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lightened age, too often depend upon our churches and parsons, and seldom, if ever, enquire of the spirit within us, what we shall do, or leave undone. Hence there are so many ignorant, bigoted, superstitious, servile, priest-ridden people in Christendom. Most Christians think no place so good to worship God in as a church or meeting-house. I do allow it is our bounden
duty, not to neglect the assembling of ourselves together, for the purpose of worshipping God collectively, but I contend that a more excellent place, is the temple of our own hearts. I often hear the duty of attending public worship, inculcated from the pulpit, but very seldom the more important duty of attending the motions of the holy Spirit in our hearts. Indeed, many of our pedantic ministers of religion, do not believe in the holy Spirit; although they sometimes, for form sake, mention it to the people in their sermons. Be. cause they well know, if the people were enlightened by its light, they would not suffer themselves to be swindled out of
their money, by a parcel of lazy, inter. ested, self-stiled doctors* of divinity, and masters of arts, who live in pomp and grandeur upon the fleece; and the devil may take the flock, for what they
But in order the more fully to prove that the spirit of Christ has appeared to every man, in every country, and that they all have an equal chance for hea, ven by obeying its dictates ; I would mention some of the sentiments of St. Paul, who (although some of his writings are hard to be understood, especially where he hints something like predestination) is very plain on this subject. He proves to a demonstration, that the light of the spirit, without the history of Christ, is sufficient for man's salvation. Let those who uncharitably and blasphemously believe, that the heathens will all be damned, without any reservation, read the following verses of St. Paul, and continue thus to believe if they can.
* I would again observe, that the reader may remember, all my animadversions are applied only to political and clerical tyrants and impostors. Excuse the tautology. If any man asserts that I abuse his priest, he indirectly declares that his priest is an impostor ; because, none but clerical impostors have any connection with my animadversions.
“ For as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law : and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law. For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these hay. ing not the law, are a law unto themselves : which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing, or else excusing one another.” Rom. ii. 12–15.
Can any now doubt, that a virtuous pagan, who loves God and his neighbour, will be saved ? If they do, they would not be convinced of the truth, though one arose from the dead, and vindicated the impartiality of the great Jehovah! The fact is, many of the hea
then philosophers* were sincere admirers of the Sovereign beauty. Socrates
* I would beg leave, in order to elucidate the above assertion, to transcribe a few sentiments of three heathen philosophers, relative to the Supreme Being; the first of whom is Cicero.
“ The great law imprinted in the hearts of all men, is to love the public good, and the members of the common society as themselves. This love of order is supreme justice, and this justice is amiable for its own sake. To love it only for the advantages it produces us, may be politic, but there is little of goodness in it. "Tis the highest injustice, to love justice only for the sake of recompense. In a word, the universal, immų. table and eternal law of all intelligent beings is to promote the happiness of one another, like children of the. same Father.”
He next represents God to us a sovereign wisdom, from whose authority it is still more impracticable for intelligent natures to withdraw themselves, than it is for corporeal ones, According to the opinion of the wisest and greatest men, (says this philosopher) the law is not an invention of human understanding, or the arbitrary constitution of men, but Aows from the eternal reason that governs the universe. The rape which Tarquin committed upon Lucretia, (continues he) was not less criminal in its nature, because there was not at that time any written law at Rome against such sort of violences. The tyrant was guilty of a breach of the eternal law, the obligation whereof did not commence from the time it was written, but from the moment it was made. Now its origin is as ancient as the divine intellect: for the true, the primitive, and the supreme law is nothing else, but the sovereign reason of the great Jove. This law (says he, in another place) is universal, eternal, immutable. It does not vary according to times and
in particular, professed to be guided by an inward monitor, which he called his
places. It is not different now from what it was for. merly. The same immortal law is a rule to all nations, because it has no author but the one only God, who brought it forth and promulged it.” Such were the reasonings of Cicero when he consulted natural light, and was not carried away by a fondness of shewing his wit, in defending the doctrine of the Sceptics
The next is Seneca the Stoic. He was Nero's tutor, and lived in an age when Christianity was not in credit enough, to engage the heathens to borrow any philosophical principles from thence. * 'Tis of very little consequence, (says he) by what name you call the first nature, and the divine reason that presides over the universe and fills all the parts of it. He is still the same God. He is called Jupiter Stator, not as historians say, because he stopped the Roman armies as they were flying, but because he is the constant support of all beings. They may call him Fate, because he is the first cause on which all others depend. We Stoics sometimes call him Father Bacohus, because he is the universal light that animates nature; Hercules, because his power is invincible. Mercury, because he is the eternal reason, order and wisdom. You may give him as many names as you please, provided you allow but one sole principle, every where present.'
Agreeably to Plato's notions, he considered the divine understanding as comprehending in itself the model of all things, which he styles the immutable and almighty ideas
Every workman, (says he) hath a model by which he forms his work. It signifies nothing whether this model exists outwardly and before his eyes, or be formed within him by the strength of his own genius : so God produces within himself that perfect model, which is the proportion, the order, and the