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ed, and preferred, by the friend of mankind.
But the perversity of those who seek to undermine the faith of Christ, appears still more evidently, when we consider the condition of humanity, the feeble, the helpless, the forlorn, the fearful, the suffering. Their numbers are great : much greater than the fuperficial observer of life imagines: many who seem not to belong to the catalogue of the sad and sorrowful, are far from the ease and gaiety you ascribe to them. Under the shew of happiness, we find discontent, apprehension, and contending passions. Men are not what they appear. They are not the same in folitude that they are in company, and in the circles of gaiety. They often sink the deeper in pensiveness and melancholy, in consequence of their former buoyancy and forced happiness. In a world like this, how foothing and comfortable is the doctrine of providence, reconciliation, and happiness beyond the grave ! how precious, to the children of sorrow and mortality, is the Gospel of Jesus. Infidelity itself ought to say, Whencesoever it is, this system claims high
respect, is incomparably superior to all that has been devised and presented, for the relief and comfort of suffering humanity: if infidels will not say with us, It is divine, they ought to admire the philanthropy that advifed so excellent a system, and the astonishing address that successfully exhibits and publishes it as divine. “Come and see.” Speculating on a future state, Christians do not exclaim, “ If we are deceived we are willingly “ deceived ;” but, “ we are in a strait be“ twixt two, having a desire to depart and to “ be with CHRIST, which is far better. We “ know that our Redeemer liveth. We “know to whom we have committed our “ fouls. The day of our redemption draw“eth nigh._We have fought the good fight, “ we have finished our course, we have kept “ the faith: henceforth there is laid up for us " a crown of righteousness, which the LORD, " the righteous judge, will give us at that “ day.”
Who is it but must exclaim, Happy are they who are in such a state ! happy are they who believe in the LORD JEsus! who rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, who rejoice
“ with a joy unspeakable and full of “ glory!” Can we refrain from adding, What are they who would prevent us from arriving at it, or would wrest it from us ? Is it poflible that they have human happiness at heart? Is it possible that they can have tender consciences ? He is more criminal who undermines my happiness, or endeavours to do so, and substitutes nothing that will produce an equal or a greater, than the man who blasts my character, ruins my interest, endangers my life, meditates my destruction. I can suffer rereproach and poverty, and persecution ; but all the ills of life, and death in every form, are not so terrible, as to be deprived of the serenity, the hope, the joys of faith.
While your minds, Christians, are thrilled with admiring gratitude for the joys of faith, in what light do you consider those who would extinguish them for ever? are not they justly called a perverse generation ?
That they deserve this name will appear, by comparing the characters and conduct of
the enemies of Christianity of old, and in our own times.
It is true, infidels are not to be reasoned with, by appeals to the Scriptures : we do not quote the New Testament to them, as authority: but to those who receive the testimony of credible witnesses, who if they are true witnesses, are also the heralds of the teftimony of God himself, will be struck with the great resemblance they discover between the oppofers of the Gospel, as the apostles and St. Luke represent them, and the infidels of the present day.
To some instances of resemblance between ancient and modern infidels, let us turn out attention.
INSIDIOUSNESS and disingenuity, according to the New Testament, are chargeable on the enemies of Jesus CHRIST, and of his followers. The mask of friendship was worn. I quote three very memorable passages.
“ The chief priests and the scribes fought “to lay hands on them, but they feared the
" people, and they watched him, and sent “ forth spies who should feign themselves “just men, that they might take hold of his “ words—they asked him, saying, Master, “ we know that thou fayest and teachest “ rightly, neither acceptest thou the person “ of any, but teachest the way of God truly. “ Judas one of the twelve came, and with “ him a great multitude, with swords and “ staves, from the chief priests and elders of 6 the people: now he that betrayed him “ gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I 6 shall kiss that same is he, hold him fast.. " And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, “ Hail Master; and kissed him. And JESUS “ faid unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou * come?” The apostle guards the Christians of Corinth against “ false apostles, deceitful “ workers, transforming themselves into the " apostles of CHRIST: and no marvel," adds he, “ for Satan himself is transformed into " an angel of light.”
Now, have we not seen the same part acted again and again ? Atheists and Deists who feared the people, have maintained Ministers of religion, and covered their temporiz