Page images

come and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be staid. The Lord is an invifible Spirit, in whom we live, and move, and have our Being. He is

the fountain of life. He preferveth * man and beast. He giveth food to all ' flesh. In his hand is the soul of every

"living thing, and the breath of all man?' kind. The Lord makech poor and ma

kech rich. He bringech low and liftsech up. He killeth and maketh alive.

He woundeth and he healeth. By him * Kings reign, and Princes decree justice,

and not a sparrow falleth to the ground ' without him. All Angels, Authorities, "and Powers are fubject to him. He "appointech the Moon for feafons, and the Sun knoweth his going down. He

thundereth with his voice, and directSeth it under the whole Heaven, and

his lightning unto the ends of the earth. Fire and hail, snow and vapour, wind and storm, fulfil his word. "The Lord ‘is King for ever and ever, and his do'minion is an everlasting dominion. The

earth and the heavens fhall perish, but thou, O Lord, remainest. They all shall ' wax old, as doth a garment, and as a 'vesture shalt thou fold them up, and

K 4

Ć they

they shall be changed; but thou art o the same, and thy years shall have no

end. God is perfect in knowledge; his o understanding is infinite. He is the Faother of lights. He looketh to the ends 6 of the earth, and seeth under the whole • heaven. The Lord beholdeth all the ( children of men from the place of his

habitation, and considerech all their works. He knoweth our down-fitting

and uprising. He compasseth our path, • and counteth our steps. He is acquaintied with all our ways; and when we center our closet, and shut our door, he • seeth us. He knoweth the things that (come into our mind, every one of "them: and no thought can be with" holden from him. The Lord is good

. to all, and his tender mercies are over call his works. He is a father of the fa(therless, and a judge of the widow. " He is the God of peace, the Father of • mercies, and the God of all comfort

and consolation. The Lord is great,

and we know him not: His greatness o is unsearchable. Who but he hath 6 measured the waters in the hollow of « his hand, and meted out the heavens with a span? Thine, O Lord, is the


Greatness, and the Power, and the . Glory, and the Victory, and the Mai jesty. Thou art very great, thou art

clothed with honour. Heaven is thy " throne, and earth is thy footstool.

Can the mind of a Philosopher risc to a more just and magnificent, and at the same time, a more amiable idea of the Deity, than is here set forth in the strongest images and most emphatical language? And yet this is the language of Shepherds and Fishermen. The illiterate Jews and poor persecured Christians retained these noble sentiments, while the polite and powerful nations of the earth were given up to that sottish sort of wor-Thip of which the following elegant description is extracted from one of the inspired Writers.

o Who hath formed a God or molten I an image that is profitable for nothing? · The Smith with the tongs both work6 eth in the coals and fashionech it with • hammers and worketh it with the s strength of his arms: Yea: he is hungry " and his strength faileth. He drinketh o no water and is faint. A man planteth • an ash, and the 'rain doth nourith it. He burneth part thereof in the fire.



...He roasteth Roaft. He warmeth himcself. And the residue thereof he maketh ca God. He falleth down unto it, and ' worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it and • faith, Deliver me, for thou art my God. • None considereth in his heart, I have • burnt part of it in the fire, yea also, I

have baked bread upon the coals therecof: I have roasted flesh and eaten it; 6 and shall I make the relidue thereof an ( abomination? Shall I fall down to the . Stock of a Tree?

In such circumstances as these, for a man to declare for Free-thinking, and disengage himself from the yoke of IdoJatry, were doing honour to human nature, and a work well becoming the great afferters of reason. But in a Churchi, where our adoration is directed to the Supreme Being, and (to say the leaft) where is nothing either in the object or manner of worship that contradicts the light of Nature, there, under the pretence of Freethinking, to rail at the religious inftitutions of their Country, sheweth an undistinguishing Genius that mistakes Opposition for Freedom of thought. And, indeed, notwithstanding the pretences of fome few among our Free-thinkers, I can


hardly think there are men so stupid and inconsistent with themselves, as to have a serious regard for natural Religion, and at the same cime use their utmost endea-“ vours to destroy the credit of those facred Writings, which as they have been the means of bringing these parts of the world to the knowledge of natural Religion, so in case they lose their authority over the minds of men, we should of course sink into the same idolatry which we see practised by other unenlightened nations.

If a person who exerts himself in the . modern way of Free.thinking be not a stupid Idolater, it is undeniable that he contributes all he can to the making other men so, eicher by ignorance, or desigo; : which lays him under the dilemma, I will not fay of being a Fool or Knive, but of incurring the contempt or detectation of mankind.


« PreviousContinue »