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ascribed their several institutions to the inspiration of some divinity. Thus Amasis and Mnevis among the Egyptians; Zoroaster among the Bactrians; Zamol.ris among the Getes; Rhadamanthus and Minos in Crete ; Romulus and Numa among the Romans :
verse; that all things are directed by their power, disposal, and providence; and that the whole race of mankind is in the highest manner indebted to them; that they are intimately acquainted with every one's state and condition ; that they know what he does, what he thinks; with what disposition of mind, with what degree of piety, he performs the acts and offices of religion; and that, accordingly, they make a distinction between good and evil men. The mind being embued with these opinions, will never deviate in its determinations from truth and utility.”_" That these opinions are useful must be evident to every one who considers what stability is derived to the public from within, by the religion of an oath; and what security it enjoys from without, by the holy rites which accompany national leagues and treaties; how efficacious the fear of divine punishment is to deter men from wickedness; and how venerable and august that society must esteem itself, where the immortal gods themselves are believed to interpose both as judges and witnesses.” See Div. Leg. vol. i. p. 126-8, and 131-2, where the original passages are added.
“ In a word,” says Warburton, “ there is scarce a legislator recorded in ancient history, but what pretended to revelation and divine assistance*,
Hence then may appear the general conviction of legislative antiquity, concerning the close connection that subsists between religion and government. To which may be added the opinion of a famous modern politician, whose authority in this case may, by some, be thought yet more weighty and decisive. “The rulers of all siates,” says Machiavel, “ whether kingdoms or commonwealths, who would preserve their governments firm and entire, ought aboye all things to take care, that religion is held in the highest veneration, and that its ceremonies at all times are preserved uncorrupted and inviolate: For there is no surer prognostic of impending ruin in any state, than for divine worship to be neglected and despised*.” On the whole then, we may conclude with a very eminent heathen statesman and philosopher, when, speaking of those who maintained that the gods take no care at all of mankind or their concerns, he observes, that “ If their opinion were true, there would be no piety, no sanctity, no religion—that if the gods have no regard to what men do, or what events befal them, there is no reason to pray to them, or worship them: and that, if religion and piety be taken away from amongst men, the greatest confusion and disorder would ensue in human life: and, together with piety, mutual fidelity, and the social ties, which bind mankind one to another, and that most excellent virtue, justice, would be banished out of the world *.”
* Div. Leg. vol. i. p. 103.-The same method was practised by the founders of the great outlying empires, as Sir William Temple calls them. Thus the founder of the Chinese monarchy was called Fagfour or Fanfour, the son of heaven, (as we are told by the Jesuits) from his pretensions to that relation. The royal commentaries of Perụ inform us, that the founders of that empire were Mango Copac and his wife and sister Coya Mama, who proclaimed themselves the son and daughter of the Sun, sent from their father to reduce mankind from their savage bestial life to one of order and society. Thor and Odin, the lawgivers of the western Goths, pretended likewise to inspiration, and even to divinity. The revelations of Mahomet are too well known to be insisted on. The race of these inspired lawgivers seems to have ended in Genghiz-can, founder of the empire of the Moguls. Ibid. p. 103-4.
* Political Discourses on Livy, book i. chap. 12.Again, in the same chapter : “ As all things go well where religion is duly supported, so where that is neglected and trampled upon, every thing runs into confusion and disorder.” And he elsewhere repeats the same remark.
But, notwithstanding all that is now ad•vanced respecting the importance of reli
gion to the public welfare, it is still urged by a famous writer, famous for his reading and subtilty , that even a nation of atheists may live well together in a state of civil society. Now, supposing this to be true, let us again reflect, how hideous would be the spectacle, for a number of immortal beings, immortal in spite of all their sottishness or
* “Sunt enim philosophi et fuerunt, qui omninò nullum habere censerent rerum humanarum procurationem deos. Quorum si vera sententia est, quæ potest esse pietas ? Quæ sanctitas ? Quæ religio? -Quibus sublatis, perturbatio vitæ sequitur, et magna confusio. Atque haud scio, an pietate adversùs Deos sublata, fides etiam et societas generis humani, et una excellentissima justitia tollatur." Cic. de Nat. Deor. lib. i. cap. 2..
† Mr. Bayle.
their sophistry, to occupy or amuse themselves during the short course of this life, without any concern for what may take place beyond it. The more such a society should be found at its ease, the more deeply it was intrenched in political security, and abounding in present gratifications, the more awful would be its situation; war, pestilence, and famine, or, if there be any still sorer calamities that might serve to rouse it to a sense of futurity, would, in the eye of reason, be far less dreadful than to be left to enjoy the present world without fear or disturbance, chanting the Syren song, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die !
The reasoning of the above author, to lessen the connection between religion and the public good, appears to be this: That the fortunes of men depend upon their conduct, and their conduct upon their habits, their passions, and their temperament. But ought he not to have better considered, that religious opinion frequently operates to the formation of the most powerful habits, as well as to weaken and dissolve them; that the passions are influenced by apprehensions