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liever in your camp, the shafts of Infidelity would enter it and take effect. Christianity is no further invulnerable than it is pure and undefiled.
3. Avoid desultory controversy, and the keeping up of a kind of continual running fight with Unbelievers. In such desultory controversy, it is seldom that any thing is properly explained, or any premises accurately stated and led out to their just conclusions. Some stroke of wit, or smart repartee, may be remembered, but not what will lead on to conviction. Though you should not decline controversy when it can be attended to in a serious and candid manner, yet you ought not to attempt to force it upon those who differ from you, nor ever engage in it when you have reason to think it will not be conducted in a serious, dispassionate manner. If you keep up a kind of constant skirmish with such Sceptics and Unbelievers as remain in your churches, it will be likely to produce bad effects ; it will be likely to interrupt the free exercise of the kindly feelings and affections, and to lead on to strife and' vain jangling. The avoiding of frequent controversy with such persons will be more likely to conciliate their attention and prepare them to receive conviction, while they see you illustrate Christianity by your spirit and conduct, than merely disputing with them, and it will be likely to prevent any injurious effects wbich might arise from their continuing with you.
4. That you may be fortified against the inroads of scepticism and unbelief, consider, and keep constantly in view, the value and practical importance of Christianity, and what
you would lose by relinquishing it, for which unbelief could make no compensation. If Christianity be entertained as merely a theory of opinions or an outward forin, without regarding it as perfectly suited to our nature and condition as mortal, dying creatures and as sinners, as containing a provision for our moral and spiritual wants, and as necessary for our improveinent and bappiness, it may be relinquished for a different theory, and what is regarded as matter of form may be given up as useless ; but if Christianity be regarded as our life, if its vitality be perceived and felt, if it be found a daily source of moral strength and of joy and consolation, and if the immortal hope it inspires glows in our breasts, it will be impossible for unbelief to offer us an equivalent which can induce us to relinquish what appears to us of such inestimable value
and vital importance. Always keep in mind that, if you give up Christianity, you relinquish the hope of eternal life, the authoritative declarations of the mercy and for: giveness of God, the most powerful motives to a virtuous and benevolent life, and the best ground of support and comfort under all the trials and afflictions of this mortal state, And for what do you make so great a sacrifice ? For per. petual doubts-to wander in the cheerless regions of Infidelity! There is not a truly rational sentiment main. tained by Unbelievers that Christianity does not own and support by stronger proofs. It is impossible you should gain any thing by becoming Unbelievers, but your loss will be incalculably great. To fortify your young people against scepticism and unbelief, not only acquaint them with the grounds and evidences of Christianity, but shew them its suitableness to man; and teach them its practical value and importance : it is not necessary to lead them into the controversy with Unbelievers : to bring them to the knowledge of Christianity as a vital and practical reli. gion, and to perceive and feel its inestimable value, will do more towards making and preserving them real Christians, than their exploring all the thorny mazes of controversy. however good a clew they might have to guide them.
5. It is essentially necessary, if you have Unbelievers in your churches, that the style of preaching and manner of conducting the public services be not altered in the least on their account. To diminish the truly Christian character of the public discourses, or of any part of the service, to please them, would be highly improper, and the minister who should do this would shew himself an unfaithful servant of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, to depart from the ordinary mode of preaching and conducting the services designed to meet the moral and spiritual wants of the hearers at large, that all may have food for their souls and be instructed and edified, in order to bring forward the controversy with Deists, would also be wrong, and be likely to do harm. To seem to single out any individuals in a congregation and preach only to them, or with a view to their particular notions, may jastly be taken as matter of offence, and is likely to irritate and do harm. A controversial mode of preaching should seldom be adopted, and it requires no little judgment and prudence to conduct it in such a manner as will be to edification. It is by the plain preaching of the gospel in its purity and simplicity,
with animation, in a persuasive and affectionate manner, pursuing every subject to its practical influence and uses, and conducting every part of the service in a truly spiritual and evangelical manner, that the inroads of scepticism and unbelief will be likely to be prevented, the churches be edified, and the cause carried on with success among you.
6. Though much depends on the labours of your minisa ters in public and private, much also depends on your to-operating with them, and unless you all do your part, their labours will be likely to fail, at least of the full success which might attend them. To guard against the inroads of scepticism and unbelief it is necessary for you to cultivate and, to the utmost of your power, promote deep seriousness in all religious matters, and a devotional spirit and practice.
