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his own eternity. Nevertheless, through envy

of the Devil came death into the “ world, and they that do hold of his side do find it.Wisdom, Ch. II. v. 1, &c.

N. VI, NO VI.

Reflections on Deism.

And is there who the blessed cross wipes off,
As a foul blot, from his dishonoured brow?
If angels tremble, 'tis at such a sight. YOUNG.

That a solitary Islander of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by storms and tempests, and deprived, by his situation, of all intercourse with civilized society, should believe in the existence of some supreme invisible

and

yet should find himself unable to pursue his thoughts through a long deduction of arguments; that he should see God in the wind, and yet not be able to account for many appearances in the moral world, is no wonder: but that any one so prejudiced, should be found in these regions, where the light of the gospel has şhone with the brightest beams, where the good and the learned have united their

power,

abilities

abilities to instruct him, is truly a matter of surprise.

The reasoning which has been applied to the atheist, will, in many instances, attach itself strongly to the deist. However men of this description may differ in name, in principle they are frequently the same.

The deist professes to be a believer in God, but he is an unbeliever in revelation; and therefore his belief is unproductive of those qualities which are derived from religion.

I object to the name which the deist has assumed. A true believer in God, as the name implies, cannot, consistent with his belief, reject all communication of the deity with mankind. Every system of religion yet known, Christian, Jewish, Mahometan, and even Pagan, allows a divine inter

And indeed if there be a God, he must be endowed with the most perfect attributes : he must be all-powerful, all-wise, and every where present. Where then is the absurdity in supposing that such a Being should reveal himself to the world? The absurdity is on the other side of the argu

ment;

course.

ment; for such a revelation is altogether probable, if we acknowledge his existence.

But allowing the propriety of the name, how shall we define the belief, or rather the unbelief of the deist? Dr. Clarke, in his celebrated work on the evidences of natural and revealed religion, says, that there are several sorts of deists, and particularly enumerates four. The opinious of the three former which he describes, if argued upon consistently, he says, must finally recur to absolute atheism. The opinions of the fourth sort, he ranks in a different class, for, he adds, “ if they did indeed “ believe what they pretend, they could

not fail of being quickly persuaded to embrace christianity; for being fully con“ vinced of the obligations of natural re

ligion, and the certainty of a future state

of rewards and punishments; and yet “ observing at the same time, how little

use men are generally able to make of “ the light of reason, to discover the one,

or to convince themselves effectually of “the certainty and importance of the other, it is impossible but they must be " sensible of the want of a revelation."

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To ascribe to natural religion all the virtues and good qualities which the world is sometimes so happy as to experience, is to adopt an effect without a correspondent cause. An amiable disposition of mind, united with a good understanding and an unremitting thirst after knowledge, may, perhaps, attain a degree of excellence which demands our admiration. But can we be assured that all these desirable qualities have been derived from nature, and none of them insensibly incorporated from an intercourse with civilized saciety? Can we ascertain the point where the acquirements of nature cease, and those of cultivation begin? Or can we telk which are abstractedly the gifts of nature, and which the communications of menBut go to nature in her most retired haunts. Seek her in the forest and in the cave, Examine her propensities and her conduct How does she appear? Alas! small are the advances she has made ; few are her attainments in morale, as few as her acquisitions in arts and sciences. Tell us not then that nature is the only school for instruction. It is impossible to live as

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