the repeated efforts of such small instruments as these, that the greatest effects are often produced. Their numbers, their plainness, and their cheapness, will give them a force and efficacy, and extent of circulation, which much more voluminous and more laboured compositions may not be able to acquire ; just as we see that the lowest and humblest, and most numerous bodies of men, not the opulent and splendid few, are those that constitute the real strength and wealth of the community.
It has been frequently asserted, that it is philosophy, modern philosophy, which has
enlightened and improved mankind. But whom has it enlightened and improved? A small knot, perhaps, of wits and philosophers, and learned men; but how have the multitude, the bulk of the people, those who really constitute the world, been enlightened and improved? Do they read the works of Bolingbroke, of D'Alembert, of Hume, or of Raynal? Thauks be to God, those elaborate and bulky compositions are equally beyond their understandings to comprehend, their leisure to peruse, and their ability to purchase. And even the smaller pieces above-mentioned of Voltaire and others, are not calculated for the lowest classes of mankind, but for men of some education and some talents. And. their object is not to inform, but to perplex and mislead; not to convince by argument, but to entertain with strokes of wit and buffoonery. Most fortunately for mankind, the mischief of such writings is confined (comparatively speaking) to a very narrow circle, which their admirers, however, are pleased to dignify with the name of the world. The vulgar, the vile populace, so far are those great philosophers from desiring to instruct and
reform, that they think them utterly unworthy of a reasonable religion. This the most eminent of their fraternity has declared in express terms.” On the other hand, the Author of our Religion declares, that he came “to preach the Gospel to the poor.” Here, then, you see opposed to each other the spirit of CHRISTIANITY and the spirit of PHILosophy. Judge ye for yourselves, which is most worthy of God and beneficial to man, and make your choice accordingly. If you take PHILosophy for your guide, you will despise the humble employment of diffusing religious knowledge among the common people; but if you choose CHRIST for your master, you will give a proof of it this day, by patronizing a Society that forms itself on his model, and professes to carry on the great work of reformation which He begun, in the very way which he pointed out, “ by “preaching the Gospel to the poor.”
* M. Voltaire, speaking of certain superstitious sects in China, has these very remarkable words: “Ces sectes sont “tolerées a la Chine pour l'usage du Vulgaire, comme des “alimens grossiers faits pour le nourrir ; tandis queles magi“strats & les lettres, separés en tout du peuple, se nouris“sent d'une substance plus pure. It semble en effet gue la “populace ne merite pas une religion raisonnable.” Essai sur l’Histoire Generale, tom. i. p. 33, 24.
1 Cob. ix. 25.
EVERY MAN THAT STEIVETH FOR THE MASTERY IS TEMPERATE IN ALL THINGS: NOW THEY DO IT TO OBTAIN A CORRUPTIBLE CROWN, BUT WE AN INCORRUPTIBLE.
rT1HE design of this passage is plainly to recommend the great Christian duty of being " temperate in all things;" that is, of obtaining an entire command over our passions; or, as it is expressed a few verses after, of '* keeping under our bodies, and bringing "them into subjection." This self-government is indispensably necessary, both to the real enjoyment of the present life, and to the possession of everlasting happiness in the next. But then, like every thing else that is valuable, it is as difficult to acquire, as it is useful and excellent; and it stands in need of the most powerful arguments to recommend and enforce it. One of the strongest is here urged by St. Paul. To raise the courage and invigorate the resolution of the Corinthians, to whom the Epistle is addressed, and of all others engaged in the same state of warfare with their corrupt inclinations, he reminds them of the immortal prize they are contending for, that crown of glory which is to recompense their virtuous conflict. And to give this still greater weight,he compares their rewards with those proposed to the competitors in the wellknown games or sports which were celebrated near Corinth. In these, all that was contended for, was nothing more than "a cbr"ruptible crown," a wreath composed of perishable leaves: whereas, the prize of the Christian is an incorruptible one, a crown of glory that fadeth not away, an eternity of real and substantial happiness in Heaven. And yet, poor and contemptible as the reward was in those games, they who strove for the mastery in them, were temperate in in all things, were content to exercise the strictest discipline and abstemiousness, to