Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/68

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The wonder is, not that those Who wander from the scenes of Revelation should sink so low, but that they have not sunk lower. Hence, the many instances of fine feeling and generous, disinterested conduct, met with among them and related by travellers, are, even to those who admire them, unaccountable. The philosophers of the French school and their worthy English coadjutors, who endeavour to poison the sources of literature with infidelity, being ever ready to pervert, what they cannot explain, have not been backward to avail themselves of this, in order to elevate, the the phantom of natural religion and depreciate the value of a written communication from Heaven. The fact is, that the barbarizing influence of the desert is not so injurious to moral character as the demonizing influence of large towns, which, in spite of, art, science and social organization, converts men into fiends and emboldens them to trample on Revelation itself. Civilization changes the manners and provides for bodily comfort, but leaves the depravity of the heart untouched. Nothing can cleanse the soul from inbred pollution and transform the moral character but the atonement of the cross, embraced by a living faith as described and enjoined in the divine oracles. The Deity did not intend by the Babylonian dispersion to drive men into savage but into rural life; and had those who took up their abode in the desert, taken Revelation along with them and devoted their attention to the care of flocks and herds and the cultivation of the earth, which includes all that is essential to terrestrial happiness, they would have ranked far higher in every estimable feeling than those who, in opposition to the divine will, still pursue the Babylonian scheme of herding together in large towns, for the sake of indulging in a vicious course of life or accumulating wealth which they will never require. Little do those who spend their lives either in town or country in heaping up large fortunes for their children imagine, for they never take time, to reflect, that they are only preparing fuel for their destruction in this world and in the next. To say nothing of a thousand temptations which are peculiar, to a crowded state of society in civil life, the, envy, bitterness, and contention attendant on the never ceasing struggle for the attainment of riches, and the idleness, folly, and dissipation, generated by their possession, harden the heart, destroy the moral character, and imbue the mind with vices to which the scattered and savage inhabitants of the desert, are utter strangers. This will account for those instances of moral excellence among the native tribes which put multitudes to shame, and which prove that they only require the enlightening and saving influence of the gospel to render them exemplary in every virtue.