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REMARK XVIII.-But now for a discovery indeed: "As men further EXALT the idea of their Divinity; it is 66 often their NOTION OF HIS POWER AND KNOWLEDGE "ONLY, NOT OF HIS GOODNESS, which is improved. "On the contrary, in proportion to the supposed extent "of his science and authority, their terrors naturally "angment. p. 97

This is hard. Common sense seems to tell us so much of our common nature, that the spirit of love, which is ever for exalting further and further the idea of its object, is chiefly delighted in dwelling on the GOODNESS of that object: as fear is most conversant in the divine. attributes of power and knowledge. But this sublime philosopher has discovered, that both we and nature are mistaken; and that, as men further exalt the idea of their Divinity, it is often their notion of power and knowledge, not of his goodness, that is improved. And his kind reader might be disposed perhaps to take his word, but that he sees it contradicts, in express terms, what he had said but two or three pages before: Where he as magisterially assures us, that a spirit of praise and eulogy makes men ascribe every virtue, every excellence to the Deity, and to EXAGGERATE THEM ALL: Therefore, I should suppose, GOODNESS, along with the rest.

REMARK XIX.-After all these feats, he will now account how it happens that religionists are so generally disposed to prefer rites and positive institutions to morality and natural duties. And the secret is revealed in this manner:

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Perhaps, the following account may be received as a true solution of the difficulty. The duties, which a man performs as a friend or parent, scem merely ow ing to his benefactor or children, nor can he be wanting to these duties, without breaking through all the "ties of nature and morality. A strong inclination may prompt him to the performance: A sentiment of order " and moral beauty joins its force to these natural ties: "And the whole man, if truly virtuous, is drawn to his duty, without any effort or endeavour. Even with regard to the virtues, which are more austere, and "more founded on reflection, such as public spirit, filial

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"duty, temperance, or integrity; the moral obligation, "in our apprehension, removes all pretence to religious "merit; and the virtuous conduct is esteemed no more "than what we owe to society and to ourselves. In all this, a superstitious man finds nothing, which he has properly performed for the sake of his Deity, or which can peculiarly recommend him to the divine favour "and protection. He considers not, that the most ge"nuine method of serving the Divinity is by promoting "the happiness of his creatures. He still looks out for some more immediate service of the Supreme Being, "in order to allay those terrors, with which he is "haunted." pp. 106, 107.

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It is to be lamented that but just before he had proved all this fine reasoning not worth a rush, where he confesses that there are popular religions, in which it is expressly declared that nothing but morality can gain the divine favour. p. 104. For, if those who prefer rites to moral duties, are yet taught by their religion that nothing but morality can gain the divine favour, it is plain, his solution can have no place, which is, that superstitious men give that unjust preference, because they can find nothing in morality which can peculiarly recommend them to the divine facour. Had he not therefore done better, as in the former instance of the genius of Paganism, to have stolen his solution? He has not boggled at greater matters. And a philosopher, who deserves no quarter from him, might have saved his credit, and been pillaged with advantage.

"Next to the knowledge of one God, says this ex"cellent man, a clear knowledge of their duty was "wanting to mankind. This part of knowledge, though "cultivated with some care by some of the heathen philosophers, yet got little footing amongst the people. "The priests made it not their business to teach men "virtue. If they were diligent in their observations " and ceremonies; punctual in their feasts and solemnitics, and the tricks of religion; the holy tribe assured them, the gods were pleased, and they looked no "farther. Few went to the schools of the philosophers

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to be instructed in their duties, and to know what was

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"better penny-worths, and therefore had all their "custom. Lustrations and processions were much "easier than a clean conscience, and a steady course of virtue; and an expiatory sacrifice, that atoned for the want of it, was much more convenient than "a steady course of virtue."

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This is the solution of a philosopher indeed; clear, simple, manly, rational, and striking conviction in every word; unlike the refined and fantastic nonsense of a writer of paradoxes.

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But then don't imagine that our author was not aware of this solution. No, he despised it because it was so reasonable. For he thinks to obviate it by saying, "That "it is not satisfactory to allege that the practice of morality is more difficult than that of superstition; and is therefore rejected." p. 105. But how does he make out this point: Why, by giving us to understand that the four Lents of the Muscovites, and the austerities of some Roman Catholics, appear more disagreeable than MEEKNESS AND BENEVOLENCE. Let him say, as Mr. Locke does, honestlythan a STEADY COURSE OF VIRTUE. And we shall better judge whether these austerities be indeed more difficult than such a morality.

