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greatly invigorated by cultivation and exercise. Private exercise is not sufficient. Nature, and confequently the God of nature, require public exercise or public worship: for devotion is infectious, like joy or grief (a); and by mutual communication in a numerous assembly, is greatly invigorated. A regular habit of expressing publicly our gratitude and resignation, never fails to purify the mind, tending to wean it from every unlawful pursuit. This is the true motive of public worship; not what is commonly inculcated, That it is required from us, as a testiinony to our Maker of our obedience to his laws : God, who knows the heart, needs 'no such testimony *. I shall only add
(a) Elements of Criticism, vol. 1. p. 180. edit. 5.
* Arnobius ( Adversus gentes, lib., 1.) accounts rationally for the worship we pay to the Deity : " Huic omnes ex more prosternimur, hunc collatis
precibus adoramus, ab hoc justa, et honesta, et “ auditu ejus condigna, deposcimus. Non quo ip“ se defideret supplices nos esse, aut amet fubfterni
tot millium venerationem videre. Utilitas hæc 6. nostra est, et commodi noftri rationem fpectans. “ Nam quia proni ad culpas, et ad libidinis varios “ appetitus, vitio fumus infirmitatis ingenitæ, pati
neral head, that lawgivers ought to avoid with caution the enforcing public worship by rewards and punishments: human laws cannot reach the heart, in which the essence of worship consists : they may indeed bring on a listless habit of worship, by separating the external act from the internal affection, than which nothing is more hurtful to true religion. The utmost that can be safely ventured, is to bring public worship under censorian powers, as a matter of police, for preser
“ tur se femper noftris cogitationibus concipi : ut < dum illum oramus, et mereri ejus contendimus “ munera, accipiamus innocentiæ voluntatem, et ab « omni nos labe delictorum omnium amputatione ~ purgemus.” — [In English thus : “ It is our cu« ftom, to prostrate ourselves before him; and we “ ask of him such gifts only as are consistent with
justice and with honour, and suitable to the cha"racter of the Being whom we adore. Not that “ he receives pleasure or fàtisfaction from the « humble veneration of thousands of his creatures. “ From this we ourselves derive benefit and advan
tage ; for being the flaves of appetite, and prone
to err from the weakness of our nature, when " we address ourselves to God in prayer, and study " by our actions to merit his approbation, we gain
at least the wish, and the inclination, to be vir-
ving good order, and for preventing bad example.
The religion of Confucius, professed by the literati and persons of rank in China and Tonquin, consists in a deep inward veneration for the God or King of heaven, and in the practice of every moral virtue. They have neither temples, nor priests, nor any settled form of external worship: every one adores the supreme Being in the manner he himself thinks beft. This is indeed the most refined system of religion that ever took place among men ; but it is not fitted for the human race: an excellent religion it would be for angels; but is far too refined even for fages and philosophers.
Proceeding to deviations from the genuine worship required by our Maker, and gross deviations there have been, I begin with that sort of worship which is influenced by fear, and which for that reason is universal among favages. The American savages believe, that there are inferior deities without end, most of them prone to mischief: they neglect the supreme Deity because he is good; and direct their worship to soothe the malevolent
inferior deities from doing harm. The inhabitants of the Molucca islands, who believe the existence of malevolent beings subordinate to the supreme benevolent Being, confine their worship to the former, in order to avert their wrath; and one branch of their worship is, to set meat before them, hoping that when the belly is full, there will be less inclination to mischief. The worship of the inhabitants of Java is much the same. The negroes of Benin worship the devil, as Dapper expresses it, and sacrifice to him both men and beasts. They acknowledge indeed a supreme Being, who created the universe, and governs it by his Providence : but they regard him not; " for,” say they, “ it is needless, if not impertinent, to “ invoke a being, who, good and gra
cious, is incapable of injuring or mo“ lesting us.” Gratitude, it would appear, is not a ruling principle among savages.
The austerities and penances that are practised in almost all religions, spring from the same root. One way to please invisible malignant powers, is to make ourselves as miserable as possible. Hence
the horrid penances of the Faquirs in Hindoftan, who outdo in mortification whatever is reported of the ancient Chriftian anchorites. Some of these Faquirs continue for life in one posture: some never lie down: some have always their arms raised above their head : and some mangle their bodies with knives and scourges. The town of Jagrenate in Hindostan is frequented by pilgrims, some of them from places 300 leagues distant; and they travel, not by walking or riding, but by measuring the road with the length of their bodies; in which mode of loco-motion, some of them consume years before they complete their pilgrimage. A religious sect made its way some centuries ago into Japan, termed Bubsdoists, from Bubs, the founder. This fect has
prevailed over the ancient sect of the Sintos, chiefly by its austerity and mortifications." The spirit of this sect inspires nothing but excessive fear of the gods, who are painted prone to vengeance and always offended. These fectaries pass most of their time in tormenting themselves, in order to expiate imaginary faults; and they are treated by their priests with a degree of VOL.IV.