RACY was actually formed for the extinction of Christianity, and the abolition of Government and Social Order, by a set of men whose names demand the execration of mankind. They prove, incontrovertibly prove (or neither the scheme nor its fuccess could find belief in any rational mind untainted with its poison), that the SYSTEM established for the execution of this plan was extended to every country, with unexampled perfeverance, art, and fecrecy, and threatened universal ruin; that this Syftematic conspiracy has been the MAIN SPRING of the revolution in France; and that the POWER created by this revolution bas, in return, become its chief support and coadjutor. This simple, statement will, I trust, recal to the reader's mind the interpretation of “ the fecond beast and his image,” which was offered to his confideration in the Introductory Chapter. And he will readily perceive, that I have mentioned the unconnected evidence of Barruel and Robison as particular confirmation of this idea, because these writers have best difplayed that union of fraud with force, which constitutes and distinguishes this Antichriftian power. They best have proved this new philosophy, as it is called, to breathe


as rank a spirit of persecution against Chriftianity itself, as ever disgraced the name of Religion in the form of Popish bigotry. They best have shown the connexion between Infidelity and Civil tyranny, so long denied, but now made visible to the astonished world. They best therefore have proved, without the sightest reference to the subject, the exact fulfilment of the Prophecies respecting this extraordinary Antichristian power.

The amazing prevalence of Infidelity has indeed engaged the attention of many earlier writers; for since the establishment of Christianity it has never appeared fo formidable as in the present age : but it was not till confidence of success emboldened Condorcet to publish in 1785, the “ secret correspondence” of the master movers of the plan, that the public mind received the smallest intimation of the Cause. Nor did it then, unhappily, give credit to the extent of its existence, or the possibility of its success. In this country the discovery was scarcely noticed; though an excellent Prelate, whose ardent zeal in the cause of Christianity is united with genuine philanthropy, endeavoured in 1794,


to direct the attention of the public to this diabolical conspiracy against the religion and the happiness of man. * An episcopal Charge will, however, be confined to a certain class of Readers. The alarm was given to religionists, but not to statesmen, till events, incredible before they actually took place, excited general astonishment, and led men eagerly to seek their origin. And at this moment of enquiry, Barruel and Robifon laid before the public a mass of facts, which most satisfactorily traced these events to the machinations of societies formed for the express purpose of producing them.

But Voltaire conceived his horrible design about the year 1720 ; and the sect of the Illuminati, a specimen of its effects, was founded in 1776. The question therefore recurs, what could give rise to these focicties ? and how can we account for the fisccess of their schemes ? It must be acknowledged, that the ideas of Infidelity, which had long been floating in the world, were first embodied into a practical System of wickedness by Voltaire, d'Alembert, Frederic II. King of Prussia, Diderot, and their confederates in iniquity b; and that the disciples of this junto first gained the CIVIL POWER to aid and openly avow adherence to the cause of Infidelity. But I think we may venture to affirm, that at no other period of the world could this fystem have been formed, or this power created. And having already ihown that this is exactly the period aligned by the prophetic word of God for the appearance of the “ second beast and his image,” we are authorized to assert, that the present reign of the Infidel Antichrist has been expressly foretold.

* See the Bishop of London's Charge to his Clergy.

Still, however, it will be asked, why hould this period produce this monstrous progeny? This question involves such a variety of matter fo secretly connected, that any thing like accurate investigation would exceed the limits of a chapter. But I shall endeavour to point out the principal causes ; and these will, I think, conduct us to the only adequate explanation.

See Barruel, p. 334.
See Introductory Chapter, vol. i. p. 387, and 405.

A writer,

[ocr errors]

A writer d, who considers himself as an advocate for Christianity, whilst he is labouring to remove its foundations, asserts, that the great father of modern unbelievers among Mahometans and Christians, was Averroes, a Saracen Mahometan of the twelfth century.” He was devoted to the philosophy of Aristotle, whose writings are said to have made all the unbelievers in the age of Petrarch and that of Leo the tenth. He held “the eternity of the world, and the existence of one universal intellect, the source of all human intelligence, into which every separate intelligence will finally be resolved ; and consequently he denied the distinct exiftence and proper immortality of the human foul.” The Arabian imposture may be thus considered as the father, but surely Infidelity was brought forth by " the mother of harlots.” When the revival of letters enabled men to see the mass of absurdities, contradictions, and impieties, which were taught by the church of Rome to be ellential parts of Christianity, Scepticism was the natural result of this discovery. Rea

• Priestley's Discourses on the Evidences of Revealed Religion.


« VorigeDoorgaan »