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certain that Polybius, though 'al heathen author, considered the contempt of relis gion which reigned when he wrote, asi productive of general profligacy, and both united, as portending speedy ruin to the Roman State. That this kingdom has much to fear from the same causes, will,. I think, be confeffed by the majority of ferious observers in all profeffions. They cannot but be sensible, that when a reven rence for God no longer governs the body of a people, and confequently the most powerful restraint from vice and incentive to virtue is removed, then the strictest ties and highest interests of fociety are neglected and violated, inany of the worst crimes are committed with audacity, the divine protection is in effect renounced, and nothing is left to preserve very long such a nation from running into anarchy, or sinking into ftavery.
That a' reverence for God is the moft powerful restraint from vice, and incens
tive to virtue, might be proved from a great variety of topics. Suffice it now to touch on a few, which may serve to show how. peculiarly necessary this sovereign - principle is become for those of our youth who mix with the world in its piore ative or fashionable scenes. We would only premise, what we must ever lament, that many who have professed the highest regard for Religion, have with shameful inconsistency violated her most sacred oblis gations; and thatwhen we speak of her, influence on human conduct, we still mean in those cases where she is fincerely respected, and faithfully obeyed. Nor can you, my friends, think her in justice responsible for that hypocrisy, against which the denounces the heaviest woes. i juga
But while such as judge less fairly, triumph in the vices of numbers who pretend to piety, we are bold to affirm, that among the individuals within the sphere of our notice, who have betrayed a con
tempt for it, we have never known ones no, not one, who did not, on the closest inspection, appear to us capable of transgrefling deliberately and designedly the laws of cruth, or integrity, or temperance, or purity, or friendship, or charity, whenever any of these food in the way of his ruling pasions, and so long as he hoped to conceal or to palliate his actions, if indeed he was anxious to do either. "
We can farther affirm, that we have never seen any of our acquaintance, who had been accustomed to attend the institutions of religion, grow remiss in that attendance (we speak not of being casually hindered by circumstances of necessity; or works of mercy) without growing also remiss in other essential points, especially. in sobriety, vigilance, and a regular life. And if at length they altogether, or in a great measure, forsook the house of God, we bad reason to fear they had first forsaken the path of Virtue. Religious exercises were become irksome, as reminding
them of a Being they now wished to for get, because they were afraid of him. They now. “ loved darkness rather than "light, because their deeds were evil's They could no longer hazard with any freedom the painful convictions, which public inftruction might flash upon their minds. As they wanted resolution to reform, nothing seemed left but to fupprefsi as much as possible those serious reflections, that would have obstructed or disturbed them in the career of vice. But are not these so many tacit atteftations to the truth of our general doctrine, the importance of Piety to Morals? And will they not helps to account for the increasing neglect thrown upon the worship of the Almighty in this country, and particularly in this Metro polis.
We readily admit, that a cool conftian tution, or an early controul, the circum=! spection of parents, on the admonition of friends, a feeling of character and decorum; an attention to health, to interest, to safety,
perhaps we fould add a native delicacy's of mind, or a certain refinement of taste acquired by books and conversation of an improving tendency, may enable parti ; cular persons to escape a number of fnares which have entangled others. But the question is, What shall defend them againft such temptations as are accompanied with more than common danger from their predominant tendencies where thefe too aret. encouraged by the tone of the Times, and where it fo bappens, that the guards just mentioned do not come in to their fuçcourt, It is by no means difficult to imagine, a multitude of cases, in which neither com?, plexion, nor authority, nor, prudence, noc, the fense of propriety, interpofe-immee diately to prevent guilt or check inclina.. tion, but, on the contrary, many circum: stances too favourable for both, conspire with importunity, with ambition, with the mode, to prompt and embolden them. Tell us, ye 'mighty masters of wisdom, ye fond admirers, of heathen philosophy, i tell us by what arts of unaffifted reafon