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terror into every one who is acquainted with them. The universality of the belief, must then have some cause more universal than fear. I observe next, Thať if the belief were founded solely on fear, it would die away gradually as men improve in the knowledge of causes and effects : instruct a savage, that thunder, an eclipse, an earthquake, proceed from natural causes, and are not threatenings of an incensed deity ; his fear of malevolent beings will vanish; and with it his belief in them, if founded solely on fear. Yet the direct contrary is true : in proportion as the human understanding ripens, our conviction of superior powers, or of a Deity, turns more and more firm and authoritative ; which will be made evident in the chapter immediately following.
Philosophers of more enlarged views and of deeper penetration, may be inclined to think, that the operations of nature and the government of this world, which loudly proclaim a Deity, may be sufficient to account for the universal belief of superior powers. And to give due weight to the argument, I shall relate a conversation between a Greenlander ani a Danish milB b 2
fionary, mentioned by Crantz in his hi- . story of Greenland.
“ It is true," says the Greenlander, we were ignorant
Heathens, and knew little of a God,
must not imagine, that no Greenlander thinks about these things. A kajak (a), with all its tackle and implements, cannot exist but
by the labour of man; and one who “ does not understand it, would spoil it. « But the meanest bird requires more skill " than the best kajak; and no man can “ make a bird. There is still more skill
required to make a man: by whom “theti was he made ? He proceeded from
parents, and they from their parents. But some must have been the first parents: whence did they proceed? Com
mon report says, that they grew out of the “ earth: if so, why do not men still grow
out of the earth ? And from whence came the earth itself, the sun, the moon,
the stars ? Certainly there must be some “ being who made all these things, a be
ing more wise than the wiseft man.” The reasoning here from effects to their causes, is stated with great precision; and
(a) A Greenland boat.
were all men equally penetrating with the Greenlander, such reasoning might perhaps be sufficient to account for the conviction of a Deity, universally spred among favages. But such penetration is a rare quality among savages; and
the conviction of superior powers is universal, not excepting even the grosseft favages, who are altogether incapable of reasoning like our Greenland philosopher. Natural history has made so rapid a progress of late years, and the finger of God is fo vifible to us in the various operations of nature, that we do not readily conceive how even savages can be ignorant : but it is a common fallacy in reasoning, to judge of others by what we feel in ourfelves. And to give juster notions of the condition of favages, I take liberty to introduce the Wogultzoi, a people in Siberia, exhibiting a striking picture of favages in their natural state. That people were baptized at the command of Prince Gagarin, governor of the province; and Laurent Lange, in his relation of a journey from Petersburg to Pekin ann. 1715, gives the following account of their conversion. “ I had curiosity," says he,“
“ question them about their worship be“fore they embraced Christianity. They
said, that they had an idol hung upon a tree, before which they prostrated
themselves, raising their eyes to heaven, “ and howling with a loud voice. They
could not explain what they meant by “ howling; but only, that every man “ howled in his own fashion. Being in“terrogated, Whether, in raising their
eyes to heaven, they knew that a god is there, who fees all the actions, and e
ven the thoughts of men ; they answer“ ed simply, That heaven is too far above " them to know whether a god be there
or not; and that they had no care but to provide meat and drink. Another question being put, Whether they had not more satisfaction in worshipping the
living God, than they formerly had in “ the darkness of idolatry ; they answer“ ed, We see no great difference, and we “ do not break our heads about such mat
ters.” Judge how little capable such ignorant favages are, to reason from effects to their causes, and to trace a Deity from the operations of nature. It may be added with great certainty, that could they be
made in any degree to conceive such reafoning, yet so weak and obscure would their conviction be, as to rest there without moving them to any sort of worship; which however among favages goes hand in hand with the conviction of superior powers.
If fear be a cause altogether infufficient for our conviction of a Deity, universal among all tribes;
all tribes; and if reasoning from effects to their causes can have no influence upon ignorant savages; what other cause is there to be laid hold of ? One still remains, and imagination cannot figure
another: to make this conviction universal, the image of the Deity must be stamp'd upon the mind of every human being, the ignorant equally with the knowing: nothing less is sufficient. And the original perception we have of Deity, must proceed from an internal sense, which may be termed the sense of Deity.
Included in the sense of Deity, is the duty we are under to worship him. And to enforce that duty, the principle of devotion is made a part of our nature. All men accordingly agree in worshipping fuperior beings, however they may differ