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in the human mind, and the improvement and reinforcement which it receives from the Revelation of the Gospel. Reliz ligion, in general, (says he) confiits in our acquiring just and worthy sentiments concerning the Deity, and in our rendering to him an homage, or worhip, that is suited to bis perfections. As the first branch of religion consists in the acquisition of becoming sentiments of the Deity, Mr. Orr gives us a fort view of the evidence for the being, perfections, providence, and moral administration of God, suited to the common perceptions and feelings of mankind, without having recourse to the more abstruse arguments, which have been commonly urged to eftablish thele points.
The sum of these just and true apprehensions, which the common light of nature and reason suggests concerning the Deity, is, in our Author's own words, as follows:- God is that Being, .who is original, independent, and supreme in the universe; who, having all perfection in himself, and deriving his existence from none, hath communicated existence to all other persons and things, with all the powers and virtues with which they are endowed; who hath always been, and will always continue to be, strictly eternal, immense, and alone possessed of underived divine majesty and glory; a fpirit ever living and active, most intelligent, wise, and powerful, most benevolent, holy, and just; who constantly inspecteth and directeth all things to the nobleft and best purpofes, and interefteth himself particularly in the affairs of men, in the character both of a gracious Father, and a righteous Lord and Governor."
The other effential branch of Religion consists, partly, we are told, in the exercise of those affections which terminate in God himself, and naturally arise in us, upon a fimple view of his most amiable perfections; and, partly, in a performance of all the other duties which he hath required from us, either by that law, which in the constitution of our nature he hath laid us under, or by any notices which he hath otherwise coveyed to us of his will.
We shall lay before our Readers part of what Mr. Orr advances in regard to the exercise of pious affections; it will Terve as a specimen of that spirit which breathes through the whole of his performance. * The first thing (says he) com. prehended in the worship of God, is the exercise of thofe affections, of which , he is the fole object, and which move and exert themselves upon a simple vicw of his most lovely
perfections, such as reverence, love, gratitude, joy, trust, dependence, and resignation. And let no one think that these affections, and the natural expressions of them in acts of adoration, praise, thanksgiving, and prayer, can ever be excufably wanting in any who acknowlege a Deity. Some persons, indeed, in the schemes or systems which they form of the duties of men, either altogether omit, or make but little account, of the affections which are to be exercised towards God himself, laying the chief, or the whole stress of morality on the social virtues, and those which tend to a man's private good or happiness. But it is hard to account for such a defective scheme of morals, upon any but atheistical principles ; for if God indeed existeth, if there is really a being immensely great and excellent, poflessed of all wisdom, power, goodness, purity, and righteousness; who made, preserveth, and governeth all things; who is, particularly, the kind and indulgent parent of the human race, the holy and just governor of moral agents ; if there be really such a Being, can it be doubted whether the highest reverence, love, duty, and submission, be not due to him, from all whom he hath made capable of knowing his incomparable worth, and of reflecting on the endearing relations in which he standeth to them? Can those, who are often struck with high admiration of the virtues of frail mortals, help being most agreeably affected with the contemplation of original supreme beauty and excellence, from whence our highest graces and perfections are but so many faint rays and emanations ? Can the man, who fceleth the most fincere and affectionate respect and gratitude to his parents upon earth, be void of the strongest sentiments of veneration, love, and submision to his father in heaven, who, as the heavens are high above the eart), hath mercy, in proportion, towards his children, who love and fear him? Can the persons who revere an excellent prince, an equitable and gracious master in this world, who are inviolably attached to their rights and interests, and ambitious of serving them faithfully ; can such ever fall short in the expressions of respect and homage, or fail in the allegiance and duty, which they owe to the universal King, the sceptre of whole kingdom is a sceptre of righteousness, who ruleth his subjects with the most perfect equity, clemency, and goodness; and is more truly and eminently, than the greatest and bett upon earth can posibly be, the father, protector, and guardian of his servants? In short, if there be a foundation in our nature at all, for the affections of reverence, honour, gratitude, and love, towards the most respectable and eminent characters among men, towards great benefactors, friends,
parents, patriots, heroes, legislators ; the same affections, in the natural course of their operation, tend to God himself, and must ultimately rest and terminate in him, if we have but a full persuasion of his existence, and a just and lively sense of his excellencies and perfections. It is therefore unaccountable how any, who profess to believe in God, and have any true notions of his character, can ever be indifferent. about the exercise of those affections, which become them, towards him.”
