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our view the human understanding, unafsisted by the lights of revelation and supported only by it's natural powers, emerging from the darkness of idolatry, and breaking forth into the following description of the Supreme Being, which is faithfully translated from the fragment of an antient Greek tragic poet ?

“Let not mortal corruption mix with your idea of God, nor think of him as of

a corporeal being, such as thyself; he is “ infcrutable to man, now appearing like “ fire, implacable in his anger ; now in “ thick darkness, now in the flood of wa“ ters; now he puts on the terrors of a ra

vening beast, of the thunder, the winds, “ the lightning, of conflagrations, of clouds : “ Him the seas obey, the favage rocks, the

springs of fresh water, and the rivers that “ flow along their winding channels; the “ earth herself stands in awe of him ; the

high tops of the mountains, the wide

expanse of the cærulean ocean tremble at “ the frown of their Lord and Ruler.”

This is a strain in the fublime stile of the Pfalmist, and similar ideas of the Supreme

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Being may be collected from the remains of various heathen writers.

Antiphanes, the Socratic philosopher, says, “ That God is the resemblance of nothing

upon earth, so that no conception can be “ derived from any effigy or likeness of the “ Author of the universe."

Xenophon obferves, “ That a Being, who “ controuls and governs all things, must “ needs be great and powerful, but being

by his nature invisible, no man can dilcern what form or shape he is of.”

Thales, being asked to define the Deity, replied that “He was without beginning “ and without end.” Being further interrogated, “If the actions of men could ef

cape the intelligence of God ?” he answered, “No, nor even their thoughts."

Philemon, the comic poet, introduces the following question and answer in a dialogue : “ Tell me, I beseech you, what is “ your conception of God ?-As of a Be

ing, who, seeing all things, is himself “ unseen."

Menander says, that “God, the lord and “ father of all things, is alone worthy of

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“ our humble adoration, being at once the “maker and the giver of all blessings."

Melanippidas, a writer also of comedy, introduces this folemn invocation to the Supreme Being, “Hear me, O Father, whom “ the whole world regards with wonder and " adores ! to whom the immortal foul of “ man is precious.” Euripicles in a strain of great fublimity ex

а. claims, “.Thee I invoke, the self-created

Being, who framed all nature in thy ethe“ real mould, whom light and darkness and “ the whole multitude of the starry train " encircle in eternal chorus."

Sophocles also in a fragment of one of his tragedies afferts the unity of the Supreme: Being; “ Of a truth there is one, and only

one God, the maker of heaven and earth, “ the sea and all which it contains.”'

These selections, to which however many others might be added, will serve to fhew what enlightened ideas were entertained by some of the nature of God.

I will next adduce a few passages to thew 'what just conceptions fome had formed of God's providence and justice, of the distribution of good and evil in this life, and of the ex

pectation

pectation of a future retribution in the life .. to come.

Ariston, the dramatic poet, hath bequeathed us the following part of a dialogue

“ Take heart; be patient! God will not “ fail to help the good, and especially those, “ who are as excellent as yourself; where “ would be the encouragement to persist in

righteousness, unless those, who do well,

are eminently to be rewarded for their " well-doing?

“ I would it were as you say ! but I, too, “ often see men, who square their actions to: “ the rules of rectitude, oppressed with misa “ fortunes; whilft they, who have nothing « at heart but their own selfish interest and

advantage, enjoy prosperity unknown to

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“ For the present moment it may be fo, “but we inust look beyond: the present

moment and await the issue, when this “ earth shall be diffolved : For to think " that chance governs the affairs, of this,

life, is a notion as false, as it is evil, and is “ the plea, which vicious men set up for “ vicious morals : But be thou sure that

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“ the good works of the righteous shall “ meet a reward, and the iniquities of the

unrighteous a punishment ; for nothing “ can come to pass in this world, but by “ the will and permission of God.”

Epicharmus, the oldest of the comic poets, says in one of the few fragments which remain of his writings, “ If your life hath been “ holy, you need have no dread of death, “ for the spirit of the bleft shall exist for “ever in heaven."

Euripides has the following passage, “ If any mortal flatters himself that the sin “ which he commits, can escape the notice of an avenging Deity, he indulges a vain “ hope, deceiving himself in a false pre

fumption of impunity, because the di“ vine justice suspends for a time the pu“ nishment of his evil actions; but hearken “ to me, ye who say there is no God, and

by that wicked infidelity enhance your

crimes, There is, there is a God! Let “ the evil doer then account the present

hour only as gain, for he is doomed to “ everlasting punishment in the life to “ come.”

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