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spirit is he inspired, in pouring forth such a torrent of slander? Why is it that he must accuse their humility of "ingratitude,” their grief of "affectation," and their prayers of being " dictatorial" to the Almighty? Cain hated his brother; and wherefore hated he him; because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Prayer and devotion are things that Mr. Paine should have let alone, as being out of his province. By attempting, however, to depreciate them, he has borne witness to the devotion of Christians, and fulfilled what is written in a book which he affects to despise, Speaking evil of the things which he understands not.

To admit a God, and yet refuse to worship him, is a modern and inconsistent practice. It is a dictate of reason, as well as of revelation: If the Lord be God, worship him; and if Baal, worship him. It never was made a question, whether the God in whom we believe should receive our adorations. All nations, in all ages, paid religious homage to the respective deities, or supposed deities, in which they beleived. Modern unbelievers are the only men who have deviated from this practice. How this is to be accounted for, is a subject worthy of inquiry. To me it appears as follows:


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In former times, when men were weary of the true God, they exchanged it for that of idols. I know of no account of the origin of idolatry so rational as that which is given by revelation. Men did not like to retain God in their knowledge : therefore they were given up to a mind void of judgment; to change the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things; and to defile themselves by abominable wickedness.* It was thus with the people who came to inhabit the country of Samaria after the Israelites were carried captives into Assyria. At first they seemed desirous to know and fear the God of Israel; but when they came to be informed of his holy character, and what kind of worship he required, they presently discovered their dislike. They pretended to fear him, but it was mere pretence; for every nation made gods of their own. Now, gods of their

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own making would doubtless be characterized according to their own mind: they would be patrons of such vices as their makers wished to indulge; gods whom they could approach without fear, and in addressing them be "more at ease," as Mr. Hume says, han in addressing the One living and true God; gods, in fine, the worship of whom might be accompanied with banquetings, revellings, drunkenness, and lewdness. These I conceive, rather than the mere falling down to an idol, were the exercises that interested the passions of the worshippers. These were the exercises that seduced the ungodly part of the Israelitish nation to an imitation of the heathens. They found it extremely disagreeable to be constantly employed in the worship of a holy God. Such worship would awe their spirits, damp their pleasures, and restrain their inclinations. It is not surprising, therefore, that they should be continually departing from the worship of Jehovah, and leaning towards that which was more congenial with their propensities. But the situation of modern unbelievers is singular. Things are so circumstanced with them, that they cannot worship the gods which they prefer. They never fail to discover a strong partiality in favour of heathens; but they have not the face to practice or defend their absurd idolatries. The doctrine of One living and true God has appeared in the world, by means of the preaching of the gospel, with such a blaze of evidence, that it has forced itself into the minds of men, whatever has been the temper of their hearts. The stupid idolatry of past ages is exploded. Christianity has driven it out of Europe. The consequence is, great numbers are obliged to acknowledge a God whom they cannot find in their hearts to worship.

If the light that is gone abroad in the earth would permit the rearing of temples to Venus, or Bacchus, or any of the rabble of heathen deities, there is little doubt but that modern unbelievers would, in great numbers, become their devotees: but, seeing they cannot have a god whose worship shall accord with their inclinations, they seem determined not to worship at all. And, to come off with as good a grace as the affair will admit, they compliment the Deity out of his sovereign prerogatives; professing to "love him for his giving them existence, and all their properties, without

interest, and without subjecting them to any thing but their own nature."*

The introduction of so large a portion of heathen mythology into the songs and other entertainments of the stage, sufficiently shows the bias of people's hearts. The house of God gives them no pleasure but the resurrection of the obscenities, intrigues, and Bacchanalian revels of the old heathens affords them exquisite delight. In a country where Christian worship abounds, this is plainly saying, What a weariness is it! O that it were no more! Since, however, we cannot introduce the worship of the gods, we will neglect all worship, and celebrate the praises of our favourite deities in another form.' In a country where Deism has gained the ascendency, this principle is carried still farther. Its language there is, Seeing we cannot, for shame, worship any other than the One living and true God, let us abolish the day of worship, and substitute in its place one day in ten, which shall be devoted chiefly to theatrical entertainments, in which we can introduce as much heathenism as we please.'


