rss

CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.

Specify Alternate Text

A Practical View of the Prevailing - Chapter 5 Bookmark

Chapter V

On The Excellence of Christianity In Certain Important Particulars. Argument Which Results Thence In Proof of Its Divine Origin

THE writer of the present Work, having now completed a faint delineation of the leading features of real Christianity, may be permitted to suspend for a few moments the farther execution of his plan, for the purpose of pointing out some excellencies which she really possesses; but which, as they are not to be found in that superficial system which so unworthily usurps her name, appear scarcely to have attracted sufficient notice. If he should seem to be deviating from the plan which he proposed to himself, he would suggest as his excuse; that the observations which he is about to offer will furnish a strong argument, in favor of the correctness of his preceding representation of the nature and characters of that Religion which alone deserves to be called Christianity.

Consistency between the leading doctrines and practical precepts of Christianity

It holds true, indeed, in the case of Christianity, as in that of all the works of God, that though a superficial and cursory view cannot fail to discover to us somewhat of their beauty; yet, when on a more careful and accurate scrutiny we become better acquainted with their properties, we become also more deeply impressed by a conviction of their excellence. We may begin by referring to the last chapter for an instance of the truth of this assertion. Therein was pointed out that intimate connection, that perfect harmony, between the leading doctrines and the practical precepts of Christianity, which is apt to escape the attention of the ordinary eye.

Between the leading doctrines of Christianity amongst each other

It may not be improper also to remark, though the position be so obvious as almost to render the statement of it needless, that there is the same close connection in the leading doctrines of Christianity with each other, and the same perfect harmony between them. It is self-evident, that the corruption of human nature, that our reconciliation to God by the atonement of Christ, and that the restoration of our primitive dignity by the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, are all parts of one whole, united in close dependence and mutual congruity.

Between the practical precepts amongst each other

Perhaps, however, it has not been sufficiently noticed, that in the chief practical precepts of Christianity, there is the same essential agreement, the same mutual dependency of one upon another. Let us survey this fresh instance of the wisdom of that system, which is the only solid foundation of our present or future happiness.

The virtues most strongly and repeatedly enjoined in Scripture, and by our progress in which we may best measure our advancement in holiness, are the fear and love of God and of Christ; love, kindness, and meekness towards our fellow-creatures; indifference to the possessions and events of this life, in comparison with our concern about eternal things; self-denial, and humility.

It has been already pointed out in many particulars, how essentially such of these Christian graces as respect the Divine Being are connected with those, which have more directly for their objects our fellow-creatures and ourselves. But, in the case of these two last descriptions of Christian graces, the more attentively we consider them with reference to the acknowledged principles of human nature, and to indisputable facts, the more we shall be convinced that they afford mutual aid towards the acquisition of each other; and that, when acquired, they all harmonize with each other in perfect and essential union. This truth may perhaps be sufficiently apparent from what has been already remarked, but it may not be useless to dwell on it a little more in detail. Take, then, the instances of loving-kindness and meekness towards others; and observe the solid foundation which is laid for them in self-denial, in moderation as to the good things of this life, and in humility. The chief causes of enmity among men are, pride and self-importance, the high opinion which men entertain of themselves, and the consequent deference which they exact from others; the over-valuation of worldly possessions and of worldly honors, and in consequence, a too eager competition for them. The rough edges of one man rub against those of another, (if the expression may be allowed;) and the friction is often such as to injure the works, and disturb the just arrangements and regular motions of the social machine. But by Christianity all these roughnesses are filed down; every wheel rolls round smoothly in the performance of its appointed function, and there is nothing to retard the several movements, or break in upon the general order. The religious system indeed of the bulk of nominal Christians is satisfied with some tolerable appearance of virtue: and accordingly, while it recommends love and beneficence, it tolerates pride and vanity in many cases; it even countenances and commends the excessive valuation of character; and at least allows a man’s whole soul to be absorbed in the pursuit of the object which he is following, be it what it may of personal or professional success. But though these latter qualities may, for the most part, fairly enough consist with a soft exterior and courtly demeanor, they cannot so well accord with the genuine internal principle of love. Some cause of discontent, some ground of jealousy or of envy will arise, some suspicion will corrode, some disappointment will sour, some slight or calumny will irritate and provoke reprisals. In the higher walks of life indeed, we learn to disguise our emotions; but such will be the real inward feelings of the soul, and they will frequently betray themselves when we are off our guard, or when we are not likely to be disparaged by the discovery. This state of the higher orders, in which men are scuffling eagerly for the same objects, and wearing all the while such an appearance of sweetness and complacency, has often appeared to me to be not ill illustrated by the image of a gaming table. There, every man is intent only on his own profit; the good success of one is the ill success of another, and therefore the general state of mind of the parties engaged may be pretty well conjectured. All this, however, does not prevent, in well-bred societies, an exterior of perfect gentleness and good humor. But let the same employment be carried on among the lower orders, who are not so well schooled in the art of disguising their feelings; or in places where, by general connivance, people are allowed to give vent to their real emotions; and every passion will display itself, by which the “human face divine” can be distorted and deformed. For those who never have been present at so humiliating a scene, the pencil of Hogarth has provided a representation of it, which is scarcely exaggerated; and the horrid name,* by which it is familiarly known among its frequenters, sufficiently attests the fidelity of its resemblance.

