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phatically, in the legitimate signification of the phrase, Christian virtue. Bigots and zealots may dogmatize as much as they please, and affirm of their creeds, confessions of faith, &c., and hurl their damnation, and fling their anathemas, at their neighbours; but they are as powerless as their creeds are false, and their dogmas ridiculous. They may undervalue John's, or the Scripture's morality, and substitute a tax-gathering of their own, for the sectarian purpose of saving souls from their future hell; and stigmatize the Christian virtues as the world's morality, because their money-loving creeds and confessions of faith, are rejected-but, notwithstanding, God's sun will shine, His rain will fall, and John's morality will burn bright, and diffuse its genial rays, to bless the child of want, and to quell the stormy passions of the soul.
Men should be taught, and they should remember, that the Lord Jesus, God's Son, came, not to disqualify, or alter, or amend the truth; but "to bear witness of the truth;" to "bring life and immortality to light;" that men may see the truth. Of man's duty, the prophets, before Jesus came from heaven on his Divine mission, affirmed, in clear and explicit language: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah vi. 8.) Neither John nor Jesus Christ, have altered or amended, the good that the prophet affirmed is good. Jesus confirmed the prophet's teaching. His whole life was in a strict accordance with the truth as affirmed by God's prophet. He declared, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice." And it was left to other times, and to other teachers, to make the discovery, that sacrifice, and not mercy, is the acceptable thing. That mercy is a damnable heresy; and that to condemn enemies, and sentence them to an endless and a cruel Hell, without pity, and without remorse, is good! That to do justly, is to torment and sacrifice our foes-and to walk humbly with our God, is to accuse him of purposes more vindictive, than have yet disgraced the character, or blackened the escutcheon of the most wicked and infamous among men.
A prophet says, "Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever." (Psa. cvi. 1.) Neither John nor Jesus Christ, have altered or amended this declaration of God's prophet. John confirmed the truth, by his declaration of Jesus,
"Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." (John i. 29.) The goodness of God, whose mercy shall continue, and bless men, was also confirmed by Jesus, who died for the ungodly. The whole scope and tenor of the teaching of Jesus and his disciples and apostles, confirms and establishes the teaching of God's holy prophets. God's righteousness, which is without the law, has been manifested; and both the law and the prophets, bear witness, that in and through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, this righteousness is, by faith of Christ, unto [i. e. for] all, as well as upon all them that believe, for there is no difference as all have sinned, and all are justified freely by God's grace. (See Rom. iii.)
Reader, the morality of God and his Son Jesus Christ, and John his forerunner, is, as we have seen, very different from the morality of modern sectarians. In the one case, it is moral to love and forgive one's enemies, to bless them and do them good; and by acts of beneficence and kindness, to aid one another. On the other hand, sacrifice, and not mercy, is the morality of the day. Goodness consists in cruelty; and justice outrages the hyperbole of imagination in its wildest vagaries; even when the infamous among men sit for the picture, and the creeds of bigots furnish the matter for orthodoxy to paint and adorn the scene. How true is the declaration, "The prophets prophesy falsely-the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so!" AMEN. VOL. II.-3
"When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." MATT. vi. 6.
THE phrase "Retribution of eternity," sounds pompously from the pulpit, and reads nicely from the press. This phrase, too, has the merit of having been coined secundem artem; that is, according to orthodox rule, in the most approved manner of sectarian art, and in a strict conformity to dogmatical logic. So important is this doctrine even in the opinion of certain modern Jurists, who hail from the orthodox ranks, that decisions have emanated from the Bench, and disfranchised men of their reputation, because they would not pronounce the sectarian creed, and affirm their belief in a future state of reward and punishment. And this is not all, for by implication, etc., the future reward and punishment is to endure as long as the state; and the state is to be eternal, or without end. A pretty long time, this, to reward men for certain good things performed by them, once in a while, during their ephemeral existence in this world; and on certain occasions, when they let slip their opportunity of serving the Devil. It should be a query, at least, with logical reasoners, whether the evil deeds of these believ ers will not balance their good deeds, and destroy their pretensions. In this case, there will be found no occasion for a future state of reward, whatever necessity may exist for one of punishment.*
There is a fact connected with the subject of “a future state of reward and punishment," that deserves our serious attention. It is the actual condition of man in this world, considered in reference to God's design, and God's moral and physical influence or power, which He exer
*I will request the reader to keep his mind's eye on the following: viz: Moses, of old, preached the doctrine of present reward and punishment, in this world; not in a future state!
cises according to His purposes over all His sentient creation. Let us look into this matter, reader, and be guided by truth, reason, and justice.
