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no soul is without sin, neither is any without the seeds of good."
With regard to the efficacy of the death of Christ, Tertullian, like most of the early Fathers, expresses himself in general and indefinite terms, bearing a near resemblance to those employed in the scriptures. We hear nothing of "infinite atonement," and other similar phrases so current in modern times; nor do the notions conveyed by these phrases appear ever to have occurred to his mind.
As a witness to the extensive diffusion of Christianity in his time, we quote Tertullian with pleasure. Speaking of the patience of Christians under the sufferings inflicted by their persecutors, in refutation of the charge of disloyalty and disaffection to the Emperors, he ob"Not that we are destitute of the means of resistance, if our christian principles allowed us to resort to them. Though we date our existence only from yesterday we have filled every part of your empire; we are to be found in your cities, your islands, your camp, your palaces, your forum.-So great is our numbers that we might successfully contend with you in open wafare; but were we only to withdraw ourselves from you, and to remove by common consent to some remote corner of the globe, our mere secession would be sufficient to accomplish your destruction, and to avenge our cause. You would be left without subjects to govern, and would tremble at the solitude. and silence around you, at the awful stillness of a dead world." Again, "The most distant regions have receiv
ed the faith of Christ. He reigns among people whom the Roman arms have never yet subdued; among the different tribes of Getulia, and Mauritania― in the furthest extremities of Spain, and Gaul, and Britain,-among the Samaritans, Dacians, Germans and Scythians-in countries and islands scarcely known to us by name." "The language,” as Bishop Kaye, of whose translation we have again availed ourselves, well observes, "is declamatory; yet such a representation would not have been hazarded, unless it had been realized to a considerable extent, in the actual state of Christianity."
CLAIMS OF CHRISTIANITY TO OUR CAREFUL ATTENTION AND STUDY.
WITH whatever boldness, infidelity and profaneness may obtrude themselves upon our notice, we hazard nothing in saying, that they no longer give a reputation for wit or wisdom. They are not associated with the idea of superior understanding, acuteness, or liberality of mind.
Christianity is generally treated with respect,—with cold respect perhaps; but it is entitled to something more than this. Leaving out of view its claims to a supernatural origin, we say, it is entitled to something more. It is entitled, certainly, to our careful attention
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and study, and it appears matter of some surprise, that it does not oftener engage the thoughts of contemplative minds.
In the first place, the doctrines of Jesus are fitted to inspire interest viewed simply as matters of speculation. They relate not to topics of a wholly abstract nature; to topics which have never before awakened curiosity, or called forth efforts of intellect. The existence of a power above us, his attributes, his agency in administering the affairs of the world-human nature, its faculties, origin and prospects,-have been favorite themes in all ages. They have been introduced into the visions of poets, and refined speculations of philosophy, and have charmed in both. And how are these subjects treated by our Saviour? What conceptions does he teach us to form of the divine nature and the future destiny and hopes of man? Conceptions, surely, far more refined and elevated, and beyond comparison more interesting, than any which had before entered the human mind. He speaks of the one infinite and spiritual Father who formed, who sustains, and governs the universe, of his omnipresence, his supreme power, his unapproached goodness, his undeviating rectitude, his love embracing all objects, his mercy, "favorite and triumphant attribute." He tells us that what we now behold of him, is only a part of what shall be hereafter known, that he designs us for another state, where his attributes will be more fully displayed, and where those, who have been faithful to his laws on earth, will be raised to the highest moral and spiritual gratifications
and employments; where virtue shall triumph, meekness receive honor, and charity win a crown.
These conceptions are in harmony with nature, with the best feelings of the heart, and conclusions of reason, and they are as perfect, perhaps, as our finite understandings are capable of receiving. Suppose them founded on speculation, they are beautiful speculations, and it would be difficult to persuade us that they are not true. If they belong to philosophy, it is philosophy of the highest and sublimest description, and well entitled to be called divine. They contain all that is valuable in the thoughts, inventions, and discoveries of human genius in preceding ages, and include something more. They are purged from the dross of former systems, and embrace views, which those systems never reached. Let us not then be afraid to admire them; nor let us think the time, which is consumed in the endeavor to render ourselves familiar with them, unprofitably spent. They relate to subjects about which a rational mind must be supposed to feel a deep curiosity; to subjects fitted to engage the attention of inquisitive spirits; to grave and important subjects. God and human nature, the attributes of the Divinity, and man's chief good-of these our Saviour speaks, and he appears to have reached the utmost point to which our faculties can go. Shall we then contemplate his instructions with apathy? Such apathy appears wholly unworthy of beings, who value themselves upon possessing intelligent natures, a divine thirst of knowledge, and high and heavenly instincts. Let the words of
Jesus then be carefully listened to, if not for the authority with which he claimed to speak, at least for the excellent and sublime matter they contain. While we amuse ourselves with all light and frivolous knowledge, and fantastic speculations of genius, let not the record of his teachings be a neglected, forgotten, or despised book. If we refuse to hear him, there is one that judgeth us, the words he uttered, words full of profound instruction, the same shall judge us at the last day.
We have said, that the doctrines of Jesus, viewed simply as parts of speculative knowledge, are fitted to interest and charm. But what is vastly more important, his instructions have in view a moral object. They are designed to form and educate intelligent and moral natures, and they breathe a spirit corresponding to their sublime object. Christianity addresses us as responsible beings, having high and important trusts to execute, and accountable for their neglect or abuse. It finds us in need of aid, and it attempts to furnish it. It speaks of our weakness, our temptations and dangers, and endeavors to supply a preservative or remedy. It would give us courage in our moral conflicts, by pointing to the final rewards of virtue, and especially by teaching us, that there is one, who unseen has access to our spirits, who is the witness of our prayers, and who if we strive to be subject to his will, and conformed to his image, will never withdraw from us his quickening, his preserving, and sustaining influ