Изображения страниц

How necessary,


many cases, the concurrence of the will is towards the production of faith, daily experience may convince us. We see men rejecting the strongest evidence, when opposed by interest, prejudice, and passion; and accepting the slightest, which falls in with them. The best arguments in the world avail nothing on one side, when pride, pleasure, and profit are engaged on the other. Hope of what is deemed good, and fear of what is deemed evil, will find means to elude the force of all the syllogisms which the most skilful disciple of Aristotle can frame. “ This man,” said the rulers of the Jews, “ doeth

many miracles."-Acknowledge and receive him, therefore, as a man sent from God.-“No: we will “apprehend and crucify him."-For what reason ?“ Because if we let him alone, all men will believe “ in him; and the Romans will come and take away “ our place and nation"-But he has raised Lazarus from the dead" Why then, we will put Lazarus to “ death again.”—What can be done with such people as these? Or what effect would the appearance of Christ among them after his resurrection have produced, but that of provoking fresh blasphemies and fresh insults ?

And thus you see, dear Sir, we are come round to the point from whence we set out.

Assent to proper evidence is an act of the highest reason. Such evidence for revelation, once established, is not to be set aside, or invalidated, by any difficulties, supposed or real, which may occur in the matter of that revelation. Malice and ignorance will always find room for objections; and they will never believe, who have

no mind to believe. The infidels, therefore, have not ground for the surmise, that we want to “deprive " them of God's best gift.” We wish only to teach them the right use of it. Reason is not “ the first " and only revelation from God;" for it is, properly speaking, no revelation at all. Man, at his creation, was not left so much as a single day to reason. It is the eye, not the light. It can with certainty know nothing concerning the things of another world, but by information from thence. To this truth the writings of the best and wisest among the heathen philosophers bear a testimony irrefragable and insurmountable. It is the faculty which enables us upon proper evidence to receive, and after due study to understand, such information. And blessed is he who, at the return of his Lord to judgement, shall be found to have so employed it.

The production which has thus passed under our consideration, from the low and illiberal manner in which it is penned, has been by many accounted to be beneath notice. But nothing is beneath notice, which is calculated to deceive and seduce the ignorant and unwary, among whom, though even now scarce known in the shops, this pamphlet has been privately spread and recommended as a chef dæuore. And though the execution be coarse and mean, the objections, in substance, are such as continually occur in writings of a much higher class, which make part of the furniture of every circulating library through Great Britain, from whence they pass into the hands of our idle young people of fashion, while under the discipline of the friseur, in the metropolis,

or at the watering places. The answers published by Nonnotte, Bergier, and others, to the books of Voltaire, Rousseau, Helvetius, Boulanvilliers, &c. &c. have been much called for, and done eminent service upon the continent: and it is humbly hoped the foregoing strictures may not be without their use here in England.

[ocr errors]









« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »