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this interesting question—How does it happen that similitudes, which are plainly calculated and fitted for illustration and explanation, become a means of involving the mind in uncertainty and confusion? This we shall now endeavor to answer.
R. R. (TO BE CONTINUED.)
CHRISTIANITY AS IT IS AND AS IT SHOULD BE.
No. I. ALAs for the age in which our lot is cast! Blessings, honors, and privileges—all that even a worldly mind can desire, are abundantly con. ferred upon us—with the inestimable riches of gospel grace pouring its benign and heavenly influence upon every incident of our lifethrowing its consolations on the desolate places, and its affectionale warnings and admonitions between us and the glittering baubles that bot too often lead us to the fatal sources of ruin and death; yet, in the midst of all that even divine benevolence can conser, compatible with our human capacities, to cherish us and to warn us—despite the glorious and enrapturing promises to be revealed when we shall pass from time into eternity, (perhaps to-morrow)-and the awful and tremendons threatenings that then too are to fall as fire upon the heads of those that obey not the Lord: notwithstanding these things are traced in lines of light upon almost every page of the sacred oracles, we see the world, as if unconscions of it all, led away to the worship of strange divinities, under the mad infatuation of some malign influence, which, if not checked and put behind us, must inevitably lead us to irretrievable ruin. Thousands, too, of those who have espoused the cause of King Immanuel, and who profess to have declared eternal and uncompromising hostility to the world, the flesh, and the devil instead of keeping themselves pure and unspotted from the world, seem in imagine that the time has come when the lion and the lamb should lie down together; and fall, with a fawning, and disgraceful prostitution, into the polluting embrace of a wicked and perverse generation. The two great antagonist principles in the moral world, Righteousness and Sin, seem to have lost their repulsive energy for each other, and, like the opposite poles of the magnet or the vitreous and resinous fluids, strive with eagerness to meet and unite. Nor do we discover in this eager rush after union of principles in this essence so antipodal, that the anxiety for the unholy alliance is peculiar to the wicked: the professedly righteous, as though enamored of the dazzling fascinations of sin, with an immodest fondness boldly advance to the union, and bat 100 often court, rather than shun, its unlawful embraces. Whilst so strong a disposition to amalgamate on the part of principles, in them. selves as opposite as the poles, presents itself to our contemplation and regret, we perhaps ought not to marvel if we should find that in continuation of the analogy, things or principles in their essence the same or similar, should find in each other no beauty or comeliness, and repel with energy every advance towards a union. Such, indeed, is the melancholy condition of Christendom at the present hour. I speak not now of the mad contentions of conflicting parties, of the angry and wordy disputes generated by the various excrescences on the gospel-such as creeds, confessions, rituals, &c. &c. They are as opposite as any different things can well be; and if they do not unite and agree, they rush together with a violence and ebulli:ion, a sort of chemical attraction, which seldom fails to produce a new compound, more poisonous and deadly than any or all of the elements of which it is composed.
It is the self-repellant properties of the same creed or confession, of the same principles and faith, that strikes the attentive observer of the present age of Christian degeneracy and almost universal apostacy, as being an anomaly in the doctrine of the Cross. Perhaps I ought not here to speak of principles so much as of men-of faith or doctrine so much as of the performance of the duties apprehended and acknowledged-lest it should be inferred that I conceive it a necessary consequence of the divine morality to amalgamate with vice. By no means: yet the practice, after all, is the interpreter of the faith-the exponent of doctrinal orthodoxy or heterodoxy; and though an essect, is but too often taken as the representative or even personation of the principles, under the profession of which it appears as a legitimate fruitthe distinction, however, between the profession of a principle of action and a rigid and scrupulous auherence to all that it may require, is one that perhaps is not so evident to most minds; and so long as the conduct of the professor is the test almost universally by which the virtue of a principle is tried, it becomes highly important that this line should be clearly and legibly drawn. It has been the confounding of the principles of a system with the lives and the practice of those who professedly were attached to it, that has been the great fruitful source of scepticism and infidelity since the days of the Roman Emperors till now. I know that in the early years of Christianity the venom and malignity of the Pagan world was turned against the disciples, because of their personal holiness--because of the firm and uncompromising adherence to the principles of their faith, which even the mild and virtuous Trajan seems constrained to designate as "stube bornness;"' but this was not a persecution of "reason”—the "age of reason" had not then come to life. It was a persecution of power, not so much berause they professed certain opinions, as because they refused to conforın to the Pagan rites and ceremonies of the empire of which geographically they formed a part. But the case is totally different now, and has been since the torch of Paganism has been extinguished in Christendom. Before the minds of the people were preoccupied. 'l he innumerable divinities of the old mythology had each his altar in almost every human heart-upon which no more grateful sacrifice could be offered than the blood of pious Christians. The ques tion was not as to the being of God, abstractly considered; nor was it a con'roversy about the truth or falsehood of divine revela'ion. The Pagan perseculors perhaps all believed in both. It was a question between your God and my gods--your revelations and the powers we hold under the sanction of our national divinities. It was therefore directed against the persons of the Christians. But how different is the case now, National prejudiee is in favor of Christianity; the minds of the people are unoccupied by Pagan divini'ies; and every thing, especially in our own land, seems to be on the side of the gospel Yet thousands of the present generation reason thi mselves into infidelity; and many more, who reason not at all, seem to have snbsided into a state of indillerence upon the subject-simply because they can see no difference between themselves and those who have faith. Can it be possible that this is the legitimate end of a deep and thorough study of the Christian system? Can it be that in the reasonings upon this subject *the pure and holy and heavenly doctrines of divine revelation are taken as the premises; or will it be found that the practice and not the faith of Christians, has been the text of infidels? The answer to this qnes:ion will show how important it is to draw the lines of separation between tlie principles of a system and the practice of those who profess them. From the neglect of this, Christianity as a doctrine has been reproached with all the absurdities of its professors; and thus contempt has been thrown upon the most profound and philosophical system of ethics that ever was presented to the human understanding. Sceptics have studied it only in its professors, and upon their practice is ba ed the s'ronz hold of infidelity. If it appear, then, that the wide spread infideliiy of the present age can in no wise be considered as a legitimale fruit of the stuly of the doctrines and principles of the New Testament, and is yet nurtured and established by arguments drawn from the conduct of professed Christians, are we not almost drawn to the painful and repulsive conclusion that the two are antipodal, or how could their effects be so different and opposite.
