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possibly be, because the Condition of the Mind, during its Union with the Body, is such, that it necessarily receives strong Impressions from external Objects. To deny This, is to deny that we have any Senses at all, or that we have ever had any Experience of their EffeSls upon the Mind. And if This be, (what every one of us daily experiences it to be) the present State of human Nature, the consequent Expediency of publick and joint Prayer, considered as the mofl effectual Means of promoting Virtue, and our Obligations from the Principles of natural Religion, to perform those Duties, are demonstratively True: And, therefore, let these proud Boasters of their Reason, and pretended Friends to Virtue, disprove This Account of the present State of human Nature, and the Influence of our Senses upon our Minds, or let them throw off the Mask, and openly acknowledge that, in their Opinion, there is no such thing as Virtue^ or any moral Obligation really subsisting. But, I must repeat what I have already observed, that tho' these Arguments are quite Satisfactory to us, whose Minds have been strengthened and illuminated by frequent Revelations, I am far from thinking that anajfisted Reason could have discovered them so clearly and strongly to Mankind, as they now appear to us. This, however, only shews us our own Happiness, in having the great Advantages of Revelation, but does not, in the least, weaken the Force of the Argument in respect to the Heists. Before I take leave of these violent Patrons of natural

Religion, Religion, I must suggest another Observation to them, which deserves their Consideration;, I mean, the general Agreement of Mankind in the publick Worship of their Deity, or Deities. There never was a People, even in the darkest Corner of the Heathen World, who did not acknowledge their Belief of a God and this Providence, by publickly worshipping him. Now, This universal PraStice, while it testifies the concurrent Sentiments of Mankind, is as good a Proof of the Reasonableness of the Duty of Prayer, and of their Obligations, considered as Men, to perform it, as the general Belief of a God has always been allowed to be a Proof of the Reality of his Existence. For, into what can we resolve such an universal Concurrence of Opinion and Practice but into the Voice of God, or the Voice of Nature, to both which all reasonable Creatures must acknowledge themselves obliged to hearken. We must either suppose that the Duty of Prayer was originally made known to Mankind by an immediate external Revelation, and propagated to succeeding Times by Tradition; or, that it appears so plain from the very Frame and Constitution of our Beings, as dependent Creatures, that Reason has always assented to our Obligations to the Practice of it; or, that Mankind have been led to the Practice of it by a kind of Instinct implanted in us by the Author of our Nature, in order to preserve in our Minds a constant and lively Sense of our Dependence upon him: This Argument deserves to be considered, and will not easily be answered, by those who would be , 2 thought thought to* believe the Truths of natural Religion, tho' We Christians are less concerned to maintain the Force of it. The Deists (as Infidels are pleased to style themselves) are apt to extol the moral Philosophy of the Heathens, and the great Abilities of the Authors. The late Lord Bolinbrooke has exceeded any of his Predecessors in his Encomiums upon them, and has made a most pompous Parade, with Extracts of their Maxims. But, what was the Design of all this Lavishness? Not to give a N Sanction to Virtue, by their Authorities; but to discredit Revelation: If the Intention had been to recommend and promote the Interest of Virtue, they would pay the same Regard to the Sentiments of those great Men in respect to Religion and Piety; whereas they pay none at all, but are quite silent upon That Head. All the antient Heathens had the highest Esteem and -Zeal for the religious Worship of their Gods. The Romans, in particular, laid so great a Stress upon it, that they ascrib'd the Success of their Arms to their Piety, which, in their Opinion, procured them the Assistance of the divine Providence. Not so, the present Deists; who have improved so much upon their Predecessors that they seem to exclude a Providence out of the World; and, in consequence of their Infidelity, never pay their Devotions to God, while they deny his Existence, or his Interposal in the Government of the World. I have lately heard a very remarkable Thing, from very good Hands, of the Right Honourable Writer, above-menz tion'd. tion'd. The late Dr. Conyers Middleton left a MS. upon Prayer; not in Favour of it, the Reader may be morally assured. Whether the Dr. left it with an Intention of having it published after his Death my Informer did not lay; but the Widow, it seems, was prevailed upon to suppress it. His Lordship, by some Means, or another, contriv'd to get a Sight of it, and found it so agreeable to his Opinions and Schemes, that he has taken proper Measures for its Publication. I hope I am misinform'd; but the Gentleman who gave me this Account is a Person of such good Intelligence, and so much Credit, that I believe it to be true; and I am the more inclin'd to believe it, because such a Design seems quite agreeable to the Writings of his Lordship, and the Dr. How it can be consistent with their large Pretensions of Zeal for Virtue, and the Good of Mankind, must be a Secret till some of these inlighten'd Philosophers shall think fit to shew us. At present, I am willing to think, I have proved, and Jhall still more fully prove, that by discrediting Prayer they are doing irreparable Injury to Virtue, and the Publick. Be that as it will, their Inconsistency and Partiality are undeniable, while they so highly extol the moral Sentiments of the antient Heathens, but disdainfully reject their religious Opinions. Whatever Weight those celebrated Names carry with them, Piety and Prayer claim it all. As to those who believe the Truth of Revelation, they have a continued Series of Examples ', not of Philosophers, not of mere Men, but of Prophets, and Apostles,. who lived and acted, continually, under the immediate Inspiration and DireStion of, God j whose deliberate and habitual Conduct, therefore, is not only an infallible Rule of what is lawful, but of what is binding upon us, as a necejjary Duty in Matters of This Nature. We have, moreover, the Practice of Christ himself, who has expressly told us, that it is our Duty to follow his Steps; that he took upon him our Nature, and dwelt among us, in order to instruct us by his Example, as well as by positive Precepts. I need not produce Instances to prove a Fact that must be sufficiently obvious to every one who has looked into the Bible, or heard it read. But, besides all these Examples, we have express Precepts for the Duty of Prayer, both in the old and new Testament. I know, it is a current Opinion among many learned Men, that there is no express Precept for Prayer under the old Testament: Of this Opinion was that excellent Man, Bishop Blackball:. At the 86th Page of the Octavo Edition of his Sermons, upon these Words, when thou pray est, &c. he observes, that "It is not *y here directed, or commanded, that we should "ever put up any Prayers to God; but 'tis fapw posed by our Saviour that This is a Duty, and "that Men are generally so persuaded of the "Necessity of it, that they cannot be satisfied *f in their own Minds, while they live in the "Neglect thereof; and 'tis indeed a Duty taught "so clearly by the Light of Nature, that there "was no Need that it should be enjoin'd by



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