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roaring sea, to the fury of which human industry can op-
On the subject of Christianity ultimately triumphing over Paganism, that highly respectable writer, the author of the Spirit of Laws, having stated that the legislators of China confounded together their religion, laws, manners, and customs, so that all those were morals, all these were virtues, observes,-" There follows from hence a very unhappy consequence, which is, that it is almost impossible for Christianity ever to be established in China. The vows of virginity, the assembling of women in churches, their necessary communication with the ministers of religion, their participation in the sacraments, auricular confession, extreme unction, the marriage of only one wife; all these overturn the manners and customs of the country, and, with the same blow strike at their religion and laws.
“ The Christian religion, by the establishment of charity, by a public worship, by a participation of the same sacraments, seems to demand that all should be united, while the rites of China seem to ordain that all should
• Book IIx, chap. 18.
'I'he circumstance which this very able writer states, certainly forms a powerful obstruction to the establishment of Christianity in that country. But if Christianity is of DIVINE origin, if it contains promises of its future universality, sufficiently pointed and clear, faith in those promises, for the accomplishment of which, all the Divine perfections, natural and moral, are pledged, is the most reasonable thing in the world. If in God all men live, move, and have their being, the hearts of all men are in his hand, and without offering any violence to their liberty, he can turn them into what channel soever he pleases. Had any human calculator, when the Christian church was first founded, weighed in opposite scales the chances of its speedy destruction, against the probability of its subverting the religious establishment of the Roman empire, banishing idolatry from Europe, and becoming, in one form or another, the establishment of the whole of that continent, and of its islands; he would, without hesitation, have pronounced, that the likelihood of the latter, compared with that of the former, was hardly in the proportion of one to a thousand, and that the thing was almost impossible:-and yet we all know that these are indisputable facts. Christianity, then, has overcome difficulties as great as any with which it has yet to combat. Let any man consider the state of the Jews. For nearly eighteen hundred years they have been dispersed over the whole world, and yet they are not mingled with the nations into which they have been driven. Without mixing with the mass of mankind, they have been preserved a separate people, in such a manner, that there is no fact in the history of human society that bears the smallest resemblance to it. Their natural enmity to the Gospel of Christ has been embittered by every circum
stance of education, and of sympathy of feeling ; by the charge it has fixed upon their forefathers, of being the betrayers and murderers of the Prince of Life; by the contempt, and by the injuries they have suffered from those who were its professors. But we are taught to believe that they shall yet “look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn.” Their conversion, though it will be a miracle of a different kind, can hardly be a greater miracle than the incontrovertible one of their preservation. Had we nothing but the natural energy of human means to trust to, the probability of Christianity being established in China, would be but little. But it is the God who made, and who governs the world, that has promised “ All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him."* And that « The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.”+ The work is great, but Omnipotence has engaged to do it.
Of virtue, in the sense in which that word is employed in scripture, it is impossible that a Pagan can have any perception. Christian virtue is obedience to a moral law, and that obedience proceeds from the love of God, the Creator and Governor of the world. Where that Creator and Governor is neither recognized nor worshipped, there can be nothing of virtue, but the name. The depravity of many of the old heathen philosophers was enormously flagrant. While they knew God, they worshipped him pot. They gave that tribute which was due to Him alone, to imaginary beings, or to devils, and to these the words of the prophet were strictly applicable: “ The God
• Psalm xxii, v. 27.
† Rev, XI, v. 15.
in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.”* While the weapons of rebellion against Heaven were in their hands, and the lives of many of them stained with unnatural crimes—while they worshipped in temples dedicated to vice, they boasted of their virtue. They indeed spoke justly when they represented it, as altogether of their own growth, and what they owed to no superior power.f From Heaven, it is certain, it did not descend ; for of the wisdom that comes down from above it possessed not one of the properties. Its very essence consisted in pride; but the wisdom that is inspired by God ever leads to humility. Of all the hea. then philosophers, Socrates appears to have been the only one who felt the need of divine instruction. He not only felt this truth, but also taught it. Many of the other philosophers wrapped up in the pride of their imaginary virtues, considered themselves as gods, and hurled defiance, as well as independence, against the throne of the Almighty. “ So widely different is the genius of the Pagan and Christian morality, that I will venture to affirm that
• Daniel, ch. v, v. 23: + Horace conciudes his epistle to Lollius, lib. 1, ep. 18, with these lines
“ Hæc satis est orare Jovem, qui donat et aufert,
“ Det vitam, det opes ; æquum mî animum ipse parabo." He would pray to Jupiter for the gifts he could give or take away; but a vir. tuous mind be would take care to secure to himself. These were the senti. ments of Cicero, and of almost all the philosophers.
| In Plato's Second Alcibiades there is a remarkable passage to this purpose. Socrates happened to meet Alcibiades when he was going to the temple to pray, and told him that he knew not how to perform that duty in a proper manner ; and that, therefore, it behoved him to wait for a Divine Instructor, who could inform him how to discharge his duty to the gods and to men; and that it was pecessary that God should scatter the darkness which covered his mind, that he might be able to distinguish good from evil.
the most celebrated virtues of the former are more opposite to the spirit, and more inconsistent with the end of the latter, than even their most infamous vices; and that a Brutus wrenching vengeance out of His hands to whom alone it belongs, by murdering the oppressor of his country; or a Cato murdering himself, from an impatience of control, leaves the world more unqualified for, and more inadmissible into, the kingdom of heaven, than even a Messalina, or an Heliogabulus, with all their
profligacy about them.”*
From the survey that we have taken of the most celebrated Pagan nations, in ancient and modern times, for nearly four thousand years, during which not a single tribe, not a single family, not even a single individual, was ever able without the benefit of a Revelation to rise above the most wretched idolatry, it appears, that all hope of unassisted Reason's being equal to the task of enlightening men is utterly forlorn. It also appears, that in every Pagan country, idolatry has been attended with the most horrid rites, and with the most obscene and abominable practices; in almost every country, with human sacrifices; that infanticide has been almost its inseparable attendant; that the state of manners in every Pagan country has been, and continues to be, horribly profligate ; that Paganism knows little of justice, and nothing of mercy; and that it gives full scope to the worst passions and appetites of our corrupted nature. It further appears, that by the enormous wickedness of the duties it has consecrated, it renders vice of almost every kind not only indispensable
View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion, by Soame Jenyns, Esq: prop. 111.