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we are saved by the belief of those very things which the Anti-supernaturalist rejects ; and whatever resources the mercy of God may ultimately command in favour of those who reject the gospel through ignorance or prejudice , we are plainly
assured that their present state is one of guilt and condemnation , and that they are utterly alien from all the hopes and privileges of the Christian . The faith of Christ I regard as the touch-stone by which it has pleased the Divine wisdom to try the hearts and discriminate the characters of men . If , indeed , there be a man who
wishes to believe , but is distressed by difficulties which he cannot at present surmount , I believe we may say of such a one that he is not far from the kingdom of God , and be desirous to communicate to him every religious advantage in our power . But even such a one is but a learner and
wholly unfit either to rule or to teach , and if he be sincere , his own modesty will teach him this . For the sake of argument , the Antisupernaturalist has been represented agreeably to the indulgent and partial portrait of your Transatlantic correspondent . I am , however , inclined
to believe that few persons will long remain in such a state of mind . If we discard the belief of all the supernatural events of Christ's life , the obvious conclusion to which we are conducted is , that he was a visionary enthusiast , who , though of benevolent and virtuous dispositions , was carried
away , as many others have been , with false imaginations , mistaking the impulse of his own fancy for the inspiration of Heaven . For men of sense to hold such a character in that profound venerat ion which your correspondent describes , appears to me impossible . That weak and deluded sort of men .
ain ^ n g whom this supposition places lhe 'prophet of Nazareth , have ever i > een objects of contempt and pity with the more enlightened part of mankind . This miserable halting betw een two opinions is wholly vain . If Christ be not risen our faith is
Vj we are yet iu our sins . " The whole evidence of the doctrine of a 'uture life vanishes in air , and we ^ turn , Dow in f , he \ niiieteeuth century , 10 the old Epicurean rcaxim , "Let us
eat and drink for to-morrow we die /' Feeling myself that the hope of the gospel is the richest treasure that we possess , our best consolation amidst the inevitable distresses of life and our only support in the prospect of death , I have thought it my duty , among others , to bear this my feeble testimony to the inestimable worth of true Christian faith , and to the reality of that " immense gulf which subsists between the true Christian and the Unbeliever . " T . F . B . •^¦ MMMkM .
- > Cruel Freaks of Power . 347
Sir , MayAO , 1826 . WISH your correspondent I . F . I ( p . 225 ) had given the authority for his anecdote , which is , however , not too barbarous to be credited , considering the numerous and well-authenticated cruel freaks exhibited not only by Whites in the West Indies , ( before they were restrained by the salutary progress of opinion in Europe , ) but by autocrats , in various ages , of every colour and of every clime . Burke , in the " Introductory Discourse concerning Taste , " prefixed to his Sublime and Beautiful , thus
relates what was doubtless the same story " A : fine piece of a decolated head of St . John the Baptist was shewn to a Turkish Emperor ; he praised many things , but he observed one defect ; he obsers'ed that the skin did not shrink from the wounded part of the neck . The sultan , on this occasion , though his observation was very just , discovered no more natural taste than
the painter who executed this piece , or than a thousand European connoisseurs , who probably never would have made the same observation . His Turkish Majesty had indeed been well acquainted with that terrible spectacle , which the others could only have represented in their imagination "
Burke has not mentioned the name of-the emperor , nor the horrible test to which , according to your correspondent ' s anecdote , his Turkish Majesty submitted his opinion on this question of taste . Yet , when he wrote the Sublime end Beautiful- almost his earliest production , Btifke had not yet learned , what he nrihap-
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), June 2, 1826, page 347, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2549/page/31/