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Mr. Hume acknowledges the justice of considering the Deity as infinitely superior to mankind; but he represents it, at the same time, as very generally attended with unpleasant effects, and magnifies the advantages of having gods which are only a little superior to ourselves. He says, " While the Deity is represented as infinitely superior to mankind, this belief, though altogether just, is apt, when joined with superstitious terrors, to sink the human mind into the lowest submission and abasement, and to represent the monkish virtues of mortification, pennance, humility, and passive suffering, as the only qualities which are acceptable to him. But, where the gods are conceived to be only a little superior to mankind, and to have been many of them advanced from that inferior rank, we are more at our ease in our addresses to them, and may even, without profaneness, aspire to a rivalship and emulation of them. Hence activity, spirit, courage, magnanimity, love of liberty, and all the virtues which aggrandize a people."

It is

* Ignorant Philosopher, No. XXIV.

+ Dissertation the Natural History of Religion, § 10.

easy to perceive from this passage, that though Mr. Hume acknowledges the justice of conceiving of a God infinitely superior to us, yet his inclination is the other way. At least, in a nation, the bulk of which will be supposed to be inclined to superstition, it is better according to his reasoning, and more friendly to virtue, to promote the worship of a number of imaginary deities, than of the One only living and true God. Thus the fool saith in his heart, No God!

The sum of the whole is this: Modern unbelievers are Deists theory, Pagans in inclination, and Atheists in practice.

If Deists loved the One only living and true God, they would delight in worshipping him; for love cannot be inoperative and the only possible way for it to operate towards an infinitely glorious and all-perfect Being is by worshipping his name, and obeying his will. If Mr. Paine really felt for "the honour of his Creator," as he affects to do,* he would mourn in secret for all the great wickedness of which he has committed against him; he would lie in in the dust before him, not merely as "an outcast, a beggar, and a worm," but as a sinner deserving his eternal displeasure. He would be glad of a Mediator, through whom he might approach his offended Creator; and would consider redemption by his blood, not as "a fable," but a divine reality, including all his salvation, and all his desire. Yea, he himself would "turn devout ;" and it would be said of him, as of Saul of Tarsus, Behold he prayeth ! Nor would his prayers, though importunate, be "dictatorial," or his grief affected." On the contrary, he would look on Him whom he hath pierced, and mourn, as one mourneth for an only son; and be in bitterness, as one that is in bitterness for his first born. But these are things pertaining to godliness; things, alas for him, the mention of which is sufficient to inflame his mind with malignity, and provoke him to the most outrageous and abusive language.

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*Age of Reason, Part I. p. 16.



PERSONS Who profess the strictest regard to the rule of duty, and carry the extent of it to the highest pitch, may, it is allowed, be insincere, and contradict by their practice what they advance in their professions. But those whose ideas of virtue are low and contracted, and who embrace every opportunity to reconcile the vices of the world with its sacred precepts, cannot possibly be accounted any other than its enemies.

That which the scriptures call holiness, spirituality, &c. as much surpasses every thing that goes under the names of morality and virtue among unbelievers, as a living man surpasses a painting, or even a rude and imperfect daubing. If, in this controversy, I have used these terms to express the scriptural ideas, it is not because in their ordinary acceptation they are equal to the purpose, but for the sake of meeting unbelievers upon their own ground. I have a right, however, to understand by them, those dispositions of the mind, whatever they be, which are right, fit, or amiable; and so explained, I undertake to prove that the morality and virtue inculcated by the gospel is enlarged and free from impurity, while that which is taught by its adversaries is the reverse.

It is a distinguishing property of the Bible that all its precepts aim directly at the heart. It never goes about to form the mere exterior of man. To merely external duties it is a stranger. It forms the lives of men no otherwise than by forming their disposiions. It never addresses itself to their vanity, selfishness, or any

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