It has been urged, indeed, that as the merit of virtue, or of our moral qualities, is founded in utility, one need be but little solicitous, about the affections which terminate in God, as they are of no use to mankind, whose welfare de-'. pends upon the exercise of the social virtues, and the practice of those duties which contribute to every one's own ease and prosperity. This objection our Author answers in the following manner:
“ Not to enter here (says he) into an enquiry, whether utility is the only ground of the merit of virtue, or the only foundation of our approbation of moral qualities, it is allowed that the social virtues of justice and humanity, and likewise temperance, industry, and the like, are of very great worth and importance; without which, as there would be no order and happiness among men, so neither could there be any true religion in them. But if any one will say, that these are the only moral qualities of real value and consequence to mankind, while a respect to God, and the love and fear of him, can have no influence on their happiness, he must certainly appear to be in a great mistake. For, first, it cannot but be clear to every one, who hath experienced the force of these affections, that they are most plentiful and constant springs of joy and confolation to him, in all circumstances and conditions of life ; and beside this, it is plain, that they have a great efficacy for engaging men to the practice even of those duties which they owe to the public and to themselves, and are indeed the best security for the steady, uniform, and vigorous performance of them. For though the social and private virtues of men are very lovely in their own nature, and of the greatest consequence to the good order of the world, and to the true enjoyment of life, and though we are naturally determined to approve and practise them, antecedently to the confideration of their being required by the supreme I.awgiver, who both can, and will reward or punish us, aceoruing to our obedience or disobedience; yet, if we judge
from coinmon observation and experience, the greatest part of
branch of their duty.”.
the improving them in all morally good qualities, there are some other things intended by Religion, even as it appears in its most perfect form in the Gospel; such as the initruéting us in certain doctrines not discoverable by reason, and the engaging us to some peculiar forms of external religion, Mr. Orr answers, That whatever of this sort is proposed by any true religion, must always be in subordination to the efrablishing the practice of all goodness and virtue among men, which is particularly the great and ultimate end of the Christian institution, to which every other thing in it is made subservient. Accordingly we find, that both the doctrines of the Gospel, and the positive external rites of it, have all a practical view and tendency; and that if the belief of its doctrines, and the use of its rites, be not the means of influencing us to an universally pure and good life, they cannot be of the least fignificancy. A wise man, indeed, could hardly by any means persuade himself of the truth and divine original of any institution of Religion, the whole or the principal intention of which was only to gain our allent to some fpeculative notions, or to engage us to the observance of some ouiward' rites; but whatever pretences were made use of to support its authority, he would be very apt to consider it only as the effect of enthusiasm or impofture.
Our Author now proceeds to consider the rise and progress of Religion in the human mind, and how far the powers of our nature, when diligently and impartially exercised, can carry us, exclusively of an extraordinary revelation, in tracing out the principles, the duties, and the obligations of it. Though no explicit or actual knowlege of Religion, is born with us, yet (he says) we certainly have powers originally implanted in our natures, which, exerting themselves according to the intention and order of nature, muft necessarily lead us to an acknowlegement of the Deity, and of his several attributes ; and likewise to a discovery of the true and accepte able methods of honouring and serving him: and which, even when most neglected and uncultivated, spontaneously furnish, at some time or other, the greatest part of men, with some true sentiments in thefe points.-Even when Religion was, in almost all parts of the world, most miserably obscured and defaced, by a mixture of polytheism, idolatry, and superstition, or a multiplicity of the groffest errors and absurdities, several persons (he tells us) were still able to reason themfelves into a belief and acknowlegement of all the principal truths of genuine theism, and of some others, closely con