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spirit is he inspired, in pouring forth such a torrent of slander ? Wby is it that he must accuse their humility of “ingratitude," their grief of "affectation," and their prayers of being “ dictatorial” to the Almighty ? Cain hated his brother; and wherefore hated he him ; because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Prayer and devotion are things that Mr. Paine should have let alone, as being out of his province. By attempting, however, to depreciate them, he has borne witness to the devotion of Christians, and fulfilled what is written in a book which he affects to despise, Speaking evil of the things which he understands not.

To admit a God, and yet-refuse to worship him, is a modern and inconsistent practice. It is a dictate of reason, as well as of revelation: If the Lord be God, worship him; and if Baal, worship him. It never was made a question, whether the God in whom we believe should receive our adorations. All nations, in all ages, paid religious homage to the respective deities, or supposed deities, in which they beleived. Modern unbelievers are the only men who have deviated from this practice. How this is to be accounted for, is a subject worthy of inquiry. To me it appears as follows:

In former times, when men were weary of the worship of the true God, they exchanged it for that of idols. I know of no account of the origin of idolatry so rational as that which is given by revelation. Men did not like to retain God in their knowledge : therefore they were given up to a mind void of judgment; to change the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four.footed beasts, and creeping things; and to defile themselves by abominable wickedness.* was thus with the people who came to inhabit the country of Samaria after the Israelites were carried captives into Assyria. At first they seemed desirous to know and fear the God of Israel ; but when they came to be informed of his holy character, and what kind of worship he required, they presently discovered their dislike. They pretended to fear him, but it was mere pretence; for every nation made gods of their own.f Now, gods of their

Rom. ii.

+ 2 Kings xvii.

Vol. IU.

4

own making would doubtless be characterized according to their own mind : they would be patrons of such vices as their makers wished to indulge ; gods whom they could approach without fear, and in addressing them be “more at ease,” as Mr. Hume says, han in addressing the One living and true God; gods, in fine, the worship of whom might be accompanied with banquetings, revellings, drunkenness, and lewdness. These I conceive; rather than the mere falling down to an idol, were the exercises that interested the passions of the worshippers. These were the exercises that seduced the ungodly part of the Israelitish nation to an imitation of the heathens. They found it extremely disagreeable to be constantly employed in the worship of a holy God. Such worship would awe their spirits, damp their pleasures, and restrain their inclinations. It is not surprising, therefore, that they should be continually departing from the worship of Jehovah, and leaning towards that which was more congenial with their propensities. But the situation of modern unbelievers is singular. Things are so circumstanced with them, that they cannot worship the gods which they prefer. They never fail to discover a strong partiality in favour of heathens ; but they have not the face to practice or defend their absurd idolatries. The doctrine of One living and true God has appeared in the world, by means of the preaching of the gospel, with such a blaze of evidence, that it has forced itself into the minds of men, whatever has been the temper of their hearts. The stupid idolatry of past ages is exploded. Christianity has driven it out of Europe. The consequence is, great numbers are obliged to acknowledge a God whom they cannot find in their hearts to worship.

If the light that is gone abroad in the earth would permit the rearing of temples to Venus, or Bacchus, or any of the rabble of heathen deities, there is little doubt but that modern unbelievers would, in great numbers, become their devotees : but, seeing they cannot have a god whose worship shall accord with their inclinations, they seem determined not to worship at all. And, to come off with as good a grace as the affair will admit, they compliment the Deity out of bis sovereign prerogatives ; professing to “ love him for his giving them existence, and all their properties, without interest, and without subjecting them to any thing but their own

nature."*

The introduction of so large a portion of heathen mythology into the songs and other entertainments of the stage, sufficiently shows the bias of people's hearts. The house of God gives them no pleasure : but the resurrection of the obscenities, intrigues, and Bacchanalian revels of the old heathens affords them exquisite delight. In a country where Christian worship abounds, this is plainly saying, “What a weariness is it! O that it were no more! Since, however, we cannot introduce the worship of the gods, we will neglect all worship, and celebrate the praises of our favourite deities in another form.' In a country where Deism bas gained the ascendency, this principle is carried still farther. Its language there is, Seeing we cannot, for shame, worship any other than the One living and true God, let us abolish the day of worship, and substitute in its place one day in ten, which shall be devoted chiefly to theatrical entertainments, in which we can introduce as much heathenism as we please.'

