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but that, in many instances, Christianity has been adopted by worldly men, even by Infidels themselves, for the purposes of promoting their political designs. Finding the bulk of the people inclined to the Christian religion under some particular form, and attached to certain leading persons among them who sustained the characters of teachers, they have considered it as a piece of good policy to give this religion an establishment, and these teachers a share in the government. It is thus that religion, to its great dishonour, has been converted into an engine of state. The politician may be pleased with his success, and the teacher with his honours, and even the people be so far misled as to love to bave it so ; but the mischief resulting from it to religion is incalculable. Even where such establishments have arisen from piety, they have not failed to corrupt the minds of Christians from the simplicity which is in Christ. It was by these means that the Church at an early period, from being the bride of Christ, gradually degenerated to a harlot, and, in the end, became the mother of harlots, and abominations of the earth. The good that is done in such communities is not in consequence of their peculiar ecclesiastical constitution, but in spite of it: it arises from the virtue of individuals, which operates notwithstanding the disadvantages of their situation.
These are the things that afford a handle to unbelievers. They seldom choose to attack Christianity as it is drawn in the sacred writings, and exemplified in the lives of real Christians, who stand at a distance from worldly parade, political struggles, or state intrigues ; but as it is corrupted and abused by worldly men. Mr. Paine racks his imagination to make out a resemblance betwixt the heathen mythology and Christianity. While he is going over the ground of Christianity as instituted by Christ and his apostles, the resemblance is faint indeed. There are only two points in which he even pretends to find an agreement; and these are formed by his misrepresenting the scriptures. The heathen deities were said to be celestially begotten ; and Christ is called the Son of God.* The heathens bad a plurality of deities, even
* To give a colour to this statement, he is obliged to affirm a most palpable falsehood, that only Gentiles believed Jesus to be the son of God.
twenty or thirty thousand ; and Christianity has reduced them to three! It is easy to see that this is ground not suited to Mr. Paine's purpose : he therefore hastens to corrupted Christianity ; and here he finds plenty of materials. “The Statue of Mary,” he says “succeeded the statue of Diana of Ephesus. The deification of heroes changed into the canonization of saints. The mythologists had gods for every thing. The Christian mythologists had saints for every thing. The church became as crowded with the one, as the pantheon had been with the other ; and Rome was the place of both."* Very true, Mr. Paine ; but you are not so ignorant as to mistake this for Christianity. Had you been born and educated in Italy, or Spain, you might have been excused in calling this “ The Christian theory ;'' but to write in this manner with your advantages is disingenuous. Such conduct would have disgraced any cause but yours. It is capable, however, of some improvement. It teaches us to defend nothing but the truth as it is in Jesus. It also affords presumptive evidence in its favour ; for if Christianity itself were false, there is little doubt but that you, or some of your fellow labourers, would be able to prove it so; and this would turn greatly to your account. Your neglecting this, and directing your artillery chiefly against its corruptions and abuses, betrays a consciousness that the thing itself, if not invulnerable, is yet not so easy of attack. If Christianity had really been a relic of heathenism, as you suggest, there is little reason to think that you would have so strenuously opposed it.
* Age of reason, Part I. p.5.
GOSPEL ITS OWN WITNESS, &c.
IN WHICH THE HOLY NATURE OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION IS CON
TRASTED WITH THE IMMORALITY OF DEISM.
The greatest enemies of Christianity would still be thought friendly to morality, and will plead for it as necessary to the well being of mankind. However immoral men may be in their prac tice, and to whatever lengths they may proceed in extenuating particular vices; yet they cannot plead for immorality in the gross. A sober, upright, humble, chaste, and generous character, is allowed, on all hands, to be preferable to one that is profligate, treacherous, proud, unchaste, or cruel. Such, indeed, is the sense which men possess of right and wrong, that, whenever they attempt to disparage the former, or vindicate the latter, they are. reduced to the necessity of covering each with a faise disguise. They cannot traduce good as good, or justify evil as evil. The love of God must be called fanaticism, and benevolence to men methodism, or some such opprobrious name, before they can depreciate them. Theft, cruelty, and murder, on the other hand, must assume the names of wisdom and good policy, ere a plea can be set up in their defence. Thus were the arguments for the abolition of the slave trade answered, and in this manner was that
iniquitous traffic defended in the British Parliament. Doubtless there is a woe hanging over the heads of those men who thus called evil good, and good evil; nevertheless, we see, even in their conduct, the amiableness of righteousness, and the impossibility of fairly opposing it.
CHRISTIANITY REVEALS A GOD GLORIOUS IN HOLINESS : BUT DEISM,
THOUGH IT ACKNOWLEDGES A GOD, YET DENIES OR OVERLOOKS HIS MORAL CHARACTER.
THERE are certain perfections which all who acknowlelge a God agree in attributing to him : such are those of wisdom, power, immutability, &c. These, by Christian divines, are usually termed his natural perfections. There are others which no less evidently belong to deity, such as goodness, justice, veracity, &c. all which may be expressed in one word—holiness ; and these are usually termed his moral perfections. Both natural and moral attributes tend to display the glory of the divine character, but especially the latter. Wisdom and power, in the Supreme Being, render him a proper object of admiration'; but justice, veracity, and goodness, attract our love. No being is beloved for his greatness, but for his goodness. Moral excellence is the highest glory of an intelligent being, created or uncreated. Without this, wisdom would be subtilty, power tyranny, and immutability the same thing as being unchangeably wicked.
We account it the glory of revelation, that, while it displays the patural perfections of God in a way superior to any thing that has been called religion, it exhibits bis moral excellence in a manner peculiar to itself. It was with good reason that Moses affirmed in behalf of Israel, Their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges. The God, or Rock, of Israel is constantly described as a being glorious in holiness, and as requiring pure and holy worship : The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and in truth.— The Lord our God is holy.-Holy and reverend is his name.—Glory ye in his holy name. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.--He is of purer