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in their Mafter's fteps; "they laid not the arguments " and proofs of their miffion before their disciples, but infifted conftantly on the ready acknowledge(c ment of their doctrines, without any conceffion of "time for doubt or deliberation.-Of the terms of the "covenant, one declaration was often thought fuffi"cient.-Not to accept them, was to reject them; and
the least standing off gave up the unbeliever to repro"bation."-For conveying deliberate and rational in.. ftruction, he tells us the apoftles were ill qualified; "they had neither leisure nor qualifications for fuch a "method; they could have no time to fpare, if they were fo difpofed; their commiffion required them to keep stirring; they could not afford to attend to impertinent queries, and lofe their precious mo*ments in controverfies, and therefore it was abfolutely requifite, from their circumftances, that their hearers fhould come in at a fhort warning, *to fnatch the critical opportunity; that they should
be expeditious in their motions, and comply "without the leaft hefitation."
Such are the general outlines of this author's plan, and if his facts were true his inference would be undoubtedly well-founded; but I am compelled by the force of truth, combined with the intereft of religion, to affert (what I think the following work will prove) that his statement of facts is untrue, founded on a grofs misrepresentation of the gospel hiftory; and I have quoted his affertions to enable my readers to
compare them with the statements of the following work, and with the fcripture itself, that they may thence learn diffidence and caution, when studying the writings of the adverfaries to Christianity, and not without a due enquiry rely on the strongest affertions as to the plaineft facts, when irreligion and fophiftry direct the pen.
It is not my intention to detain my reader, by enumerating the various grounds of doubt and objection advanced on this fubject, by Collins and Woolfton, Chubb and Bolingbroke. Thefe writers, as well as those, whose objections I have quoted, have been indeed fo fairly and fully answered, that it might have been hoped this objection would not again have been brought forward; but at this time, which unhappily may be characterized as peculiarly productive of levity, fcepticism and profaneness, there is no objection to the gospel, however obfolete and plainly refuted, which has not been revived with zeal and preffed with confidence. Nor is this difficult to account for. When the fcriptures are leaft studied, objections against them will ever appear most plaufible, and where the restraints of the divine law are leaft regarded, its evidence will always be attacked with meft zeal and moft fuccefs. Even ignorance itself will encreafe the confidence of the ob jector; for in every extensive scheme, fupported by
* Ib. p. 38, 39. Vid. Infra, chap. ii. fect. 5.
hiftorical evidence, doubts and difficulties float upon the furface, their folutions cannot be found without a deeper fearch, and the exercife of fober enquiry and patient attention. To fuperficial enquirers every objection is new, and the answer to every objection is unknown; hence old difficulties are revived when their folutions are forgotten, and the writers who difcuffed them, fleep undisturbed in the deepest receffes of our libraries. Thus it has fared with the fubject of the following effay: Monfieur' Boulanger, whofe works are diftinguished with the title of the Philofophic Library, and were published from the Philofophic Press in Switzerland in 1791, has employed one volume in unmasking (as he terms it) Christianity, and another, in a critical examination of St. Paul, and has retailed every objection of the English Deistical writers with the fulleft confidence, without once deigning to notice any of the anfwers given to them; amongst thefe, that of enthusiasm holds a distinguished place. A few extracts will shew the warmth of this writer's zeal, the unrestrained freedom and wide extent of his affertions. In his preface he tells us, "that wherever we turn our ob "fervation we fee the ftudy of the objects most important for man totally neglected. Morality, under which I comprehend the fcience of policy, "is almoft totally neglected in European education;
Boulanger, tome 7, p. 22, 23, 24. Vid. in anfwer, if indeed it requires an answer, infra, the third and fixth chapter. I have been careful to tranflate this author literally.
"the only morality which is taught to Chriftians is "that enthusiastic, impracticable, contradictory, un"certain morality, which we fee contained in the gofpel, which is only fitted (as I believe I have "proved) to degrade the fpirit, to render virtue "hateful, to form abject flaves, to break the fpring "of the foul, or, if it is implanted in warm tempers, "it produces nothing but fanatics capable of over"turning the foundations of fociety. Yet in fpite "of the inutility, and the perverseness of that morality in which Christianity trains men, its defenders prefume to tell us, that without religion one can"not preserve morals; but what is it to preserve good morals in the language of Christians? It is to pray without ceafing, to frequent churches, to do penance, to live in abftraction and retirement. "What good can refult to fociety from fuch practices "as thefe, which one can obferve without having "the fhadow of virtue? If morals of this kind lead "to heaven, they are most ufelefs upon earth. If "these are virtues, we must admit that without religi"on it is impoffible to preferve virtue; but, on the other "hand, one may observe strictly every thing which Christianity recommends, without having any "one of thofe virtues which reafon points out to us "as neceffary to fuftain political focieties. We must "therefore carefully diftinguifh religious morality "from focial morality; the firft makes faints, the "other citizens: the one renders men useless, or even "mischievous, to the world; the other ought to have "for
" for its object to form for fociety useful, active "members capable of serving it, who may fulfil the "duties of husbands and fathers, of friends, and affo"ciates, however different their metaphyfical opinions may be, which, whatever theology may fay, "are much lefs certain than the invariable rules of "good fenfe.
In another place he tells us, that it is impoffi"ble to follow the precepts of a reasonable morality, "under a religion which makes a merit of zeal, of "enthusiasm, of fanaticism the most destructive; he "attributes to Christianity, perfecution, intolerance, "fomenting fedition and regicide in favour of religia To love our neighbour as ourfelves to love "our enemies-to refift not evil-all these he attri"butes to fanaticifm. It may be afferted, fays he, “in general, that fanaticism and enthusiasm are the "foundation of the morality of Chrift.-The virtues
which he recommends tend to ifolate men from "each other, to plunge them into a gloomy humour, "to render them pernicious to their fellow-crea"tures." Faith and hope he ridicules, charity he pronounces difficult, if not impoffible, in Christianity. Christian humility is, according to him, " only pro