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stupid, distracted, and inactive. But of all fears none
My Lord Bacon is of the same opinion; he says,
Indeed, nothing can be more clear than that a wicked God must have wicked votaries; the commission of crimes is the only worship fitted for such a being ; to imitate him must be to plunge into every kind of enormity. This is exactly the case with those who are called his saints, Cunning, fraud, deceit, injustice, inhumanity, and cruelty, are the great outlines that mark the characters of the Lord's saints. No other nation ever produced men equally criminal and wicked ; the heroes and saints of Judaism are monsters in nature, and such will ever be the consequence of neglecting the dictates of experience and reason, to follow the mad chimeras of deceitful impostors.
If a people can be so grossly infatuated as to believe themselves under the immediate government of an unknown invisible Being, they are capable of being imposed on and made to believe the most glaring impos. tures. They will stick at no crimes, however enormous, be restrained by no compunctions of humanity ; the bonds of justice become too feeble to restrain their vicious propensities, whenever the pretended vicegerents of heaven instigate them to the commission of crimes. Thus the Jews, who thought themselves exclusively favoured with a revelation from God, have
been a nation detested for wickedness and barbarism bv all people of the earth. Let us then spurn this pretended gift of heaven, which has proved so inimical to human happiness ; let us return back to the celestial regions, and betake ourselves to the morality of the earth. To think of building a system of morality on the basis of revelation, is attempting to found a castle in a quagmire, the foundations of which will be for ever slipping from under it. It is on the nature of man and his various relations in society only, that it can stand, but which is sufficiently able to support it. Let us then discard the reveries of imposture, and listen to the dictates of nature ; let us turn a deaf ear to visions, dreams, and revelations; but be ever attentive to the voice of truth, sober reason, and experience. Let us see if the superstition of the earth hath any thing better to present to our view than the following little abstract, from a work of distinguished merit, which we shall submit to the judgment of our readers, and so bid them farewell.
Be just, because equity is the support of the human species. Be good, because goodness connects all hearts. Be indulgent, because fecble thyself, thou livest with beings as feeble as thou art. Be gentle, because gentleness attracts affection. Be grateful, because gratitude feeds and nourishes benevolence. Be modest
, because haughtiness is disgusting to beings smitten with themselves. Forgive injuries, because revenge perpetuates hatred. Do good to him that injureth thee, in order to shew thyself more noble than he is, and to make a friend of him. Be reserved, temperate, and chaste, because voluptuousness, intemperance, and excess, will destroy thy being, and render thee contemptible.
Be a citizen, because thy country is necessary to thy security, to thy pleasures, and to thine happiness. Be faithful, and submit to legitimate authority, because it is requisite to the inaintenance of that society which is necessary to thyself. Be obedient to the laws.
because they are the expression of the public will, to which thy particular will ought to be subordinate. Defend thy country, because it is that which renders thee happy, and contains thy property, as well as all those beings who are dearest to thine heart. Do not permit
. this common parent of thyself, and thy fellow citizens, to fall under the shackles of tyranny, because from thence it will be no more than a prison to thee. If thine unjust country refuse thee happiness; if, submitted to an unjust-power, it suffers thee to be oppressed, withdraw thyself from it in silence, and never disturb it. In short, be a man: be a sensible and rational being ; be a faithful husband ; a tender father ; an equitable master ; a zealous citizen : labour to serve thy country by thy powers, thy talents, thine industry, and thy virtues ; participate with thine associates those gifts which nature hath bestowed on thee ; diffuse happiness, contentment, and joy, over all those who approach thee; that the sphere of thine actions, enlivened by thy kindness, may react upon thyself. Be assured, that the man who makes others happy, cannot be unhappy himself.
If experience direct our steps, truth illuminate our way, and reason support us with its aid, we shall infallibly arrive at that happiness our circumstances will permit, and our natures are capable of enjoying, without having recourse to the mandates of invisible phantoms, or their inferior agents.
Buriesbet d to be
or faget thont,
110 the best