Sunday, December 31, 1730

Daily Courant

Location: London, Middlesex

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Daily Courant (Newspaper) - December 31, 1730, London, Middlesex The Daily Courant ft Thurfday, December 31, 1730. An ESS AY $n our Idea o/GOD, Whether Innate or no ? INHERE are. fuch plain Indications of Infinite Wifdom and Power exhibited in all the Works of Nature, the Mecha-tiifm of the Worlds and the Formation of Animals, that it does not require the extenfive Genius of a Newton, or any great Criricifm in Geometry or Anatomy to deduce the Exiftence of a Deity. I cannot therefore fee the Neceffity of fuppofing this Principle or Truth to be impreis'd by Nature on the Mind. There are many Arguments brought to prove it to be Innate ; fome of which 1 (hall here examine: And the firft I fhail take Notice of, is thus ex-prefled by a Learned Prelate *. " It will be found neceffary (fays he) for '* the Soul co be created in a clear and diftin& " Knowledge of God,, becaufe of Man's " mediate Obligation unto him." But I orr^ ask, what Inftances of Obedience God expe&s from Man, previous to the ufe of his Reafon ? If it be faid (as I fuppofe it wiflj that he muft be firft capable of exercifing that Faculty, it may be retorted, that at the fame time, by the Aid thereof, he will fet filch apparent En* dences of the Being of Ga4, a$ pajft necef-farily convince him of the Truth of it. An<L what fignifies the Impreffion of any -Propofi-tion, which lies latent in the Mind fo long, until the Truth of it could be perceived without it, - But the main Reafon infifted on by all, who have efpoufcd__this Opinion is, " The univerfal Confent of Mankind in the " belief of a Deity, which* fays VeUeius the " Epicurean,. is not the Effect; of Cuftom or " Human Laws, but as it is implanted an ie the Mind by Nature itfelf," I own the Diffent of particular Perfons from the Belief of a Deity, is not a fufScient Anfwer to this Argment. Not that I think that any Perfon would be exempted from this Impreffion, allowing it in the main to be true, but that thefe may, out of an Affectation for Novelty, or violent Inclinations towards the Pleafures of Senfe, diiguife and conceal it. Neither {hall I join with Mr. Locks in denying this tJniverfality, . for Reafons hereafter? mentioned; but in order to obviate it, I flull give another Account of this Universality, and a-fcribe another Ban's to it, than that .of Inftinct: And this is founded (as I apprehend,) on the yConfpnancy apd-Obvioufnefs of it to Reafon: for fhould we allow, that fome whofe intellectual Faculties are very low, and who have nothing elfe to diftinguiih them from Beafts, but the Eredtnefs of their Srarure, could nor, fey the Aid of their dark and benighted Reaion, deduce the Exiftence of a Deity ; yet furely there never was a Country or Nation compofed of fuch an unitellectual Species, fo nearly bordering on that of the ortital World* without one or more, who would arife and � * Still Or Sac. paj. $. affert the Dignity of Human Nature, and by an Examination into the Origin of the Uni-verfe, and an Enquiry after the Author of their own Being, be naturally led, nay, driven into the Belief of the Deity. And this (as we cannot think it would I'emain long unknown in any Nation) when once difcover'd, would immediately, being a thing of fuch vaft Con-fequencej diffufe itfeif, and gain univerfal Credit, none being, able to difprove or with-ftand the Evidence ; which, (as Mr. Lock? fays) " Reafon, and the natural Propensity of " their own Thoughts, would afterwards propagate, and continue amongft them.' To this likewife may be added another Caufe, ftom whence this fo univerfal a Confent "may partly arife. I mean thofe wide Deviations from tbecommonCourfe of Things which were fo frequent in the firft Ages of the World j there were then fuch immediate Interpositions of Providence in Human Affairs, as rnuft convince Men of the Superintendancy of fome fuperior Agent; and thefe were not confined to the Jevtijh Nation, but were exhibited in all the Parts of the Gentile World, if we may believe fome of the mod ancient Heathen Hiftorians. And indeed we find a great many miraculous Events commemora* ted in Scripture in Heathen Writers, tbo*generally very much corrupted, and wrap'd up in Fable by the Poets. - Another Argument made ufe of to prove the Idea of God to be [<n&xwbit, or] Innate, Is, trTe'TmpoulbilUy df&aking off this BfcUek But now this proceeds from itSN^onfonancy to Reafon, and the Cogency of thofe Proofs of which it is capable: Which, whoever will " clofely examine, he cannot but affent thereto, tho* perhaps much againft his Will  Tor Faith and Diffent are intirely involuntary, and we muft neceffarily, believe what appears to 11s to have the greateft Evidence. Thus in any Proportion, of Euclid's {'for the Being of a Deity is equally dpmonftrative with any. Problem in his Elemetits)c]tt any ohe purfue his:wbole Chain of Reafanings, and try if he can disbelieve the Truth they prove.