If persons learn to jest about religion and the Sacred Scriptures, it 'shews them forgetful of their high importance, and the ridicule and witticisms of Unbelievers may make them captives. Without associating gloom with religion, its infinite importance ought to command seriousness whenerer we think or speak of it. If a spirit of devotion be not cultivated and cherished, and devotional exercises attended to as the means of preserving it among you, you will be in danger of becoming speculative and formal, of losiug the savour and vital influence of Christianity, and in such a state of mind you will be ill prepared to withstand the insidious attacks of Infidelity. If you carefully examine you will find, that those who, in your
have become Unbelievers, are either persons who never shewed much seriousness in religion, who never appeared to have cultivated a devotional spirit, or to pay much regard to devotional exercises; or those who learned to talk of religion with some degree of levity, lost the devotional spirit they once cherished, became negligent of religious duties, and, after thus losing their seriousness and piety, became sceptical and unbelieving. Where pérsonal and family religion have been continued with true seriousness, and a spirit of genuine piety has been carefully cherished, it will be found that scepticism and unbelief have not made inroads. In those places and families where there has been the least seriousness, where the spirit and practice of Christian devotion have been most neglected, you will find scepticism and unbelief have made the most progress. - I thus point out the evil in order to
enforce the remedy. Do all you can to promote true seria ousness and a real sense of religion ; cultivate to the utmost of your power the spirit and practice of rational and pure devotion. Neglect not family worship and the religious instruction of your children; apd habituate them to attention to the Scriptures and to public worship, if you would not leave them to fall into scepticism and unbelief.
It will be in vain for you to complain of the existence of Unbelievers in some of your churches, if you do not adopt such measures as are calculated to prevent their increase If you could banish every Sceptic and Unbeliever now found among you, if you continued to neglect the advice which, with all plaipness and faithfulness, I now give you others would soon spring up among you ; but I hope better things of you, my brethren. I entreat and beseech you, by the love I bear you, by my former labours among you, by your regard to your own eternal welfare, by your concern for the happiness of your families in time and to eternity, and by your regard to the glory of God and the honour of our Lord Jesus Christ, to consider what I have said in this letter, to lay it ta heart and reduce it to praca tice. In my next letter I shall enter on another subject.
In the mean time, I remain, with ardent wishes and fervent prayers for the prosperity of your churches, most faithfully and affectionately, Yours, &c.,
Mahometan Zeal and Orthodoxy. [From Denham and Clapperton's Travels in Northern and Central
Africą. 4to. : 1826. Pp. 123–125.] APRIL 25th. The news of the presents I had produced brought early this morning fifteen of the sultan's sons, with double the number of followers, to my tent: they all wanted gunpowder, knives and scissors; I had, however, neither one nor the other to give them. Two or three of the oldest of the princes: got a French silk handkerchief each, and one a pair of cotton socks, and of course the others, went away sadly discontented. I this morning ventured to make two attempts at sketching, but my apparatus and myself were. carried off without ceremony to the sultan. My pencils marking without ink created great astonishment, and the facility with which its traces were effaced by Indian rubber seemed still more astonishing. My old antagonist Malem, Chadily was there, and affected to treat me with great com. plaisance : he talked a great deal about me and my country, which made his hearers repeatedly cry out," Y-2-0-0-0 !" but what the purport of his observations were I could not make out. I endeavoured, however, to forget all his former Sadeness, took every thing in good part, and appeared quite upon as good terms with him as he evidently wished to appear to be with me.
Several words were written both by him and the others, which the rubber left no remains of; at length the fighi wrote, Bismillah Arachmani Araa cheme, (In the name of the great and most merciful God) in large Koran characters: he made so deep an impression on the paper, that after using the Indian rubber the words still appeared legible. “This will not quite disappear," said I. «No, no," exclaimed the fighi, exulting; "they are the words of God delivered to our prophet. I defy you to erase them !” "Probably so," said I ; " then it will be vain to try.”. He shewed the paper to the sultan and them around him with great satisfaction ; they all exclaimed, “Y-e-0-0-0! La illah el Allah! Mohammed rassoul Allah !" cast looks at me expressive of mingled pity and contempt, and I was well pleased when allowed to take my departure.
The whole of this scene was repeated to Barca Gana in his tent in the evening, and they all exclaimed, “Wonderful ! wonderful!" and as I did not contradict any part of this account, the fighi thus addressed me: “Rais, you have seen a miracle ! I will shew you hundreds, performed alone by the words of the wonderful book You have a book also, you say; but it must be false. Why? Because it says nothing of Saidna Mohammed ; that is enough. Shed! Shed! turn! turn! Say, God is God, and Mohammed is his Prophet. Sully (wash) and become clean, and paradise is open to you : without this, what can save you from eternal fire ? Nothing! Oh! I shall see you, while sitting in the third heaven, in the midst of the flames, crying out to your friend Barca Gana and myself Malem, Saherbi, (friend,) give me a drink or a drop of water!' but the gulf will be between us, and then it will be too late." The Malem's: tears flowed in abundance during this barangue, and every body appeared affected by his eloquence. I felt myself at this period extremely uncomfortable; and Barca Gana, who saw my distress, called me into the inner tent, where nobody accompanied him except by invitation. “The fighi,"