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Whence the necessity of punishment ? This the Dean of Carlisle has not represented. The indecorum of Paine's work was little calculated to make his sophisms more imposing: and real injustice was done to Bishop Watson's Apology for the Bible by forcibly suppressing the circulation of the pamphlet to which it was so complete an an
trial,” however, was instituted : issue" of it, the Dean strangely observes," the credit and influence of religion were in a great measure at stake; and it was, therefore, of the very last'importance, that the cause of the Society * should be well defended. Accordingly, the Bishops of London and Durham t had an interview with Mr. Erskine, who, at their joint and earnest request, most cheerfully undertook the management of the prosecution; and it is well known how successfully he employed his splendid talents in the execution of that office. His speech,' says the Bishop, 'was a noble specimen of true eloquence on the noblest of all subjects, the defence of Christianity. There were passages in it as sublime as any thing to be inet with in the writings of any orator whatever, ancient or modern. There is one in particular, uncommonly striking and forcible from the mouth of a layman and a lawyer. Mr. Erskine declared in reply, that bred as he was to the consideration of evidence, he considered the prophecy concerning the destruction of the Jewish temple and nation to be, even if there were nothing else to support Christianity, ABSOLUTELY IRRESISTIBLE.
“ In addition to these exertions on the part of their coupsel, the Society received the thanks of Lord Kenyon, for their spirited and manly conduct. In his charge to the jury, than which nothing could be more able or perspicuou's, he spoke of the prosecution in terms of high approbation, and, at the same time, availed himself of that opportunity to make a public avowal, in the most solemn language and manner, of his own sincere, deliberate and entire conviction of the truth of Christianity.”
One, and not the most obscure indication of a man's being sincere, is his consistency. In respect of the very memorable scene, which the sentences that I have quoted
* According to Dean Hodgson, [Life, &c., p. 125,] " the Society for Enforcing the King's Proclamation," &c.
+ Dr. Porteus and Dr. Barriugton.
delineate, let the reader say, how far it was honourable to the individuals who studiously exhibited it, and to the cause of which they professed to be the friends. From such ecclesiastics, from such advocates and judges,-from men who aim at establishing and vindicating the truth of the Gospel by statute or common law,-I gladly turn back to distant times, to more sagacious ministers of religion and benefactors of society.
“ In the year 1519, Cortes, astonished and enraged at the obstinacy of the Tlascalans, prepared to execute by force, what he could not accomplish by persuasion, and was going to overturn their altars, and cast down their idols with the same violent hand as at Zempoalla, if father Bartholomew de Olmedo, chaplain to the expedition, had not checked his inconsiderate impetuosity. sented the imprudence of such an attempt in a large city newly reconciled, and filled with people no less superstitious than warlike ; he declared, that the proceeding at Zempoalla had always appeared to him precipitate and unjust ; that religion was not to be propagated by the sword, or infidels to be converted by violence; that other weapons were to be employed in this ministry : patient instruction must enlighten the understanding, and pious example captivate the heart, before men could be induced to abandon error, and embrace the truth. Amidst scenes where a narrow-minded bigotry appears in such close union with oppression and cruelty, sentiments so liberal and humane sooth the mind with unexpected pleasure ; and, at a time when the rights of conscience were little understood in the Christian world, and the idea of toleration unknown, one is astonished to find a Spanish monk of the sixteenth century among the first advocates against persecution, and in behalf of religious liberty. The remonstrances of an ecclesiastic, no less respectable for wisdom than virtue, had their proper weight with Cortes."*
Had Bartholomew de Olmedo lived in the eighteenth century, and had he then visited Great Britain, and personally witnessed the proceedings against "a bookseller of the name of Williams," it may readily be conceived
* Robertson's Hist. of America, B. v. Ann. 1519. A few other valuable ecclesiastics adorned the period and the enterprises illustrated in that History. The names of Las Casas and Vasca will instantly occur to the reader.
what would have been his feelings, as to these successors of Cortes-the Kenyons, Erskines, Barringtons and Portenses of the day--and what, could he have uttered them, his remonstrances !