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REMARK XX.-Well, but he makes ample amends for the slight here shewn "of STEADY VIRTUE." For, as a supplement to his account of this mysterious phenomenon, “We may add, says he, that even after the com"mission of crimes, there arise remorses and secret "horrors, which give no rest to the mind, but make it "have recourse to religious rites and ceremonies, as ex

piations of its offences. Whatever weakens or disor"ders the internal frame, promotes the interests of superstition: AND NOTHING IS MORE DESTRUCTIVE TO THEM THAN A MANLY STEADY VIRTUE, which "either preserves us from disastrous melancholy acci"dents, or teaches us to bear them." pp. 109, 110.

We may add, says he, That he inay say safely whatever he pleases; who has a public to deal with so easily bubbled into the opinion of his being a philosopher.Which makes me the more wonder at the trouble his Locke's Works, Vol. II. p. 575.

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friends gave him, of refining his natural history from the grosser feces of atheism, before it was presented to the world. But this public, it seems, was become a little squeamish, having been so lately overdosed by the quackery of Bolingbroke.

NOTHING, says our philosopher, IS MORE DESTRUCTIVE TO THE INTEREST OF SUPERSTITION, THAN A MANLY STEADY VIRTUE: which in plainer English is, "None will be so free from superstition as the most "hardened rogue." For the fact, from which he deduces this proposition, is this, That after the commission of crimes, there arise remorses and secret horrors, which make men have recourse to expiatory rites. These

remorses, BY WEAKENING AND DISORDERING THE

INTERNAL FRAME, promote superstition. Now the contrary state of this internal frame can be no other than such as enables us to bear the retrospect of our rogueries without remorse and horror; this he calls a manly steady virtue. Do I wrong him? Let his friends judge. Had he meant, by manly steady virtue, what common moralists so call, he must have told us, that this virtue produced in the offender, reparation of injuries and amendment of life; things, in reality, most destructive to the interests of superstition: Whereas the manly steady virtue of our philosopher does no more, by his own confession, than either preserve us from disastrous melancholy accidents [i. e. keep us from hanging ourselves] or teaches us to bear them [i.e. to recall to memory our past crimes without remorse]. And this, hardened roguery, and nothing but hardened roguery, is capable of achieving. Or, will he, to save himself from this atrocious charge, say, that by a manly steady virtue he meant such a virtue as prevents the commission of crimes? This had been to the purpose. But let him then shew us how this meaning is to be gathered from his expression. To say the least, if, in excess of candour, one must suppose him to have meant well, no well-meaning philosopher ever expressed himself so wretchedly.

REMARK XXI.-I have given a specimen of his philosophic virtues, his reasoning, his consistency, his knowledge, his truth, his candour, and his modesty, as

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they promiscuously appear in the NATURAL HISTORY OF RELIGION. I have hunted him from track to track.And now what thick cover, do you suppose, has he chosen to skreen himself from the public contempt? He takes shelter in the dark umbrage of SCEPTICISM.These are his concluding words:

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"The whole is a riddle, an ænigma, an inexplicable mystery. Doubt, uncertainty, suspense of judgment, appear the only result of our most accurate scrutiny, 66 concerning this subject. But such is the frailty of "human reason, and such the irresistible contagion of "opinion, that even this deliberate doubt could scarce "be upheld; did we not enlarge our view, and, opposing one species of superstition to another, set them a " quarrelling; while we ourselves, during their fury and contention, happily make our escape, into THE CALM, THOUGH OBSCURE, REGIONS OF PHILOSOPHY." Thus, we see, his last effort is to defend his dogmatical nonsense with scepticism still more nonsensical. Nor to this, neither, darcs he trust himself; but presently meditates an escape, as he calls it, by setting the religionists a quarrelling without which, he frankly owns, that deliberate doubt could scarce be upheld. For the sake of this beloved object, DELIBERATE DOUBT, there is no mischief he is not ready to commit, even to the unhinging the national religion, and unloosing all the hold it has on the minds of the people. And all this for the selfish and unnatural lust of escaping from right reason and common sense, into the calm, though obscure, regions of philosophy. But here we have earthed him; rolled up in the scoria of a dogmatist and sceptic, run down together. He has been long taken for a philosopher: and so perhaps he may be found—like Aristotle's statue in the block

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"Then take him to develop, if you can,

"And hew the block off, and get out the man."

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