« السابقةمتابعة »
ourselves to transmit intact to posterity the honour of this nation, enshrined in our hearts: concord, courage, perseverance,” such is the sacred motto which can alone insure the glory of our country. Let us put forth all our strength to found for ever our liberty and our national independence. On the 21st the command of the army was conferred upon Prince Radziwil, who received the solemn trust in these words : 'I only accept the command in order to hold it till the war has raised one of those great men who save nations. My sole wish is for the independence and happiness of our beloved country. Such I have been,-such I ever shall be.
(To be continued.)
Our „Opru Pagr.
AD VOCATES OF A THEIS M.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE DEFENDER.
Of all the mad concerts that the heart of man has ever conceived, atheism is the wildest and most unreasonable. In comparison with it a sick man's dreams seem sober and waking realities. In short, atheism offers such contradiction to the very principles of reason and common sense, that it seems to me incompre. hensible how any man in his senses should seriously embrace it. Indeed, it has been questioned -and I think with reason- - whether, in spite of the pretensions of some to be so, such an animal as an atheist has really ever existed, since the very notion involves the denial of the most common principles of our nature.
But how great, sir, must be our astonishment when we see this monstrous doctrine taught by men who pretend to be in advance of the age, and the lights and ornaments of the world? But such is the specious guise under which the insidious folly insinuates itself
, viz., a pretended regard for the rights of man, and his emanipation from the bonds of priestcraft and religion.
Among these little sages who distinguish themselves foremost by their violent declamations against Christianity stand prominent the names of Holyoake and Barker--names unknown to fame for anything save this. I am willing to give these gentlemen all the credit due to them for their spite against religion, but I am not so sure of their claims to originality of genius. All their objections and arguments against Christianity, so far as I can see, are collected out of the works of Tindel, Toland, Paine, Hume, and others of that generic class who dignify themselves with the title of free-thinkers, and who have infested this country for the last two centuries, only adapted to the circumstances of the age, and applied to the growing importance of the working classes. I really cannot sufficiently express my unaffected pity for those men, who, simply to gratify a paltry vanity of becoming superior te the rest of their fellows, can find no other better way of distinguishing themselves than by indulging in empty declamations against a religion which has done more good to mankind than has any 'philosophy, or sect, or law, or discipline.' But in spite of their invectives and declamations against Christianity, there is some reason to doubt whether they are really sincere in their efforts for its destruction--for where then would be their importance? Who then would take Mr. Holyoake for a philosopher, or Mr. Barker for a wit? But when such writers as these, who have no spirit but that of malice, pretend to inform the age, Molochs and cut-throats may well set up for wits and men of pleasure.'
But, sir, I am willing to give these men every credit for their good intentions, to believe that they are actuated in all their actions by a regard for the good of
their fellow men, and that they themselves believe that the most beneficial results would follow the destruction of Christianity. Still I must confess myself unable to see what those good results would be. They laud virtuie and declaim against vice. Would virtue be elevated or vice depressed by such a catastroplie? I do not believe that even Mr. Holyoake would have the assurance to say this. But if these men think that by levellinga virtue and vice--by removing all distinction between man and the brutes, they are doing mankind a service, I must confess myself unable to appreciate the obligation. But I suppose that these sages do not confess to any distinction between virtue and vice, or hold that the distinction is but artificial, in which case their position is much more reasonable. For my own part, were I not deterred from vice by the fear of future punishment, and encouraged' in the pursuit of virtue by the hope of immortal reward, I should consider following the one vain, and a course of vice reasonable. I should say, 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for to-morrow we die.' Let the old Heathen poet shame thèse modern Heathens--
Quis enim virtutem amplectitur
(For who would embrace virtue for her own sake if you take away her rewards?)
In what remains of these remarks I shall endeavour to point out the respective effects of Christianity and infidelity. But I venture to assert that it infidelity were to become universal (as some learned men have thought that it will before the renovation of all things) instead of the social happiness which these visionaries dream would be the effect of secularism, the bonds of society would be loosed-even the sacred ties of kindred disregarded--no right acknowledged but that of force--that only thought just which is practicable--and men, who were joined together for mutual defence and support, league together only to kill and devour one another.
Áll the effects of Christianity, on the other hand, are beneficial. It has a direct tendency to ameliorate the condition of man both for time and eternity, Its blessed effects are seen in the lives of those who practise it in those countries where it prevails. It streugthens the hands of the law-mitigates the tyranny of despotism-blunts the edge of the sword-arrests the robber and murderer in their downwar career-and influences the conduct of those even who pretěnd not to come under its dictates. Bui atheism is a baleful disease, which vitiates whatever it touches,—which turns into a mass of corruption that which before was lovely and precious,—which degrades our noble image—turns man into a brute---destroys the peace and happiness of society, and spreads it deadly contagion all around. But let not the friends of truth be dismayed. Atheism cannot long prevail
, In à few corrupted circles it may, but with the miserable, the poor, and the oppressed it will never be popular. If there were not a God, it would be necessáry to invent one. In the last century, infidelity, patronised by most of the literati of Europe, backed by the example of two powerful princes, and encouraged by the profligacy of the Christian clergy, prevailed for a time to unchristianise France. "But there again, as in its palmiest days, religion rears hér, head. Christians know who hath said that their religion is founded on a rock against which the gates of hell cannot prevail,
A STUDENT OF GLASGOW UNIVERSITY.
UNBELIEF.— I would rather dwell in the dim fog of superstition, than in air rạrified to nothing by the air-pump of unbelief, in which the panting breast expites, vainly and convulsively gasping for breath.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE DEFENDER. My dear Sir,
It has long been my settled impression, that if all anxious inquirers after truth—including free thinkers, lovers of reason, advocates of free thought, free discussion, &c., would have the prudence and good sense to investigate the Bible and its evidences with calmness and intelligence-to examine them with care, and to study them with humility, there would not be half só many infidels in society as there are. If I am to speak freely what I sincerely think, I must say without hesitation, that many of our friends of the deistieal persuasion are determined not to believe in the Divine authority of the Bible upon any evidence of truth whatever, that either ever has been or
can be produced. I do not wish to speak either rashly or unfriendly concerning our op: ponents, but certainly my conviction is, and I feel inclined to think that it is an enlightened and well grounded one, that many infidels never read and search the inspired volume with any other motive, or for any other motive, than to discover, what they think, may be considered as contradictions, inconsistencies, and absurdities. They will not take the trouble to consider and examine the statement or conclusion in connexion with the occasion or the circumstance the effect with the cause the fulfilment with the prediction-the action with the motive—the punishment with the sin—the practice with the precept—the morally governed with the moral governor-the command with the agency and powers of the agent, or the type in connexion with the antitype. And thus, we have too much reason to think, that, if infidels ever study the Bible at all, it is partiallyand unfairly, if ever they reason at all concerning it, it is illogically and foolishly, and if ever they arrive at any conclusions, they are false and erroneous. And as such is the method which they almost uniformly adopt in their Biblical investigations, it is not at all surprising that they seldom or never come to any right knowledge or conclusion, concerning any one important fact, doctrine, principle; or precept. Eyen Thomas Paine had impudence and presymption enough to tell the world, that when lie wrote the first part of his . Age of Reason, he had neither Bible nor Testament with him, but that he afterwards procured one of each. Studies and investigations of any kind conducted in such a manner, are not only unphilosophical, but extremely ridiculous. I do not, I cannot think it is for want of evidence, either internal or external, that infidels reject the Bible ás a book of Divine anthority; but I believe it is for · want of stricter scrutiny-of just and more enlightened criticism of deeper reflection-of more sober and serious enquiry-of better judgment and better logicmand of candid, thorough, and intelligent investigation. Very many of the greatest men whose names and writings now adorn the page of history, men of the finest and nicest taste, and of the greatest learning and accomplishments, have devoted almost a life-time to the study of the Bible, and the investigation of its evidences, and these men have been its greatest admirets, and its most intense lovers. Of course the authority of great names, or the mere assertions of great men do not prove the Bible to be Divine ; but then, we have reason to believe that a far larger amount of intellect, of talent, and learning, have appeared on the side of the Bible than has ever been displayed against it, by any of its enemies, in any age of the world ; and we have also reason to believe, that such worthy, learned, truth-loţing, noble, and clever-ininded men as we could mention; would not on any account have believed and received the Bible As a divinely inspired book-as a book of Divine origin and authority had they not had sufficient evidence to warrant and justify such á réception and belief. Had there been no evidence for the Divine authority of the Bible," we think that such a man as Dr. Adam Clarke, would not have studied and criticised it with the most intense application for forty or fifty years, without discovering such a fact.
