Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

nor practice any other wicked- tauntingly asked, Where is their ness."

God, and what advantages have On the last day of the shews, they derived from that religion, Blandina was again brought forth which they preferred to life? At with Ponticus, a youth of fifteen the end of six days the bodies of (who had both been daily led in the martyrs were reduced to ashto see the tortures of the rest :) es, and thrown into the Rhone, and the multitude being greatly that no remains of them might be enraged againit them on account found on the earth.

This was of their firmly refusing to swear done by the heathens under the by the idols, and their contemning vain idea of deterring others, by the gods, no pity was shewn either destroying their hope of a resurto the sex of the one, or the youth rection : for it was this hope, they of the other. The whole circuit said, which led men to introduce of tortures was inflicted on them a strange and new religion, to conwithout effect. Ponticus, after a temn the most exquisite torments, most heroic exertion of patience, and even joyfully to undergo to which he was animated by death. “ Let us now see if they his filter Blandina, gave up the will rise again, and if their God ghost. Blandina, having first been is able to affist them, and deliver scourged and exposed to the wild them out of our hands." beasts, and also set in the iron This epiftle gives us a high idea chair, was at last enclosed in a' of the piety of Irenæus, to whose net and thrown to a bull, which worth a farther testimony is given tossed her for some time : she still by Eusebius in an extract from a appeared, however, superior to all letter addressed by the church of her sufferings, borne up by hope Lyons to Eleutherius, Bishop of and faith and communion with Rome, wherein Irenæus is spoken Chrilt, until being run through of as “ a follower of the Testawith a sword, she at length breath- ment of Christ,” and strongly reed out her soul. Even the hea. commended. It appears from thens owned that no woman had this extract, that it was intended ever before sustained such tortures. that Irenæus himself should be the But their rage was not yet fated. bearer of the letter ; but whether On the contrary, it was heighten- he actually proceeded on the mifed by their disappointment to such fion is not certainly known. Cira degree, that they cast to the cumstances seem to favour the dogs the bodies of those who had supposition that he visited Rome died in prison, as well as the man- about this time. His stay there, gled remains of such as had been however, could not have been of torn by the wild beasts, or scorch- long duration ; for on the mared, or beheaded, watching day tyrdom of Pothinus, about the and night lest any should bury year 179, Irenæus was chosen to them. Some gnashed with their succeed him as Bishop of the teeth on the dead bodies. Othe church of Lyons. ers derided and insulted them.

(To be continued.) Even the more sympathising

a

Religious Communications.

a

For the Panoplist. there were such men, as Cicero,
THE WICKEDNESS OF SKEPTICISM IN Seneca, and Cæsar, who did the

RELIGION.
Doubt and indecision in any history of the New Testament has

things ascribed to them. The business are unhappy and injuri- all those marks of authenticity, ous ; in religion they are wicked which give credibility to other clouded with uncertainty, it has ancient writings ; and Jewith and

many little comfort in the promises of pagan writers confirm

parts

of the narrative. The religion ; it has little dread of its threatenings, and yieldsa reluctant that “ No other history is attend

learned Dr: PRIESTLEY asserted obedience to its laws. As decis- ed with any evidence, that can be ion elevates, so uncertainty depresses a rational being. Where compared with that of the gore

. light shines, to be undetermined pel. ” respecting things of serious aspect, JOSEPHus gives information conto have no fixed opinion respect. cerning, “ One Jesus, a wife ing things of infinite moment, is man, if yet it be lawful to call to wound the dignity of reason, him a man." He mentions his to disclaim the honours of a sound “ miracles, crucifixion under Pon. mind.

Tius Pilate, his resurrection the Uncertainty respecting religion third day, and his numerous folis criminal, because there is evis lowers in his time." Within fev. dence to satisfy a teachable mind. enty years after his death Tacia To suppose that God has requir- tus wrote of “Christ, as the au. ed a religious belief of men, with thor of the christian name, and out affording thein evidence for put to death by Pontius Pilate, the basis of that belief, is a gross the Procurator in the reign of Ti. reflection on his goodness. Noth- Berius.” Puiny wrote to Traing can present the Divine Being JAN concerning "the christians, in a more dismal form, than to that they were wont to assemble fuppose he requires faith, where together on a set day, and to sing he has not furnished conclusive hymns to CHRIST, as Gods evidence.

