Obrazy na stronie

swear and promise, that I will fulfill and observe entirely all the penitences which have been imposed upon me, or which shall be imposed by this holy office. But if it shall happen, that I shall go contrary (which God avert) to any of my words, promises, protestations, and oaths, I subject myself to all the penalties and punishments, which by the holy canons and other constitutions, general and particular, have been enacted and promulgated aganist such delinquents-So help me God, and his holy Gospels, on which I now lay my hands.

I, the aforesaid Galileo Galilei, have abjured, sworn, promised, and have bound myself as above, and in the fidelity of those with my own hands, and have subscribed to this present writing of my abjuration, which I have recited word by word. At Rome, in the convent of Minerva, this 22d day of June, of the year 1632.

I, Galileo Galilei, have abjured as above with my own hand.

THE PROGRESS OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. A Candid but rational inquiry into the progress and establishment of Christianity, may be considered as a very essential part of the history of the Roman empire. While that great body was invaded by open violence, or undermined by slow decay, a pure and humble religion gently insinuated itself into the minds of men, grew up in silence and obscurity, derived new vigour from opposition, and finally erected the triumphant banners of the cross on the ruins of the capitol. Nor was the influence of christianity confined to the period or to the limits of the Roman empire. After a ravolution of thirteen or fourteen centuries, that religion is still professed by the nations of Europe, the most distinguished portion of human kind in arts and learning as well as in arms. By the industry and zeal of the Europeans, it has been widely diffused to the most distant shores of Asia and Africa ; and by the means of their colonies has been firmly established from Canada to Chili. In a world unknown to the an-, cients.

But this inquiry, however useful or entertaining, is attended with two peculiar difficulties. The scanty and suspicious materials of ecclesiastical history seldom enable us to dispel the dark cloud that hangs over the first age of the church. The great law of impartiality too often obliges us

to reveal the imperfections uninspired teachers and believers of the gospel- and to a careless observer, their faults may seem to cast a shade on tho faith which they professed.-But the scandal of the pious christian, and the fallacious triumph of the infidel, should cease as soon as they recol. lect not only by whom, but likewise to whom, the Divine Revelation was given. The theologian may indulge the pleasing task of describing Religion as she descended from Heaven, arrayed in her native purity. A more melancholy duty is imposed on the historian. He must discover the ine. vitable mixture of error and corruption, which she contracted in a long residence upon earth, upon a weak and degenerate race of beings.

Our curiosity is naturally prompted to inquire by, what means the christian faith obtained so remarkable a victory over the established religions of the earth. To this inquiry, an obvious but satisfactory answer may be returned. That it was owing to the convincing evidence of the doctrine itself and to the ruling providence of its great author. But as truth and reason seldom find so favorable a reception in the world, and as the wisdom of providence frequently condescends to use the passions of the human heart, and the general circumstances of mankind, as instruments to execute its pupose; we may still be permited, though with becoming submission, 'to ask, not indeed what were the first, but what were the secondary causes of the rapid growth of the christian church. It will, perhaps appear, that it was most effectually favoured and assisted by the five following causes. I.

The inflexible, and, if we may use the expres. sion, the intolerent zeal of the christians, derived it is true, from the Jewish religion, but purefied from the narrow and unsocial spirit, which instead of inviting, had deterred the gentiles from embracing the law of Moses. II. The doctrine of a future life, improved by every additional circumstance which could give weight and efficacy to that important truth. III. The miraculous powers ascribed to the primitive church. IV. The pure and austere morals of the christians. V. The union and discipline of the christian republic, which gradually formed an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman empire.


The following prize Subjects are proposed by the Mary

land Society for promoting useful knowledge. 1st. The History of the State of Maryland.

2d. The best mode of punishing criminals. A gold medal with an appropriate mottó, and relief, will be adjudged to each of the best productions on those subjects, received previous to the first of January, 1805. Candidates for the above prizes will be pleased to direct their paper to Dr. John Owen, secretary of the society at Baltimore, and annexed to them a sealed note, containing the author's name and residence, under cover of directions for the disposal of the papers in case they fail to obtain a prize.

