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That of Sophocles is very remarkable : “ There is indeed," says he,“ one God, and but one, who has made the heavens, and the wide extended earth, the blue surges of the sea, and the strength of the winds."

As to the mystery of the sacred Trinity, which has a near and necessary connexion with the present subject, I always thought it was to be received and adored with the most humble faith, but by no means to be curiously searched into, or perplexed with the absurd questions of the schoolmen. We fell by an arrogant ambition after knowledge; by mere faith we rise again, and are reinstated. And this mystery, indeed, rather, than any other, seems to be a tree of knowledge, prohibited to us while we sojourn in these mortal bodies. This most profound mystery, though obscurely represented by the shadows of the Old Testament, rather than clearly revealed, was not unknown to the most ancient and celebrated doctors among the Jews, nor altogether unattested, however obstinately later authors may maintain the contrary. Nay, learned men have observed, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are expressly acknowledged in the books of the Cabalists, and they produce surprising things to this purpose out of the book of Zohar, which is ascribed to R. Simeon, Ben. Joch, and some other Cabalistical writers. Nay, the book just now mentioned, after saying a great deal concerning the Three in One Essence, adds, “That this secret will not be revealed to all till the coming of the Messias t." I insist not upon what is said of the name consisting of twelve letters, and another larger one of forty-two, as containing a fuller explication of that most sacred name, which they call Hammephorash 1.

Nor is it improbable, that some dawn, at least, of this mystery had reached even the heathen philosopherş. There are some

* Εις ταϊς αληθεναισιν, εις εστίν Θεός,

Ος ουρανόν τ' έτευξε και γαίαν μακράν

Πόντου τε χαραπόν διδμα και ανεμών βιας. . * Hoc arcanum non revelabitur unicuique, quousq. ; venerit Messias.

Maim. Mor, Nev. part. i. c. 16.

who think they can prove, by arguments of no inconsiderable weight, that Anaxagoras, by his voūs, or mind, meant nothing but the Son, or Wisdom that made the world. But the testimonies are clearer, which you find frequently among the Platonic philosophers, concerning the Three subsisting from one*: moreover, they all call the self-existing Being, the creating word, or the mind and the soul of the world +. But the worets of the Egyptian Hermes are very surprising: "The mind, which is God, together with his word, produced another creatingmind; nor do they differ from one another, for their union is life 1."

But what we now insist upon, is, the plain and evident necessity of one Supreme, and therefore, of one Only Principle of all things, and the harmonious agreement of mankind in the belief of the absolute necessity of this same principle.

This is the God whom we admire, whom we worship, whom we entirely love, or, at least, whom we desire to love above all things; whom we can neither express in words, nor conceive in our thoughts; and the less we are capable of these things, so much the more necessary it is to adore Him with the

pro foundest humility, and to love Him with the greatest intentness and fervour.


Of the WORSHIP of God, PROVIDENCE, and the Law given to MAN.

THOUGH I thought it by no means proper to proceed without taking notice of the arguments that serve to confirm the first and leading truth of religion, and the general consent of man

Περί τριών εξ ενος υποσπάντων. . * Το αυτό, όν τον δημιουργον λογον, seu νούν, και την του κόσμου ψυχην.

1 Ο νούς θεός απεκυησε λογα έτερον νούν δημιουργών, αλλ' ώ διίστανται απαλληλών, i wpis zag Taútwy irtir swa.

kind with regard to it; yet, the end I chiefly proposed to myself, was, to examine this consent, and point out its force, and the use to which it ought to be applied; to call off your minds from the numberless disputes about religion, to the contemplation of this universal agreement, as into a more quiet and peaceable country; and to shew you, what I wish I could effectually convince you of, that there is more weight and force in this universal harmony and consent of mankind in a few of the great and universal principles, to confirm our minds in the sum and substance of religion, than the innumerable disputes that still subsist with regard to the other points, ought to have to discourage us in the exercise of true piety, or in the least to weaken our faith.

In consequence of this, it will be proper to lay before you the other propositions contained in this general consent of mankind, with regard to religion. Now, the first of these being, That there is one, and but one Eternal Principle of all things; from this it will most naturally follow, That this Principle or Deity is to be honoured with some worship, and from these two taken together, it must be, with the same necessity, concluded, That there is a providence, or, that God doth not despise or neglect the world which He has created, and mankind, by whom He ought to be, and actually is worshipped, but governs them with the most watchful and perfect wisdom.