But Christianity is not satisfied with producing merely the specious guise of virtue. She requires the substantial reality, which may stand the scrutinizing eye of that Being, “who searches the heart.” Meaning therefore that the Christian should live and breathe in an atmosphere, as it were, of benevolence, she forbids whatever can tend to obstruct its diffusion, or vitiate its purity. It is on this principle that emulation is forbidden: for, besides that this passion almost insensibly degenerates into envy, and that it derives its origin chiefly from pride and a desire of self-exaltation; how can we easily love our neighbor as ourselves, if we consider him at the same time as our rival, and are intent upon surpassing him in the pursuit of whatever is the subject of our competition?

Christianity, again, teaches us not to set our hearts on earthly possessions and earthly honors; and thereby provides for our really loving, or even cordially forgiving, those who have been more successful than ourselves in the attainment of them, or who have even designedly thwarted us in the pursuit. “Mind not high things,” says the Apostle. How can he who means to attempt, in any degree, to obey this precept, and the many other passages of Scripture which speak a similar language, be irreconcilably hostile towards anyone who may have been instrumental in his depression?

Christianity also teaches us not to prize human estimation at a very high rate; and thereby provides for the practice of her injunction, to love from the heart those who, justly or unjustly, may have attacked our reputation, and wounded our character. She commands not the show, but the reality, of meekness and gentleness; and by thus taking away the aliment of anger and the fomenters of discord, she provides for the maintenance of peace, and the restoration of good temper among men, when it may have sustained a temporary interruption.

Another excellence of Christianity; a higher value by it set on moral than on intellectual attainments

It is another capital excellence of Christianity, that she values moral attainments at a far higher rate than intellectual acquisitions, and proposes to conduct her followers to the heights of virtue rather than of knowledge. On the contrary, most of the false religious systems which have prevailed in the world, have proposed to reward the labor of their votary, by drawing aside the veil which concealed from the vulgar eye their hidden mysteries, and by introducing him to the knowledge of their deeper and more sacred doctrines.

This is eminently the case in the Hindu, and in the Mahometan Religion, in that of China, and for the most part in the various modifications of ancient Paganism. In systems which proceed on this principle, it is obvious that the bulk of mankind can never make any great proficiency. There was accordingly, among the nations of antiquity, one system, whatever it was, for the learned, and another for the illiterate. Many of the philosophers spoke out, and professed to keep the lower orders in ignorance for the general good; plainly suggesting, that the bulk of mankind was to be considered as almost of an inferior species. Aristotle himself countenanced this opinion. An opposite mode of proceeding naturally belongs to Christianity, which without distinction professes an equal regard for all human beings, and which was characterized by her first Promulgator as the messenger of “glad tidings to the poor.”

But her preference of moral to intellectual excellence is not to be praised, only because it is congenial with her general character, and suitable to the ends which she professes to have in view. It is the part of true wisdom to endeavor to excel there, where we may really attain to excellence. This consideration might be alone sufficient to direct our efforts to the acquisition of virtue rather than of knowledge.—How limited is the range of the greatest human abilities! how scanty the stores of the richest human knowledge! Those who undeniably have held the first rank both for natural and acquired endowments, instead of thinking their pre-eminence a just ground of self-exaltation, have commonly been the most forward to confess that their views were bounded and their attainments moderate. Had they indeed been less candid, this is a discovery which we could not have failed to make for ourselves. Experience daily furnishes us with examples of weakness, and short-sightedness, and error, in the wisest and the most learned of men, which might serve to confound the pride of human wisdom.

