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price, and are kept in a golden box hanging from the neck, as a charm against every misfortuné. Like the cross of Jesus, or the Virgin's milk,' we may believe, there never will be wanting plenty of that precious stuff to answer all demands: the priests, out of charity, will furnish a quota, rather than suffer votaries to depart with their money for want of goods to purchase. The person of the Japan Pope, or Ecclesiastical Emperor, is held so sacred, as to make the cutting his beard or his nails, a deadly sin. But absurd laws are never steadily executed. The beard and the nails are cut in the -night-time, when the Pope is supposed to be asleep; and what is taken away by that operation, is understood to be stolen from him, which is no impeachment upon his Holiness.

That the Jews were idolaters when they sojourned in the land of Goshen, were it not presumable from their commerce with the Egyptians, would, however, be evident from the history of Moses. Notwithstanding their miraculous deliverDance from the Egyptain king, notwithstanding the daily miracles wrought among them in the wilderoness; so addicted were they to a visible deity, that during even the momentary absence of Moses conversing with God on the mount, they fabricated a golden calf, and worshipped it as their god. "And "the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down: "for thy people which thou broughtest out of the "land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they

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"have turned aside quickly out of the way "which I commanded them: they have made "them a molten calf, have worshipped it, have sa"crificed thereunto, and said, "These be thy "gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out "of the land of Egypt*." The history of the Jew, shews how difficult it is to reclaim from idolatry a brutish nation, addicted to superstition, and fettered by inveterate habit. What profusion of blood, to bring that obstinate and perverse people to the true religion! all in vain. The book of Judges, in particular, is full of reiterated relapses, from their own invisible God, to the visible gods of other nations. And in all probability, their anxious desire for a visible king, related in the first book of Samuel, arose from their being deprived of a visible god. There was a necessity for prohibiting imagest; which would have soon been converted into deities visible: and it was extremely prudent, to supply the want of a visible god, with endless shews and ceremonies; which accordingly became the capital branch of the Jewish worship.

It appears to me from the whole history of the Jews, that a gross people are not susceptible but of a gross religion; and without an enlightened understanding, that it is vain to think of eradicating superstition and idolatry. And after all the covenants made with the Jews, after all the chastisements

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tisements and all the miracles lavished on them, that they were not however reclaimed from the most groveling idolatry, is evident from the two golden calves fabricated by Jeroboam, saying, "Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee “up out of the land of Egypt*.". The people also of Judah fell back to idol-worship under Re. hoboam, son of Solomont. Jehu, king of the ten tribes, did not tolerate the worship of other gods; but he continued to worship the two golden calves fabricated by Jeroboam §. Down to the days of King Hezekiah, the Jews worshipped the brazen serpent erected by Moses in the wilderness. The Jews seem indeed to have been a very perverse people the many promises and threatenings announced by their prophets, and the many miracles wrought among them, had no permanent effect to restrain them from idolatry; and yet, during their captivity in Babylon, several of them submitted to be burnt alive, rather than to join in idol worship. Captivity cured them radically of idolatry; and from that period to this day, they have not been guilty of a single relapse. Xiphilin, in his abridgment of Dion Cassius, relating their war with Pompey many centuries after the Babylonish captivity, gives the following account of them." Their "customs are quite different from those of 0"ther

* 1 Kings, xii. 28.

2 Kings, x. 25.

I Daniel, chap iii.

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✦ 1 Kings, xiv. 23.

§ 2 Kings, x. 29.

" ther nations. Besides a peculiar manner of living, they acknowledge none of the common "deities: they acknowledge but one, whom they "worship with great veneration. There never

was an image in Jerusalem; because they be"lieve their God to be invisible and ineffable. "They have built him a temple of great size and ❝beauty, remarkable in the following particular, "that it is open above, without any roof.""

VEL

There lies no solid.objection against images among an enlightened people, when used merely to rouse devotion; but as images tend to pervert the vulgar, they ought not to be admitted into churches. Pictures are less liable to be misapprehended; and the Ethiopians accordingly indulge pictures in their churches, though they prohibit statues.' The general council of Frankfort} permitted the use of images in churches; but strictly prohibited any worship to be addressed to them. So prone, however, to idolatry are the low and illiterate, that the prohibition lost ground both in France and in Germany; and idol-worship became again general.

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It is probable, that the sun and moon were early held to be deities, and that they were the first visible objects of worship. Of all the different kinds of idolatry, it is indeed the most excusable. Upon the sun depends health, vigour, and cheerfulness; during his retirement, all is dark and dismal; when he performs his majestic round, to bless his subjects and

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and to bestow fecundity, can a mere savage with hold gratitude and veneration! Hear an old Par gan bard upon that subject. O thou who rollest "above, round as the shield of my fathers! Whence

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ethy beams, O sun, thy everlasting light? Thou comest forth in thy awful beauty, and the

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(6 stars hide their face thou movest alone, for who can be a companion of thy course! The oaks of "the mountain fall the mountains decay with

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66 years, the ocean shrinks and grows again the 66 moon herse herself is lost in heaven; but thou art for ever the same, rejoycing in the brightness, of "thy course. When tempests darken, the world, "when thunder rolls, and lightning flies, thou lookest in thy beauty from the clouds, and "laughest at the storm." Worship to the sun as a real deity, was in former, times universal; and prevails in many countries even at present. The American savages worship the sun as sovereign of the universe, known by the name of Ariskout among the Hurons, and of Agriskoué among the Iroquois. They offer him tobacco, which they term smoking the sun: the chief man in the assem bly lights the calumet, and offers it thrice to the rising sun; imploring his protection, and recommending the tribe to his care. The chief proceeds to smoke; and every one smokes in his turn. This ceremony is performed on important occasions only less matters are reserved for their Manitou. ug auf and footer pikoja au av The

* Ossian.

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