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wrong notions of them; but all suppose and own the divine power and nature." And in another placed he says, "There is no animal besides man that has any knowledge of God; and of men there is no nation so untractable and fierce, although it may be ignorant what a God it should have, yet is not ignorant that one should be had." And again, And again, "It is the sense of all mankind, that it is innate in all, and is, as it were, engraven on the mind, that there is a God; but what a one he is, in that they vary; but that he is, none denies." And to the same sense are the words of Seneca, "There never was a nation so dissolute and abandoned, so lawless and immoral, as to believe there is no God." So Elianus relates, "None of the barbarous nations ever fell into atheism, or doubted of the gods, whether they were or no, or whether they took care of human affairs or not; not the Indians, nor the Gauls, nor the Egyptians." And Plutarch has these remarkable words, "If you go over the earth, says he, you may find cities without walls, letters, kings, houses, wealth, and money, devoid of theatres and schools; but a city without temples and gods, and where is no use of prayers, oaths, and oracles, nor sacrifices to obtain good or avert evil, no man ever saw." These things were observed and said, when the true knowledge of God was in a great measure lost, and idolatry prevailed; and yet even then, this was the general sense of mankind. In the first ages of the world, men universally believed in the true God, and worshipped him, as Adam and his sons, and their posterity, until the flood; nor does there appear any trace of idolatry before it, nor for some time after. The sins which caused that, and with which the world was filled, seem to be lewdness and uncleanness, rapine and violence. Some think the tower of Babel was built for an idolatrous use; and it may be that about that time idolatry was set up; as it is thought to have prevailed in the days of Serug: and it is very probable that when the greater part of the posterity of Noah's sons were dispersed throughout the earth, and settled in the distant parts of it; that as they were remote from those among whom the true worship of God was preserved; they, by degrees, lost sight of the true God, and forsook his worship; and this being the case, they began to worship the sun in his stead, and which led on to the worship of the moon, and the host of heaven; which seem to be the first objects of idolatry. This was as early as the times of Job, who plainly refers to it, ch. xxxi. 26, 27. And, indeed, when men had cast off the true object of worship, what more natural to substitute in his room than the sun, moon, and stars, which were above them, visible by them, and so glorious in themselves, and so beneficial to the earth and men on it. Hence the people of Israel were exhorted to take care that their eyes were not ensnared at the sight of them, to fall down and worship them; and which in after times they did, Deut. iv. 19. 2 Kings xxi. 3. It appears also that men took very early to the edifying of their heroes after death, their kings, De Legibus, 1, 1. e De Natura Deorum, 1. 2. Ep. 117. Var. Hist. I. a. c. 31. So Plato de Legibus, 1. 10. p. 945. Adv. Colotem, vol.2. p. 1125:

great personages, either for their wisdom and knowledge, or for their courage and valour, and marshal exploits, and other things; such were the Bel or Belus, of the Babylonians; the Baal-peor of the Moabites; and the Molech of the Phoenicians; and other Baalim, lords, or kings, mentioned in the scriptures: and such were Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Hercules; and the rest of the rabble of the heathen deities; and indeed their Lares and Penates, or houshold gods, were no other than the images of their deceased parents, or more remote ancestors, whose memory they revered; and in process of time their deities became very numerous; they had gods many and lords many: even with the Jews, when fallen into idolatry, their gods were according to the number of their cities, Jer. ii. 28. And as for the Gentiles, they worshipped almost every thing; not only the sun, moon, and stars; but the earth, fire, and water; and various sorts of animals, as oxen, goats, and swine, cats and dogs; the fishes of the rivers, the river-horse, and the crocodile, those amphibious creatures; the fowls of the air, as the hawk, stork, and ibis; and even insects, the fly; yea, creeping things, as serpents, the beetle, &c. as also vegetables, onions, and garlic; which occasioned the satyrical poet to say, O sanctas gentis quibus hæc nascuntur in hortis, numina! O holy nations, whose gods are born in their gardens! Nay, some have worshipped the devil himself, as both in the East and West Indies; and that for this reason, that he might not hurt them. Now though all this betrays the dreadful depravity of human nature; the wretched ignorance of mankind; and the sad stupidity men were sunk into; yet at the same time such shocking idolatry, in all the branches of it, is a full proof of the truth and force of my argument, that all men, in all ages and countries, have been possessed of the notion of a God; since, rather than have no God, they have chosen false ones; so deeply rooted is a sense of Deity in the minds of all men.

