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or visible and tangible beauty, gave audience to the more fierce and malign emotions in their subdued and tranquil hour: or it brought them over unconsciously to such a mood.—Orpheus was immortal in Greece, and always present in the temples to lull the angry or destructive desires of the rude populace. — The lion and the leopard are seen stalking along, if sullen, yet pacified, in the processions of revelry and joy.

The Malignant Powers had indeed their titles and images, and temples in Greece; but their tyranny was not permitted; and in accordance with this proscription the priestly order was denied the means of extending its power. Nothing dark or cruel was suffered, in a crude form, to irritate the minds of the people. Although Fanaticism could not be absolutely excluded from the land of beauty, it received there more effectual modifications than any where else—the very circle of pure and true religion excepted. Hesiod, Pindar, Homer, Æschylus, Sophocles, Apelles, Phidias, were in fact, though not in form, the Priests of the Grecian worship, and the doctors of its theology; and if they did not professedly teach religious truth, they yet disarmed religious error very much of its evil influence.

Historical justice demands that when the absurdities and the impurity of the Grecian polytheism (both indeed very gross) are spoken of,

its extraordinary influence in allaying the violence of fanaticism should be distinctly admitted. On this ground no other superstition of the nations can at all come into comparison with it. The same justice should moreover lead us to acknowledge—to acknowledge with bitter grief, that, in later times, the corruptions of the Jewish and Christian systems imparted a virulence to fanaticism, such as the contemporaries of Socrates and Plato would have shuddered to think of.The arrogant misanthropy of the Jew—the relentless intolerance of the Mohammedan, and most of all, the insatiate bigotry of the Papist, were forms of evil, new to the world when they severally appeared, and gave an appearance of reason to the calumnies of philosophers, who affirmed that the western nations had discarded the ancient mythology to their cost.

II. The conceptions we form of the Divine Being, and our feelings toward our fellow men, are always dependent one upon the other. As well by natural influence, as by mere contagion of sentiments, a belief in malignant divinities, or an imputation of malevolence in any form, to the Supreme Being, brings with it the supposition that the mass of mankind, or at least that certain portions of mankind, are the objects and the victims of Divine malediction; and therefore may be, or ought to be, contemned, tormented, destroyed.


Is it theory only, or is it matter of history, that MaliGN THEOLOGY has invariably been followed at hand by intolerance, execrations, cruelties? Or whichever may have been precursor, the other has quickly come up. Nor is a simple association all, for the style of the theoretic error will be found to have comported with the character of the practical mischief. Thus it is that, as the belief in malevolent divinities, or the imputation of malevolence (under any disguise of abstract terms) to the Supreme Being, contradicts or distorts the genuine notion of sovereign and impartial JUSTICE, to the tribunal of which nothing is amenable but crime, so the correspondent feeling towards mankind which such a belief engenders, is not that of righteous disapprobation on the score of moral offences; but that of detestation or abhorrence, on the mysterious ground of ecclesiastical impurity. It is not as the transgressors of a holy law, but as the reprobate of Heaven, that men in particular, or that nations are to be shut out from the circle of our charities. The multitude or herd of mankind is spurned as abominable, much more than as guilty. And when once so grievous a perversion of feeling has taken place, then the whole of the force which belongs to our instinctive notions of retribution, or to our acquired belief of future judgment, is thrown into the channel of our sectarian aversions; and this force, like a mountain torrent, in so passing from an open to a narrow bed, gains new impetuosity.-Ingenuous disapproval becomes covert rancour; virtuous indignation slides into implacable revenge ; and acrid scorn completely excludes, not only all indulgence towards the frailty of men, but all compassion for their sorrows.

A sense of justice founded on genuine notions of the Divine character and government, does not carry the mind further than to a mournful acquiescence in the infliction of due punishment upon the guilty. But it is quite otherwise with that perverted feeling which, while it draws its animation from hatred, derives its swollen bulk from the imagination.The imagination inflamed by malignity, respects no bounds in its demand of vengeance. The very essence of Justice, which is strictly to observe a limit, scandalizes the fanatic, who must heap terror upon terror, and still fails to satisfy his conception of what might be fitting, as the doom of the accursed objects of his contempt. There is in the human mind, when profoundly moved, a strange eagerness to reach the depths of the most appalling ideas;-or, shall we say, to tread the very lowest ground of the world of woe and horror. This innominate appetite finds its proper aliment when a Manichæan belief is turned wildly loose upon the field of human misery:-carnage, murder, slavery, torment, famine, pestilence, pining anguish;—or hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic fires, are all so many articles

in the creed of the malign being. Under the influence of this cavernous inspiration, Pity is thought of, not merely as contemptible, but as impious;—Justice is injustice, and leniency the greatest of crimes.- Are we here only giving point to a paragraph?—or has not history often and again verified such a description of the enormities which the human heart, badly informed, may entertain ?*

III. But the Fanatic, inasmuch as he is an Enthusiast born, must take up yet another and a more sparkling element of character; and it is nothing else than the supposition of corrupt favouritism on the part of the deity he worships, toward himself and the faction of which he is a member. The Fanatic, and this we must keep in mind, is not a simple misanthrope, nor the creature of sheer hatred and cruelty:-he does not move like a venemous reptile lurking in a crevice, or winding silent through the grass; but soars in mid heaven as a fiery flying serpent, and looks down from on high upon whom he hates. Imaginative by temperament, his emotions are allied to hope and presumption, more closely than to fear and despondency: he firmly believes, therefore, in the favour of the supernal powers towards their faithful votaries; and in expectation of still more signal boons than yet he has received, offers

• A fit occasion will present itself for excluding any sinister inference which might be drawn from these allegations against the serious verities of Christianity.

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