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act to the government, “ by the piety of the kings and the faithful.” Well might an infidel Mirabeau pronounce such confiscation robbery. It was more : it was sacrilege. It was then, too, that the clergy were compelled to violate their consciences by a violation of their oaths, or forfeit their means of subsistence. I deny that the Assembly of that period were an honest and a moderate public body; for they trampled on their king, and shamefully abused him, in addition to the sacrilegious robbery, &c., above noticed. I deny that the king and people met like father and children in the Champ de Mars. At that very moment, he was virtually neither more nor less than their prisoner. I deny that he broke his oath, that he manifested a haughty spirit, or that his queen was an intriguer. Such slanders befit only the venomous tongues of their infidel murderers. With regard to the worship of the goddess of reason, and the doctrine of annihilation, I say again, and I am confirmed by all history relating to the subject, that they were not merely Parisian, but national concerns—the blasphemous scene in the convention being but the opening of the impious drama. The worship of the prostitute goddess obtained for a time throughout the nation, * and the motto, “ Death is an eternal sleep,” was placed over the entrances to their graveyards! The work of a mere Parisian municipality indeed! But suppose it was so. What is gained to infidelity ? Paris was the very head quarters of that-and the head quarters, too, of anarchy and bloodshed-the city, as I remarked in my last, which selected for its representatives the three infidel hell. hounds, Robespierre, Danton, and Marat. Admitted, then, for argument's sake, that the municipality of Paris were the cause of all these atrocities. What were the members of that munici. pality, and what were their constituents, but infidels ? Nor shall I admit, contrary to all evidence, that these atrocities were instigated by foreign emissaries. No, sir; they were the spon. taneous effusions of infidel benevolence, liberality, liberty, and equality! The christening of their murders and abominations with the names of republican marriages and baptisms, were evidently but sneers at the Christian institutions of marriage and baptism. The idea that Walter Scott is not a correct historian, because he can write novels, and has certain political opinions, is about as logical as infidel ideas in general, and requires no additional notice here.
It will be recollected, that I introduced the subject of the French revolution as one evidence of the necessity of revelation, and as proof of the pernicious influence of infidelity. And, sir, it is such evidence and such proof. Were I disposed to invent a tale as a confirmation of a theory, I am conscious that I could not produce one so much to the purpose, as is this event in history to that for which I have adduced it. The mind, after its perusal, seems as if awaking from a frightful dream.. No. thing but the seal of history enstamped upon it, could ever make us regard it otherwise than as an idle tale, a figment of the imagination. Human nature seems for a time to have been changed into infernal, and men to have delighted in tormenting one another for torment's sake. There was something so inexpressibly horrible about the September massacre, the proceed. ings at Lyons, Nantes, and other places; nay, throughout all France, during the whole long reign of terror; something so revolting and appalling in the sang froid with which the guillotine was plied, and human life sacrificed, and the God of heaven defied, that it is almost difficult to believe, that devils incarnate were not for a time at the head of affairs in that ill-fated country. The French revolution, sir, will stand a beacon to all future ages, to warn mankind to beware of war with heavenand with heaven's sacred book. Nor will they be in very great haste to turn away their eyes from a memento of so fearful import. Slow, slow will they be, again to embrace principles which have once led to such results. One such experiment outweighs a thousand arguments.
* As to the Tammany goddess of liberty, I know not the particulars. I presume, h
that the Tainma party did no ure the God of hea. ven, and worship her in his stead. If they did, here oughi to have been a " fuss" made about it.
To prove the necessity of revelation, I have likewise adduced the case of ancient and modern heathen nations, and shown, that the most enlightened of them were and are sunken in the lowest depths of moral degradation, polluted with the vilest abominations, and crimsoned with the bloodiest rites; and their wisest philosophers have confessed and deplored their spiritual darkness, and have disagreed on the most obvious and important truths; that what little glimmerings of light they have possessed, were reflected from the sun of patriarchal, or Mosaical, or Christian revelation; that they could not bring even this to bear on the mass of mankind, unbacked as it has always been by divine authority ; that this consideration has always induced them to pretend to such authority in special and important cases, thereby showing in the clearest manner the necessity of revelation; that these philosophers have inculcated demoralizing sentiments, and led immoral lives; and that, as those nations which have long been isolated from the great body of mankind, have no knowledge of God, there is reason to believe, that, had there never been a revelation given in any age, there would at this time be no such knowledge on the face of the earth : from which I have argued, that it is reasonable to conclude a revelation has been given, inasmuch as it is not supposable, that God would make a world of rational beings, and leave them entirely destitute of any knowledge of himself. I have shown that Christianity has a benign influence wherever it goes, overthrowing the abominations of the heathen, and civilizing and enlightening them, thereby conferring on mankind immense temporal benefits, (to say nothing of eternal ones) which, according to the admission of Rousseau himself, philosophy is not able to effect. I have likewise brought into view the moral phenomenon, that the Jews, who had the Scriptures, inferior as they were to the Greeks and Romans in point of science and refinement, were infinitely their superiors in moral and religious knowledge. I have produced a host of infidel writers who concede, that Christianity has a goodly in. fluence. The result of all which is, that, if any revelation has been made to mankind, it is presumable the Bible contains. it. It will not, I suspect, be pretended by my opponent, that any other religion can compete with that book on this point. Assuredly Paganism cannot; and as to Mahometanism, if that is true, the Bible is ; for that recognises the Bible. Indeed, it is generally admitted by infidels, that Christianity has the greatest apparent claim to a divine original of any religious system whatever. Deists generally, and Herbert in particular, admit, that “ Christianity has manifestly the advantage of all other pretenders to revelation, as in respect of the intrinsic excellency of the matter, so likewise in respect of the reasons that may be pleaded for its truth.” And Herbert likewise denominates it the best religion. Blount says, “it is not safe to trust to deism alone, without Christianity joined to it.” Hobbes calls the Scriptures the voice God. Tindal expresses himself to the same effect. Chubb says, that Christ's mission was probably divine, and that the New Testament yields much clearer light than any other traditionary revelation. Bolingbroke admits Christianity to be a republication of the laws of nature. Gibbon says it contains a pure, benevolent, and universal system of ethics, adapted to every duty and condition of life.