FOR sale by the editor, (price 1 dollar) at No. 26 Chatham-street, the PRINCIPLES OF NATURE, or a Developement of the Moral Causes of Happiness and Misery among the Human Species, second edition, with five new chapters, upon the following subjects :-Origin of Moral Evil, and the means of its Ultimate Extirpation from the Earth; that Moral Principles are not founded upon Theological Ideas, nor upon any Sectarian Modification of these Ideas, but upon a basis as immortal and as indestructible as Human Existence itself; Universal Benevolence; Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet; Philosophical Immortality.

PUBLIC DISCOURSES, UPON MORAL and PHILOSOPHICAL SUBJECTS, will be delivered by the Editor every Sunday evening, at 6 o'clock, at Snow's long room, No. 89 Broad-Way.

NEW YORK: PRINTED and published by the editor, at No. 26 Chathamstreet, price 2 dollars per annum, one half paid in advance erery six months.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Pope in his essay on man has presented to the human mind moral and theological ideas of vast importance, the qualities and characters of human beings in their relative positions were essential to the discriminating views, and the deductions which he made upon the most interesting subjects. The physical and the moral world were equally exposed to the activity of his mind, and his maxims in many respects contain a comprehensiveness which nothing can exceed. The Jewish and personified divinity resembling so exactly the shape and form of a man, and in full possession of his malignant passions, was in the estimation of this philosophical poet a nonentity, a creature of human imagination. Pope, altho' perhaps tinctured with the supersti. tion of the day, saw with great clearness, the powers and activity of the material universe, for he says,

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose body nature is, and God the Soul. The respect which he paid to moral principle was not less sin. cere or less visible than that which he bestowed upon gy of thephysical universe. But notwithstandingthe strong ạt, tachment which we entertain forhis essayon man, webelieve at the same time, that some of the sentiments therein contained possess a hostile character, relative to the moral interests of human society. When philosophers coincide with fanatics, their doctrines become questionable--their opinions carry in them a suspicious appearance, and ought to be exa, mined. It is true that philosophy and religious enthusiasm may sometimes coincide--but the case is rare.

the ener

Paul preaches in the name of heaven the doctrine of pre. destination, and Pope preaches in the name of philosophy the same doctrine. Pope has been followed and supported by many respectable writers of the same opinion--among whom are Priestley and Godwin; men justly celebrated in the present age for talents and learning-for acuteness of investigation and accuracy of reasoning upon subjects of the first importance. But there are maxims of a moral nature clearly deducible from the powers and character of man, which ought to triumph over all the scripture doctrines of predestination, and the metaphysical ingenuity of philoso. phers. Every accurate observer of principle must recognize a just discrimination between that which is good and that which is bad. Actions of an opposite cast and tendency ought never to be blended together--they possess inherents ly a distinct character, and excite as they ought very different emotions and decisions. When we say that acts of justice and benevolence are right, our expression is correct-bug when we say that murder, cruelty, and inhumanity are right, our expressions are at war with truth and the happiness of society. When we say that whatever is, is right, we include actions of every description, vicious as well as virtuous all distinction is levelled, and man perceives no exalted point of excellence on which he is permitted to bestow the applause of his understanding. Paul calls in to his aid the sovereign, and arbitrary powers of his God-necessitarian philosophers, the irresistible imperiousness of motives upon the faculties and views of human nature. But in every just condemnation for vicious actions, the motive as well as the action is justly criminated. If it were otherwis.: the culprit in a court of justice while he admitted the iniquity of the action according to the tenor of the law, might plead the irresistibleness of motive to ward off the charge which had been brought against him. This would be just; for if men can no more resist moral motives than they can physical force, there is an end to the name of human virtue, and man can possess no more me. rit than any common machine. The truth is that our acti. ons are subjected to our own controul--we possess a moral choice and are responsible for the good or bad use we make ot it. If ever man becomes an enlightened and virtuous being, it will be by teaching him to repose in his faculties an unqualified confidence, and to believe he can accomplish every thing instead of nothing.

« PoprzedniaDalej »