I am sensible that to this it is objected, that there have been, at different times, and in different countries, some particular persons who have been reckoned atheists, deniers of the being of a God. But some of these men were only deriders of the gods of their country; they mocked at them as unworthy of the name, as weak and insufficient to help them; as they reasonably might; just as Elijah mocked at Baal, and his worshippers. Now the common people because they so behaved towards their gods, looked upon them as atheists, as such who did not believe there was any God. Others were so accounted, because they excluded the gods from any concern with human affairs; they thought they were otherwise employed, and that such things were below their notice, and not becoming their grandeur and dignity to regard; and had much the same sentiments as some of the Jews, Ezek. ix. 9. Zeph. i. 12. But these men were not deniers of the existence of God, only of his providence as to the affairs of the world: and others have been rather practical than speculative atheists, as the fool in P's. xiv. 1. who not only live as if there was no God; but wish in their hearts there was none, rather Juvenal. Satyr. 15. v. 10. * Peter Martyr de Angleria. Decad. 1. 1. 9. Vartoman. NaPlutarch. de Placitis Philofoph. 1. 1. c. 7.

vigat. 1. 5. c. 12. 23. and l. 6. c. 16. 27.


than believe there is none; that so they might take their fill of sin, without being accountable to a superior being. The number of real speculative atheists have been very few, if any; some have boldly asserted their disbelief of a god; but it is a question whether their hearts and mouths have agreed; at least they have not been able to maintain their unbelief long" without some doubts and fears. And at most this only shews how much the reason of man may be debased; and how low it may sink when left to itself: these few instances are only particular exceptions to a general rule; which is not destroyed thereby, being contrary to the common sense of mankind; even as it is no sufficient objection to the definition of man, as a rational creature, that there is now and then an idiot born of his race, so not to the general belief of Deity, that there is now and then an atheist in the world.

It is further objected, that there have been whole nations in Africa and America, who have no notion of Deity. But this is what has not been sufficiently proved; it depends upon the testimonies of travellers, and what one affirms, another denies; so that nothing can with certainty be concluded from them. "I should rather question, says Herbert, Lord Cherbury", whether the light of the sun has shone on the remotest regions, than that the knowledge of the Supreme Being is hidden from them; since the sun is only conspicuous in its own sphere; but the Supreme Being is seen in every thing. Diodorus Siculus says, a few of the Ethiopians were of opinion there was no God; though before he had represented them as the first and most religious of all nations, as attested by all antiquity. The Hottentots, about the Cape of Good Hope, have been instanced in, as without any knowledge of Deity: and certainly they are a most beastly and brutish people that can be named, and the most degenerate of the human species, and have survived the common instincts of humanity?; yet, according to Mr. Kolben's account of them, published some years ago, they appear to have some sense of a Supreme Being, and of inferior deities. They express a superstitious joy at new and full moons; and it is said they pray to a Being that dwells above; and offer sacrifice of the best things they have, with eyes lifted up to heaven'. And later discoveries of other nations, shew the contrary to what has been asserted of them; which assertions have arose either from want of intimate knowledge of them, and familiar acquaintance with them, or from their dissolute, wicked and irreligious lives; when, by conversing with them, it appears that they have a notion of the sun, or sky, or something or another being a sort of deity. Thus it has been observed of the Greenlanders', that "they had neither a religion nor idolatrous worship; nor so much as any ceremonies to be perceived tending to it: hence the first missionaries entertained a supposition, that there was not the least trace to be found among m Plato observes, that no man that embraced this opinion from his youth, that there is no God, ever continued in it to old age, De Legibus, l. 10. p. 947. "De Relig. Gent. c. 13.


p. 225.

• Biblioth. 1. 3. p. 148.

See the Philos. Transact. Abrid. Vol. 5. part 2. p. 154.

1 See Dr. Watts's Strength and Weakness of human reason, Vol. II. of his works, p. 262. &c.

See Ovington's Voyage to Surat, p. 489, 498, and Dampier's Voyages, Vol. 1. p. 541.
Crantz's History of Greenland, Vol. I. b. 3. ch. 5. P. 197. 198.

