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the obligations and duties of natural religion, will, with an almost unfailing certainty, lead those, to whom it is fairly proposed, to embrace the gospel, or to acknowledge its Divine Authority. Unless therefore we comply with the essential condition on which the Author of Christianity has rested his cause, we can have no right, nor are we qualified to decide upon the question.—Without this compliance, or while the mind is clouded with vicious affections and passions, it would be nearly as absurd to undertake to convince a man of the Divine Authority of the Gospel, as to enable the blind or the dead to distinguish the beauty of colors, or the harmony of sounds. It would be very candid to assert, that no one who rejects the gospel, when fạirly proposed to him, can be an honest or virtuous
We know not to what degree inveterate prejudice may prevail over, and blind the understanding even of a good man. The Scarcher of Hearts alone can determine this, and he will compassionate the weakness of human nature. Thus much we may venture to affirm, that no vicious man so long as he is resolved to continue such, and to submit to the tyranny of the passions, is capable of deciding on the question before us.--But, if impressed with the importance of the subject, divesting himself of prejudice, resolved to pursue the path of virtue, equally essential to the Deist and to the Christian, he makes the inquiry with a sincere desire of knowing in order to his complying with the truth, and governing bis heart and life by its precepts; we may address him in the words of our Saviour to a similar character:-" Thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven.” We have very little doubt of his acknowledging the Divine Authority of the gospel; and that instead of being a cunningly devised fable, it is in fact the power of God, and the Wisdom of God. -Great is the Truth, and it will prevail.
Having stated and urged the previous condition, we now proceed more particularly to answer the question proposed.
With the disposition which we have recommended, that is, impressed with the great importance of the question, divested of prej. udice. Studying the gospel itself, in order to know what it really is, and above all, with a virtuous desire of knowing the truth, that you may embrace and conform to it. Thus qualified, read the Bi. ble, especially the New Testament, with serious attention ; looking to the fountain of life, as you surely may, and ought to do, according to your own principles, as an honest and virtuous Deist, and I could almost pledge my life upon the certainty of your becoming a Christian. Our plan does not require, nor is it consistent wit the necessary brevity of these essays to dilate at large upon the 1
guments for the Divine Authority of the gospel. This has often been done in numerous excellent tracts, which have been written on that subject. All we proposed was, to point out to the virtuous querist, how he might avail himself of that evidence so as to obtain satisfaction on the subject. But in order to render our plan more complete, and to save the inquirer the trouble of reading many vol. umes to obtain that evidence, which he might find by simply reading his Bible ; we will briefly state some of the leading evidences, both internal and external, of the Divine Authority of the gospel. By the internal evidence we intend, that which naturally arises to the well disposed mind upon reading the New Testament. He will, we doubt not, be struck with the simplicity of the language, and the obvious sincerity and impartiality of the writers, who disguise nothing, however to their own discredit.-The admirable light which the gospel throws on the great principles of natural religion, but dimly discovered by unassisted reason.—The fitness of the doctrine revealed, to the character of the affectionate Parent of the Universe.—The evident tendency of the whole to promote the piety, virtue, holiness and happiness of mankind.
On this statement of the internal evidence of the gospel, we may reason thus :-Suppose on the disease of a wise and affectionate parent, his children should find among his papers, a writing signed with his name and claiming his authority, the contents of which was of the greatest importance to them and their offspring, and its professed design and tendency was to promote their interests, and to render them respectable, useful and happy. Especially if it was what they had wished for and had reason to expect from the wel known wisdom and goodness of their parent. Would they hesitate to acknowledge it as stampt with parental authority, gratefully to adopt and conform to it. Certainly every ingenuous mind will answer, No! Precisely such is the gospel. It is signed with the name, and claims the authority of our father in heaven. It is
of the wisest and best men in all ages have wished for and expected. It sets the character of our heavenly Father in the most amiable light. It supplies all our real wants, and satisfies crery reasonable desire. It is suited to be our guide and support, our comfort and friend in the journey of life. To soften the bed of death, by the assurance which it gives us of an happy immortality. Can there be then any hesitation with respect to its divine authority ? Such is the evidence on which the greater part of Christians who have neither time nor abilities to examine the ex
ternal evidences of the gospel, must rest their faith, and who will say that it is not abundantly sufficient for the purpose, especially as it is a progressive evidence. For the further we advance in our acquaintance with the gospel, and conformity to its spirit and compliance with the duty it requires, the more shall we experience its happy effects, and the more firmly shall we be convinced of its divine authority. The evidence is reduced in the end to a plain matter of fact. For, as a man cannot doubt the efficacy of that medicine which has corrected every symptom of his disease, and restored him to health and activity, in the pursuits of life, so neither can the christian doubt the divine authority of that gospel which has checked every symptom of moral disease, and restored him to an high degree of mental health, peace and enjoyment in the pleasing practice of every virtue. Thus faith becomes the substance of things hoped for, and the consolations arising from it in the present, anticipates the happiness to which it will conduct us in the future world.