---- But this Argument will be yet farther anfwef-ed, if we fuppofe the Exiftence of God the eftablifhed Belief of a whole Country t And we may judge of the Difficulty -of fluking off the Belief of a thing fo agreeable to Reafon, that have been inftilled into us (not by God, ah Origine) but by our ' Parents and Hutors'va Education ; when by tjie Prejudice of this alone,innumerable Principles and Ideas have been introduced into our Minds; which, tbo*monftroufly abfurd, and even known to be fuch, we cannot eradicate. .-..:.:[ The laft Argument brought in Proof of this Opinion,'is the Neceffity or Expediency of this Truth being ftamped on the Mind, *har none may excufably continue in Ignorance of the Deity, In anfwer to tvhichi I have anticipated myfelf in faying, that the Being of God is fo plainly fhbwn in i[h.e Works of Nar ture, that ther& is no nWd of any innate Idea of nis Exiftence; A Man cannot remain invincibly ignorant of it, if he will but make free : Ufe of his Reafon. As the Soul is very In* cjuifitive, what is more natural than for a rational Animal to take a Survey of hiinfelf and all the external Objects around him ; and by considering that fuch beautiful Effects could not proceed from blind Chance and Fatality, gradually proceed till he has by a Succeifion. of Arguments demonstrated the Neceffity of believing the Being of fome infinite Mind; antecedent to the Formation ofhimfelf; and o� every thing elfe ? Milton makes Adam immediately after his Creation, reafon after this Manner, which I cannot but think very juft and natural: -Te Hills, ye Dales, ye Rivers, Woods and Dale:} And je that live and move, fair Creatures^ ttU: Tell if ye faw, hove came I thus, hoio here j Not of myfelf, by fome great Maker then In Goodncfs and in Pom&r preeminent. Lib. 7. Par. Loft.1 I cannot therefore affent to w&at Mr. Locke fays, That there are fome Countries which, have no Notion of the Deity. For Should thii � be true, as it proves that a whole Nation may. . continue in an invincible Ignorance of the  Deity,, (for it muft be invincible, unlefs we �, fuppofe- that none in a whple Country would  exercife their Reafon) it implies a Neceffity of this Idea ibeing impreffed on the Soul, and ac the fame time denies its being fo f fo thac the Fault muft lie-oaly"on God, who neither A implant^fSft" Idea oi his Exiftence on the' Minds'of thefe People, nor gave them Reatbri Sufficient to ^edtice it. And .according tH this (being alfo void of Revelation), they may excufably continue in the Nonperformance-of any Duty, as this fuppofes them ignorant of the Bids on which all Duties are founded; and die at laft without anlwering thofe great Ends for which tbey were (Treated^-- I Shall conclude, by fubjoining a Reafon or two fof my diffent from this Opinion. The firft is^ The' Equality of Reafon there is for fuppofing the Immortality of the Soul, and the Certainty of a Future State, an innate Truth as the Being of a God : as the firft is vaftly more difficult to be difcovered by.the Di&itei, of Reafon. * Thefe two Principles ate the great Columns on which all Religion iubfiftsl And tho' Men are under an Obligation to certain Duties, as God is their Creator, abJ (traded from any Reward j yet what Motive! are there to engage them to fhfe Practice tit thofe Duties, but the Belief of aFutfcre Statfc? --The other Reafon of my Disbelief of this ' Impreffion is, The Diversity of Opinions there are concerning the Nature of God, and the Repugnancy of fome of them to the Divine Nature; And thii will appear, if we confiderthe various Modes of Worfhip, as thefe are fo many Indications of Men's Apprehenfions of the Deity. The Heathen World was - hmherfed in- Polytheifmj and what ridiculous Things were made the' Objects; of their Worlhip ?r-Sca'tce a JBeaft .tbat.ranges ^he^Wopds and Lawns, and feafeg a Herb which the'Earth prodiices; fcarce * Heb, xi. Ver. �# cea% (

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