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religion. Minerals, vegetables, animals, the ele ments became objects of adoration ; even abstract visionary forms, such as fevers and distempers received the honours of deification; and to the most infamous vices and dissolute passions, altars were, erected. The world which God had made to manifest his power, seemed to have become a temple of idols, where every thing was God, but God himself!
“ The mystery of the crucifixion was the remedy the almighty ordained for this universal idolatry. He knew the mind of man, and knew that it was not by reasoning an error must be destroyed which reasoning had not established. Idolatry prevailed by the suppression of reason, by suffering the senses to predominate, which are apt to clothe every thing with the qualities with which they are affected. Men gave the divinity their own figure, and attributed to him their vices and passions, Reasoning had no share in so brutal an error. It was the subversion of reason, a delirium, a phrenzy. Argue with a phrenetic person, you do but the more provoke him, and render the distemper incurable. Neither will reasoning cure the delirium of idolatry. What has learned antiquity gained by her claborate, discourses?' her reasonings so artfully
framed? Did Plato, with that eloquence which was styled divine, overthrow one altar where those monstrous divinities were worshipped. Experience has shewn that the overthrow of idolatry could not be the work of reason alone. Far from committing to human wisdom the cure of such a malady, God completed its confusion by the mystery of the cross. Idolatry (if rightly understood) took its rise from that profound self-attachment inherent in our nature. Thus it was that the Pagan mythology teemed with deities who were subject to human passions, weaknesses, and vices. When the mysterious cross displayed to the world an agonizing Redeemer, incredulity exclaimed it was foolishness! But the darkening sun, nature convulsed, the dead arising from their graves said it was wisdom."--Bossuet.
" Go to your natural religion: lay before her Mahomet and his disciples arrayed in armour and in blood, riding in triumph over the spoils of thousands and tens of thousands, who fell by his victorious sword: shew her the cities which he set in flames, the countries which he ravaged and destroyed, and the miserable distress of all the inhabitants of the earth. When she has viewed him in this scene, carry her into his retirements; shew her the Prophet's chamber, his concubines, and his
wives ; let her see his adultery, and hear him alledge revelation and his divine commission to justify his lust and his oppression. When she is tired with this prospect, then shew her the blessed Jesus, humble and meek, doing good to all the sons of men, patiently instructing both the ignorant and perverse. Let her see him in his most retired privacies; let her follow him to the mount, and hear'his devotions and supplications to God. Carry her to his table, to view his poor fare, and hear his heavenly converse. Let her see him injured but not provoked: Let her attend him to the tribunal, and consider the patience with which he endured the scoffs and reproaches of his enemies. Lead him to his cross, and let her view him in the agony of death, and hear his last prayer for his persecutors: Father, forgive them, &c. When natural religion has viewed both, ask which is the prophet of God? But her answer we have already had, when she saw part of this scene through the eyes of the centurion, who attended at the cross, by him she spoke and said, truly this was the son of God.”
SHERLOCK. “ Sire, if the poison of ambition reach and infect the heart of the prince; if the sovereign forgetting that he is the protector of the public tran.
quillity, prefer his own glory to the love and to the safety of his people; if he would rather subdue provinces than reign in their hearts; if it appear to him more glorious to be the destroyer of his neighbours, than the father of his people; if the voice of grief and desolation be the only sound that attends his victories; if he use that power which is only given him for the happiness of those he governs, to promote his own passions and interest; in a word, if he be a king solely to spread misery, and like the monarch of Babylon, erect the idol of his greatness on the wreck of nations; great God! what a scourge for the earth! what a present dost thou send to men, in thy wrath, by giving them such a master! His glory, Sire, will ever be steeped in blood. Some insane panegyrists may chaunt his victories, but the provinces, the towns, the villages, will weep, Superb monuments may be erected to eternise his conquests: but the ashes yet smoking of so many cities formerly flourishing; but the desolation of countries despoiled of their beauty; but the ruins of so many edifices, under which peace. able citizens have perished; but the lasting calamities that will survive him, will be mournful monuments that will immortalize his folly and his var nity: he will have passed like a torrent that de
stroys, not like a majestic river, spreading joy and abundance: his name will be inscribed in the annals of posterity among conquerors, but never among good kings: the history of his reign will be recollected, only to revive the memory of the evil he has done to mankind.”---MASSILLON.
If these copious extracts are admired as much by the reader as they deserve, I will not have trespassed on his patience. I have introduced them with the pleasing hope that they will furnish a repast to cultivated taste, and that they will serve as fires kindled upon a hill, to enlighten the boundless region, where the eagle builds her nest.