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Bis youth, to instil into him sentiments the most profligate and licentious. Like Julian also, in his more advanced years, he became desirous of converting the whole civilized world into a seminary of Infidelity, with this only difference, that instead of introducing the follies and fopperies of Paganism, his aim was to substitute for Christianity a dreary system of Atheism, or of a Deism so nearly approaching to Atheism as to afford no better prospect to its deluded followers. For this purpose, the Philosophical Societies, in most of the European States, were put under the superintendence of men deeply in fested with what was dignified by the appellation of Philosophical Unbelief. Correspondence was kept up between these Societies, and between individuals embarked in this great undertaking, however remote from each other. Literary journals were carried on with the intent of giving celebrity and circulation to those works only which should bear the marks of the infidel Beast in their foreheads; and to stifle in the birth, if possible, every production hostile to their design.
“ Statesmen and courtiers were also busied in obtaining the favour and encouragement of their respective sovereigns towards. the ambitious and assuming Philosophists of the age; so that scarcely a department of any importance was filled but by them, or their weak and servile dependants. Thus did they endeavour to compel religion to hide itself, as a thing of noughi, “ a despised and broken Idol,” fit only for the veneration of the illiterate and the vulgar."
We are now come to a view of our own times, and to a consideration of the “ Scoffers in these last days." Such characters, it is justly observed, there always have been, men deriding and contemning the will of God. and following their own imaginations, in opposition to that will."
“ But if it be more characteristic of one age than of another, to abound in such opponents to truth, and to be distinguished by such marks of impiety; have we not reason to consider the present day as pre-eminently entitled to that destinction, and iherefore as indicating, perhaps, the approaching close of the Christin Dispensat upon earth ? For, in like manner as the Jewish people, immediately previous to the destruction of Jerusalem, grew worse and worse, more infatuated in their opposition to the gospel, more liçentious and profligate in their conduct, more profane and irreverent in their disregard of the manifest interpositions of Divine Power, for their reformation and conviction; so does it appear, that, in these latter tiines' the nearer the awful day of the Lord approaches, when all these things shall be dissolved :' more madiy does the world rage against its Creator and Redeemer, the more desperately does it rush on its own ruin, and scoff at the Divine judgment with increased audacity and contempt.",
To support this representation, the anti-christian conspiracy on the continent is fully exhibited, and the various plans adopted to spread atheism and immorality are fairly stated.
" All ranks and descriptions of persons being thus prepared and fitted, by every species of iniquity and delusion, for the designs of their execrable leaders, we may cease to be asto. nished at the tremendous catastrophe which ensued. The French revolution (dreadful as it must be deemed, by every one who retains a sentiment of religion or humanity) is but the practical commentary on the pernicious principles in which it origipated. To these, the destruction of the altar, of the throne, and of society itself, is so clearly to be ascribed, that it is a vain attempt to trace it to any other source. Outrage upon outrage, horror upon horror, falsbood upon falshood ; the annihilation of truth, order, justice, decency, and humanity, were the bitter fruits of that Apostacy and Blasphemy, to disseminate which had been the unceasing object of the professed Adorers of Liberty and Reason.”
The progress of impiety in our own country is thus described :
“ Encouraged by the unparalleled success of Infidelity abroad, the enemies to the Gospel shewed themselves here in very considerable numbers. From the blasphemous atheist, to the corrupt or insidious professor of Christianity, all were ready to join in the demolition of those bulwarks of our Faith, which for ages had secured it against the attacks of former assailants.
" Foremost in the ranks, appeared the Authors of the Age of Reason, and of the “ Enquiry into Political Justice;' works now sinking fast (it is to be hoped) into oblivion, and consigned to just execration by cvery friend of Truth and Social Order. Their effects, however, on thousands of weak, ignorant, and corrupt minds, can never be sufficiently deplored, and when we Tecollect the indefatigable zeal and industry with which the former of these works waś circulated among the very dregs of the populace (by whom it was devoured with an avidity which bespoke the innate depravity of their minds), it is impossible net to tremble, even now, at the consequences which have ensued, and which may yet ensue, from so deep-rooted and wide-spreading an evil. Every year's experience brings us, indeed, fresh proofs of the baleful influence of these and other productions of Scoffers at religion: and although they may not have effected so general and avowed an apostacy from the faith, as was intended, yet it cannot be denied, that a very general taint appears to have been given to the morals of the community at large, and of the lower orders in particular, by the dissemination of what have teen termed Jacobinical principles; peinciples compounded of a
hatred to God, and of hostility to all institutions, political or religious, which tend to restrain the destructive passions and propensities of mankind. Thus it appears, that even this favoured country, in possession of the purest Faith and the mildest Government that ever nation was blessed with, has not been without its 'generation of vipers,' who have made it the labour of their lives to forward the diabolical design of man's temporal and eternal destruction.”
The alliance between heresy and infidelity is thus appropriately noticed :
“ It is also evident, that in this Country, as well as on the Continent, the cause of infidelity has been greatly assisted by Heretics and Schismatics of various descriptions; by those who are pleased to call themselves rational Christians (men
“ wise in their own Conceits,” and refusing to receive any part of the Christian systein which does not exactly quadrate with their own preconceived opinions); and in general, by the numerous fraternity of half believers, nearly allied to Sceptics, Freethinkers, and Deists.
" It is well known, that the chief leaders of the Anti-Christian conspiracy on the Continent (those who had sworn hostility to the Saviour of the world, in terms too shocking for recital to a Christian ear) regarded the efforts of the Socinians, in particular, as exceedingly favourable to their views. And whoever has well considered the tendency of the voluminous writings put forth, in this country, by the most redoubted Champion of that Sect*, in modern times (a Sect, denying the Divinity of the Redeemer, and “ emitting the blood of the Covenant as an unholy thingt'), will hardly wonder that avowed Infidels should regard his works with peculiar complacency. Neither will it be thought improbable, that such as can accompany him, without shuddering, in some of his bold and irreverent attacks on those passages of Holy Writ which are irreconcileable with his own tenets, should advance yet a few steps farther, towards discrediting the whole, and terminate their career in general Scep. ticism or Unbelief.
“ It is also deserving of remark, that Infidels have generally shewn a peculiar tendernes towards another well known Secti, distinguished not only by their own fanatical pretensions to Inspiration, (than which nothing can tend more to bring the true Inspiration of the Scriptures into contempt) but also by their absolute rejection of the Christian Sacraments, and the Christian Priesthood; which being (as the enemies of our Faith are well aware) essential to the preservation of the Gospel, it is no
• Dr. Priestley. † Heb. 8. 29. The followers of George Fox. Vol. XI, Churchm. Mag. for Nov. 1806. 3 E wonder
wonder that they are inclined to hail as Brethren, those who treat them with irreverence and neglect."
We cannot dismiss this excellent discourse without extracting the just and elegant tribute of respect, which the occasion so aptly drey from the author to our revered Sovereiga.
“ As to our own Country," says the preacher, as we owe an amazing debt of gratitude to that gracious God, who hath hitherto preserved the Gospel among us in a state of purity and perfection, almost unknown in other parts of the Christiani world. For the preservation of this inestimable blessing, we are also (under God's providence) especially indebted to the pious and exemplary Monarch of this realm ;-who, though he ascended the throne at a season of life, when the mind is most easily captivated and led astray; at a time also, when the Anti-Christian Conspiracy was greatly advanced, and when Infidelity had gained an absolute ascendency in almost every Court of Europe ;--yet resolutely withsood all temptations from within and from without ;proving himself, by his conduct, no less than by his Royal Title, to be truly the Defender of the Faith."
The last Sermon in the first volume contains a Reca. pitulation of the foregoing View. Proofs that Infidelity originates in the influence of the Evil Spirit; Vindication of this doctrine from the imputation of Manicheism; Fulfilment of Prophecy in the whole of this History; Objections answered; Inquiry into the future Events relating to the Church.”
After the ample notice which we have taken of the preceding discourses, our view of the present must be brief. The agency of the Evil Spirit in this continued opposition to the Gospel is strongly maintained, and it is clearly shewn, that without admitting active, though invisible, Mover and Conductor of the whole design, we are unable to account for that systematic plan of hostility, which we find so unremittingly pursued, through every period, and in which, agents the most remote from each other as to time and place, and the most dissimilar as to circumstances and character, are made to conspire as it were, (together for the accomplishment of the projected mischief.”
This doctrine is clearly vindicated from the charge of Manicheism“ which maintains, that there is an "Evil Principle in the Universe coeval and coequal with God
himself." Death of the Right Hon. the Bishop. By Robert Dickinson, Charles James Fox, delivered at Curate and Lecturer. Published the Unitarian Chapel, Essex-street, at the request of the congregaOct. 12, 1806. By Thomas Bel- tion. 2s. sham, is.
himself,” whereas the Scriptures only “insruct us, concerning this Wicked One nor that he was originally created evil, nor that he was self-existant, but that he was created of an angelical nature, and was cast down from his exalted station and dignity, in punishment of his rebellion against the Most High.”
We were much pleased with the perspicuous, though concise view given of the prophecies which yet remain to be fulfilled; particularly with regard to the Conversion of the Jews and the Millennium, on both which subjects Mr. Van Mildert takes, but with great caution and candour, the affirmative side. The duty of strenuous exertions in the cause of religious truth against error and infidelity, is thus strongly enforced and earnestly recommended :
"Let us not suppose with the superficial theorists of the age, that these latter tiines are times of mavellous improvement in the knowlege of Religious Truths; or that they are less pregnant with danger and mischief, than those which are past. Our best exertions, our most sealous and unceasing efforts are bem. coming more and more requisite, to resist the torrent of iniquity and impiety, of error and delusion, which is every day pouring in upon us : and miserably shall we be deceived, if trusting to the supposed advancement of the human mind towards a state of perfection or to any imagined abatement of rage and malice on the part of the Adversary, we relax our efforts, or felinquish our salutary suspicions. There is, perhaps, more than common need for these admonitions, at the present moment, since there neverwas a period, when the Enemy, with more inveterate malignity sought the ruin of the Church ; or laboured to compass it with more consummate artifice and deceit."
In our next Number we shall take a survey of the contents of the second volume of this valuable work.
LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS. A
Discourse occasioned by the containing a Sketch of the Life of
A Sernion preached before the A Defence of the Established University of Cambridge, June 29, Protestant Faith. A Sermon, 1806, being Commencement Sunpreached in the Parish Church of day. By Edward Maltbys, D.D. 2s. St. Mary, Newington Butts, Sur- The Leading Features of the rey, Oct. 19, 1806. Being the Gospel, delineated by the Rev Sunday following the Interment of Nicholas Sloane, Minister of Dora the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of nock, Dumfrieshire. 7s. St. Asaph. With an Appendix,
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