them of any conception of a divine Being, especially as they had no word to express him by. But when they came to understand their language better, they found quite the reverse to be true, from the notions they had, though very vague and various, concerning the soul, and concerning spirits; and also from their anxious solicitude about the state after death. And not only so, but they could plainly gather from a free dialogue they had with some perfectly wild Greenlanders, that their ancestors must have believed a supreme Being, and did render hina some service; which their posterity neglected by little and liale, the further they were removed from more wise and civilized nations; till at last they lost every just conception of the Deity; yet, after all, it is manifest, that a faint idea of a divine Being lies concealed in the minds even of this people, because they directly assert without any objection, to the doctrine of a God, and his attributes." And as to what is concluded from the irreligious lives of the inhabitants of some na❤ tions, we need not be sent to Africa and America for such atheists as these; we have enough of them in our own nation; and I was just ready to say, we are a nation of atheists in this sense: and, indeed, all men in an unregenerate state, be they Jews or Gentiles, or live where they may, they are aci, atheists; as the apostle calls them, Eph. ii. 12. they are "without God in the world, being alienated from the life of God," ch. iv. 18. otherwise there is such a general sense of Deity in mankind; and such a natural inclination to religion, of some sort of another, though ever so bad, that some have thought that man should rather be defined as a religious than a rational animal. I take no notice of the holy angels, who worship God continually; nor of the devils, who believe there is one God and tremble; my argument being only concerned with men.

The second argument shall be taken from the law and light of nature; or from the general instinct in men, or impress of Deity on the mind of every man; that is, as soon as he begins to have the exercise of his rational powers, he thinks and speaks of God, and assents to the Being of a God. This follows upon the former, and is to be proved by it; for as Cicero' says, "The consent of all nations in any thing, is to be reckoned the law of nature." And since all nations agree in the belief of a Deity, that must be a part of the law of nature, inscribed on the heart of every man. Seneca" makes use of this to prove there is a God; "because, says he, an opinion or sense of Deity, is implanted in the minds of all men." And so likewise Cicero, as observed before; and who calls them the notions of Deity implanted and innate. And whoever believes the Mosaic account of the creation of man, cannot doubt of this being his case, when first created; since he is said to be made in the image, and after the likeness of God; for the image of God surely could not be impressed upon him, without having the knowledge of him implanted in him; and though man by sinning has greatly come short of this image, and glory of God, yet this light of nature is not wholly obscured, nor the law of nature entirely obliterated in him; there are some remains of it. There are some indeed among us, who deny there are any innate ideas in

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the minds of men, and particularly concerning God: but to such writers and rea soners I pay but little regard; when the inspired apostle assures us, that even the Gentiles, destitute of the law of Moses, have the work of the law written in their hearts, Rom. ii. 15. which, as it regards duty to God, as well as man, necessarily supposes the knowledge of him; as well as of the difference between good and evil, as founded upon his nature and will: And though this light of nature is not sufficient to lead men in their present state, to a true, spiritual and saving knowledge of God; yet it furnishes them with such a sense of him, as puts them upon seeking him; "if haply they may feel and grope after him, and find him," Acts xvii. 27. These notices of a divine Being do not flow from the previous instructions of parents and others; but from a natural instinct; at most, they are only drawn forth by instruction and teaching; "that there is a Deity, Velleius, the Epicurean, says, nature itself has impressed the notion of, on the minds of all men; for what nation, er sort of men, adds he, that has not a certain anticipation of it without being taught it," or before taught it, as Julian expresses it: nor do these notices take their rise from state-policy; or are the effects of that originally: if this was the case, if it was the contrivance of politicans to keep iren in awe, and under subjection, it must be the contrivance of one man, or more united together. If of one, say, who is the man? in what age he lived, and where? and what is his name, or his sons names? If of more, say, when and where they existed? and who they were that met together? and where they formed this scheme? And let it be accounted for, if it can; that such a number of sage and wise men, who have been in the world; that no man should be able to get into the secret, and detect the fallacy and discover it, and free men from the imposition. Besides, these notices appeared before any scheme of politics was formed; or kings or civil magistrates were in being. Plato' has refused this notion; and represents it as a very pestilent one, both in private and in public. Nor are these notices by tradition from one to another; since traditions are peculiar to certain people: the Jews had theirs, and so had the Gentiles; and particular nations among them had separate oncs from each other; but these are common to all mankind: nor do they spring from a slavish fear and dread of punishment; for though it has been said, that fear makes gods, or produces a notion of Deity; the contrary is true, that Deity produces fear, as will be seen in a following argument.

Under this head may be observed the innate desires of men after happiness, which are so boundless as not to be satisfied. Let a man have ever so great a compass of knowledge and understanding; or possess ever so large a portion of wealth and riches; or be indulged with the gratification of his senses to the highest degree; or enjoy all the pleasure the whole creation can afford him; yet after all, according to the wise man, the conclusion of the whole is, all is vanity and vexation of spirit, Eccles. ii. 17. Now these desires are not in vain implanted,


Apud Ciceron, de Natura Deorum, 1. 1. Apud Grotium de jure Belli, 1. 2. c. 20. §. 45. Anuotat. in ibid. p. 334. y De Legibus, l. 10. p. 948. z Primus in orbe Deos fecit timor,

Statii Thebaid. 1. 3. v. 661.

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