Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 17, 1970

Brutish Libertines

Vaughn D. Shofner

Whatever charity and consideration we may feel for the libertines of the day, it is difficult to view with moderation the persons maintaining the most glaring permissiveness, guiding their minds by the corruption of their hearts, and choosing rather to advance the most palpable absurdities than to engage in the least resistance to the most irregular passions.

Consider, please, how inspired authors treat persons of this character: "My people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, they have no understanding. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass, his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart. 0 generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 0 foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?" (Jer. 4:22; Isa. 1:3; Hos. 7:1 1 ; Mt. 3:7; Gal. 3:1).

The persons who then deserved and now deserve such odious names are those abominable men, who, in order to violate the laws of God's religion without remorse, maintain that religion is a chimera; and in their determination to break down all the bounds which God has set to the evil of mankind, they train themselves to be obstinate infidels, that they may be peaceful libertines. Inspiration therefore lays aside that charity which the limits of a narrow capacity would merit, and says to them: "They say, the Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?" (Ps. 94:7-10).

Gentle reader, consider the discernment and choice of such persons of whom the inspired writers speak, and it is clear that Inspiration had a right to call them most brutish and foolish. What an excess must a person have attained, when he hates the religion without which he cannot but be miserable. God's religion is indispensable to our comfort in times of our heaviest afflictions and most terrifying sorrows. Christianity tells us that "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. 4:17). Christian religion bids us believe that the "trial of our faith, being much more precious than that of gold, which perisheth, will be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1:7). And Christian religion is so vital and necessary in the grand vicissitude, in the fatal point to which all the steps of life tend; that is, at the hour of death. For, after we have rushed into all pleasures, after we have sung well, danced well, we must die! we must die! And what, I beg, except religion can support a person who is struggling with "the king of terrors?"

Lonely and bewildered is the person who sees his senses benumbed, the world retiring from him, his mortal body hanging on the verge of the grave, and his soul divided between the horrible hope of sinking into nothing, and the dreadful fear of falling into the hands of an angry God.

May the envisaged picture of these formidable objects destroy the bandages of infidelity and the veils of depravity, and may all persons be made to see how very necessary religion is to mankind; and may the religion of the risen Lord dissipate the horrors of "the valley of the shadow of death," cleave the clouds in the sight of all departing Stephens, and shout in triumph to all faithful Christians, "blessed are the dead which die in the Lord!"

The policy of the infidelic libertines is a disturber of order and peace. This planned strategy attempts to sap the foundation of religion and thereby undermine the foundation of society. No society can subsist without the religious principles revealed by the Lord. No statesman can succeed in a design of uniting humanity in one social body without supposing the truth and reality of the Lord's religion. Without the bonds of religion each member of society may do what he pleases; each would loose his passions; each would employ his power in crushing the weak, his cunning in deceiving the simple, his eloquence in seducing the credulous, his authority in distressing the whole with horror and terror, and carnage and blood. Anarchic disorders in their nature, but inevitable on principles of libertinism and infidelity!

All worldly honor will never eliminate the chaos of libertinism, for worldly honor is only the art of deceiving politely; of disguising from another; of appearing virtuous rather than being actually so. Human laws cannot supply the place of religion, for while they prohibit enormous crimes, they cannot reach refined irregularities which are none the less capable of destroying an orderly way of life. Human laws may forbid murder and theft, but they cannot forbid avarice, anger and concupiscence. They may preserve and dispose of property, command the payment of taxes, the cultivation of arts and sciences, but they cannot ordain patience, meekness, nor love.

The indocility of libertinism reaches the utmost degree of extravagance by arrogantly preferring its own conclusions above those of the whole world; for, excepting a small minority, the world accepts and has progressed by the principles which the permissive libertines reject. Though we admit that the faith of a rational person should not be founded on a plurality of approvals, yet unanimity of results is respectable when it prevails in all places. Unlike the unprincipled prejudices which vary with human caprice, great and peaceful nations have been the result of following the principles of the Lord's religion on every continent and in every clime.

Gentle reader, be not deceived, the libertines constantly call attention to their ability and academic attainment, and follow their system of infidelity and pursue their course of profaneness through their false nations of progressive enlightenment. It is fantastic that their favored positions hide them from the truths which all history affirms. It is singularly strange that their places of excellency do not reveal to them that they live in a society, the foundations of which sink with those of religion, so that were the latter undermined, the former would therefore be sunk.

"Understand, ye most brutish among the people! ye fools! When will ye be wise?" And may your undisciplined ways never be strong enough to challenge the consolation in the heart of the distressed mother, which she derives from her belief that the son whom she laments is in possession of immortal glory. And may the hearts that are bowed with sorrow never be deprived of the religious faith that now sweetens some of life's bitterest dregs; and may yon dying person never be robbed of his only hope!

And to you, Christian friend, increase your respect for the religion of the Lord! Study the truths of its way, apply its comforts to your sorrows, and its precepts to your lives. And, joining promises to precepts, and precepts to promises, assure yourselves of the peace of God in this life, and of a participation of his glory after death!

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