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On the leading topics which have divided the Christian world, the Author has formed his own opinion, and has adopted those which he has judged, on the whole, to be most correct; but it is of no importance to the reader what these opinions are, or of what system of speculative theology he is inclined, on the whole, to support. He sets very little value upon purely speculative opinions, except in so far as they tend to promote the grand moral objects of Christianity; and while he assumes the unalienable right of thinking for himself on the subject of religion, he is disposed to allow the same privilege to others. He believes, on the authority of Scripture, that “God is the Creator of heaven and earth." that he is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works;"—that he is good to all, and that his tender mercies are over all his works :"that "he so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him might not perish, but have everlasting life ;'' that“ Christ died for our sins, that he was buried, and that he rose again from the dead according to the Scriptures;”—that “he is the propitiation for our sins, and that he ever lives to make intercession ;"_together with all the other facts and doctrines with which these are essentially connected. But he views the recognition of such doctrines and facts, not as the end of religion, but only as the means by which the great moral objects of Christianity are to be promoted and accomplished.

In illustrating the Moral state of the world, the Author is sorry that he was obliged to compress his details within so narrow limits. Few readers, however, will appreciate the labour and research he was under the necessity of bestowing, in order to select and arrange the facts which he has detailed. He has occasionly had to condense a long history or nar. rative, and even a whole volume, into the compass of two or three pages; and to search through more than twenty volumes, in order to find materials to fill a couple of pages. With the same degree of research, (excepting the mechanical labour of transcription,) he might have filled several volumes with similar illustrations; and hé is convinced that a work of this description, judiciously executed, would prove highly instructive, as well as entertaining, not only to the Christian world, but to readers of every description.

Various topics connected with the Philosophy of Religion, still remain to be illustrated. These shall form the subject of discussion in a future volume, should the present work be received with general approbation.

PERTH, January, 1826.

THE

PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION.

INTRODUCTION.

The objects of human knowledge may be reduced to two classes—the relations of matter and the relations of mind; or, in other words, the material and the intellectual universe. Of these two departments of science, the intellectual universe is, in many respects, the most interesting and important. For, in so far as our knowledge and researches extend, it appears highly probable, if not absolutely certain, that the material universe exists solely for the sake of sentient and intelligent beings--in order to afford a sensible manifestation of the attributes of the Great First Cause, and to serve as a vehicle of thought and a medium of enjoyment to subordinate intelligen

So intimately related, however, are these two objects of human investigation, that a knowledge of the one cannot be obtained but through the medium of the other. The operations of mind cannot be carried on without the intervention of external objects; for if the material universe had never existed, we could never have prosecuted a train of thought;* and

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* The whole train of ideas which passes through our minds on any subject may be considered as the images of external objects variously modified and combined. These images we receive through the medium of our senses, by which we hold a communication with the material world. All our ideas of God, and of the objects of religion, are derived from the same

The illustrations of the attributes of the Deity, and of his moral administration, contained in Scripture, are derived from the external scenes of creation, and from the relations of human society; consequently, had the material world never existed, we could have formed no conceptions of the divine perfections similar to those which we now entertain, nor have prosecuted a train of thought on any other subject; for the material universe is the basis of all the knowledge we have hitherto acquired, or can acquire, respecting ourselves, our Creator, or other intelligences. Any person who is disposed to call in question this position, must be prepared to point out, distinctly and specifically, those ideas or trains of thought which are not derived through the medium of the external senses, and from the objects on which they are exercised.

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the beauties and sublimities of external nature can be perceive ed only by thinking beings, without the existence of which, the material universe would remain like a mighty blank, and might be said to have been created in vain.

Hence it appears, that, previous to our inquiries into the nature and relations of mind, it is necessary, in the first place, to study the phenomena of the material world, and the external actions of all those percipient beings with which it is peopled; for the knowledge of the facts we acquire in relation to these objects must form the ground-work of all our investigations.

We are surrounded, on every hand, with minds of various descriptions, which evince the faculties of which they are possessed, by the various senses and active powers with which they are furnished. These minds are of various gradations, in point of intellectual capacity and acumen, from Man downwards through all the animated tribes which traverse the regions of earth, air, and sea. We have the strongest reason to believe, that the distant regions of the material world are also replenished with intellectual beings, of various orders, in which there may be a gradation upwards, in the scale of intellect above that of man, as diversified as that which we perceive in the descending scale, from man downwards to the immaterial principle which animates a muscle, a snail, or a microscopic animalcula. When we consider the variety of original forms and of intellectual capacities which abounds in our terrestrial system, and that there is an infinite gap in the scale of being between the human mind and the Supreme Intelligence, it appears quite conformable to the magnificent harmony of the universe, and to the wisdom and benevolence of its Almighty Author, to suppose, that there are beings within the range of his dominions as far superior to man in the comprehension and extent of mental and corporeal powers, as man is, in these respects, superior to the most despicable insect; and that these beings, in point of number, may exceed all human calculation and comprehension. This idea is corroborated by several intimations contained in the records of revelation, where we have presented to our view a class of intelligences, endowed with physical energies, powers of rapid motion, and a grasp of intellect incomparably superior to those which are possessed by any of the beings which belong to our sublunary system.

To contemplate the various orders of intelligences which people the material universe, and the relations which subsist among them—the arrangements of the different worlds to which they respectively belong the corporeal vehicles by

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