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nature, which orders and governs all things with the greatest freedom and wisdom, and supports them with unwearied and almighty power. In this acceptation, when you name nature, you mean God. Seneca's words are very apposite to this purpose. “ Whithersoever you turn yourself, you see God meeting you, nothing excludes his presence, he fills all his works : therefore it is in vain for thee, most ungrateful of all men, to say, thou art not indebted to God, but to nature, because they are, in fact, the same. If thou hadst received any thing from Seneca, and should say, thou owedst it to Annæus or Lucius, thou wouldest not thereby change thy creditor, but only his name; because, whether thou mentionest his name or sirname, his person is still the same*."

An evident and most natural consequence of this universal and necessary idea of a God, is his unity; all that mention the term God, intend to convey by it the idea of the first most exalted, necessary existent, and infinitely perfect being: and it is plain, there can be but one being endued with all these perfections. Nay, even the polytheism, that prevailed among the heathen nations, was not carried so far, but that they acknowledged one God, by way of eminence, as supreme, and absolutely above all the rest, whom they styled the greatest and best of Beings, and the Father of gods and men. From him all the rest had their being, and all that they were, and from him also they had the title of gods, but still in a limited and subordinate sense. In confirmation of this, we meet with very many of the clearest testimonies, with regard to the unity of God, in the works of all the heathen authors. That of Sophocles is very remarkable : “ There is indeed, says he, one God; and but one, who has made the heavens, and the wide extended earth, the blue surges of the sea, and the strength of the winds*.”

* Quocunq; te flexeris, ibi Deum vides occurrentem tibi, nihil ab illo vacat; opus suum ipse implet : ergo nihil agis, ingratissime mortalium, qui te negas Deo debere, sed naturæ, quia eidem est utrumq; officium. Si quid a Seneca accepisses, et Annæo te diceres dbere vel Lucio, non creditorem mutares, sed nomen, quoniam sive nomen ejus dicas, sive prenomen,


idem tamen ipse est. SENECA, 4. de Benef.

As to the mystery of the sacred Trinity, which has a near and necessary connection with the present subject, I always thought it was to be received and adored with the most humble faith, but by no means to be curiously searched into, or perplexed with the absurd questions of the schoolmen. We fell by an arrogant ambition after knowledge, by mere faith we rise again, and are reinstated; and this mystery, indeed, rather than any other, seems to be a tree of knowledge, prohibited to us while we sojourn in these mortal bodies. This most profound mystery, though obscurely represented by the shadows of the Old Testament, rather than clearly revealed, was not unknown to the most an,

* Είς ταϊς αληθειαισιν, εις εσίν Θεός,

έρανόν τ' έτευξε και γαλαν μακράν Πόντε τε χαραπόν διδμα και ανεμων βιας. .

cient and celebrated doctors among the Jews, nor altogether unattested, however obstinately later authors may

maintain the contrary. Nay, learned men bave observed, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, are expressly acknowledged in the books of the Cabalists, and they produce surprising things to this purpose out of the book Zohar, which is ascribed to R. Simeon, Ben. Joch, and some other Cabalistical writers. Nay the book, just now mentioned, after saying a great deal concerning the Three in one essence, adds, “ That this secret will not be revealed to all till the coming of the Messias*.” I insist not upon what is said of the name consisting of twelve letters, and another larger one of forty-two, as containing a fuller explication of that most sacred name, which they called Hammephorasht.”

Nor is it improbable, that some dawn, at least, of this mystery had reached even the heathen philosophers. There are some who think they can prove, by arguments of no inconsiderable weight, that Anaxagoras, by his væś or mind, meant nothing but the son, or wisdom that made the world : but the testimonies are clearer, which you find frequently among the Platonic philosophers, concerning the Three subsisting from onet; moreover, they all call the self-existent Being, the creating word, or the mind

Hoc arcanum non revelabitur unicuique, quousq; venerit Messias.

+ Maim. Mor. Nev. part. i. c. 16
+ Περί τριων εξ ενος υποσάντων.

and the soul of the world*. But the words of the Ægyptian Hermes are verysurprising: “ The mind which is God, together with his word, produced another Creating-mind; nor do they differ from one another, for their union is lifet.”

But what we now insist upon is, the plain and evident necessity of one supreme, and therefore of one only principle of all things, and the harmonious agreement of mankind in the belief of the absolute necessity of this same principle.

This is the God, whom we admire, whom we worship, whom we entirely love, or, at least, whom we desire to love above all things, whom we can neither express in words, nor conceive in our thoughts; and the less we are capable of these things, so much the more necessary it is to adore him with the profoundest humility, and love him with the greatest intention and fervour. .

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Of the WORSHIP of God, PROVIDENCE, and the

Law given to Man.

THOUGH I thought it by no means proper to proceed without taking notice of the arguments, that served to confirm the first and leading truth of religion, and the general consent of mankind with re. gard to it; yet the end, I chiefly proposed to myself, was to examine this consent, and point out its force, and the use to which it ought to be applied; to call off your minds from the numberless disputes about religion, to the contemplation of this universal agreement, as into a more quiet and peaceable country, and to shew you, what I wish I could effectually convince you of, that there is more weight and force in this universal harmony and consent of mankind in a few of the great and universal principles, to confirm our minds in the sum and substance of religion, than the innumerable disputes, that still subsist with regard to the other points, ought to have to discourage us in the exercise of true piety, or, in the least, to weaken our faith.

* Το αυτό, ον τον δημιεργον λογον, seu νεν, και την σε κόσμε ψυχην.

* ο νές Θεός απεκυησε λόγω έτερον νεν δημιουργών, αλλ' και διίσανται απαλληλων, ένωσις γάρ τέτων εςιν η ζωή.

In consequence of this it will be proper to lay before

you the other propositions contained in this general consent of mankind, with regard to religion. Now, the first of these being, “ That there is one, and but one eternal principle of all things ;' from this it will most naturally follow, " that this principle or deity is to be honoured with some worship ;” and from these two taken together, it must be, with the same necessity, concluded, “ that there is a providence, or, that God doth not despise or neglect the world, which he has created, and mankind, by whom he ought to be, and actually is worshipped, but governs them with the most watch. ful and perfect wisdom.”.

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