I should like to see a man sober in his habits, moderate, chaste, just in his dealings, assert that there is no God; he would speak at least without interested motives; but such a man is not to be found.
Whoever considers the study of anatomy, I believe, will never be an atheist; the frame of mans body, and coherence of his parts, being so strange and paradoxical, that I hold it to be the greatest miracle of nature.
Religion assures us that our afflictions shall have an end; she comforts us, she dries our tears, she promises us another life. On the contrary, in the abominable worship of atheism, human woes are the incense, death is the priest, a coffin the altar, and annihilation the Deity.
Supposing all the great points of atheism were formed into a kind of creed, I would fain ask whether it would not require an infinite greater measure of faith than any set of articles which they so violently oppose.
Settle it, therefore, in your minds, as a maxim never to be effaced or forgotten, that atheism is an inhuman, bloody, ferocious system, equally hostile to every useful restraint, and to every virtuous affection; that leaving nothing above us to excite awe, nor round us to awaken tenderness, it wages war with heaven and earth: its first object is to dethrone God, its next to destroy man.
One would fancy that the zealots in atheism would be exempt from the single fault which seems to grow out of the imprudent fervor of religion. But so it is, that irreligion is propagated with as much fierceness and contention, wrath and indignation, as if the safety of mankind depended upon it.
The truly great consider, first, how they may gain the approbation of God, and, secondly, that of their own conscience. Having done this, they would then willingly conciliate the good opinion of their fellow-men. But the truly little reverse the thing. The primary object with them is to secure the applause of their fellow-men; and having effected this, the approbation of God and their own conscience may follow on as they can.
Atheism can benefit no class of people; neither the unfortunate, whom it bereaves of hope, nor the prosperous, whose joys it renders insipid, nor the soldier, of whom it makes a coward, nor the woman whose beauty and sensibility it mars, nor the mother, who has a son to lose, nor the rulers of men, who have no surer pledge of the fidelity of their subjects than religion.
Kircher, the astronomer, having an acquaintance who denied the existence of a Supreme Being, took the following method to convince him of his error. Expecting him on a visit, he placed a handsome celestial globe in a part of the room where it could not escape the notice of his friend, who, on observing it, inquired whence it came, and who was the maker. It was not made by any person, said the astronomer. That is impossible, replied the skeptic; you surely jest. Kircher then took occasion to reason with his friend upon his own atheistical principles, explaining to him that he had adopted this plan with a design to show him the fallacy of his skepticism. You will not, said he, admit that this small body originated in mere chance, and yet you contend that those heavenly bodies, to which it bears only a faint and diminutive resemblance, came into existence without author or design. He pursued this chain of reasoning till his friend was totally confounded, and cordially acknowledged the absurdity of his notions.