Mr. Hume acknowledges the justice of considering the Deity as infinitely superior to mankind; but he represents it, at the same time, as very generally attended with unpleasant effects, and magnifies the advantages of having gods which are only a little superior to ourselves. He says, “ While the Deity is represented as infinitely superior to mankind, this belief, though altogether just, is apt, when joined with superstitious terrors, to sink the human mind into the lowest submission and abasement, and to represent the monkish virtues of mortification, pennance, humility, and passive suffering, as the only qualities which are acceptable to him. But, where the gods are conceived to be only a little superior to mankind, and to have been many of them advanced from that infe

we are more at our ease in our addresses to them, and may even, without profaneness, aspire to a rivalship and emulation of them. Hence activity, spirit, courage, magnanimity, love of liberty, and all the virtues which aggrandize a people.”It is

rior rank,

* Ignorant Philosopher, No. XXIV.

+ Dissertation the Na tural History of Religio o, , 10.

awe

own making would doubtless be characterized according to their own mind : they would be patrons of such vices as their makers wished to indulge ; gods whom they could approach without fear, and in addressing them be “more at ease," as Mr. Hume says,

han in addressing the One living and true God; gods, in fine, the worship of whom might be accompanied with banquetings, revellings, drunkenness, and lewdness. These I conceive; rather than the mere falling down to an idol, were the exercises that interested the passions of the worshippers. These were the exercises that seduced the ungodly part of the Israelitish nation to an imitation of the heathens. They found it extremely disagreeable to be constantly employed in the worship of a holy God. Such worship would their spirits, damp their pleasures, and 'restrain their inclinations. It is not surprising, therefore, that they should be continually departing from the worship of Jehovah, and leaning towards that which was more congenial with their propensities. But the situation of modern unbelievers is singular. Things are so circumstanced with them, that they cannot worship the gods which they prefer. They never fail to discover a strong partiality in favour of heathens ; but they have not the face to practice or defend their absurd idolatries. The doctrine of One living and true God has appeared in the world, by means of the preaching of the gospel, with such a blaze of evidence, that it has forced itself into the minds of men, whatever has been the temper of their hearts. The stupid idolatry of past ages is exploded. Christianity has driven it out of Europe. The consequence is, great numbers are obliged to acknowledge a God whom they cannot find in their hearts to worship.

If the light that is gone abroad in the earth would permit the rearing of temples to Venus, or Bacchus, or any of the rabble of heathen deities, there is little doubt but that modern unbelievers would, in great numbers, become their devotees : but, seeing they cannot have a god whose worship shall accord with their inclinations, they seem determined not to worship at all. And, to come off with as good a grace as the affair will admit, they compliment the Deity out of his sovereign prerogatives ; professing to “ love him for his giving them existence, and all their properties, without interest, and without subjecting them to any thing but their own

nature."*

The introduction of so large a portion of heathen mythology into the songs and other entertainments of the stage, sufficiently shows the bias of people's hearts. The house of God gives them no pleasure : but the resurrection of the obscenities, intrigues, and Bacchanalian revels of the old heathens affords them exquisite delight. In a country where Christian worship abounds, this is plainly saying, “What a weariness is it! O that it were no more! Since, however, we cannot introduce the worship of the gods, we will neglect all worship, and celebrate the praises of our favourite deities in another form.' In a country where Deism has gained the ascendency, this principle is carried still farther. Its language there is, Seeing we cannot, for shame, worship any other than the One living and true God, let us abolish the day of worship, and substitute in its place one day in ten, which shall be devoted chiefly to theatrical entertainments, in which we can introduce as much heathenism as we please.'

Mr. Hume acknowledges the justice of considering the Deity as infinitely superior to mankind; but he represents it, at the same time, as very generally attended with unpleasant effects, and magnifies the advantages of having gods which are only a little superior to ourselves. He says, “ While the Deity is represented as infinitely superior to mankind, this belief, though altogether just, is apt, when joined with superstitious terrors, to sink the human mind into the lowest submission and abasement, and to represent the monkish virtues of mortification, pennance, humility, and passive suffering, as the only qualities which are acceptable to him. But, where the gods are conceived to be only a little superior to mankind, and to have been many of them advanced from that inferior rank, we are more at our ease in our addresses to them, and may even, without profaneness, aspire to a rivalship and emulation of them. Hence activity, spirit, courage, magnanimity, love of liberty, and all the virtues which aggrandize a people.”+ It is

* Ignorant Philosopher, No. XXIV.

+ Dissertation the Na tural History of Religio a, y 10.

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