Not so in morals.—Made at first in the likeness of God, and still bearing about us some faint traces of our high original, we are offered by our blessed Redeemer the means of purifying ourselves from our corruptions, and of once more regaining the image of our heavenly Father.* In love, the compendious expression for almost every virtue, in fortitude under all its forms, in justice, in humility, and in all the other graces of the Christian character, we are made capable of attaining to heights of real elevation: and, were we but faithful in the use of the means of grace which we enjoy, the operations of the Holy Spirit, prompting and aiding our diligent endeavors, would infallibly crown our labors with success, and make us partakers of a Divine nature. The writer has himself known some who have been instances of the truth of this remark. To the memory of one, now no more, may he be permitted to offer the last tribute of respectful friendship? His course short, but laborious, has at length terminated in a better world; and his luminous track still shines in the sight, and animates the efforts of all who knew him, and “marshals them the way” to Heavenly glory. Let me not be thought to undervalue any of the gifts of God, or of the fruits of human exertion: but let not these be prized beyond their proper worth. If one of those little industrious reptiles, to which we have been well sent for a lesson of diligence and foresight, were to pride itself upon its strength, because it could carry off a larger grain of wheat than any other of its fellow ants, should we not laugh at the vanity which could be highly gratified with such a contemptible pre-eminence? And is it far different to the eye of reason, when man, weak, short-sighted man, is vain of surpassing others in knowledge, in which at best his progress must be so limited; forgetting the true dignity of his nature, and the path which would conduct him to real excellence?

Excellence of the practical precepts of Christianity

The unparalleled value of the precepts of Christianity ought not to be passed over altogether unnoticed in this place, though it be needless to dwell on it; since it has been often justly recognized and asserted, and has in some points been ably illustrated, and powerfully enforced by the masterly pen of a late writer. It is by no means, however, the design of this little Work to attempt to trace the various excellencies of Christianity; but it may not have been improper to point out a few particulars, which, in the course of investigation, have naturally fallen under our notice, and hitherto perhaps may scarcely have been enough regarded. Every such instance, it should always be remembered, is a fresh proof of Christianity being a revelation from God.

It is still less, however, the intention of the writer, to attempt to vindicate the Divine origin of our Holy Religion. This task has often been executed by far abler advocates. In particular, every Christian, with whatever reserves his commendations must be qualified, should be forward to confess his obligations on this head to the author before alluded to; whose uncommon acuteness has enabled him, in a field already so much trodden, to discover arguments which had eluded the observation of all by whom he was preceded, and whose unequalled perspicuity puts his reader in complete possession of the fruits of his sagacity. Anxious, however, in my little measure, to contribute to the support of this great cause, may it be permitted me to state one argument which impresses my mind with particular force. This is, the great variety of the kinds of evidence which have been adduced in proof of Christianity, and the confirmation thereby afforded of its truth:—The proof from prophecy—from miracles—from the character of Christ—from that of his Apostles—from the nature of the doctrines of Christianity—from the nature and excellence of her practical precepts—from the accordance we have lately pointed out between the doctrinal and practical system of Christianity, whether considered each in itself or in their mutual relation to each other—from other species of internal evidence, afforded in the more abundance in proportion as the sacred records have been scrutinized with greater care—from the accounts of contemporary or nearly contemporary writers—from the impossibility of accounting on any other supposition, than that of the truth of Christianity, for its promulgation and early prevalence: these and other lines of argument have all been brought forward, and ably urged by different writers, in proportion as they have struck the minds of different observers more or less forcibly. Now, granting that some obscure and illiterate men, residing in a distant province of the Roman empire, had plotted to impose a forgery upon the world; though some foundation for the imposture might, and indeed must, have been attempted to be laid; it seems, to my understanding at least, morally impossible that so many different species of proofs, and all so strong, should have lent their concurrent aid, and have united their joint force in the establishment of the falsehood. It may assist the reader in estimating the value of this argument, to consider, upon how different a footing, in this respect, every other religious system, which was ever proposed to the world, has stood; and indeed, every other historical fact, of which the truth has been at all contested.[1]

 

 

* The Hell, so called, let it be observed, not by way of reproach, but familiarity, by those who frequent it.

The Rev. Matthew Babington, of Rothley, in Leicestershire, who died lately at Lisbon.