When Paul tarried at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, because "he saw the city wholly given to idolatry." Paul addressed the idolatrous Athenians, and affirmed, in the most unequivocal terms, of the only true God, that "He dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth [unconditionally] to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation," &c. (Acts xvii. 24-26.) I will request the reader to notice the following things, particularly affirmed by Paul:
First-The Arminian dogma that "there is something for us to do," is contradicted by Paul; for God needs no help from his creatures; neither can they do any thing, if they shall build millions of Temples, and dedicate them to God; for he will never dwell in any of them. Men may serve God, not by worshipping him with their hands, but by aiding, succouring, and benefitting their fellows with their hands. It seems, however, if we look at things as they are, that modern sectarians, like the sectarians at Athens, are principally desirous of worshipping God with their hands!
Second-Paul affirms of the locality of the nations of men whom God hath made, that all the face of the earth, wherever men are found, and the circumstances of their peculiar localities, are to be considered in reference to God's appointment, and to His determination, as respects every nation; whether considered distinctly, each from the other, or all, without exception, as being placed and circumstanced by God's allotment, in accordance with His purposes.
With these truths shining as clear as the sun at noonday, let us inquire into the condition of certain of these nations, whose bounds of habitation hath been determined by God the Creator; and the circumstances under which they have been placed, by the appointment of their Maker.
There is a difference in the moral and intellectual faculties and qualities of certain nations of men, compared with certain other nations of men. This difference is very considerable; and is an effect of a cause. I am of
opinion that Paul has affirmed the cause. That God's appointment, determination, and allotment, must be considered as causing the difference, whatever it actually is. And the same Paul affirms in his Epistle to the Romans, (chap. viii. 20,) that the ktisis, creation, was made subject to vanity, or a state of sin, or bondage to corruption. Facts stare us in the face, and affirm, that a difference exists between nations of men, in their capability, whether of knowledge or reflection. Whether the mechanic arts, or science, in the extensive acceptation of the term, be considered; or moral reflection, and the power of adaptation of things to valuable uses; a vast difference exists, and has existed for ages and generations. There must be a cause for these important effects, which are so palpable. Now I will venture the declaration, that no man living can find a cause, unless he shall resort to the Great Cause of all things. That man will undertake a more than Herculean task, who shall attempt to prove that no pre-eminence of moral feelings, and mental endowments, exist in the white men, over the black or negro nations.* Look at the savages located at Van Diemen's Land, New Holland, New Guinea, and other Islands. Many of them ignorant of agriculture, the mother of all sciences, and the pioneer of all arts; also, of the use of metals; and with a paucity of ideas, which have never reached to a knowledge of providing comfortable clothing; if our ideas of comfort are deserving of serious consideration. They are cruel and revengeful; and almost destitute of natural affection. They have certain indistinct notions of a future state; without so much as one consistent idea of any Supreme Being. A traveller among these ignorant people, (COLLINS,) says of them, "Midnight murders, though frequently practised among them whenever revenge or passion were uppermost, they reprobated; but applauded acts of kindness and generosity; for of both of these they were capable." But this he qualifies by the declaration, "I never could discover any object, either substantial or imaginary, that impelled them to the commission of good actions, or deterred them from the perpetration of what we deem crimes."
It has been objected, that man is not accountable for talents which he does not possess; cons onsequently, where
* I mean what I write-Negro nations, not a black and white population mixed, and constantly undergoing a process of actual amalgamation!