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let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go." It is no wonder, however, that Pharaoh should hold in abhorrence the God of Moses; he had no doubt, Gods of his own which he held in higher estima. tion than he did this Hebrew divinity. Such has been the fact in regard to all nations; and, after manufacturing divinities to please themselves, they generally held in the most sovereign contempt the Gods of their neighbours. But it is something more extraordinary that Moles should fall out with the idols of his own choice. This will appear to be the fact by quoting the two last veries of this chapter.
" And Mofes returned unto the Lord, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil.entreated this people ? why is it that thou hast fent me ? for fince I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people: neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.” This is very pretty language in. deed for man to make use of to his maker; it is upbraid. ing of him with a witness, and calling in question all the moral attributes of his character. It is telling him in plain terms, that he had treated them very ill, and that no firm reliance could be placed upon the properties of his existence. Another thought arises, however, which will in some measure solve the difficulty. We ought to remember that Moses and his Gnd are not upon good terms; for in the very preceding chapter we have an account of a quarrel whicli they had at an Egyptian tavern, where God tried to kill Mofes, but could not make it out. This was commented upon in our last number; we mention it now only to show that that circumstance might have been the cause of fixing in the breast of Moses a sentiment of rancarous revenge. But the whole buliness, the fracas at the tavern and the manner in which Mofes addresses his God, instead of being divine revela. tion, has been made by very stupid and superstitious men, and deferves from the present generation neither credit nor attachment.
Profession of faith of a Savoyard Curate, from
Rousseau, continued from our last.
I perceive the Deity in all his works, I feel him within me, and behold him in every object around me: but; I no fooner endeavour to contemplate what he is in himfelf; I no sooner enquire where he is, and what is his fubstance, than he eludes the strongest efforts of my imagination ; and my bewildered understanding is. con- . vinced of its own weaknefs.
For this reason I shall never take upor me to argue: about the nature of God, farther than I am obliged tos it by the relation he appears to stand in to myfelf. There is fò great a temerity in such disquisitions, that a: wise man will never enter on them without trembling, and being fully assured of his incapacity to proceed far on fo sublime a subject : for it is less injurious to the Deity to entertain no idea of him at all, than to harbour those which are depreciating and unjust.
After having discovered those of his attributes, by which I am convinced of his existence, I return to my self, and consider the place I occupy in that order of things, which is directed by him, and subjected to my examination. Here I find my species stand incontesti. bly in the first rank; as man, by virtue of his will and the instruments, he is poffefled of to put it in execution, has greater power over the bodies. by which he is-surrounded, than they, by mere physical impulse, have over him: by virtue of his intelligence allo I find he is the only created being here below. that can take a general survey of the whole system. Is there one among them, except man, who knows how to observe all others? to weigh, to calculate, to foresee their motion, their effects, and to join, if I may fo express myself, the sentiments of a general existence to that of the individual ?
For my own part, who have no system to maintain, I am only a simple, honest man, attached to no party, unambitious of being the founder of any fećt, and cons
tented with the situation in which God hath placed me, I see nothing in the world, except the Deity, better than my own species; and were I left to choose my place in the order of created beings, I fee none that I could prefer to that of man.
This reflection, however, is less vain than affecting ; for my state is not the effect of choice, and could not be due to the merit of a being that did not before exist. Can I behold myself, nevertheless, thus distinguished, without thinking myself happy in occupying so honourable a post; or without blessing the hand that placed me here? From the first view I thus took of myself, my heart began to glow with a sense of gratitude towards the author of our being; and hence arose my first idea of the worship due to a beneficent Deity. I adore the supreme power, and melt into tenderness at his good. ness. I have no need to be taught artificial forms of worship; the dictates of nature are sufficient. Is it not a natural consequence of felf love, to honour those who protect us, and to love such as do us good ?