[1] Wilberforce, W. (1830). A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians. (pp. 220–229). London: T. Cadell. (Public Domain)

Chapter V

On The Excellence of Christianity In Certain Important Particulars. Argument Which Results Thence In Proof of Its Divine Origin

THE writer of the present Work, having now completed a faint delineation of the leading features of real Christianity, may be permitted to suspend for a few moments the farther execution of his plan, for the purpose of pointing out some excellencies which she really possesses; but which, as they are not to be found in that superficial system which so unworthily usurps her name, appear scarcely to have attracted sufficient notice. If he should seem to be deviating from the plan which he proposed to himself, he would suggest as his excuse; that the observations which he is about to offer will furnish a strong argument, in favor of the correctness of his preceding representation of the nature and characters of that Religion which alone deserves to be called Christianity.

Consistency between the leading doctrines and practical precepts of Christianity

It holds true, indeed, in the case of Christianity, as in that of all the works of God, that though a superficial and cursory view cannot fail to discover to us somewhat of their beauty; yet, when on a more careful and accurate scrutiny we become better acquainted with their properties, we become also more deeply impressed by a conviction of their excellence. We may begin by referring to the last chapter for an instance of the truth of this assertion. Therein was pointed out that intimate connection, that perfect harmony, between the leading doctrines and the practical precepts of Christianity, which is apt to escape the attention of the ordinary eye.

Between the leading doctrines of Christianity amongst each other

It may not be improper also to remark, though the position be so obvious as almost to render the statement of it needless, that there is the same close connection in the leading doctrines of Christianity with each other, and the same perfect harmony between them. It is self-evident, that the corruption of human nature, that our reconciliation to God by the atonement of Christ, and that the restoration of our primitive dignity by the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, are all parts of one whole, united in close dependence and mutual congruity.

Between the practical precepts amongst each other

Perhaps, however, it has not been sufficiently noticed, that in the chief practical precepts of Christianity, there is the same essential agreement, the same mutual dependency of one upon another. Let us survey this fresh instance of the wisdom of that system, which is the only solid foundation of our present or future happiness.

The virtues most strongly and repeatedly enjoined in Scripture, and by our progress in which we may best measure our advancement in holiness, are the fear and love of God and of Christ; love, kindness, and meekness towards our fellow-creatures; indifference to the possessions and events of this life, in comparison with our concern about eternal things; self-denial, and humility.

It has been already pointed out in many particulars, how essentially such of these Christian graces as respect the Divine Being are connected with those, which have more directly for their objects our fellow-creatures and ourselves. But, in the case of these two last descriptions of Christian graces, the more attentively we consider them with reference to the acknowledged principles of human nature, and to indisputable facts, the more we shall be convinced that they afford mutual aid towards the acquisition of each other; and that, when acquired, they all harmonize with each other in perfect and essential union. This truth may perhaps be sufficiently apparent from what has been already remarked, but it may not be useless to dwell on it a little more in detail. Take, then, the instances of loving-kindness and meekness towards others; and observe the solid foundation which is laid for them in self-denial, in moderation as to the good things of this life, and in humility. The chief causes of enmity among men are, pride and self-importance, the high opinion which men entertain of themselves, and the consequent deference which they exact from others; the over-valuation of worldly possessions and of worldly honors, and in consequence, a too eager competition for them. The rough edges of one man rub against those of another, (if the expression may be allowed;) and the friction is often such as to injure the works, and disturb the just arrangements and regular motions of the social machine. But by Christianity all these roughnesses are filed down; every wheel rolls round smoothly in the performance of its appointed function, and there is nothing to retard the several movements, or break in upon the general order. The religious system indeed of the bulk of nominal Christians is satisfied with some tolerable appearance of virtue: and accordingly, while it recommends love and beneficence, it tolerates pride and vanity in many cases; it even countenances and commends the excessive valuation of character; and at least allows a man’s whole soul to be absorbed in the pursuit of the object which he is following, be it what it may of personal or professional success. But though these latter qualities may, for the most part, fairly enough consist with a soft exterior and courtly demeanor, they cannot so well accord with the genuine internal principle of love. Some cause of discontent, some ground of jealousy or of envy will arise, some suspicion will corrode, some disappointment will sour, some slight or calumny will irritate and provoke reprisals. In the higher walks of life indeed, we learn to disguise our emotions; but such will be the real inward feelings of the soul, and they will frequently betray themselves when we are off our guard, or when we are not likely to be disparaged by the discovery. This state of the higher orders, in which men are scuffling eagerly for the same objects, and wearing all the while such an appearance of sweetness and complacency, has often appeared to me to be not ill illustrated by the image of a gaming table. There, every man is intent only on his own profit; the good success of one is the ill success of another, and therefore the general state of mind of the parties engaged may be pretty well conjectured. All this, however, does not prevent, in well-bred societies, an exterior of perfect gentleness and good humor. But let the same employment be carried on among the lower orders, who are not so well schooled in the art of disguising their feelings; or in places where, by general connivance, people are allowed to give vent to their real emotions; and every passion will display itself, by which the “human face divine” can be distorted and deformed. For those who never have been present at so humiliating a scene, the pencil of Hogarth has provided a representation of it, which is scarcely exaggerated; and the horrid name,* by which it is familiarly known among its frequenters, sufficiently attests the fidelity of its resemblance.