[To be continued.
WHY STAND YE HERE ALL THE DAY IDLE ?
1. Why stand ye idle ?-Our Heavenly Instructor in this interrogatory could not have reference to those in the immediate and glorious presence of the Deity, for they
day without night,
“ Circle his throne rejoicing;' neither could he have spoken to the unhappy and restless souls, that are banished from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. The address is to us the children of men, whose eternal residence will soon be fixed with one of the societies just mentioned; the object of the call is to induce us to awake from our spiritual lethargy, to become laborious in the vineyard of our God; and as we shall be judged according to our works, upon our compliance or refusal hangs our everlasting state.
2. Why stand ye here idle ?-Earth is no place for indulging the propensities of our souls. It is covered with evil and temptations, and soon shall be buried in its bosom. Here we have transgressed the divine law; here do we possess the oracles of life, which will testify for or against us; and here, if ever, we must make our peace with the offended Majesty of Heaven.
3. Why stand ye all the day idle ?-Some become labourers in the Lord's vineyard in the morning of their days; some delay it to the third, sixth, or ninth hour; and those are here called upon who have spent the greater part of their lives, even to the eleventh hour, to no purpose. God is long-suffering, and is still waiting to be gracious. The latest penitent shall have an equal reward. But what multitudes have trifled away all their season of grace! To how many is their eleventh hour already past, though fluttering in the gay morning of their days !
FOR THE WEEKLY MONITOR.
THE FRIEND TO YOUTH-NO. V. * Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not
depart from it." I CANNOT too strongly urge the attention of my readers to the important subject of correcting children, as treated on in my last; por can they bestow too much time in reflecting on the necessity of moderation, steadiness, and truth, in the government of them.
The indignation with which I view the conduct of some parents in their treatment to children, and the ardent desire I have to dissuade them from error, induces me once more to speak upon the cruel practice of striking a child upon the head.
We should suppose a parent lost to all shame and feeling, who would so abuse a child. But call it what you will, there are those who do it; and the writer has known one instànce (at least) of a child who suffered a great loss in its hearing, owing to such misconduct in the parent. Parents ought to know, therefore, that injury and not good, proceeds from such rashness towards children.
If children are at times really deserving of punishment, parents should reflect before they administer it; and, divesting themselves of anger, should take a proper time, and a proper method for bestowing it.
If, in this way, we adhere to reason, to justice, and to parental feeling, we shall find that suitable punishment will be a blessing, and will finally gain the obedience and affection of children.
On the contrary, if we are led by passion ; if we are sullen, stubborn and revengeful towards them--the consequences will be the most unhappy and wretched. Such conduct is not only calculated to excite their disgust and hatred, but tends also to instil such corrupt principles in their minds, as will blast the fond anticipations of a parent, and render the remainder of their days miserable, wretched and unhappy.
To conclude :-Let parents guard against these evils ; let them be mild, temperate, chaste and dutiful to their children ; endeavouring also to implant such principles of religion, as shall spring up to the honour and glory of God, and to the happiness of mankind.
From such conduct, and such principles and views, in parents and children, we have every thing to hope. Without them, we can hope nor look for nothing in this world, but wretchedness and despair.
As parents value their own happiness, then, and that of their children, an early attention to this subject is necessary; and that they may awake from the reverie into which some of them have fallen is the earnest and sincere desire of their humble friend
ERRONEOUS VIEWS OF THE HAPPINESS ATTENDING VIRTUE
I CONFINE myself to those false views of the comparative happiness of virtue and vice in the present world, discovered by the electors of the latter, which proceed from unacquaintance with the influences of these opposite characters upon the mental, and their more secret and occult effects upon the animal enjoyment of man ; that erroneous judgment which springs, not from deficiency of attention to evidence that is before the mind, but from the want of proofs themselves; proofs, which, though they are to be procured, have never been collected and presented to their understanding, either by themselves or by others ; in short, that wrong judgment which arises from ignorance ; ignorance of the nature of man, of the nature of happiness, and the absolute necessity of virtue to the happiness of such a creature.
He who determines to lead a life of indolence, or of licentious pleasure, or to devote his days to the pursuits of avarice, or of ambition, does not know, at the time that he forms this determination, that the certain attendants upon intemperance, if it should not