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and his providence ; and who has no will but his, must be poffeffed of a never failing source of joy and satisfaction. Every object that occurs to a person of this disposition will be viewed in the most favourable light; and whether it be immediately, pleasurable or painful, the relation it bears to God, and his moral
government, will make it welcome to him.
4. If we consider the foundation of the duty and affection we owe to God upon. the natural principles of right and equity, in the fame manner as, from the same natural dictates, we judge of the duty we owe to mankind, we cannot bút readily conclude, that, if a human father, benefactor, governor, and judge, is intitled to our love, reverence, and obedience; he who is, in a much higher and a more perfect sense, our father, benefactor, governor, and judge, must be intitled to a greater portion of our love, reverence, and obedience; because, in all these relations, he has done, and is continually do
ing more to deserve them. Considering what we have received, and what we daily receive from God, even life and all the powers and enjoyments of it; considering our present privileges, and our future hopes, it is impossible that our attention, attachment, fubmiffion, and confidence, should exceed what is reasonable and properly due to him,
In the regulation of our devotion, we should carefully avoid both enthusiasm and fuperftition, as they both arise from unworthy notions of God, and his moral government. The former confifts in a childish fondness, familiarity, and warmth of passion, and an aptness, on that account, to imagine that we are the peculiar favourites of the divine being, who is the father, friend, and moral governor of all his creatures. Besides this violent affection cannot, in its own nature, be of long continuance. It will, of course, abate of its fervour ; and those who have given way to it will be apt to think of
God with the other extreme of coldness and indifference; the consequence of which is often extreme dejection, fear, anxiety, and distrust; and sometimes it ends in despair, and impiety.
On the other hand, superstition arises from mistaking the proper object of the divine favour and approbation, for want of having a just idea of the moral perfections of God, and of the importance of real virtue. Perfons of this character are extremely punctual with respect to the means and circumstantials of religion, or things that have only an imaginary relation to it, and may be quite foreign to its real nature ; instead of bringing to God the devotion of the heart, and the proper fruits of it, in the faithful difcharge of the duties of life, in the perfonal and social capacities. The omission of some mere form, or ceremony, shall. give such persons more real uneasiness than the neglect of a moral duty; and when they have complied with all the forms F 6
which they think requisite to be observed, their consciences are intirely easy, their former guilt has no pressure, and they are ready to contract new debts, to be wiped off in the same manner Almost all the religion of the Mahometans and Papifts consists in this kind of superstition, and there is too much of it in all sects and de nóminations of christians. I cannot give a clearer idea of the nature of superstition than by what appeared in the conduct of some Roman Catholicks in Ireland, who, I have been told, broke into a house, where they were guilty of robbery and murder, but, sitting down to regale themfelves, would not taste fleth meat, because it was Friday.
There is no quality of the heart so valuable as a juft and manly piety, and nothing fo abject and pernicious as superstition. Superstition and enthusiasm are generally denominated the two extremes of religion, and in some senses they are fo; but, at the same time, they have a near
connection with one another, and nothing is more common than for persons to pass from the one to the other, or to live under the alternate, or even the constant inAuence of them both, without entertaining one sentiment of generous and useful devotion. Indeed the usual ground of the presumption and rapture of the enthusiast is fome external observance, or internal feeling, that can have no claim to the folid approbation of a reasonable being
§ 7. Of the obligation of conscience.
In order to govern our conduct by a regard to our true interest, to the good of mankind, or the will of God, it is necessary that we use our reason, that we think and refleet before we act. Another principle, therefore, was necessary, to dictate to us on sudden emergencies, and to prompt us to right action without reasoning or thinking at all. This principle we call conscience, and being the natural