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and their contempt his answer! In the mean time I will take leave to oppose to it a short passage from a tract, lately translated into English, entitled Philosophical and Critical Enquiries concerning Christianity, by Mr. Bonnet, of Geneva; a work well deserving an attentive perusal :
· Here I invite that reader, who can elevate his mind to the contemplation of the ways of Providence, to meditate with me on the admirable methods of divine wisdom in the establishment of Christianity; a religion, the universality of which was to comprehend all ages, all places, nations, ranks, and situations in life; a religion, which made no distinction between the crowned head and that of the lowest subject ; formed to disengage the heart from terrestrial things, to ennoble, to refine, to sublime the thoughts and affections of man; to render him conscious of the dignity of his nature, the importance of his end, to carry his hopes even to eternity, and thus associate him with superior intelligences; a religion, which gave every thing to the spirit and nothing to the flesh; which called its disciples to the greatest sacrifices, because men who are taught to fear God alone, can undergo the severest trials; a religion, in short (to conclude my weak conceptions on so sublime a subject) which was the perfection or completion of natural law, the science of the truly wise, the refuge of the humble, the consolation of the wretched; so majestic in its simplicity, so sublime in its doctrine, so great in its object, so astonishing in its effects. I have endeavoured (says this excellent author in his conclusions) to explore the inmost recesses of my heart, and, having discovered no secret motive there which should induce me to reject a religion so well calculated to supply the defects of my reason, to comfort me under affliction, and to advance the perfection
of my nature, I receive this religion as the greatest blessing Heaven in its goodness could confer upon mankind; and I should still receive it with gratitude, were I to consider it only as the very best and most perfect system of practical philosophy.'--BONNET.
That man, hurried away by the impetuosity of his passions, is capable of strange and monstrous irregularities, I am not to learn ; even vanity, and the mean ambition of being eccentric, may draw out very wild expressions from him in his unguarded hours; but that any creature should be deliberately blasphemous, and reason himself (if I may so express it) into irrationality, surpasses my conception, and is a species of desperation for which I have no
If the voice of universal nature, the experience of all ages, the light of reason, and the immediate evidence of my senses, cannot awaken me to a dependence upon my God, a reverence for his religion, and an humble opinion of myself, what a lost creature am I!
Where can we meet a more touching description of God's omnipresence and providence than in the 139th Psalm ? And how can I better conclude this paper, than by the following humble attempt at a translation of that most beautiful address to the Creator of mankind.
1 O Lord, who by thy mighty power,
Hast search'd me out in every part,
2 In whatsoever path I stray,
Where'er I make my bed at night,
3 Nor can my tongue prononnce a word,
How secretly soe'er 'twere said,
And by thy judgment shall be weigh’d. 4 In every particle I see
The fashion of thy plastic hand :
Whither, ah! whither then can I
From thine all present spirit go? 7 To Heav'n? 'tis there thon'rt thron'd on high
To Hell ? 'tis there thou rul'st below.
8 Lend me, 0 Morning, lend ine wings!
On the first beam of op’ning day
On the world's shore, l'll flit away. 9 Ah fool! if there I meant to hide,
For thou, my God, shalt reach mo nere,
10 Again, if calling out for night,
I bid it shroud me from thine eyes,
11 Nay, darkness cannot intervene
Betwixt the universe and Thee ;
12 Thine is each atom of my frame;
Thy fingers strung my inmost reins,
13 Oh! what a fearful work is man!
A wonder of creative art !
14 My very bones, tho' deep conceal'd
And buried in this living clay,
Are to thy searching sight reveald
As clear as in the face of day.
My substance, yet imperfect, scannd,
Were written and their uses plann'd. 16 Ere Time to shape and fashion drew
These ductile niembers one by one,
Thy great prospective work was done. 17 O God! how gracious, how divine, How dear thy counsels to my
soul! Myriads to myriads cou'd I join,
They'd fail to number up the whole. 18 I might as well go tell the sand,
And count it over grain by grain :
Aud walking with my God remain.
Shall not blasphemers be destroy'd ?
Hence murderer, and my sight avoid ! 20 Loud are their hostile voices heard
To take thy sacred name in vain :
Wring my aftlicted heart with pain?
Hatred for hatred to thy foes?
As tho' against my peace they rose. 23 Try me, dread Power! and search my heart;
Lay all its movements in thy view;
Nor spare it, if ’lis found untrue, 24 If devious from thy paths I stray,
And wickedness be found with me,
The deistical writers, who would fain persuade us that the world was in possession of as pure a system of morality before the introduction of Christianity as since, affect to make a great display of the virtues of many eminent heathens, particularly of the philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and some others.
When they set up these characters as examples of perfection, which human nature with the aids of revelation either has not attained to, or not exceeded, they put us upon an invidious task, which no man would voluntarily engage in, and challenge us to discuss a question, which, if thoroughly agitated, cannot fail to strip the illustrious dead of more than half the honours which the voice of ages has to give them.
It is therefore to be wished that they had held the argument to its general terms, and shewn us where that system of ethics is to be found, which they are prepared to bring into comparison with the moral doctrines of Christ. This I take to be the fair ground whereon the controversy should have been decided, and here it would infallibly have been brought to issue ; but they know their weapons beta ter than to trust them in so close a conflict.
The maxims of some heathen philosophers, and the moral writings of Plato, Cicero, and Seneca, contain many noble truths, worthy to be held in veneration by posterity; and if the deists can from these produce a system of morality as pure and perfect as that which claims its origin from divine re