All mankind acknowledge, that some kind of worship is due to God, and that to perform it is by all means worthy of man; and upon the minds of all is strongly impressed that sentiment which Lactantius expressed with great perspicuity and brevity in these words, “To know God is wisdom, and to worship Him, justice *."

In this worship some things are natural, and therefore of more general use among all nations, such as vows and prayers, hymns and praises; as also some bodily gestures, especially such as seem most proper to express reverence and respect. All

* Deum nosse, sapientia ; colere, justitia.

the rest, for the most part, actually consist of ceremonies, either of Divine institution or human invention. Of this sort are sacrifices, the use whereof, in old times, very much prevailed in all nations, and still continues in the greater part of the world.

A Majesty so exalted, no doubt, deserves the highest honour, and the sublimest praises on His own account; but still, if men were not persuaded that the testimonies of homage and respect they offer to God, were known to Him, and accepted of Him, even on this account all human piety would cool and presently disappear; and, indeed, prayers and vows, whereby we implore the Divine assistance, and solicit blessings from above, offered to a God, who neither hears nor in the least regards them, would be an instance of the greatest folly; nor is it to be imagined, that all nations would ever have agreed in the extravagant custom of addressing themselves to gods that did not hear.

Supposing, therefore, any religion, or Divine worship, it immediately follows therefrom, that there is also a providence. This was acknowledged of old, and is still acknowledged by the generality of all nations throughout the world, and the most famous philosophers. There were, indeed, particular men, and some whole sects, that denied it.' Others, who acknowledged a kind of Providence, confined it to the heavens, among whom was Aristotle, as appears from his book De Mundo; which notion is justly slighted by Nazianzen, who calls it ka mere limited Providence *." Others allowed it some place in things of this world, but only extended it to generals, in opposition to individuals. But others, with the greatest justice, acknowledged that all things, even the most minute and inconsiderable, were the objects of it. “He fills his own work, nor is he only over it, but also in itt.” Moreover, if we ascribe to God the origin of this fabric and all things

* Μικρόλογον πρόνοιαν,
of Opus suum ipse implet, nec solum præest, sed inest.

in it, it will be most absurd and inconsistent to deny Him the preservation and government of it: for, if He does not preserve and govern His creatures, it must be either because He cannot, or because He will not; but His infinite power and wisdom make it impossible to doubt of the former, and His infinite goodness, of the latter. The words of Epictetus are admirable : “ There were five great men,” said he, “ of which number were Ulysses and Socrates, who said that they could not so much as 'move without the knowledge of God*." And in another place, “If I was a nightingale, I would act the part of a nightingale; if a swan, that of a swan; now that I am a reasonable creature, it is my duty to praise God t."

It would be needless to shew, that so great a fabric could not stand without some Being properly qualified to watch over it; that the unerring course of the stars is not the effect of blind fortune; that what chance sets on foot, is often put out of order, and soon falls to pieces; that, therefore, this unerring and regular velocity is owing to the influence of a fixed, eternal law. It is, to be sure, a very great miracle, merely to know so great a multitude, and such a vast variety of things, not only particular towns, but also provinces and kingdoms, even the whole earth, all the myriads of creatures that crawl upon the earth, and all their thoughts; in a word, at the same instant to hear and see all that happens on both hemispheres of this globe: how much more wonderful must it be, to rule and govern all these at once, and, as it were, with one glance of the eye! When we consider this, may we not cry out with the poet, “O thou great Creator of heaven and earth, who governest the world with constant and unerring sway, who

* Πεμπτοι δε ών ήν και οδυσσεύς, και Σωκράτες, δι λεγοντες, ότι ουδε σελήθω κινουμενος. ARRIAN. lib. i. cap 12. Tlege @sway, &c.

* Ει μεν αηδών ημεν, εποίουν τα της αηδόνος, εί κύκλος τα τού κύκνου, νύν δε λογικος ύμι i pracy dse toy Osóv. Ibid. cap. 16.

- Παντ' εφορών, και παντ' επακούειν.

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