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of the Greeks and Romans. That of the Hindoos is worse than either.

The duties of piety, which are most obvious to reason, are reverence and gratitude. In the state of man which we have been contemplating, both are necessarily attended with very serious difficulties arising from two sources, the character and the number of the deities admitted into the system.

All our views and emotions towards any being with whom we are connected, or suppose ourselves to be connected, are necessarily regulated by the character of that being. If he be great, wise, and good, they are naturally expansive and elevated; if he be little, foolish, and wicked, they are of course shrivelled ; at the best listless; and not unfrequently hostile. But the gods of every polytheist have uniformly sustained the latter character; and this fact furnishes decisive proof, that polytheism can form no other gods. The most exalted of them is infinitely distant from Jehovah. All the gods of the nations are vanity, and a lie ; not false only, but empty also of all the proper perfections of God.

The supreme God of every man, whether he be Jehovah, Jupiter, a calf, or a stock, is the highest object which that man knows. Above the character of this deity, his mind will never rise. Beyond it, his views will never expand. His reverence and his gratitude, if directed to Jehovah, that is, cordially, will of course be such, as in some measure to become the character of this infinitely great and glorious object; if to Jupiter, will sink, as the object of his worship is diminished; if to a calf or a stock, will, to say the least, approach the verge of nihility

The same effect will, in a great measure, be produced by uncertainty in the mind of the worshipper concerning the character of his deity. Doubtful reverence and gratitude are exercises of the mind, attended with all the burdensome influence of

suspense, and are unsupported and unawakened by any settled conviction of their obligatory nature. In this situation they are rendered, at the best, only by fits and starts, and always with reluctance when rendered at all; are feeble efforts when they exist, and exist only at solitary intervals.

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In the minds of men of understanding there will also arise another, and that an immovable obstacle to the performance of these duties. This is an absolute uncertainty of being accepted in the performance of any duty whatever. Socrates doubted whether God would accept the prayers of men, and advised his pupil to unite with his countrymen in their customary worship, until God should disclose by revelation the worship which he would accept. This, probably, was one commanding reason to many of the ancient philosophers, by which they were induced to participate in a ritual so unfounded and revolting as those of their respective countries. The absurdities of this worship, in many of these countries at least, it is impossible that they should not have perceived; but they knew not what to substitute in its place. The number of the gods of polytheism added immeasurably, to these difficulties. As the Gentiles knew not who or what their gods were, they could not know what relations they sustained to them, or what duties they owed, or in what manner those duties were to be rendered. In the multitude of these deities they found new and still more perplexing embarrassments. The number was uncertain, and the proper character of each absolutely doubtful. The concern which each had with human affairs, the pleasure of each, and the services which would be acceptable to him, were all absolutely unknown. Every god introduced into the system after the first, renewed all the difficulties attendant upon the knowledge of the first. Thus the perplexities of the votary were multiplied without end; and what was the gratitudė, and what was the reverence due to each, could never be determined, even with a hope of success.

Thus, if I mistake not, it is clearly evident, that man, without the aid of revelation, is unable to find out a religion which will render him acceptable to God; that in this situation he is ignorant of God, and incapable of devising a system of duty, in the performance of which he may hope to be accepted.

Instead of pursuing the subject, through other considerations, at the present time, I shall conclude my discourse with three remarks.


I. From these observations we cannot, I think, fail to see the absolute necessity of a revelation.

If the view given in this discourse concerning the ability of reason to find out a religion which will render us acceptable to God is just, the necessity of a revelation cannot be questioned. If without revelation we are ignorant of the existence and character of God; if we know not, and cannot know, the duties which we owe to him and to each other; if these things are actually hidden from the eyes of all living, then we infinitely need to have these things communicated to us by himself. Without the possession of them we cannot hope for his favour, and without his favour we cannot be happy.

II. From the observations made in this discourse, it is evident, that the objection against the Scriptures, as a revelation from God, that they were published at so late a period, is groundless.

Infidels havé triumphantly alleged this fact against the divine origin of the Old and New Testament. They gravely inform us, that if God had thought such a revelation necessary for the purpose of teaching mankind his character and their duty, he certainly would have communicated it from the beginning. “ If,” say they, “ we need such a communication, “ in order to enable us to know the will of God, it was equally “ needed by every preceding generation of men.

How un“ reasonable, then, is the supposition, that this all-wise Being, “regarding the whole human race with equal benevolence, de “ layed this important blessing till the time of Moses, more “than two thousand years after the professed date of the cre “ ation? What, according to the dictates of this same reve“lation, are we to suppose became of the unhappy beings who "lived before this date, and were unable to know their duty, “ because it was not revealed ? Are we to attribute such

partiality to the infinitely wise and just ruler of all things? “ How much more rational, then, is it to believe, that the re“ ligion of nature is the true religion, and that the duties


and frequently possessed of superior talents, studied and discoursed very extensively concerning this subject; and, to make their discourses able, ingenious, and satisfactory to their readers, they employed vigorously their time, talents, and labours. What was the result? Most of them were polytheists, some were sceptics, and the rest were atheists. Those who were polytheists acknowledged universally the gods of their countrymen ; limited in their powers and operations, odious by their vices, and contemptible by their follies. Not a virtuous being was found in their number. Their enjoyments were the gratification of pride, passion, and appetite ; and their moral conduct such as a sober man must regard with disgust and hor

When they spoke of God in the singular number, they declared that he was fire; a compound of the four elements ; the sun; the soul of the world ; the universe; the ether; and heaven.

On the doctrines of the sceptical and atheistical philosophers it will be unnecessary to expatiate.

Such were the opinions which the mind of man, uninspired, and employing its most vigorous powers in the contemplation of this subject, has adopted concerning its Maker. Who will not readily believe, that the true reason why such opinions were adopted by intelligent men was, that they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.

Another fact, connected with these, and evidential of the same truth, is this, the descendants of men, who once had just apprehensions of the Creator, became universally polytheists.

Noah and his family knew and worshipped the true God, yet all their descendants were polytheists ; the Jews partially, and at times, the rest, within a moderate period, absolutely. The subjects of Melchizedeck, and the first Pharaoh mentioned in the Scriptures, were acquainted with the true God; as were also Job and his friends, and undoubtedly those around them. The people of the Thebais, also, at a much later period, worshipped one God. But all who followed these, at a little distance of time, became polytheists. Whence could this fact be derived, unless from the indisposition of man to retain the knowledge of his Maker.

The Jews, Mahommedans, and Christians, have all, as it is well known, obtained all their just apprehensions concerning this subject from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.

From the same source, modern deists have acquired all their knowledge of this subject. Whenever these men have departed, as they have ever been disposed to do, from the scriptural doctrines concerning it, they have invariably invaded and diminished the infinite perfections of Jehovah. He who reads the things which have been said by Herbert, Tindall, Chubb, Hume, and others, particularly by Bolingbroke, whether directly or indirectly, concerning the Creator, will find satisfactory reasons for believing, that were the Scriptures once removed out of the way, infidels would, within a short time, revive the superintendency and worship of the Greek and Roman deities. Gibbon directly censures the Jews for not uniting their worship with that of Jehovah, and Taylor has publicly professed himself a polytheist.

From each of the facts it is strongly evident, and from all of them together unanswerably certain, that mankind receive the existence and character of God universally with reluctance; lose it, unless continually forced upon them, regularly, as well as easily; and as regularly embrace polytheism, atheism, or nihilism. Without revelation, therefore, they become of course ignorant of God.

As all religion has its foundation in the existence and character of a god, and all true religion in the existence and character of the true God, it is perfectly clear that, in these circumstances, men are incapable of forming a religion which will render them acceptable to God.

II. Mankind are incapable of devising a system of duty which will render them acceptable to God.

The decisive proof of this proposition is found in the fact, that hitherto they have never devised such a system. The ancient philosophers applied themselves to this subject with intense labour, in a vast multitude of instances, and through a long series of ages. The men who most diligently occupied

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