It has been asked, whether Christians should associate with unbelievers ? I have no hesitation in answering this inquiry. With no persons whose moral character is unimpeachable would I decline the intercourse which our mutual circumstances require and permit. Of those who, unhappily, as I think, allow not the claims of the Gospel, many have been educated in the faith of Jesus Christ; their habits have been formed under its influence ; and their disbelief is speculative, and not practical. Shall I shun the company of such men, estimable and useful and benevolent as they are ? On such individuals shall I frown, only because they assent not, as I assent, to the historical, but, as I deem it, all momentous, allegation that Jesus died and rose again? With myself, Christianity is every thing, in regard to the life which now is, and that which is to come: it enhances all my blessings, gilds all my prospects, and converts my deepest sorrows into sources of comfort and of joy. But the spirit of Christianity is mild forbearance : and I forfeit an interest in its gracious promises, if I violate its benignant laws, nor walk kindly and wisely to “ those who are without.” * On the ground of argument I will cheerfully meet the ‘unbeliever : and if he make pretensions to a more correct acquaintance with the mind of man, and the rules of evidence, than what studious Christians have gained, I will notice and rectify bis mistake. After all, I will never forget that he is to be approached with persuasion, and not with accents of contempt and alienation.
What, however, if unbelievers join in the public services of Christian worship, and manifest'an inclination to frequent Christian society?" “ Forbid them not !” If they statedly bear discourses which inculcate the morals of the gospel by the sanctions of the gospel, so far, all is well; and they may become what consistent believers are.
* See a discourse, “ on Communion with Unbelievers,” preached at Manchester, March 30, 1828, by John James Tayler, B. A. The subject, in these misjudging times, may be deemed somewhat iovidious and delicate : the sermon deserres no ordinary praise, for its reasoning, its style, and, more than all, its spirit.
On the other hand, if they hear from the pulpit little or nothing more than Pagan ethics, or the voice of “ the fierce polemic," who knows the Scriptures merely as they are interpreted in his favourite books of controversy; in these two cases, the votaries of unbelief may ensure the gratification of their individual taste; though it is, doubtless, possible that they will be as hostile as ever to Christianity, because they are ignorant of its nature and its spirit.
LECTURES ON A CATECHISM IN A SUNDAY-SCHOOL.
he is an
V. What is your duty to God ?
It is my duty to fear and honour him, to worship and obey him; and in all my ways to trust in him, and to please him.
Having endeavoured to explain to you, my dear children, as far as our weak powers cau comprehend, the nature and perfections of God the Creator of all things, I come to the conclusion of this First Part of
Catechism ; which relates to what we know of God, and of our duty to him, as far as our reason can inform us concerning The Creator of all the world besides, is my Creator :
infinite and eternal Being, who knows every thing which concerns me, and can do what he pleases with me; but he will do with me what is best for me: in other words, he is wise and powerful, but he is at the same time holy, just and good. What, then, is my duty to so powerful, wise and good a Being ? Certainly it is my duty, as the Catechism says, “to fear and honour him, to worship and obey bim, and in all my ways to trust in him and to please him."
Nothing can be plainer than this. God is a Being of infinite power, and therefore we are bound to fear him: he made the whole world, and every thing depends upon him ; earthquakes and winds and storms and floods spread themselves abroad at his command; and shall we not, then, dread to do any thing that may offend him? For surely he that can do these great things can punish such worthless, trifling creatures as you and I. But, then, God is holy
and just, and will do nothing that is wrong. He will vot, like those of our fellow-creatures that have power over us, be ever peevish and proud, or passionate and revengeful; he will not punish us for trifles, and perhaps excuse us for great faults, as those sometimes do upon whoin wė here depend. Therefore we should honour and reverence lim, since he will do nothing but what is right.
And since God is every where present with all his works, as you may easily be made sensible by a very slight attention to those parts of them which are at any time under your observation-to the nice formation of every flower, nay of every leaf,—to the beauty which is displayed in the wing of every butterfly and of every the smallest insect, (which, therefore, you should never make the subject of your wanton cruelty, as thoughtless children are too apt to do, because they are all God's works,) you ought always to cherish and keep up in your minds a habit of conceiving of yourselves as constantly in his hands, who forined and continually preserves you.
" He has made and constantly maintains the wonderful frame of your bodies; not a hair of your head but is numbered by him, not a breath which you breathe is unobserved or undirected by him, not a limb which you move but is moved by the power which he has given you, and by means of a curious structure of your bodies, the full knowledge of which he has not given to even the most skilful physician. When you were asleep last night he was with you ; and if he had not taken care of you, you would not now have been alive i you could not have awaked if he had not awakened you. He is here now, as he is every where; he knows what you are thinking and feeling ; he knows, too, what you ought to be feeling while you are taught about him; and when you meditate upon bim, or speak to him in prayer, he knows whether you do it with your whole heart, or whether you are thinking about other things, when you ought to be thinking of or addressing him."*
When you are older, and become better acquainted with your Bible, you will read and admire, and probably get by heart, the words in wbich the author of the Book of Psalms addresses the same sentiment to the ever-pre
* See an excellent little work, entitled “ Addresses, with Prayers and Hymňs, for the Use of Families and Schools, by á Lady, Authoress of Devotional Exercises,” p. 3.