Page images

"there be no missal present, though he have it by


"If a gnat or a spider fall into the cup after con"secration, the priest must swallow it with the 66 blood, if he can: otherwise, let him take it "out, wash it with wine, burn it, and throw it "with the washings into holy ground. If poison "fall into the cup, the blood must be poured on 66 tow or on a linen cloth, remain till it be dry, "then be burnt, and the ashes be thrown upon "holy ground. If the host be poisoned, it must "be kept in a tabernacle till it be corrupted.

"If the blood freeze in winter, put warm cloths "about the cup: if that be not sufficient, put the "cup in boiling water.

"If any of Christ's blood fall on the ground by "negligence, it must be licked up with the tongue "and the place scraped: the scrapings must be "burnt, and the ashes buried in holy ground.

"If the priest vomit the eucharist and the spe"cies appear entire, it must be licked up most re"verently. If a nausea prevent that to be done, "it must be kept till it be corrupted. If the "species do not appear, let the vomit be burnt, "and the ashes thrown upon holy ground."

As the foregoing article has beyond intention swelled to an enormous size, I shall add but one other article, which shall be extremely short; and that is the creed of Athanasius. It is a heap of unintelligible jargon; and yet we are appointed


to believe every article of it, under the pain of eternal damnation. As it enjoins belief of rank contradictions, it seems purposely calculated to be a test of slavish submission to the tyrannical authority of a proud and arrogant priest *.


Religious Worship.


'N the foregoing chapter are traced the gradual advances of the sense of Deity, from its imperfect state among savages to its maturity among enlightened nations: displaying to us one great Being, to whom all other beings owe their existence, who made the world, and who governs it by perfect laws. And our perceptions of Deity, arising from that sense, is fortified by an intuitive proposition, that there necessarily must exist some being who had no beginning. Considering the Deity as the author of our existence, we owe him gratiX 4 tude

* Bishop Burnet seems doubtful whether this creed was composed by Athanasius. His doubts, in my apprenhension, are scarce sufficient to weight against the unanimous opinion of the Christian church.


tude; considering him as governor of the world, we owe him obedience: and upon these duties is founded the obligation we are under to worship him. Further, God made man for society, and implanted in his nature the moral sense to direct his conduct in that state. From these premises, may it not with certainty be inferred to be the will of God, that men should obey the dictates of the moral sense in fulfiling every duty of justice and benevolence? These moral duties, it would appear, are our chief business in this life; being enforced not only by a moral but by a religious principle.

Morality, as laid down in a former sketch, consists of two great branches, the moral sense which unfolds the duty we owe to our fellow-creatures, and an active moral principle which prompts us to perform that duty. Natural religion consists also of two great branches, the sense of Deity which unfolds our duty to our Maker, and the active principle of devotion which prompts us to perform our duty to him. The universality of the sense of Deity proves it to be innate; the same reason proves the principle of devotion to be innate; for all men agree in worshipping superior beings, whatever difference there may be in the mode of worship.

Both branches of the duty we owe to God, that of worshipping him, and that of obeying his will with respect to our fellow-creatures, are summed up

up by the Prophet Micah in the following emphatic words: " He hath shewed thee, O man, what "is good and what doth the Lord require of "thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to "walk humbly with thy God?" The two articles first mentioned, are moral duties regarding our fellow-creatures: and as to such, what is required of us is to do our duty to others; not only as directed by the moral sense, but as being the will of our Maker, to whom we owe absolute obedience. That branch of our duty is reserved for a second section: at present we are to treat of religious worship, included in the third article, the walking humbly with our God.


Religious Worship respecting the Deity singly.


HE obligation we are under to worship God, or to walk humbly with him, is, as observed above, founded on the two great principles of gratitude and obedience; both of them requiring fundamentally a pure heart, and a well-disposed mind. But heart-worship is alone not sufficient: there are over and above required external signs, testifying to others the sense we have of these duties, and a firm resolution to perform them. That such

such is the will of God, will appear as follows. The principle of devotion, like most of our other principles, partakes of the imperfection of our nature: yet, however faint originally, it is capable of being greatly invigorated by cultivation and exercise. Private exercise is not sufficient. Nature, and consequently the God of nature, require public exercise or public worship: for devotion is communicative, like joy or grief*; and by mutual communication in a numerous assembly, is greatly invigorated. A regular habit of expressing publicly our gratitude and resignation, never fails to purify the mind, tending to wean it from every unlawful pursuit. This is the true motive of public worship; not what is commonly inculcated, That it is required from us, as a testimony to our Maker of our obedience to his laws: God, who knows the heart, needs no such testimony +.


*Elements of Criticism, vol. i. p. 180. edit. 5.

+ Arnobius (Adversus gentes, lib. 1.) accounts rationally for the worship we pay to the Deity: "Huic omnes ex more "prosternimur, hunc collatis precibus adoramus, ab hoc justa, "et honesta, et auditu ejus condigna, deposcimus. Non quo " ipse desideret supplices nos esse, aut amet substerni tot mil"lium venerationem videre. Utilitas hæc nostra est, et com" modi nostri rationem spectans. Nam quia proni ad culpas, "et ad libidinis varios appetitus, vitio sumus infirmitatis in "genitæ, patitur se semper nostris cogitationibus concipi: ut, dum illum oramus, et mereri ejus contendimus munera, ac


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »