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wise and virtuous man, as perhaps the nature of human frailty will permit." But since, in his estimation, female infidelity when unknown was nothing, one needs pretty positive evidence to believe that he was specially pure.*
Gibbon's moral character is seen in his history of the Roman empire—a work full of hypocrisy, perversion, and impurity; the production of a mind as unchaste as it was insidious. When he could not find an occasion to insult Christianity, he made it by false glosses or dishonest colorings. "A rage for
That Hume was virtuous without chastity, is evident from his essays. They contain passages by way of wit or illustration, not only gratuitously introduced, but forced in by a mere amateur taste of the writer, which a chaste mind would not have thought of, and a man of chaste habits and principles would have rejected, as both polluting to his pages and disgraceful to his character. I cannot believe that one who could venture on such sentences before the public eye, and show such pleasure and evident facility in grovelling indecencies of writing, was free from unclean practice where no public eye was to be encountered. And still, in Adam Smith's opinion, he may have been " as perfectly virtuous as the nature of human frailty would permit." What exceptions are included under this last clause, who can say? In an infidel's creed, virtue has no more quarrel with unchasteness, than, in the creed of the Spartans, it had with theft. Among the latter, nothing was required to make stealing virtuous, but concealment. Among the virtuosi of infidelity, what more is required to establish the innocence of impurity?
The person who put out an edition of Hume's Essays in this country, dedicating it to the president of the United States, and lauding Hume and his principles to the skies, showed very plainly how he had profited by his favorite volume, at least by the essay in defence of suicide. He killed himself by drunkenness.
indecency pervades the whole work, but especially the last volumes. If the history were anonymous, I should guess that these disgraceful obscenities were written by some debauchee, who having from age, or accident, or excess, survived the practice of lust, still indulged himself in its speculations, and exposed the impotent imbecility after he had lost the vigor of the passions.' This was no 66 arrow shot at a
What gross hypocrisy and lying pervade the writings of Herbert, Hobbes, Shaftesbury, Woolston, Tindal, Collins, Blount, Chubb, and Bolingbroke. One while they are praising Christianity, exalting Jesus, professing to have the sincerest desire that the gospel may be promoted. At another time they are scoffing at its essential doctrines, charging its founder with imposture, and diligently laboring to destroy it. Hobbes affirms that the Scriptures are the voice of God, and the foundation of all obligation, and yet, that all religion is ridiculous. Shaftesbury says, that it is censurable to represent the gospel as a fraud; that he hopes its enemies will be reconciled to it, and its friends prize it more highly; and yet he represents salvation as ridiculous, insinuates that the designs of Christ were those of deep ambition, and his zeal and spirit savage and persecuting; that the Scriptures were an artful invention for mercenary purposes. Collins protests that none are further than he from being engaged in the cause of infidelity; that he writes for the honor of Jesus,
and the defence of Christianity; to advance the Messiaship and truth of the holy Jesus, "to whom," he says, "be glory for ever and ever, amen:" and yet he casts the most scurrilous reflections on this holy One, compares the gospels to Gulliverian tales, says they are full of absurdities, and must be rejected, and the authority of Jesus along with them.*
Such are a few examples of the honesty of such men. What if Christians should thus flatter infidelity, and next revile it? When would their opponents cease exposing their hypocrisy? The best of infidel writers cannot be trusted on the score of veracity when Christianity is in question. The corruption of the texts of books, the misrepresentation of facts, the grossest unfairness in citations, are accounted lawful by their Humes and Gibbons in this controversy. One of their own fraternity may here be allowed to testify. "If," says Rousseau, "our philosophers were able to discover truth, which of them would interest himself about it? There is not one among them who would not prefer his own error to the truth discovered by another. Where is the philosopher who, for his own glory, would not willingly deceive the whole human race?" I need not spend time, after all that has been exhibited, in showing that such leaders in infidelity have evinced no spirit of benevolence, no disposition to labor for the benefit of their fellow-creatures; but on the contrary have lived unto themselves, and almost without exception cultivated the coldest selfishness.
Dwight on Infidel Philosophy.
But to speak more directly of the morals of leading infidels. Bolingbroke was a libertine of intemperate habits and unrestrained lust. Temple was a corrupter of all that came near him, given up to ease and pleasure. Emerson, an eminent mathematician, was "rude, vulgar, and frequently immoral." “Intoxication and profane language were familiar to him. Towards the close of life, being afflicted with the stone, he would crawl about the floor on his hands and knees, sometimes praying, sometimes swearing.” The morals of the Earl of Rochester are well known. Godwin was a lewd man by his own confession, as well as the unblushing advocate of lewdness. Shaftesbury and Collins, while endeavoring to destroy the gospel, partook of the Lord's supper, thus professing Christian faith for admission to office. "Woolston was a gross blasphemer. Blount solicited his sisterin-law to marry him, and being refused shot himself. Tindal was originally a Protestant, then turned Papist, then Protestant again, merely to suit the times; and was at the same time infamous for vice in general, and the total want of principle. He is said to have died with this prayer in his mouth: 'If there is a God, I desire that he may have mercy on me.' Hobbes wrote his Leviathan to serve the cause of Charles I.; but finding him fail of success, he turned it to the defence of Cromwell, and made a merit of this fact to the usurper, as Hobbes himself unblushingly declared to Lord Clarendon."* Need Need I describe Voltaire ?-prince of scoffers, as Hume was prince of * Dwight on Infidel Philosophy.
sceptics-in childhood, initiated into infidelity; in boyhood, famous for daring blasphemy; in manhood, distinguished for a malignant, violent temper, for coldblooded disruptions of all the ties and decencies of the family circle, for the ridicule of whatever was affecting, and the violation of whatever was confidential. Ever increasing in duplicity and hypocritical management with age and practice, those whom his wit attracted and his buffoonery amused, were either disgusted or polluted by his loathsome vices. Lies and oaths in their support, were nothing to his maw. Those whom he openly called his friends, he took pains secretly to calumniate; flattering them to their faces, ridiculing and reviling them behind their backs. Years only added stiffness to the disgusting features of his impiety, coldness to his dark malignity, and fury to his impetuous temper. Throughout life he was given up "to work all uncleanness with greediness." Such was the witty Voltaire, who, in the midst of his levity, had feeling and seriousness enough to wish he had never been born.
What shall we say of J. J. Rousseau? A thief and liar and debauched profligate by his own "Confession." Educated a Protestant, he turned Papist for "subsistence;" and afterwards professed Protestantism again at Geneva, that he might enjoy the rights of citizenship, while all the while he was a foulmouthed infidel. He began life as an apprentice. Having robbed his master and others, he fled and became a footman; in which capacity, having again acted the thief, he tried to swear the crime on a maid