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pieces the people of God; I will afflict his heritage; I will slay the widow and the stranger;

or, to speak agreeably to the genius of our own “ time, I will spend my life in pleasure, in gratifying

my sensual appetites, in avoiding what would “ check me in my course, in a word, in living as if " I were able to demonstrate either that there was " no God, or that he paid no regard to the actions o of men.”

Ought he not, rather, on the contrary, as his mind is in a state of uncertainty between both, to attach himself to that, which is the most safe ? Ought he not to say ? “I will so regu“ late my conduct, that, if there be a God, whose “ existence, indeed, I doubt, but, however, am “ not able to disprove: If God pay any regard to “ the actions of men, which I question, but can“ not deny; he may not condemn me.” Judge ye, christians! men, who can thus brutally insult a dark futurity, and the bare possibility of those punishments, which religion denounceth against tlie wicked; such men, are they not, either the most foolish, or the most brutish, among the people ? Understand, ye most brutish among the people ! Ye fools ! When will ye be wise ?

VI. I would attack the conscience of the libertine, and terrify him with the language of my text: He, who teacheth man knowledge, shall not he correct? That is to say, He, who gave you laws, shall not he regard your violation of them ? The persons whom I attack, I am aware, have defied us to find the least vestige of what is called conscience in them. But had you thoroughly examined yourselves, when you set us at defiance on this article? Have you been as successful, as you pretend to have been, in your daring enterprize of freeing yourselves entirely from the terrors of con

science ? Is this light quite extinct? This interior master, doth he dictate nothing to you? This rack of the Almighty, doth it never force you to confess what you would willingly deny? Are your knees so firm, that they never smite together with dread and horror?

The question, concerning the possibility of entirely freeing a man from the empire of conscience, is a matter of fact. We think, we have reason for affirming, that no man can bring himself to such a state. You pretend to be yourselves a demonstration to the contrary. You are, you declare, perfectly free from the attacks of conscience. This is a fact, and I grant it; I take your word. But here is another fact, in regard to which we ought to believe in our turn, and on which our word is as much worth as yours. This is it. We have seen a great number of sick people; we have attended a great number of dying people. Among those, to whom in the course of our ministry we have been called, we have met with all sorts of characters. We have visited some, who once were what you profess to be now, people, who boasted of having freed themselves from vulgar errors, from the belief of a God, a religion, a hell, a heaven, and of saying, when they abandoned themselves to the utmost excesses, as you say, The Lord shall not see ; neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. But we have never met with a single individual, no, not one, who hath not contradicted himself at the approach of death. It is said some have done this. For our parts, we have never met with any such; we have never attended one, who hath not proved by his example, that you will contradict yourselves also. We have often visited those, who have renounced all their systems, and have cursed their infidelity a thousand, and a thousand times. We have visited many, who have required the aid of that very religion they had ridiculed. We have often seen those, who have called superstition to assist religion; and who have turned pale, trembled, and shaken, at the bare sight of our habit, beforethey had heard the sentence, which God pronounced by our mouths.But we have never seen an individual, no, not one, who died in his pretended scepticism : It remains with you to account for these facts. You are to inquire, whether you yourselves will be more courageous. It belongs to you to examine, whet:er you can bear those dying agonies, those devouring regrets, those terrible misgivings, which made your predecessors unsay all, and discover as much cowardice at death, as they had discovered brutality in their lives.

VII. Perhaps you have been surprized, my brethren, that we have reserved the weakest of our attacks for the last. Perhaps you object, that motives, taken from what is called politeness, and a knowledge of the world, can make no impressions on the minds of those, who did not feel the force of our former attacks. It is not without reason, however, that we have placed this last. Libertines and infidels often pique themselves on their gentility, and good-breeding. They frequently take up their system of infidelity, and pursue their course of profaneness, merely through their false notions of gentility. Reason, they think, too scholastic, and faith, pedantry. They imagine, that, in order to distinguish themselves in the world, they must affect neither to believe nor to reason.

Well ! you accomplished gentleman ! do you know what the world thinks of you ? The prophet tells you ; but it is not on the authority of the prophet only, it is on the opinions of your fellow citizens, that I mean to persuade you. You are considered in the world as the most brutish of mankind. Understand, ye most brutish among the people ! What is an accomplished gentleman? What is politeness and good breeding? It is the art of accommodating one's self to the genius of that soçiety, and of seeming to enter into the sentiments of that company, in which we are; of appearing to honor what they honor; of respecting what they respect ; and of paying a regard even to their prejudices, and their weaknesses. On these principles, are you not the rudest and most unpolished of mankind ? Or, to repeat the language of my text, are you not the most brutish among the people? You live among people, who believe a God, and a religion ; among people, who were educated in these principles, and who desire to die in these principles ; among people, who have, many of them, sacrificed their reputation, their ease, and their fortune, to religion. Moreover, you live in a society, the foundations of which sink with those of religion, so that were the latter undermined, the former would, therefore, be sunk. All the members of society are interested in supporting this edifice, wbich you are endeavoring to destroy. The magistrate commands you not to publish principles that tend to the subversion of his authority. The people request you not to propagate opinions, which tend to subject them to the passions of a magistrate, who will imagine, he hath no judge superior to himself. This distressed mother, mourning for the loss of her only son, prays you not to deprive her of the consolation, which she derives from her present persuasion, that the son, whom she laments, is in possession of immortal glory. That sick man beseecheth you not to disabuse him of an error, that sweetens all his sorrows.

Yon dying man begs you would not rob him of his only hope. The whole world conjures you not to establish truths, (even supposing they were truths, an hypothesis which I deny and detest,) the whole world conjures you not to establish truths, the knowledge of which would be fatal to all mankind. In spite of so many voices, in spite of so many prayers, in spite of so many intreaties, and among so inany people interested in the establishment of religion; to affirm that religion is a fable, to oppose it with eagerness and obstinacy, to try all your strength, and to place all your glory, in destroying it : What is this but the height of rudeness, brutality, and madness ? Understand, ye most brutish among the people? Ye fools ? When will ye be toise?

Let us put a period to this discoure. We come to you, my brethren! When we preach against characters of these kinds, we think, we read what passes in our hearts. You congratulate yourselves, for the most part, for not being of the number, for detesting infidelty, and for respecting religion. But shall we tell you my brethren? How odious soever the men are, whom we have described, we know others more odious still. There is a restriction in the judgment, which the prophet forms of the first, when he calls them in the text. The most foolish, and the most brutish among the people ; and there

' are some men, who surpass them in brutality and extravagance.

Do not think we exceed the truth of the matter, or that we are endeavoring to obtain your attention by paradoxes. Really, I speak as I think ; I

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; think, there is more ingeniousness, and even, (if I may venture to say so,) a less fund of turpitude in men, who, having resolved to roll on with the torrent of their passions, endeavor to persuade them.

VOL. II.

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