However, we wish it to be distinctly understood, by.our infidel friends, that we do not expect they should take for granted, as truth, all that we affirm, or all that any other man may say, however wise, or learned, or great. We simply wish them to read—to think-to study—and to investigate for themselves, especially the Bible and the various evidences by which its truth and Divine authority are authenticated and confirmed. But we sincerely desire, and affectionately advise them for their own sakes, to regulate and conduct their thinking, their studies, and their investigations, in accordance with common sense -sound reason- -enlightened criticism-good logic—and true philosophy. We regard it as a matter of vast and solemn importance, that every man should employ his rational and intellectual powers in the most proper and noble manner, in order that he may come to right conclusions, and acquire just notions, and impressions, in regard to what he should believe and what he should reject, what he should love and what he should hate, what concerns him the most and what concerns him the least, in relation both to time and eternity. We would not have any man to take any important step before it has been made the subject of sedate and deep reflection. Nor would we have any one either to embrace or oppose any system before it has undergone a careful and thorough examination. We therefore say to every man, endeavour by all means to obtain correct and rational views concerning duty, conduct, and happiness concerning what is true and what is false, what is good and what is bad, what is beneficial and what is injurious, what is important and what is frivolous, what is valuable and what is worthless. And before you adopt any principle, consider the consequences which are likely to result from it. Take great care by what motives your actions are regulated, what influences you yield to, what object you set your affections on, what course of faith and life you pursue, what habits you form, what dispositions you adopt, what aspirations you cherish, and what connexions you choose. See to it that your present studies and employments, are so conducted, after their proper arrangement, as to be rendered subservient to your future interests and happiness. In every transaction, let the voice of wisdom and of conscience be heard and attended to. Let those things be attended to with the greatest earnestness, consistency, and uniformity, which reason, matter of fact, and intelligent investigation, declare to be of the greatest importance and concernment. We want every man carefully and logically to read and think, to examine and compare, to judge and reason for himself
, especially in regard to the Bible and Christianity. Such, we think, would be the most proper and likely means to adopt in order to arrive at the conclu- · sion, that it is the extreme of presumption and of folly to reject at a venture, such a grand and glorious system as Christianity, especially before it and its various evidences have been calmly, fairly, and fully examined. By conducting their investigations in this manner, (by really thinking for themselves) many of the greatest masters of reason and learning of which the world can boast, have ascertained the fact, that there is sufficient evidence that the Bible has been given to man by the authority and inspiration, and under the direction of Him who is the immutable and eternal source of all moral purity, truth, and goodness.
Such are some of the advices and considerations which we respectfully beg leave to offer to the notice of our infidel friends. They are in exact accordance with the language of the Bible where it says—' Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. If this maxim were adopted and heeded by all, there would be more peace and unity, and fewer contentions and schisms among professing Christians; and multitudes of our fellow men would discover, not only the weakness, the gloominess, and the worthlessness of infidelity, but the sublimity, the
importance, and the excellency of Christianity. It is false and absurd to think, as many infidels have thought, that in order to believe the Bible, they must lay aside their reason; and that in order that they may swallow the doctrines of Christianity, they must disregard the teachings and discoveries of nature and science. We admire nature, science, and the Bible too. We take and believe them ail three; because they harmonize together, and enable us the better to explain the various phenomena and facts of the physical and moral universe. We admire and love the Bible because it is the book which man's moral condition and wants require; and because of the important history, the rich and valuable information, the sublime philosophy, the supremely interesting facts and doctrines, and the grand and glorious discoveries which it contains. Setting aside the Divine authority of the Bible, it is justly entitled to our serious regard and veneration, inasmuch as it abounds with the most worthy, glorious, and transcendent descriptions of the Deity we are able to conceive of. We can mention no class of men who have been ignorant of the Bible, who have ever formed such lofty and worthy notions, and have been able to give such noble and grand descriptions of the Supreme Being, as they who have been enlightened by it. But though we speak thus highly of the volume of Revelation, we do not and will not on any account exclude nature from our thoughts, our investigations, or our admiration.
We love nature most intensely. We delight to contemplate its arrangements, its beauties, and its harmonies ; its sublimities, its wonders, and its mysteries ; its order, its uniformity, and its variety. We love to read in her instructive and glorious book, and to study, wonder, and worship in her splendid temple. It is here we learn very much concerning the infinite wisdom, the glorious majesty, the inconceivable greatness, the omnipotent power, and the boundless goodness of the Divine Being, who is, 'from everlasting to everlasting. We regard both nature and the Bible, as the work of one and the same Divine, infinitely intelligent, and omnipotent author. • I will now conclude my remarks, by merely adding, that notwithstanding all that has been written and said in favour of the Bible, if infidels can demonstrate that it has no claims to Divine authority, they may of course set it aside as unworthy of their regard, but if they cannot do this, it is perilous for them to reject it at a venture as a human production.
“ Thou sacred treasure, dearer to me far