« PredošláPokračovať »
as it pleaseth Him; and it is perfectly within the limits of our reason to conceive that He could give it an invisible body : for we know matter that is visible will produce matter that is invisible, and vice versá ; for instance, two gases, oxygen and hydrogen,
which are invisible, will produce water, which is visible.
Those who say the Deity made matter and all things, and that he had foreknowledge, and all power at the creation of the devil and man, and that He saw or predestinated the consequences of forming them in a particular manner, or that He was pleased with His work; and that He is so infinite in happiness, that we cannot displease Him by our actions being alike pleased with our crimes and our virtues ; that every thing that is, is agreeable to His will; that He made us liable to sin for the purpose of shewing us His justice and mercy, in giving laws and instructions by Moses and the prophets, and in redeeming us through the ministration, death, and
sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that we shall be punished with torments unspeakable for our disobedience to His honour and glory, &c.--can the individuals who hold the above opinions rationally believe in moral evil, the justice, mercy, and goodness of God, &c., and examine the grounds of their belief? They should ask themselves, Where are the justice, mercy, and goodness of wounding and bruising their children, servants, or slaves, or even their domestic animals, for the purpose of shewing their kindness and attention afterwards in dressing their wounds; and again punishing them still further, for not appreciating and being grateful for such attentions ? Would they exalt as a perfection in God, what they would condemn as a crime in man?—But if they, in attempting to get rid of this conclusion, should say, with Dr. Clarke," that man disobeyed contrary to the will of God”—then where were his foreknowledge and power at the creation? or where his goodness, beneficence, lovingkindness, mercy, and truth, (if he hud power and foreknowledge,) to create man to be miserable, and devils to torment? If they should say, This is all a mystery, it is above our comprehension—it is because they are afraid to use their reason, or come to those conclusions it would dictate.—What right have they to force the human mind to believe what they cannot rationally explain ? or send missionaries to propagate what they dare not examine ?
Reason is the gift of God,* and a rational being must be ungrateful to his heavenly Father who deprecates its use, and only fit for the society of lunatics, who resigns it in favour of priestcraft and superstition. In 1 Pet. iii. 15, he says, “Be able to give an answer to every man that asketh you a REASON of the hope that is within you ;" and he must deny his authority, who denies the use of reason upon religion, and be a
Daniel iv. 36, 37.
fit instrument for ignorance and error to practise upon with impunity.
It is most pitiable to behold those who have been endowed with qualities resembling, in some degree, the “likeness of God," allowing such “likeness” to be defaced by the dust and rubbish of prejudice and superstition—to see men, whose avocations in life give them leisure for study and reflection, take for undoubted truths the prejudices of the nursery, the Synagogue, the Mosque, the Pagoda, or the pulpit, and denouncing each other as infidels, and under the wrath of Deity for differing in opinion on their respective tenets of religion -to reflect on the blood that flowed in the streets of Constantinople among professing Christians from the reign of Anastasius until its easy conquest by the Moslems —that the men who admitted amiracle, the TRISAGION, communicated to the church of Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century, should quarrel among themselves
about the orthodoxy of a few words added to it by the church of Antioch soon afterand that the words," who was crucified for us," added to “ Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts,” the (revealed) hymn* which the angels and cherubims were said to chaunt before the throne of God, should have caused the most horrible strife, and the sacrifice of upwards of sixty thousand Christians, as a propitiation to the malevolence of bigotry and superstition, under the holy mask of religion.
What could more fully illustrate the necessity of reason to guide and guard us against the inconsistencies of superstition, than such reflections, together with the persecutions and burnings for the glory of God, and the edification and preservation of his church by Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Dissenters, in subsequent ages ?—The history of the Christian Church niost clearly unfolds the weakness and wickedness of Intolerance in all its varieties. It has been
* As now read in our churches,