But Christianity is not satisfied with producing merely the specious guise of virtue. She requires the substantial reality, which may stand the scrutinizing eye of that Being, “who searches the heart.” Meaning therefore that the Christian should live and breathe in an atmosphere, as it were, of benevolence, she forbids whatever can tend to obstruct its diffusion, or vitiate its purity. It is on this principle that emulation is forbidden: for, besides that this passion almost insensibly degenerates into envy, and that it derives its origin chiefly from pride and a desire of self-exaltation; how can we easily love our neighbor as ourselves, if we consider him at the same time as our rival, and are intent upon surpassing him in the pursuit of whatever is the subject of our competition?

Christianity, again, teaches us not to set our hearts on earthly possessions and earthly honors; and thereby provides for our really loving, or even cordially forgiving, those who have been more successful than ourselves in the attainment of them, or who have even designedly thwarted us in the pursuit. “Mind not high things,” says the Apostle. How can he who means to attempt, in any degree, to obey this precept, and the many other passages of Scripture which speak a similar language, be irreconcilably hostile towards anyone who may have been instrumental in his depression?

Christianity also teaches us not to prize human estimation at a very high rate; and thereby provides for the practice of her injunction, to love from the heart those who, justly or unjustly, may have attacked our reputation, and wounded our character. She commands not the show, but the reality, of meekness and gentleness; and by thus taking away the aliment of anger and the fomenters of discord, she provides for the maintenance of peace, and the restoration of good temper among men, when it may have sustained a temporary interruption.

Another excellence of Christianity; a higher value by it set on moral than on intellectual attainments

It is another capital excellence of Christianity, that she values moral attainments at a far higher rate than intellectual acquisitions, and proposes to conduct her followers to the heights of virtue rather than of knowledge. On the contrary, most of the false religious systems which have prevailed in the world, have proposed to reward the labor of their votary, by drawing aside the veil which concealed from the vulgar eye their hidden mysteries, and by introducing him to the knowledge of their deeper and more sacred doctrines.

This is eminently the case in the Hindu, and in the Mahometan Religion, in that of China, and for the most part in the various modifications of ancient Paganism. In systems which proceed on this principle, it is obvious that the bulk of mankind can never make any great proficiency. There was accordingly, among the nations of antiquity, one system, whatever it was, for the learned, and another for the illiterate. Many of the philosophers spoke out, and professed to keep the lower orders in ignorance for the general good; plainly suggesting, that the bulk of mankind was to be considered as almost of an inferior species. Aristotle himself countenanced this opinion. An opposite mode of proceeding naturally belongs to Christianity, which without distinction professes an equal regard for all human beings, and which was characterized by her first Promulgator as the messenger of “glad tidings to the poor.”

But her preference of moral to intellectual excellence is not to be praised, only because it is congenial with her general character, and suitable to the ends which she professes to have in view. It is the part of true wisdom to endeavor to excel there, where we may really attain to excellence. This consideration might be alone sufficient to direct our efforts to the acquisition of virtue rather than of knowledge.—How limited is the range of the greatest human abilities! how scanty the stores of the richest human knowledge! Those who undeniably have held the first rank both for natural and acquired endowments, instead of thinking their pre-eminence a just ground of self-exaltation, have commonly been the most forward to confess that their views were bounded and their attainments moderate. Had they indeed been less candid, this is a discovery which we could not have failed to make for ourselves. Experience daily furnishes us with examples of weakness, and short-sightedness, and error, in the wisest and the most learned of men, which might serve to confound the pride of human wisdom.