Our Saviour was wont to teach his disciples that they were the light of the world that by their conduct and example the gospel was to be recommended to the people, and sinners come to the standard of the Cross; and this indeed furnishes another instance of that deep and thorough knowledge of human nature and the workings of the human heart, which nothing short of divine prescience can manifest. It was no idle word—“You are the light of the world”-thrown in to fill up a sentence or to round a period; but a truth full of import, and, when appreciated, full of usefulness. Our Saviour knew well that it was by the practice of those who professed 10 be his followers, his doctrine would be judged; and without perplexing his hearers with any abstract definition of the priociples by which his reign was to be extended and sinners saved, he came at once to the practical exposition of the whole matter,—. You are the light of the world.” But if our light be under a bushel—if the good principles of Christianity implanted within us, be covered over with the garb of worldly conformity, and the flickering ray of heavenly light buried beneath the heavy brushwood of I uman pride and human fashion, wherewithal shall we enligh:en our fellow-men? Bodies which are luminous do not throw off light from their centres—it is from the surface that the rays proceed, and it is the texture and color of the surface alone by which we can julge of the nature of the body. When our outward appearance, then, is but a miserable patchwork of human vanity and weakness, how can we expect it to reflect any light upon the human family commendatory of that kingdom which is not of this world? If light there be, it is the light that leads to darkness -an ignis futuus that leads the weak and the vain to ruin, whilst it excites the contempt and scorn of sceptics. Does it not, then, become those of us who profess to be Christians, and who feel the responsibility of our calling, to be on the watch—10 trim ourselves even as the wise virgins trimmed their lamps, of every thing which may dim the pure light of a regenerated spirit-and, looking at all times to the immaculate example which our Master has given us in his own person, purify ourselves even as he is pure.
The object of these numbers is to sketch, first, Christianity as it is; and then draw its lineainents as it should be. Meanwhile, these general prefatory remarks must suffice till another occasion.
MORMONISM IN AN AGONY. This meanest, vilest, and most diabolical of frauds ever practised in the encyclopedia of delusions and impostures, has grown up to such an enormous stalure of impudence, arrogance, and malignity, as to call forth the attention, remonstrance, and abhorrence of all well meaning men, religious, moral, and political. Its arrogance and impiety are daily growing more and more obnoxious to the reprobation of all sorts and degrees of philanthropists. A certain Elder Page has been in the most wily, though as yet unsuccessful attempts, seeking to make some proselytes to this nefarious scheme of circumvention in the city of Pittsburg. His failure to inveigle the simple and unsuspicious is to be attributed to a series of wounds inflicted upon him by “A Disciple,” who, with a very short sword, has given him many severe wounds under the fifth iib. We shall give a few samples of them by way of admonition and warning to other aspirants in this work of multifarious rapine and plunder, 1 quote them from sundry papers published in that city,
A. C. In the Book of Mormon, page 471, of the first edition, we read, “The earth was carried up upon the city of Morourhah.” Will Elder Page be kind enough to tell us what this city stood on-the Moon, or which of the planets?
While the Elder is enlightening our good citizens on other matters, I feel curious to understand the following description given in the Book of Mormon, page 541, of the ships in which the Jaredites removed from Asia io America:--They would hold water like a dish, the bottom was tight like unto a dish, the sides was right like unto a dish, the top was tight like unto a dish, the door was tight like unto a dish; the length was the length of a tree, a hole in the bottom and one in the top to admit a circulation of the air, and they moved through the water as a whale in the midst of the sea.” Very like a whale!
These Jaredites, however, were remarkable on another account, On page 53:) we have their genealogy reaching back nineteen generations beyond Adam. Most veritable! The book, however, abounds in wonders. Instance the following:-Nephi, one of the most distin. guished personages in the book, gives a quotation from Shakspeare, 2000 years before the poet was born-see page 61—“That bourne from which no traveller returns." Again, this same individual actually uses the Mariner's Compass 600 years before the Christian Era. See pages 48 and 49. 'Tis passing strange!
In the midst of all our admiration, it is unfortunate for the credibi. lity of the book that it flatly contradicts the Bible, See the following:-On page 240, the Book of Mormon says that Jesus Christ was born at Jerusalem. The Bible says he was born at Bethlehem. Again, the Book of Mormon, page 51, predicts three days of darkness when Jesus should be crucified; and on page 446, it records, as a fact, that there were three days of darkness from his crucifixion to his resurrection. The Bible speaks of only three hours of darkness. See MatThew xxvii. 45; Mark xv. 23; Luke xxiii. 44. Here, then, the Bible and the Book of Mormon are at issue. One or the other must be wrong. Which is it, Elder Page? Answer me like a man. If the Lord be God, worship him ; but if Baal be God worship him.