Near the same time SUETONIUS No man is under obligation to wrote, that the Emperors punishbelieve without evidence ; where ed the christians on the score of their there is evidence, it is always crim. profefling CHRIST. Neither Painal not to assent. That the full gans nor Jews, who lived near the cit credit ought to be given to rev.

time of CHRIST, denied the mira. elation, a superficial examination cles he performed. Thus have alone will make fufficiently cer- enemies given their testimony in tain. Christianity is supported support of the christian cause. on a solid bafis. We have to say The truth of the gospel being the least

, as great reason to be established by these and a variety lieve there were such persons, as

of other proofs, we have only to Jefus Chrift, Paul, and Peter, read the sacred volume, to learn who did the things ascribed to

what is truth. we have to believe With the same facility and cerVol. I. No. 3.

them, as

0

[ocr errors]

tainty, that we learn the opinions ously believes these things ? Will
and laws of any legislator, we he, who makes convenience his
may learn the doctrines and pre- law, and his own pleasure the
cepts of the christian legislator. highest object, conduct as the
Men may and do form different man, who loves the law of the
opinions, and so they do concern- Lord, and feels the charity, which
ing the writings of Plato, the con- seeketh not her own? No dream
Atitution under which they live, of enthusiasm is more wild, than
and the laws made the present the indifference respecting relig.
year. Though there may be op- ious opinions, which fome persons
posite opinions, the majority will avow. Their religion indeed is
think effentially alike. Should a “ made of such stuff, as dreams
malefactor, to excuse himself, are.”. Doubts and uncertainty
plead opposite opinions respecting will inevitably render morality
the law, would this be accepted inconstant, devotion languid, hope
in a judicial court? Will such an wavering, fortitude feeble, and the
excuse be accepted in the fupreme character fufpicious.
court of the universe ?

The infinite importance of relig. God has given men power to ion presses an immediate decision examine and decide on the sub- on the mind. Is it important for ject of religion ; this renders re- a physician to entertain those ligious skepticism criminal. Any views of chymistry, anatomy, man of common sense and honelt and medicine, best calculated to inquiry may satisfy his mind re. guard against contagion, and to heal fpecting all essential doctrines.

doctrines. the diseases of the body? But The laws and doctrines of chris. what is the body, what is life, tianity are as easily understood, as compared with the immortal soul? the laws of any community, as Yet, should we not detest, as a the doctrines of any religion. murderer, the physician, whose We have only to open the sacred mind was not decided respecting volume, and truth is visible before the different systems of these scius ; we have only to look, and ences ? What should we think of the path of life is seen. All may a prince, president or ruler, whose know, what is truth ; "the way. mind was not stored with political faring man, though a fool, need knowledge, whose opinion was not not err.'

decided respecting the best mode Men ought immediately to

to of government? Yet what are the form their opinions on religious bursting bubbles of human gov. fubjects, because their opinions ernments, what are nations and influence their moral and religious empires, compared with the gof. conduct. Though the passions of pel of Jesus, the crown and men often impel them to actions, throne of glory, prepared for the which their judgments disap- children of God prove ; yet nothing can be more " Religion's all; descending from the ablurd, than to suppose that opin- to wretched man, the goddess in her

tkies
ions have no influence on actions.

To
Will he, who denies the divinity Holds out this world, and in her right

left
of the Saviour, the holiness of the the next."
fabbath, the divine appointment These remarks show how improp-
of baptism and the Lord's supper, er and wicked it is for any man or
condua like the man, who ieri- party of men to complain of oth-

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ers for adopting theological opin

For the Panoplist. ions for themselves. If it be duty

OBSERVATIONS ON HEB. xiii. 7. for all men to be determined for themselves on religious doctrines; -Whose FAITH follow, confider. then it must be duty for every in

ing the end of their conversation. dividual. It is his duty to adopt

This is understood to be an juft opinions; if he do not, I may exhortation to remember departed withdraw my influence and fup- ministers. For although the first port from him ; I may by fair clause, as it stands translated, means endeavour to prevent his seems to forbid this construction, propagating his bad principles; there is nothing in the original to but him I may not assail with any forbid it; but on the contrary weapon, but found argument, every thing seems to require it. drawn from the scripture maga. The strict reading is this; Rezine. It is duty for every man to member your guides, who have spoken form a creed for himself, but not to you the word of God; whose for others. Every man has an FAITH follow, considering the end equal right; therefore I am as of their conversation. liable to the inquisition of my

We are here instructed, neighbour, as he is to mine.

I. That the virtuous lives of If it be duty for all men to christian men are to be specially form religious opinions; then are remembered, as being more interthey accountable to God for esting than any natural qualities, the manner, in which they per- any thining talents, or scientifickat. form this service. God requires tainments. Nay, if they have men to believe according to a been preachers of the first emiknown standard of truth, his word nence, their general conversation is is truth. He, that believes ac

as much to be remembered, as any cording to the opinions of his fath- thing they have spoken, and per. ers or ministers, or his own wicked haps more; because a truly chriswishes, does not perform his duty, tian life is a continual lecture; does not obey any command. more luminous, in some respects Human tribunals have cogni- more persuafive, and more edifyzance of actions only; at the bar ing than all other preaching. of God thoughts, and wilhes, and II. Here is a farther intimation defires, and opinions will be judg- that it is of particular consequence ed, for the Judge knoweth the heart. when we call to mind the conver. Not only conduct, but belief will sation of such men, to consider the be examined in the judgment of end of it. Instructive and alluring the great day; not only actions, as it is in the abstract, it is yet but opinions will be judged, and more fo, it seems, when we fo punished, or rewarded. In that trace it, as to observe where and awful moment, when all mankind how it terminates, or what is its fhall stand before God, voluntary result ; for this is the idea conveyerrors respecting religious truth, ed by the original term. pride of philosophy, and obstinacy There are two ideas, indeed, of opinion, will be placed on the which go to explain the end of left hand of the Judge : therefore such a conversation. One is, the it is of infinite importance, that point in which it did terminate in we take heed, how and what we the first instance. This is result, hear, and read, and believe. in one view. And if this was in.

PATMOS.

[ocr errors]

cluded, the words which follow First, if we are to imitate their will appear to have a close con- faith, we must have a care to renexion with it. " Jesus Christ the ceive the same word of revelation same yesterday, and today, and which they received : instead of for ever.” To hold him up in leaning to our own understandthat view was the point, it seems, ings; instead of grounding our in which the conversation of those faith on the wisdom of men ; inholy men terminated.' All truly stead of being content to have no christian conversation terminates more information from heaven in the same point. It holds up than the light of nature gives; or JESUS CHRIST as invariably no more of scripture than the worthy of perfect esteem, homage pride of philosophy will admit. and confidence : the same com- We must look to it that we receive plete image of the invisible GOD, the divine system entire, and that that he ever was ; the same all- none of its essential parts be resufficient Mediator and Restorer jected. Otherwise, though we of fallen men ; the same gracious may seem to have faith, we have Master, incomparable Teacher, not the truth, but something else and Pattern for all to copy after ; in its place. We must watch aas true a Friend to his true fol- gainst those prejudices, those hablowers now, as he was to his first its, and connexions, which make disciples, and the same unalterable men unwilling, or afraid, to refriend for ever. This is the refult ceive the whole truth ; and which which Saint Paul brings to view, often induce a disowning of imwhen he fays, For me to live, is portant parts of it. We must emCHRIST.

brace with particular solicitude, The other view of the result of the peculiar ibing roof divine revetrue christians conversation, is a lation, which it was the fpecial de peaceful death; the beatifick appro- sign of the blessed gospel to un. bation of their Divine Master, and fold : those new instructions which the crown of life which he hath our fallen condition rendered most promised to the faithful. . And deeply interesting and which no thus a well known expositor com- finite being, without immediate ments on the place. : “ Consider direction from heaven, had either how comfortably, how joyfully, authority to give, or invention to they finished their course. conceive. It is here that the faith

The inspired writer seems to in- of true christians, from age to age, timate that a due contemplation is most emphatically expressed ; of such present result, and final if- and finds a molt rational fatisfacsue of a christian life, must excite tion in relying fimply on the auin others a strong folicitude how thority of God, and not on the they shall attain to live in that conjeđures and reasonings of men. manner : and this is the question. The piety and the virtues of which is here answered. Confid- those holy men we are here called ering the end of their conversation, to remember, did not grow out of imitate their faith. This, it seems, human philofophy. Nor were is the way to live as they lived, they 'mere natural religion, or and to live to the same effect. common morality. They grew

This important exhortation, out of the do&trine of Christ, and FOLLOW THEIR FAITH, divides it- the glory of God manifested, and self into two parts.

heavenly grace displayed, by and

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »