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66

and undefiled before God, is this, To u visit the fatherless and widow in their

affliction, and to keep himself unspot

ted from the world (w)." Hoflias et “ victimas Domino offeram quas in usum “ mei protulit, ut rejiciam ei fuum muas

nus? Ingratum eft; cum fit litabilis “ hoftia bonus animus, et pura mens, et “ fincera conscientia. Igitur qui inno“ centiam colit, Domino fupplicat; qui

justitiam, Deo libat; qui fraudibus ab

ftinet, propitiat Deum ; i qui hominem “ periculo fubripit, optimam victimam “ cædit. Hæc noftra facrificia, hæc Dei “ facra sunt. Sic apud nos religiosior est

ille, qui justior * (6).” The laws of

* " Shall I offer to God for a facrifice thofe " creatures which his bounty has given me for my “ use ?' It were ingratitude to throw back the gift “ upon the giver. The most acceptable fàcrifice is “ an upright mind, an untainted conscience, and

honest heart. The actions of the innocent a“ fcend to God in prayer ; the observance of ju“ stice is more grateful than incense; the man who " is fincere in his dealings, fecures the favour of his • Creator; and the delivery of a fellow.creature “ from danger or destruction, is tlearer in the eyes

of the Almighty than the facrifice of blood."
a) James, i. 27. (6) Minucius Felix.

Zalcucus,

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Zaleucus; lawgiver to the Locrians, who lived before the days of Pythagoras, are introduced with the following preamble. “ No man can question the existence of

Deity who observes the order and hår

mony of the universe, which cannot be “ the production of chance. Men ought

to bridle their passions, and to guard against every vice. God is pleased with no facrifice but a sincere heart; and differs widely from mortals, whose delight is fplendid ceremonies and rich offerings. Let justice therefore be studied; for by that only can a man be acceptable to the Deity. Let those who

are tempted to do ill, have always be“fore their eyes the severe judgements of “ the gods against wicked men. Let them

always keep in view the hour of death, “ that fatal hour which is attended with “ bitter remorse for transgressing the rules " of justice. If a bad disposition incline

you to vice, pray to Heaven at the foot “ of the altar, to mend your heart."

Morality is thus included in religion. Some nations, however, leave not this proposition to reasoning or conviction, but ingross many moral duties in their re

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ligious creed. In the 67th chapter of the Sadder, a lie is declared to be a great fin, and is discharged even where it tends to bring about good. So much

So much purer is the morality of the ancient Persians than of the present Jesuits. The religion of the people of Pegu, inculcares charity, forbids to kill, to steal, or to injure others. Attend to the confequence : that people, fierce originally, have become humane and compassionate. In a sacred book of the ancient Persians, it is written, “ If

you incline to be a faint, give good e“ ducation to your children; for their 66 virtuous actions will be imputed to you. The people of Japan pay great respect to their parents ; it being an article in their creed, That those who fail in duty to their parents, will be punished by the gods. In these two instances, religion tends greatly to connect parents and children in the most intimate tie of cordial affection. 'The reverence the Chinese have for their ancestors and the ceremonies performed annually at their tombs, tend to keep them at home, and prevent their wandering into foreign countries. Ancient Persia was fertile and populous:

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at present it is barren and thin of inhabitants. Sir John Chardin accounts for the difference. The climate of Persia is so dry, that scarce a shower falls during summer: even grafs will not grow without being watered. This defect of climate was remedied by the ancient inhabitants, tèrmed Gaures ; among whom it was a religious act, to cultivate waste land and to plant trees for fruit. It was a maxim in the sacred book of that religion, that he who cultivates the ground with care and diligence, acquires a greater stock of religious merit, than can be acquired by ten thousand prayers. The religion, on the contrary, of the present Mahometan inhabitants, Içads them to take no care for to-morrow: they grasp at present enjoyment, and leave all the rest to fate.

Superstitious rites in some religions, are successfully employ'd to enforce certain moral duties. The Romans commonly inade their folemn covenants in the capitol, before the statue of Jupiter ; by which foleinnity he was understood to guarantee the covenant, ready to pour cut vengeance upon the transgrellor. When an oath enters into any engagement, the

Burates,

Burates, a people in Grand Tartary, require it to be given upon a mountain, held to be sacred ; they are firmly persuaded, that the person who swears a falsehood, will not come down alive. The Ellenes, a Jewish sect, bound themselves by a folenin oath, to fhun unlawful gain, to be faithful to their promises, not to lie, and never to harm any one. In Cochin-China, the fouls of those who have been eminent for arts or arms, are worshipped. Their 1tatues are placed in the temples; and the fize of a statue is proportioned to the merit of the person represented. If that be impartially executed, there cannot be a nobler incitement to public spirit. The Ecyprians did not reach the thought of honouring virtue after death ; but they difhonoured vice, by excluding it froin the Elysian fields.

The falutary influence of religion on morality, is not confined to pure religion, whether by its connection with morality in general, or by inculcating particular moral duties. There are many religio:15 doctrines, donbtful or perhaps erroneous, that contribute also to enforce morality. Some followers of Confucius afcribe iin

mortality

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