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in the mode of worship. And the univerfality of such worship, proves devotion to be an innate principle *.
The perception we have of being accountable agents, arises from another branch of the sense of Deity. We expect approbation from the Deity when we do right; and dread punishment from him when guilty of any wrong; not excepting the most occult crimes, hid from every
From what cause can dread proceed in that case, but from conviction of a superior being, avenger of wrongs? The dread, when immoderate, disorders the mind, and makes every unusual misfortune pass for a punishment inflicted by an invisible hand.
“ And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw
the anguish of his soul, when he be“ fought us, and we would not hear : " therefore is this distress come upon us. “ And Reuben answered them, saying,
Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not
* See this principle beautifully explained and illustrated in a sermon upon the love of God, by Doctor Butler Bishop of Durham, a writer of the first rank.
“ fin against the child ; and
would not “ hear ? therefore behold also his blood " is required (a).” Alphonfus King of Naples, was a cruel and tyrannical prince. He drove his people to despair with oppressive taxes, treacherously affaffinated several of his barons, and loaded others with chains. During prosperity, his conscience gave him little disquiet; but in adversity, his crimes star'd him in the face, and made him believe that his diftresses proceeded from the hand of God, as a just punishment. He was terrified to distraction, when Charles VIII. of France approached with a numerous army: he deserted his kingdom ; and fled to hide himself from the face of God and of man.
But admitting a sense of Deity, is it evidence to us that a Deity actually exists? It is complete evidence. So framed is man as to rely on the evidence of his senses (6); which evidence he may reject in words; but he cannot reject in thought, whatever bias he may have to scepticism. And experience confirms our belief; for
(a) Genesis xlii. 21. 22.
(6) See Essays on Morality and Natural Religion, part 2. sect. 3.
The foregoing sense of Deity is not the only evidence we have of his existence : there is additional evidence from other branches of our nature. Inherent in the nature of man are two paffions, devotion to an invisible Being, and dread of punishment from him, when one is guilty of any crime. These passions would be idle and absurd, were there no Deity to be worshipped or to be dreaded. Man makes a capital figure ; and is the most perfect being that inhabits this earth: and yet were he endued with passions or principles that have no end nor purpose, he would be the most irregular and absurd of all Beings. These passions both, of them, direct us to a Deity, and afford us irresistible evidence of his existence.
Thus our Maker has revealed himself to us, in a way perfectly analagous to our nature : in the mind of every human creature, he has lighted up a lamp, which renders him vifible even to the weakest fight. Nor ought it to escape observation, that here, as in every other case, the conduct of Providence to man, is uniform. It
leaves him to be directed by reason, where liberty of choice is permitted ; but in matters of duty, he is provided with guides less fallible than reason: in performing his duty to man, he is guided by the moral sense ; in performing his duty to God, he is guided by the sense of Deity. In these mirrors, he perceives his duty intuitively.
It is no flight support to this doctrine, that if there really be a Deity, it is highly presumable, that he will reveal himself to man, fitted by nature to adore and worship him.
To other animals, the knowledge of a Deity is of no import
to man, it is of high import
Were we totally ignorant of a Deity, this world would appear to us a mere chaos : under the government of a wife and benevolent Deity, chance is excluded; and every event appears to be the result of established laws: good men submit to whatever happens, without repining; knowing that every event is ordered by divine Providence: they subinit with entire resignation; and such resignation is a sovereign balfam for every misfortune. C C 2
The sense of Deity resembles our other senses, which are quiescent till a proper object be presented. When all is filent about us, the sense of hearing lies dormant; and if from infancy a man were confined to a dark room, he would be as ignorant of his sense of seeing, as one born blind, Among savages, the objects that rouse the sense of Deity, are uncommon events above the power of man. A savage, if acquainted with no events but what are familiar, has no perception of superior powers; but a sudden eclipse of the fun, thunder rattling in his ears, or the convulsion of an earthquake, rouses his fenfe of Deity, and directs him to some superior being as the cause of these dreadful effects. The favage, it is true, errs in ascribing to the immediate operation of a Deity, things that have a natural cause : his error however is evidence that he has a sense of Deity, no less pregnant, than when he more justly attributes to the immediate operation of Deity, the formation of man, of this earth, of all the world,
The sense of Deity, like the moral sense, makes no capital figure among savages ; the perceptions of both fenfes being in