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they are capable of doing it. It is but to impress upon the mind of a man a set of religious principles, and point out to him a set of religious practices, by such impressions, and then a religion is coined for that man, and for all that shall be discipled to him. And,
As to the other question, viz. what kind of evidence invisible agents not divine can produce to engage mens attention to, and belief of, those religious impressions that are made upon their minds; the answer to this question will not be hard nor difficult, if we admit a supposition which is likewise usually admitted into the schemes of moft Religionists, name- ly, that such invisible agents do not only impress various and contrary images upon the minds of men, but also that they do otherwise operate, or use their power, upon this globe. But before I proceed to answer this question, two things must be premised, viz. first, if the actions of free beings are foreknowable in nature, (which point is admitted by most Religionists) then, those actions may be foreknowable, not only to the Deity, but also to some other invisible agents not divine. For, as knowledge is communicable; fo foreknowledge may be communicable also. That is, as creatures are so formed that they can attain knowledge by the exercise of those powers which result from their natural constitutions so foreknowledge may be attainable in the same way; I say, this may be the case for any thing we know or can thew to the contrary.
However, this is apparent that the knowledge and sagacity which results from the constitutions of various animals is greatly different, as the knowledge and fagacity of a man is greatly superior to that of an ass
. And, this may be the case of invisible agents not divine. And therefore, tho' men may not be able certainly to discover and foreknow the actions of each other, and other events that are dependent on such actions ; yet it will by no means follow from thence, that such discovery and foreknowledge cannot result from the natural conftitutions of any invisible agents not divine. Again, Secondly, if invisible agents not divine can, and do operate, or exercise their power on this globe, (which proposition is admitted by many Religionists,) then, there is no operation on this globe, tho' ever so much above the natural ability or inherent power of man, but may be performed by the power of some invisible agent not divine. I say, this may be the case for any thing we know or can thew to the contrary. For, as power is communicable; so it is equally as easy for God to communicate one kind, or degree of power as another; at least it is so for any thing we know, and to suppose the contrary is plainly a limitation of God's power. Besides, there are various kinds and degrees of power, which result from the natural constitutions of the inhabitants of this globe, and this may likewise be the case of in visible agents not divine. And, this accounts for Moses's contest with, and
victory victory over, the Magicians of Egypt. The power of the invisible being, or beings who assisted Mofes, was much greater than the power of those invisible beings who assisted the Magicians; and thereby, Mofes, in point of miracle working, became greatly their fuperior. These points being premised, I return to the question proposed, viz. what kind of evidence invisible agents not divine can produce to engage mens attention to, and belief of those religious impressions that are made upon their minds? And the answer to this question, (admitting the above fuppofitions) is fhort, plain, and obvious, namely, they have had, or may have had, Oracles, Prophecies, Prodigies, Miracles, &c. to answer these purposes. This is the case supposing Religion to be the creature of some invisible agent, of agents, not divine.
Thus I have shewn how the case will stand, whether we consider Religion as founded only on the opinions and fancies, or on the cunning and craftiness of men ; or whether it has been introduced into the world by the interposition of fome invisible agent, or agents, not divine. And, I fear, the case will not be much mended, if we consider it as founded only on the absolute sovereignty and arbitrary will of God, which is the point that comes next under confideration. Absolute sovereignty and mere will has no rule to act by, and has nothing but mere capricious humour for it's guide; and if we consider the Deity as under no other direction but this, then, the affair of Religion must be a most wild and extravagant thing. Then, what is constituted religion to-day, may be turned into irreligion to-morrow; what is made to be virtue in one place, may be made to be vice in another. Then, charity may be made rewardable in one people, and cruelty rewardable in another. Then, diffimulation and fraud may be made punishable at one time, and integrity and justice punishable at another. And tho', upon this supposition true Religion, if the term may be admitted, is of God; yet every man would be under the utmost uncer tainty what is true Religion; because he has nothing to guide him in the enquiry, nor no rule by which he can judge what Religion is of God, and what is not. · As to the principles and practices of any Religion, these can no way affist us in forming a judgment, whether any particular Religion be of God, or not. For, as upon the present fuppofition, there is no such thing as right and wrong in nature ; fo any one thing whatever must be as agreeable to capricious humour, and as likely to be chosen by sovereign and arbitrary will as any other thing. Upon the present supposition, truth and fallhood, mercy and cruelty, honesty and dishonesty, are upon a level, one being as eligible, and as fit to be chofen or recommended as another. And, as the internal characters of any Religion cannot possibly afford an argument in favour of it's divine original; so neither can they possibly afford any objection against it; and consequently, every man must be under the utmost uncertainty, whether the Religion he adheres to be of God, or not. And therefore, to raise an argument either for, or against the divine original of any Religion from the perfections of the Deity, would be greatly absurd; because, upon the present fuppofition, there is no such thing as perfection or imperfection in nature. And, : As to any external evidence which may be supposed to attend any Religion, such as Prophesies, Miracles, &c. these can afford no light in the prefent cafe. I have already observed that as knowledge is communicable ; fo foreknowledge may be communicable also; and that as to power, it is equally as easy for God to communicate one kind or degree of power, as another; I say, this is, or may be the cafe for any thing we know or can thew to the contrary; and consequently, there is no prophesy nor miracle which takes place among men but may be produced by the operation of some invisible agent not divine. Now, if this may be the case, of which no one can prove the contrary; then, no external evidence whatever can possibly prove any Religion to be of God; because such evidence may be produced, not by the operation of God, but of some other invisible agent not divine. And, were we to presume that such evidences are of God, it would not help the cafe ; because, upon the present supposition, God