Not so in morals.—Made at first in the likeness of God, and still bearing about us some faint traces of our high original, we are offered by our blessed Redeemer the means of purifying ourselves from our corruptions, and of once more regaining the image of our heavenly Father.* In love, the compendious expression for almost every virtue, in fortitude under all its forms, in justice, in humility, and in all the other graces of the Christian character, we are made capable of attaining to heights of real elevation: and, were we but faithful in the use of the means of grace which we enjoy, the operations of the Holy Spirit, prompting and aiding our diligent endeavors, would infallibly crown our labors with success, and make us partakers of a Divine nature. The writer has himself known some who have been instances of the truth of this remark. To the memory of one, now no more, may he be permitted to offer the last tribute of respectful friendship? His course short, but laborious, has at length terminated in a better world; and his luminous track still shines in the sight, and animates the efforts of all who knew him, and “marshals them the way” to Heavenly glory. Let me not be thought to undervalue any of the gifts of God, or of the fruits of human exertion: but let not these be prized beyond their proper worth. If one of those little industrious reptiles, to which we have been well sent for a lesson of diligence and foresight, were to pride itself upon its strength, because it could carry off a larger grain of wheat than any other of its fellow ants, should we not laugh at the vanity which could be highly gratified with such a contemptible pre-eminence? And is it far different to the eye of reason, when man, weak, short-sighted man, is vain of surpassing others in knowledge, in which at best his progress must be so limited; forgetting the true dignity of his nature, and the path which would conduct him to real excellence?

Excellence of the practical precepts of Christianity

The unparalleled value of the precepts of Christianity ought not to be passed over altogether unnoticed in this place, though it be needless to dwell on it; since it has been often justly recognized and asserted, and has in some points been ably illustrated, and powerfully enforced by the masterly pen of a late writer. It is by no means, however, the design of this little Work to attempt to trace the various excellencies of Christianity; but it may not have been improper to point out a few particulars, which, in the course of investigation, have naturally fallen under our notice, and hitherto perhaps may scarcely have been enough regarded. Every such instance, it should always be remembered, is a fresh proof of Christianity being a revelation from God.

It is still less, however, the intention of the writer, to attempt to vindicate the Divine origin of our Holy Religion. This task has often been executed by far abler advocates. In particular, every Christian, with whatever reserves his commendations must be qualified, should be forward to confess his obligations on this head to the author before alluded to; whose uncommon acuteness has enabled him, in a field already so much trodden, to discover arguments which had eluded the observation of all by whom he was preceded, and whose unequalled perspicuity puts his reader in complete possession of the fruits of his sagacity. Anxious, however, in my little measure, to contribute to the support of this great cause, may it be permitted me to state one argument which impresses my mind with particular force. This is, the great variety of the kinds of evidence which have been adduced in proof of Christianity, and the confirmation thereby afforded of its truth:—The proof from prophecy—from miracles—from the character of Christ—from that of his Apostles—from the nature of the doctrines of Christianity—from the nature and excellence of her practical precepts—from the accordance we have lately pointed out between the doctrinal and practical system of Christianity, whether considered each in itself or in their mutual relation to each other—from other species of internal evidence, afforded in the more abundance in proportion as the sacred records have been scrutinized with greater care—from the accounts of contemporary or nearly contemporary writers—from the impossibility of accounting on any other supposition, than that of the truth of Christianity, for its promulgation and early prevalence: these and other lines of argument have all been brought forward, and ably urged by different writers, in proportion as they have struck the minds of different observers more or less forcibly. Now, granting that some obscure and illiterate men, residing in a distant province of the Roman empire, had plotted to impose a forgery upon the world; though some foundation for the imposture might, and indeed must, have been attempted to be laid; it seems, to my understanding at least, morally impossible that so many different species of proofs, and all so strong, should have lent their concurrent aid, and have united their joint force in the establishment of the falsehood. It may assist the reader in estimating the value of this argument, to consider, upon how different a footing, in this respect, every other religious system, which was ever proposed to the world, has stood; and indeed, every other historical fact, of which the truth has been at all contested.[1]

 

 

* The Hell, so called, let it be observed, not by way of reproach, but familiarity, by those who frequent it.

The Rev. Matthew Babington, of Rothley, in Leicestershire, who died lately at Lisbon.

[1] Wilberforce, W. (1830). A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians. (pp. 220–229). London: T. Cadell. (Public Domain)



Comments are closed.

Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

Contact Us

  • Address:
    PO Box 1207, Englewood, CO 80150-1207

  • Phone: (800) 798-7875

  • Email: Office@cmfhq.org

Webmaster

Book Offers