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and on the unjuft; ecce fceleratis, fays he, fol oritur, et piratis patent maria.* And, to mention only one particular more, he directs us in another place to confider human afflictions as the corrections of a father for our fpiritual benefit. God, he fays, ficut feverus pater durius educat; † which is almost literally the fentiment of the Apostle. + The frailty of human nature, our radical difinclination to virtue, the neceffity of propitiation, and our want of extraneous affiftance as well as of perfonal refolution, for the purpose of a good life, are points often intimated, and as often infifted upon by Pagan writers. The nitimur in vetitum—of the poet was a fort of standing thefis with many. The multitude of heathen facrifices fhews a consciousness of guilt, and a folicitude for atonement. Their fenfe of the need of a divine bleffing on their endeavours in general, appears fufficiently from their undertaking nothing of moment, whether of a public or

* Sen. de Ira. 1. 4. c. 26. de vit. beat. 15. See Wilkins. B. 1. c. 16.

Heb. xii. 7, &c.

private

private concern, without the previous obfervance of certain rites and ceremonies; or, as Pliny expreffes himself in the introduction to his panegyric on Trajan, fine deorum immortalium ope, confilio, et honore. It may not be easy to ascertain what we are to understand by the Damon, or the Genius, which, by his own account attended Socrates; but it is certain the notion of good and evil genii prevailed much in the heathen world. In the following lines, the warmth of divine infufion in the human breaft is beautifully expreffed by Ovid;

Eft Deus in nobis ; agitante calefcimus illo:

Impetus hic facræ femina mentis habet. ‡

The neceffity of supernatural impulse to the regulation of human conduct has always been acknowleged. Tully fays fomewhere, Nemo unquam vir magnus fine divino afflatu fuit; and Homer affirms by the mouth of Polydamas, that God is the difpenfer of all our talents, or endowments whatsoever:

Άλλω μεν γαρ ἔδωκε θεος πολεμησα έργα,

An d'&c. &c. Il. lib. xiii. v.730. et feq.

Sententiæ illuf. ex Ovid. See Cumberland on the defects of heathen Deism. p. 21.

L 3

Correfpondently

Correfpondently with all this, philofophers have represented the difficulty of perfevering in a virtuous course, under the very fame metaphor which is ufed by our Blessed Saviour himself. Cebes affirms, that there is a little gate θύρα τις μικρα * at the entrance of the path that leads to happiness &c. and that it is a path which few walk in; in which aw γοι πορευονται.

When we confider these sentiments and prin. ciples independently and feparately from whatever is erroneous, inconfiftent, or extravagant in heathen authors, we can do no less than reverence them as doing credit to human nature in its most depraved ftate; as fo efforts many of reafon nobly struggling to emerge from a vast abyss of ignorance and impurity. The grand use and advantage of the Gospel, regarded as a moral fcheme, is not fo much that things are uniformly taught therein, and delivered in confummate purity, as that they are taught with proper authority, by a Legislator from heaven, and under fanctions the most efficacious imaginable. In short, the

* See Whitby on Matt. 7. 13.

+ See Locke's Reafonab. of Chriftian. p. 269.

Chriftian

Christian religion ftands particularly difcriminated from all other inftitutions by the perfonal pre-eminence of its Author, and by the tranfcendent gracioufnefs, importance, and fplendor of the difpenfation.

If we regard our Saviour under any character inferior to that of the true God; at least if we regard him merely as a man, or as a law-giver, we fhall find few or no marks of that originality by which the founders of all perfuafions, religious or philosophical, are diftinguished. As a prophet, he was like unto Mofes, according to the exprefs prediction of the latter; as a worker of miracles, he stood fupereminent, but not fingle; as a teacher, or inftructer, he followed precedents; his apologues and allegories were agreeable to the oriental mode, and many of his parables were borrowed from the Jews; even that excellent form of prayer which he taught his disciples was almost entirely taken out of the Jewish liturgies; and the facraments which "he ordained in his

* See Whitby on Matt. 6. v. 9.-13. v. 10.

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"Church" were graffed upon a Jewish stock; baptifm being a rite which the Jews obferved with the exactness of fuperftition; and that of the Lord's Supper being transferr'd from their practice of eating bread and drinking wine, in an eucharistical way, at the celebration of the Paffover. The great Apostle to the Hebrews feems to fet the matter before us in the cleareft light. He, fays he, that defpised Mofes's law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses: of how much forer punishment fuppofe ye, shall he be thought worthy, (not who hath broken the law of the Gospel, but) who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath accounted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was fanctified an unholy thing, and hath done defpite to the fpirit of grace. + Immoralities, it is true, and those of the groffeft kind, are implied in these words; but they are fuch as are most provokingly aggravated by fingular contemptuoufnefs; and the leaft that can be inferred from this paffage is, that a greater than

* See Patrick's Difc. on Baptifm. p. 8. Allix's Reflect. V. 2. p. 177. Potter's Ch. Government. + Heb. x. 28.

Mofes

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