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Many causes have conspired at different periods to introduce into the christian religion doctrines and sentiments, which were never contemplated by our Saviour or his Apostles. Some of these are easily detected; others are more concealed. We know the great event of the Reformation was brought about by the gross and glaring errors, which had by degrees crept into the church. Protestantism in all its gradations and shapes has become such by lopping off the excrescences, which had been gradually accumulating around the fair and simple form of christian truth. The enorinities of later times may no doubt be traced to the · passions and selfish motives of ambitious men. The excesses, which opened the eyes, and roused the spirit of Luther, were of comparatively modern origin. One abuse had been heaped upon another, till the measure was at length full. Religion had become an engine of Secular domination; and the gospel of Jesus, which was designed to enlighten men with truth, wean them from the world, and prepare them for heaven, was made to fix the seal of ignorance, minister to the wicked passions, and chain the soul to the grovelling things of the earth.

But there was a time when these derelictions began. The fountain itself was pure; and the first principles of contamination must have been infused by some potent and active causes. The errors of christianity were early and deeply rooted. On no other supposition can we account for the wild and extraordinary fancies, as well as atrocities in practice, which have been sheltered under its sacred authority. It is gratifying to find, on examining facts, that this only supposition is corroborated. This discovery frees religion from any suspicion of a tendency to such results in itself, and strengthens our faith in its divine character and purifying power.

The first errors of Christianity may be pursued with considerable certainty to their sources. They are no doubt to be found in the conflicting opinions, which prevailed at that day among the people of various nations, who became the first converts. Systems of philosophy, which embraced religion and morals, had been matured and sublimated by the successive labours of great and learned men, till they had obtained a general assent and reverence. The mind caine to the christian religion obscured by these systems. In adopting this faith, early associations were to be broken up, deeply fixed prejudices eradicated, favourite and cherished opinions abandoned, and the pride of knowledge subdued.

It requires but little knowledge of human nature for any one to be sensible, with what difficulty these sacrifices could be made, even with the best disposition and most serious efforts, and it is by no means surprising that the mind should hold fast many of its original impressions, and that these should be mingled with the new and imposing truths, which had been lately received. Men would naturally have a fondness for discover

ing analogies between their former and present opinions, and a willingness to retain as inuch as possible of the system, which had once operated so powerfully upon their imagination, and gained the assent of their understanding.

Long before the time of our Saviour, there had been two systems in vogue, dignified with the venerable name of Philosophy, and essentially different from each other, namely, the Oriental and the Grecian. Ia all those countries to which the christian religion found its way during the first century, one or other of these systems, or some of the peculiar tenets of both combined, had assumed an entire ascendency over the minds, not only of the learned, but of the people generally.

The birth place of the Oriental Philosophy was Persia, or Arabia; but at the commencement of the christian

era, it had spread itself over Palestine and made its way even to Alexandria, which city, since the Ptolomies, had become the central point of learning and refinement in the East. This philosophy dealt profoundly in the doctrine of spirits; it traced out their geneal. ogies, assigned to them various ranks, and apportioned the parts, which they respectively sustained in the work and management of the creation. It went farther, and invented rules by which these spirits might be called froin their invisible abodes and busy occupations, to aid the designs of men. Hence the witchcraft of the Old Testament, the doctrine of demons, the genii of the Arabian Tales, and the common spiritual agents of eas

tern story.

Another peculiarity of this philosophy was the manner in which it accounted for good and evil in the world. It taught that there were two beings existing from eternity, and equally powerful, the one essentially But there was a time when these derelictions began. The fountain itself was pure; and the first principles of contamination must have been infused by some potent and active causes. The errors of christianity were early and deeply rooted. On no other supposition can we account for the wild and extraordinary fancies, as well as atrocities in practice, which have been sheltered under its sacred authority. It is gratifying to find, on examining facts, that this only supposition is corroborated. This discovery frees religion from any suspicion of a tendency to such results in itself, and strengthens our faith in its divine character and purifying power.

The first errors of Christianity may be pursued with considerable certainty to their sources. They are no doubt to be found in the conflicting opinions, which prevailed at that day among the people of various nations, who became the first converts. Systems of philosophy, which embraced religion and morals, had been matured and sublimated by the successive labours of great and learned men, till they had obtained a general assent and reverence. The mind caine to the christian religion obscured by these systems. In adopting this faith, early associations were to be broken up, deeply fixed prejudices eradicated, favourite and cherished opinions abandoned, and the pride of knowledge subdued.

It requires but little knowledge of human nature for any one to be sensible, with what difficulty these sacrifices could be made, even with the best disposition and most serious efforts, and it is by no means surprising that the mind should hold fast many of its original impressions, and that these should be mingled with the new and imposing truths, which had been lately received. Men would naturally have a fondness for discover

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