But when I come afterwards to take a view of the particular rank and relation in which I stand, as an individual, among the fellow-creatures of my fpecies; to consider the different ranks of society and the persons by whom they are filled, what a scene is presented to
Where is that order and regularity before observed? The scenes of nature present to my view the most perfect harmony and proportion : those of mankind nothing but confusion and disorder. The physical ele. ments of things act in concert with each other, the moral world alone is a chaos of discord. Mere animals are happy ; but man is miserable! Where, supreme wifdom ! are thy laws? Is it thus, O Providence ! thou governest the world? What is become of thy power, thou supreme beneficence! when I see evil prevailing on the earth ?
Would you believe, my good friend, that, from such gloomy reflections and apparent contradictions, I should form to myself more sublime ideas of the soul, than ever
resulted from my former researches ? In meditating on the nature of man, I conceived that I discovered two distinct principles; the one raising him to the study of eternal truths, the love of justice and moral beauty, bearing him aloft to the regions of the intellectual world, the contemplation of which yields the truest delight to the philosopher; the other debasing him even below himself, subjecting him to the slavery of sense, the tyranny of the passions, and exciting these to counteract every noble and generous sentiment inspired by the former. When I perceive myself hurried away by two such con. trary powers, I naturally concluded that man is not one simple and individual substance. I will, and I will not, I perceive myself at once free and a slave; I see what is good, I admire it, and yet I do the evil : I am active when I listen to my reason, and passive when hurried a. way by my passions; while my greatest uneasiness is, to find, when fallen under temptations, that I had the power of resisting them.
Attend, young man, with confidence, to what I say, you will find I shall never deceive you. If confcience be the offspring of our prejudices, I am doubtless in the wrong, and moral virtue is not to be demonstrated' ; but if self-love, which makes us prefer ourselves to every thing else, be natural to man, and if, neverthelefs, an innate sense of justice be found in his heart ; let `thofe, who imagine him to be a simple uncompounded being, reconcile these contradictions, and I will give up my opinion, and acknowledge him to be one substance.
You will pleafe to observe, that, by the word substance, I here mean, in general, a being, possessed of some pri. mitive quality, abstracted from all particular or secondary modifications. Now, if all known primitive qualities may be united in one and the fame being, we have no need to admit of more than one fubstance; but if some of these qualities are incompatible with, and neces. sarily exclusive of each other, we must admit of the ex. istence of as many different substances as there are such incompatible qualities. You will do well to reflect on this subject ; for my part, notwithstanding what Mr. Locke hath faid on this head, I need only to know that matter is extended and visible, to be assured that it cannot think.
Let us suppose that a man, born deaf, should deny the reality of sounds, because his ears were never sensible of them. To convince him of his error, I place a violin before his eyes; and, by playing another, concealed from him, give a vibration to the strings of the former. This motion, I tell him, is effected by found. Not at all, says he, the cause of the vibration of the string, is in the string itself; it is a common quality in all bodies, so to vibrate. I reply, shew me then the same vibration in other bodies, or at least the cause of it in this string. The deaf man will again reply, in his turn, “I cannot ; “ but wherefore must I, because I do not conceive how “ this string vibrates, attribute the cause to your pre“ tended sounds, of which I cannot entertain the least “ idea ? This would be to attempt an explanation of “one obfcurity by another still greater.
Either make your founds perceptible to me, or I shall continue to " deny their existence.”
The more I reflect on your capacity of thinking, and the nature of the human understanding, the greater is the resemblance I find between the arguments of our materialists and that of such a deaf man. They are, in ef. fect, equally deaf to that internal voice, which, nevertheless call to them so loud and emphatically. A mere machine is evidently incapable of thinking, it has neither motion nor figure productive of reflection: whereas in man there exist something, perpetually prone to expand, and to burst the fetters by which it is confined. Space itself affords not bounds to the human mind the whole universe is not extensive enough for him; his fentiments, his desires, his anxieties, and even his pride, take rise from a principle different from that body within which he perceives himself confined.
To be continued.