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ble of the real cause, they chuse pastors for themselves, who supply the want of ceremonies by loud speaking, with much external fervor and devotion*.
External show figures greatly in dark times, when nothing makes an impression but what is visible. A German traveller (Hentzner) talking of Queen Elizabeth, thus describes the solemnity of her dinner: "While she was at prayers, we "S saw her table set out in the following solemn manner. A ." gentleman entered the room bearing a rod, and along with him another who had a table-cloth, which, after they had both kneeled three times with the utmost veneration, he spread upon the table, and after kneeling again, they both "retired. Then came two others, one with the rod again, the other with a salt-cellar, a plate and bread; when they had kneeled, as the others had done, and placed what was brought upon the table, they too retired with the same "ceremonies performed by the first. At last came an un"married lady, (we were told she was a Countess), and along with her a married one, bearing a tasting knife; the former was dressed in white silk; who when she had prostrated herself three times, in the most graceful manner, approached the table, and rubbed the plates with bread and salt, with as much awe as if the Queen had been present: when they. had waited there a little while, the yeomen of the guard "entered, bareheaded, clothed in scarlet, with a golden rose. tr upon their backs, bringing in at each turn a course of twenty"four dishes, served in plate most of it gilt; these dishes were received by a gentleman in the same order they were brought,
and placed upon the table, while the lady taster gave to each *of the guard a mouthful to eat, of the particular dish he had
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The frequent ablutions or washings among the Mahometans and others, as acts of devotion, show the influence that the slightest resemblances have on the ignorant. Because purification, in several languages, is a term applicable to the mind as well as to the body, shallow thinkers, misled by the double
"brought, for fear of any poison. During the time that "this guard, which consists of the tallest and stoutest men
that can be found in all England, were bringing dinner, "twelve trumpets and two kettle-drums made the hall ring "for half an hour together. At the end of this ceremonial, a number of unmarried ladies appeared, who with particular solemnity, lifted the meat off the table, and conveyed it "into the Queen's inner and more private chamber, where, "after she had chosen for herself, the rest goes to the
ladies of the court." Forms were greatly regarded among the old Romans; dresses appropriated to different ranks; lictors, axes, bundles of rods, and other ensigns of power; military merit rewarded with triumphs, ovations, crowns of gold, of leaves, &c. &c. Such appearances strike the multitude with respect and awe: they are indeed despised by men of plain sense; but they regain their credit with philosophers. Excessive courage, the exertion of which is visible, was the heroism of the last age: "I shall never esteem a king," said the great Gustavus Adolphus, "who in battle does not expose himself "like a private man." By acuteness of judgment and refinement of taste, we cling to the substance and disregard forms and ceremonies. External show, however, continues to prevail in many instances. A young man is apt to be captivated with beauty or dress; a young woman, with equipage or title. And hence, many an ill-sorted match.
double meaning, imagine that the mind like the body, is purified by water.
The sect of Ali use the Alcoran translated into the Persian language, which is their native tongue. The sect of Omar esteem this to be a gross impiety; being persuaded, that the Alcoran was written in Arabic, by the Angel Gabriel, at the command of God himself. The Roman Catholics are not then the only people who profess to speak nonsense to God Almighty; or, which is the same, who profess to pray in an unknown tongue.
At meals, the ancients poured out some wine as a libation to the gods: Christians pronounce a short prayer, termed a grace.
The gross notion of Deity entertained by the ancients is exemplified in their worshipping and sacrificing on high places; in order, as they thought, to be more within sight. Jupiter, in Homer, praises Hector for sacrificing to him frequently upon the top of Ida; and Strabo observes, that the Persians, who used neither images nor altars, sacrificed to the gods in high places. Balak carried Balaam the prophet to the top of Fisgah and other mountains, to sacrifice there, and to curse Israel. The votaries of Baal always worshipped in high places. Even the sage Tacitus was infected with that absurdity. Speaking of certain high mountains where the gods were worshipped, he expresses himself thus: Maxime cœlo A a 3
appropinquare, precesque mortalium a Deo nusquam propius audiri*.
Ceremonies that tend to unhinge morality, belong more properly to the following section, treating of the connection between religion and mora= lity.
It is now full time to take under consideration an objection to the sense of Deity hinted above, arguing from the gross conceptions of deity among many nations, that this sense cannot be innate. The objection is not indeed directly stated in the following passage borrowed from a justly celebrated author; but as it perhaps may be implied, the passage shall be fairly transcribed. "The uni"versal propensity to believe invisible intelligent *6 power, being a general attendant on human nature, if not an original instinct, may be consi"dered as a kind of stamp which the Deity has "set upon his work; and nothing surely can more "dignify mankind, than to be the only earthly "being who bears the stamp or image of the uni"versal creator. But consult this image as it *commonly is in popular religions: How is the Deity disfigured! what caprice, absurdity, and immorality, are attributed to him †!" A satisfactory answer to the objection implied in this passage
«As approaching nearer to heaven, the prayers of mortals are there most distinctly heard."
+ Natural History of Religion,
passage will occur, upon recollecting the progress of men and nations from infancy to maturity. Our external senses, necessary for self-preservation, soon arrive at perfection: the more refined senses of property, of right and wrong, of Deity, of being accountable creatures, and many others of the same kind, are of slower growth: the sense of right and wrong in particular, and the sense of Deity, seldom reach perfection but by good education and much study. If such be the case among enlightened nations, what is to be expected from savages, who are in the lowest stage of understand. ing? To a savage of New Holland, whose sense of deity is extremely obscure, one may talk without end of a being who created the world, and who governs it by wise laws; but in vain, for the savage will be never the wiser. The same savage hath also a glimmering of the moral sense, as all men have; and yet in vain will you discourse to him of approbation and disapprobation, of merit and demerit: of these terms he has no clear conception. Hence the endless aberrations of rude and barbarous nations, from pure religion as well as from pure morality. Of the latter, there are many instances collected in the preceding tract; and of the former, still more in the present tract. The sense of deity in dark times has indeed been strangely distorted, by certain biassés and passions that enslave the rude and illiterate: but these yield. gradually to the rational faculty as it ripens, and A a 4