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many good angels, and but one evil fpirit. Plutarch acquaints us, that Hormus and Ahariman, ever at variance, formed each of them creatures of their own stamp; that the former created good genii, such as goodness, truth, wisdom, justice ; and that the latter created evil genii, such as infidelity, falsehood, oppression, theft. This system of theology, commonly termed the Manichean System, is said to be also the religious creed of Pegu, with the following addition, that the evil principle only is to be worshipped; which is abundantly probable, as fear is a predominant passion in barbarians. The people of Florida believe a supreme benevolent Deity, and a subordinate deity that is malevolent: neglecting the former, who, they say, does no harm, they bend their whole attention to foften the latter, who, they say, torments them day and night, The inhabitants of Darien acknowledge but one evil spirit, of whom they are defperately afraid. The Hottentots, mentioned by fome writers as altogether deftitute of religion, are on the contrary farther advanced toward its purity, than some of their neighbours. Their creed is, That


there is a supreme being, who is goodness itself; of whom they have no occasion to stand in awe, as he is incapable by his nature to hurt them; that there is also a malevolent spirit, subordinate to the former,

who must be served and worshipped in order to avert his malice. The Epicurean doctrine with respect to the gods in general, That being happy in themselves they extend not their providential care to men, differs not widely from what the Hottentot believes with respect to the supreme being.

Having traced the sense of deity, from its dawn in the groffest favages to its approaching maturity among enlightened nations, we proceed to the last stage of the progress, which makes the true system of theology; and that is, conviction of a supreme being, boundless in every pera fection, without subordinate deities, be nevolent or malevolent. Savages learni early to trace the chain of causes and effects, with respect to ordinary events : they know that fasting produces hunger, that labour occasions weariness, that firs burns, that the fun and rain contribute to vegetation. But when they go beyond VOL. IV. Gg


fuch fainiliar events, they lose sight of caufe and effect; the changes of weather, of winds, of heat and cold, impress them with a notion of chance : earthquakes, hurricanes, storms of thunder and lightning, which fill them with terror, are afcribed to malignant beings of greater power than man. In the progress of knowledge light begins to break in upon them : they discover, that such phenomena, however tremendous, come under the general law of cause and effect; and that there is no ground for afcribing them to malignant spirits. At the same time, our more refined fenfes ripen by degrees : focial affections come to prevail, and morality makes a deep impression. In maturity of sense and understanding, benevolence appears more and more ; and beautiful final causes are discovered in many of nature's productions, that formerly were thought useless, or perhaps hurtfut: and the time may come, we have folid ground to hope that it will come, when doubts and difficulties about the government of Providence, will all of them be cleared up; and every event be found conducive to the general good.




Such views of Providence banith malevo. lent deities; and we settle at last in a most comfortable opinion ; either that there are no such beings; or that, if they exist and are permitted to perpetrate any mischief, it is in order to produce greater good Thus, through a long maze of errors, man arrives at true religion, acknowledging but one Being, supreme in power, intelligence, and benevolence, who created all other beings, to whom all other beings are subjected, and who directs every event to answer the best purposes, This system is true theology t.

Having gone through the different stages of religious belief, in its gradual progress toward truth and purity, I pro.ceed to a very important article, The hi

* The Abyssinians think that the afcribing to the devil the wicked acts of which the Portugueze declare him to be guilty, is falling into the error of the Manichecs, who admit two principles, one good, one evil.

+ Pliny seems to relish the doctrine of unity in the Deity; but is at a loss about forming any just conception of him, sometimes considering the world 10 be our only deity, sometimes the fun.

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story of tutelar deities. The belief of tutelar deities preceded indeed several of the stages mentioned, witness the tutelar deities of Greece and Rome; but as it is not connected with any one of them exclusive of the rest, the clearness of method required it to be postponed to all of them. This belief, founded on selfishness, made a rapid progress after property in the goods of fortune was established. The Greeks, the Romans, and indeed most nations that were not mere favages, appropriated to themselves tutelar deities, who were understood to befriend them upon all occasions;

.; and, in particular, to fight for them against their enemies. The Iliad of Hor mer is full of miraculous battles between the Greeks and Trojans, the tutelar deities mixing with the contending parties, and partaking of every disaster, death only excepted which immortals could not fuffer. The lares, penates, or householdgods, of Indoftan, of Greece, and of Rome, bcar witness, that every family, perhaps cvery person, was thought to be under the protection of a tutelar deity. Alexander ab Alexandro gives a list of tutelar deities, Apollo and Minerva were


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