The case now stands thus : that revelation is necessary to the good of mankind, and indispensable to a knowledge of God; that it is not supposable that God, under these circumstances, would not give one; that it is therefore presumable that one has been given ; and that the Bible, if any, is that revelation.
September 27, 1831. The Bible is either infallible or it is not. As proof positive of its infallibility, you are about to adduce ancient historical evidence. If we suppose the Bible story true, its truths may have come to some of our ancestors, who lived ages ago, with divine evidence; or, otherwise expressed, as the word of God.
But, true or not, to us it comes with historical evidence only; or otherwise expressed, as the word of man. The word of God, recorded by man, becomes, of necessity, the word of man.
But this word of man (you will argue,) may be true; and, if true, the Bible precepts are divine.
To prove the Bible true, it is absolutely necesocry to prove, by ancient history, that miracles happened. I deny that, to a reasonable being, this is possible.
Livy informs us, (lib. 5, cap. 36, &c.,) that Rome was taken by the Gauls and delivered by Camillus. He informs us also (lib. 7, cap. 6,) that a wide gap suddenly opened in the Roman forum about the year 360 B.C. ; that the oracle declared it would never close until Rome threw into it whatever she had of most precious; that Curtius, a noble Roman youth, armed him. self, mounted his horse, and, declaring that there was nothing more precious than a self-devoting patriot, leaped into the gulf, which (the gods being appeased,) instantly closed over his head. Both these stories, of Camillus and of Curtius, rest on precisely the same authority, that of a historian famed for his learning and candour, and living some three or four hundred years after the events happened. Do we believe both ? No. We believe Camillus' story, though some fifty years older than the other; and we disbelieve Curtius' adventure, Why ? for one simple reason; it is miraculous. Livy's reputation as a historian, however fair, cannot weigh against a miracle. We can more readily believe in the narrator's credulity than in the narration's truth.
Thus it is demonstrated, that when the same evidence vouches for a probability and an improbability, we may receive the one and reject the other. A miracle recorded in any history but one, we disbelieve, because it is a miracle. We justly reason, that it is far more probable that the historian is deceived or a deceiver, than that events should happen which are utterly at variance with our own and all modern experience. And thus all your ingenious verbiage about disbelieving probabilities, and about heathen miracles being disbelieved merely because the historical evidence for them is not good, falls to the ground. Livy has as fair a reputation as any ancient historian whatever; but neither his history nor any other book (except the Bible to the Christian, the Koran to the Mahometan, the Talmud to the Jew, the Shaster to the Hindoo, and so on,) brings to any rational mind, now-a-days, even the shadow of a conviction that a miracle ever occurred.
If we saw a modern miracle ourselves, we should suspect some conjurer of a trick, or our senses of hallucination. If our nearest and dearest friend related to us a modern miracle, we should look with doubt and fear in his eyes for symptoms of insanity: and what we thus more than hesitate to believe, when seemingly attested by our senses, or the testimony we most trust upon earth, we would fain establish by records twenty
centuries back! It is, as if we had bound a giant with a cable; and, when he snapped it, still hoped to secure him with a silken thread.
I heard a Scottish highlander declare, with a voice and manner which left no doubt whatever of his sincerity, that he possessed the faculty of second sight,* and he related to me the instance in which he had exercised it. I disbelieved him. Why? Second sight is a miracle.
In Dr. Cotton Mather'st “ Magnalia Christi Americana," he relates how New England was, in the language of that period,
exposed to war from the invisible world;" how the in habitants were afflicted with demons, and so wrought upon by spectres, as to pine, languish, and die; how the demons attacked, first one house and then another; how a spectre ship entered the port of Salem, steering in the wind's eye with her yards squared and her sails full; how some supernatural light shone upon her, and her alone; how the Rev. Zebedee Stebbin, knowing the ship to be “a device of the prestigious spirits," called on the assembled multitude to sing the 46th Psalm ; how the ship sailed on, and on, and on, though no noise or voice was heard on board, until the masts and rigging suddenly fell into the sea, and the mighty spectre vanished; then again, how, a short time prior to the Indian war of 1675, noises and howlings were heard in the air, accompanied with the beating of drums as in a battle; and so on. Flashy people,” adds the doctor,
may burlesque these things, but when hundreds of the most sober people in a country where they have as much mother wit, certainly, as the rest of mankind, know them to be true nothing but the absurd and froward spirit of sadducism can question them. I have not mentioned so much one thing that will not be justified, if it be required, by the Oaths of more consistent persons than can be found to ridicule these odd phenomena.”
And, in truth, we have in his book, accounts of trials conducted with all the imposing forms of jurisprudence, in which many persons were convicted of holding communication with demons; and we have, what is still more remarkable, voluntary confessions of parties acknowledging themselves in league with the devil! So far, therefore, as the records and archives of legal courts may verify the truth of any accusation, they have verified the miracles of New England. Can we obtain for a single miracle of the Bible, evidence on oath-the direct evidence of hundreds of sober witnesses, as Dr. Mather said he could for his tales of wonder? Can we obtain the recorded, authenticated,
* The superstitions of the Highlanders touching this species of prophetic power are well known.
+ The New England divine was a doctor of divinity; and so highly were his talents and learning in estimation, even on the European side of the Atlantic, that he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of London.