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** I do not wish," he remarked one day," that much should be said of me. This I think they may say, that I am a poor sinner, saved by Jesus Christ. But they need not put much to it.” The last day he was evidently much in prayer. With his petitions praises were mingled. “Glory to God in the highest ; the whole earth shall be filled with his glory.” At length, after a long and painful struggle with the last enemy, about eight in the evening, on the 12th of Nov. 1819, he fell asleep in Jesus.
The following is the inscription on his tomb stone.
Huic tumulo mandantur reliquiæ
MARITI DESIDERATISSIMI, PATRIS OPTIMI,
Vir fuit ingenii acumine insignis, moribus
compositis, ac aspectu bcnigno
hac enim, quo homines audeant,
cognovit et tentavit. Integra fide, disciplinaque salutari,
res Academicas administravit.
ad quietem se contulit.
velint; ita mortuus est,
tamen woluit inscribi, se salutem sperasse in Jesu. Natus est Novemis die 17mo Anno Domini MDCCLXXII. Obiitque Novemis die 12 mo Anno Domini MDCCCXIX.
Senatus Academiæ Bow do inensis
The following is a list of publications which have proceeded from his pen. 1. Dedication Sermon at Hampton, N. H.
1797 2. Sermon at the ordination of Rev, Asa Rand, of Gorham
of Rev. Jonathan Cogswell, of Saco' 1810 4. of Rev. Reuben Nason, of Freeport
of Rev. Benjamin Tappan, of Augusta 1811 6. Discourse on the death of Frederic Southgate
1813 7. Massachusetts Election Sermon
1814 8. Sermon delivered at Brunswick, on the day of a national Thanksgiving 1815 9. Sermon before the society of Bath and vicinity for the suppression of public vices
1816 10. Sermon at the ordination of Rev. Enos Merrill of Preeport
1816 11. Address before the Massachusetts Society for the suppression of intemperance
1816 12. Sermon before the Cumberland Society for the suppression of public vices
1816 13. Sermon before the American Board of commissioners for Foreign Missions
1817 14. Sermon at the formation of the Maine Education Society
1818 15. Addresses delivered at the annual commencements from 1808 to 1918,
8vo. Brunswick, 1820.
Note.--The Theological Lectures and Sermons, contained in this volume, were selected by Dr. Appleton himself, during his last sickness, and were committed for posthumous publication to the care of certain friends. Though it is much 10 be regretted, that they were not prepared for the press by his own hand, it may be confidently predicted, that they will not be found unworthy of the reputation of the author.
Necessity of Revelation.
No person, opening the New Testament for the first time, could be insensible how much he was interested to ascertain its claims. He would perceive immediately, that the subjects, of which it treats, have relation to the eternal destiny of man. He would perceive, that, if the writers of this book were not what they pretended, no language can express the boldness of their impiety; and that, if they were, all other publications become insignificant, when compared with their writings.
To exhibit a general view of the evidence, which supports christianity, will be attempted in following lectures. As a preparation for which, several will be employed in considering this question, whether the state of mankind were such, as to render necessary any light, in addition to that, which is reflected by the works and providence of God.
We are indeed extremely unqualified to determine a priori, what measures would, under given circumstances, comport with divine wisdom and benevolence. Many parts of God's administration are evidently different from what, with our limited views, we should have expected. It would be presumptuous then to determine, with confidence, how much light the wisdom of God would incline him to impart, or what state of things would demand his interposition. Yet the probability of a revelation, on supposition, that mankind
without it, generally entertained correct views of religious truth, would be considerably less than if it should be found, on inquiry, that gross ignorance on the subject had generally prevailed in the world.
As all religion is founded on our relation to a supreme intelligent Being, it is proper to begin our inquiry concerning the necessity of revelation, by considering what opinions as to the divine nature, have prevailed among heathen, whether ancient or modern.
That ancient nations worshipped a multiplicity of gods, is a proposition, which requires no proof to any one, in the slightest degree, acquainted with the Greek and Roman historians and poets.* So early, as the time of Hesiod, there were reckoned thirty thousand gods, inhabiting the earth, who were subjects of Jupiter, and guardians of men. Those Deities were to be considered, as in a sense domesticated in Greece. In addition to these, Abp. Potter informs us, that there was a custom, which obliged them to entertain a great many strange gods.
The religion of the Greeks was probably derived from Phænicia, Egypt, and Thrace, and was transmitted to the Romans.
In our inquiry as to the necessity of revelation, it may be convenient to consider, what views of the Deity were entertained by those, whose superior application and wisdom procured for them the distinction of philosophers. But, as these were comprised in a very small number, when compared with the whole mass of the pagan world, their opinions, even were they less discordant than they are, would by no means enable us to ascertain the popular belief. The opinion of a few wise and studious men was one thing; and that of the great mass of the community, anoth-, er. To obtain the latter, I know not, that any method can be more effectual, than to consult the writings of poets and historians. The writings of philosophers may indeed contribute, in no inconsiderable degree, to the same object: not * Priestley's lectures on Jew. Rel. 63.
Gr. Antq. I. 202. + Hesiod, Oper. and Dies. L. I. 250.
$ Cudw. Int. Syst, I, 187.
because the opinions, which they entertained, indicate those of the vulgar; but because their practice was much influenced by the prevailing sentiment, which seems to have been occasionally animadverted upon in their writings.
The testimony of historians will, I suppose, be thought liable to no exception. For surely there can be no reason, why their testimony in regard to religion, should not be as readily taken, as when it relates to natural history, forms of government, or military operations. On the testimony of poets, it may be thought, that less reliance can be placed.
It is not indeed necessary to conclude, that the ancient poets always believed what they wrote concerning the gods. But, that they both designed and expected, that others should believe it, I think, there can be little doubt. To give pleasure, is allowed to be the grand aim of poetry. Extensively to accomplish this end, it must contain nothing, offensive to the prevailing opinion. A poet, who writes fiction, is careful to construct his fable in such manner, as shall not be abhorrent from the feelings and temper of his readers. Milton, in his “Paradise Lost,” uses much fiction. But, had this been of such a kind, as to disgrace and belie the Christian religion, would his admirable poem have acquired popularity in a Christian nation? Ancient poets had not less sagacity, than those of later times. Would the poets of Greece and Italy have agreed, almost without an exception, in such representation of religion and the gods, as was generally disbelieved; and which, if believed, must have appeared, as it really was, a disgrace to human reason, and blasphemous to the Supreme Being ?
I cannot represent this matter more clearly, than in the words of the learned Mr. Farmer.
“ The accounts, given of the heathen gods, by the poets, did in fact constitute both the popular and civil theology ; or the religion, received by the people, and established by the laws.*
*Worship of Hum. Spir. 292. for which he quotes Aug. Civ. Dei L. I. c. 132. Dio Chrys. Dion. Hal. Cic. de nat. Deor. 2. 24.