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It is scarcely possible for any man to read this long list of afflictions which the apostle underwent, without feeling his heart melted into the tenderest sympathy; and yet numerous and great as the trials which he has here recorded appear, it is more than probable, that they are by no means the whole of what he underwent in this sacred cause of truth and benevolence. And whilst we survey these afflictions, the spirit in which he sustained them also demands our attention. A person unacquainted with his character, may be ready to suppose that he was influ. enced by a spirit of self-righteousness-seeking after imaginary merit, or desirous of obtaining human applause. On acquaintance, however, with his history, we find that it was quite the reverse. Instead of being influenced by any inferior motives of this kind, we find him, in the midst of all his accumulated labours, characterized by a spirit of genuine humility, and renouncing every pretension to personal merit. Speaking in reference to his former conduct, he acknowledges himself to be " the chief of sinners;" and in reference to his Christian attainments, to be « less than the least of all saints:" and though he was in reality the greatest, most useful, and most laborious of all the apostles, yet so deep was his humility, and the sense which he had of his unworthiness, that he professes himself unfit to be numbered amongst such exalted characters. “Iam,” he writes, 1 Cor. xv. 9. “ the least of all the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” In short, his humility consisted not in a mere empty expression, but amounted to a total renunciation of personal claim; that is, he placed no dependance upon his labours or sufferings as the ground of his acceptance in the sight of God. Instead of looking upon himself as possessed of any merit, which he might plead before God on account of them, as a guilty sinner he cast himself entirely at the feet of Christ, for pardon and salvation.
The following passages, selected from his epistles, contain a statement of his views and feelings on this subject.
Gal. vi. 14. God forbid that I should glory, save in the
cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is
crucified unto me, and I unto the world. Phil. iii. 7. What things were gain to me, those I count
ed loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
There is also, in addition to what I have already brought forward, another trait peculiar to the character of this zealous apostle, which is, that whilst he placed no dependance upon the multitude and utility of his labours, he at the same time, although his attainments were of the highest order, was never satisfied with them—he was perpetually aiming after increasing holiness, and increasing devotedness to the service of God-constantly erecting a higher and a higher standard, and exhorting those to whom he wrote, to be perfect, to press on, to grow up in him (i. e. Christ) in all things : and these exhortations were enforced by his own example, of which, with the views and feelings which he had on this subject, we have a full account in the following verses. Phil. iii. 12. Not as though I had already attained, ei
ther were already perfect : but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended : but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded:
and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
The Hindoo Religion produces no beneficial Effect on the
moral Character. In the foregoing section, I have endeavoured to shew, that the Bible is designed to form a perfect characterthat it contains a perfect code of moral precepts--that it presents to view a perfect example—and that, as far as men live under the genuine influence of its important truths, so far will they approximate towards that perfection which it requires. Having, therefore, stated and illustrated the various points here specified, I shall now, by contrasting it with the Shasters of the Hindoos, endeavour to shew its superiority to these Shasters in the several particulars here specified. I have given the reader an account of the wonderful change effected upon the moral character of the inhabitants of several cities in Greece by their reception of the gospel: and were it requisite to add weight to my argument, I might greatly enlarge this account by shewing, that this was not a singular, a solitary instance of the moral change which the gospel can produce, but that such are its uniform effects, and the legitimate consequence which arises from its reception in sincerity and truth; and that this effect of its reception has been exemplified in thousands of instances, from the period of its first establishment in the world unto the present day. Men who have been cruel, covetous, worldly minded, drunkards, thieves, liars, adulterers, and addicted to every vice which can disgrace human nature, have, immediately on their being brought under its influence, renounced their beloved sin-been distinguished in their future life by the spirit of meekness, benevolence, and piety—have exchanged their vices for every virtue which can adorn the character—and, influenced by love to God and compassion to man, have spent the residue of their lives in labours and sufferings, to promote the glory of the one, and the happiness of the other in the world.
In order, therefore, to aid our enquiries into the truth or falsehood of the respective claims of the Bible and Hindoo Shasters, I shall now proceed, (as the tree is known by its fruits,) to bring them in this respect into comparison with each other. Sufficient on this head has already been said, in reference to the former : confining my attention, therefore, in conclusion, to the latter, allow me to ask the advocates of the Hindoo Shasters, if any effects similar to what have been described, have ever been produced by the religion which their Shasters inculcate; and if they cannot produce a multitude of cases in which such effects have attended its reception, if they can at least produce one solitary instance of its having ever reclaimed one man from vice, and effected a total change in his moral character. The answer to this question must, if dictated by truth, I apprehend, be in the negative. The Hindoos, in support of the divine authority of their religion, can produce no testimony of its having turned a sinner from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God. The truth of the case, to every observer of the nature and genius of their religion, is too plain to be denied. Hindooism contains no principles calculated to produce effects equal to those which I have exhibited as resulting from the reception of the gospel, neither does it propose any similar perfection of character. The moral character of its adherents is in fact a thing of little importance, and on which it lays little stress : provided they attend to its prescribed ceremonies, it takes little notice of the vices in which they indulge. In short, to speak the plain truth, the moral character of its followers, instead of being elevated, is debased by it. It hardens the heart, destroys natural affection, by encouraging children to burn their parents; and by the indecent dances, profane songs, and other obscenities connected with its festivals*, it in
See a reference to these obscenities in the note at the foot of page 14. In addition to which, I may also refer the reader to the worship of Christno uzs
flames every depraved passion of the heart, and leads to the commission of a thousand crimes, which would not prevail in the manner they do, were it not for its influence upon the people, and their superstitious attention to the ceremonies and poojabs which it enjoins. Reason and common sense assure us, that there must ever be a connection between cause and effect. No effect of any kind can possibly be produced without a sufficient corresponding cause : consequently, as no good moral effect attends the reception of the Hindoo religion, it must be evident, that there is a want of corresponding principles in the nature and genius of that religion. For the confirmation of the truth of this assertion, allow me, by way of illustration, to request the reader's attention to the following question.
Suppose a man who is an atheist, and denies the existence of God, embraces the Hindoo religion. Suppose that whilst he was an atheist, he looked upon himself as a member of the great family of man, and as such, according to the dictates of natural conscience, he conducted himself in general with integrity and propriety towards his fellow creatures. Now suppose, I say, this man renounces his former atheistical principles, and embraces the Hindoo religion, will any beneficial effect, I ask, be produced by this change upon his moral character? He will undoubtedly be required to perform a variety of ablutions and other useless ceremonies, but no good moral effect, I apprehend, will accrue as the fruit of the religion he has embraced. But suppose, for a moment, that this man, instead of becoming a Hindoo, becomes a Christian, and the scene is at once reversed. A moral change in his character will then take place, which in figurative
der the form of Christno Kallee, and the history from which it originates. This form of Christno may justly be called a personification of every vice; and if we cannot expect a nation to be better than its gods, we must of course, on this principle, so long as the Hindoos adhere to such a demoralizing system of religious worship, naturally expect their moral characters to be stained withe every vice,