Page images





[ocr errors][ocr errors]

What is Christianity? This is a question, which, during the last eighteen centuries, has been often put, and as often answered : the temple, the synagogue, the school, the marketplace, the pulpit, and the press the cross too, the prison, the scourge, the rack, the gibbet, and the stake, have each in turn, and in a special form, uttered a clear and distinct reply. Still, however, in each successive generation the same inquiry is made, and ever would we have it prolonged; for the question is too fair to be refused, and the reply is too important to be withheld. There is not, and there has not been a system which makes so large a demand on men, as moral and accountable beings, which so boldly casts down for scrutiny many and splendid credentials, which professes to meet so fully and actually the whole and real condition of man, or which holds out richer prospects of bliss in connexion with faith, or a deeper gloom of misery as the consequence of unbelief, than Christianity. By Jothing has the attention of the world been more occupied in the way

of profession or rejection, promulgation or persecution, during the last eighteen hundred years, than by Christianity. Her records have been tested, her statements have been sifted, her principles argued, her doctrines impugned, her demands questioned, and her evidences scrutinized; her disciples have been watched and tortured, and her ministers bribed or martyred. Paganism sought to strangle her at birth; Mohammedanism to substitute another in her room ; superstition to bury her alive; infidel philosophy openly to condemn and crucify her; and, worst of all, hypocritical worldliness has sought to plunge her into the abyss of a freezing and perpetual oblivion. But all in vain : Christianity-true, pure, immortal, and divine, still lives and reigns; still joyfully does she go forth in the light of the sun, and before all her enemies. She still teaches, proclaims, commands, threatens, and promises, as at the beginning : repelling

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »