Theological Institutes

Part First - Evidences of The Divine Authority of the Holy Scriptures

By Richard Watson

Chapter 8

The Necessity of Revelation:-.Religions of the Heathen.

THAT the religions which have prevailed among pagan nations have been destructive of morality, cannot be denied.

How far the speculative principles which they embodied had this effect, has already been shown; we proceed to their more direct influence.

The gloomy superstition, which pervaded most of them, fostered ferocious and cruel dispositions.

The horrible practice of offering human sacrifices prevailed throughout every region of the heathen world, to a degree which is almost incredible; and it still prevails in many populous countries where Christianity has not yet been made known. There are incontestable proofs of its having subsisted among the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Persians, the Phenicians, and all the various nations of the east. It was one of the crying sins of the Canaanites. The contagion spread over every part of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The Greeks and Romans, though less involved in this guilt than many other nations, were not altogether un tainted with it. On great and extraordinary occasions, they had recourse to what was esteemed the most efficacious and most meritorious sacrifice that could be offered to the gods, the effusion of human blood.[1] But among more barbarous nations, this practice took a firmer root. The Scythians and Thracians, the Gauls and the Germans, were strongly addicted to it; and our own island, under the gloomy and ferocious despotism of the Druids, was polluted with the religious murder of its inhabitants. In the semi-civilized kingdoms on the western side of Africa, as Dahomy, Ashantee, and others, many thousands fall every year victims to superstition. In America, Montezuma offered 20,000 victims yearly to the sun; and modern navigators have found the practice throughout the whole extent of the vast Pacific ocean. As for India, the cries of its abominable and cruel superstitions have been sounded repeatedly in the ears of the British public and its legislature; and, including infants and widows, not fewer than 10,000 lives fall a sacrifice to idolatry in our eastern dominions yearly![2]

The influence of these practices in obdurating the heart, and disposing it to habitual cruelty, need not be pointed out; but the religion of paganism have been as productive of impurity as of blood.

The Floralia among the Romans were celebrated for four days together by the most shameless actions; and their mysteries in every country, whatever might be their original intent, became horribly corrupt. It was in the temples of many of their deities, and on their religious festivals, that every kind of impurity was most practised; and this continues to the present day throughout all the regions of modern paganism.[3]

This immoral tendency of their religion was confirmed and perfected by the very character and actions of their gods, whose names were perpetually in their mouths; and whose murderous or obscene exploits, whose villanies and chicaneries, whose hatreds and strifes, were the subject of their popular legends; which made up in fact the only theology, if so it may be called, of the body of the people. That they should be better than their gods, was not to be expected, and worse they could not be. Deities with such attributes could not but corrupt, and be ap­pealed to, not merely to excuse, but to sanctify the worst practices. [4]

Let this argument then be summed up.

All the leading doctrines on which religion rests, had either been corrupted by a grovelling and immoral superstition, among heathen nations; or the philosophic speculations of their wisest men had intro­duced principles destructive of man's accountability and present and future hope. On morals themselves, the original rules were generally perverted, limited, or rejected; while the religious rites, and the legend­ary character of the deities worshipped, to the exclusion of the true God, gave direct incitement and encouragement to vice. Thus the grossest ignorance on Divine subjects universally prevailed; the learned were involved in inextricable perplexities; and the unlearned received as truth the most absurd and monstrous fables, all of them, however, favourable to vicious indulgence. The actual state of morals also ac­corded with the corrupt religious systems, and the lax moral principles which they adopted; so that in every heathen state of ancient times, the description of the Apostle Paul in the first chapter of Romans is supported by the evidence of their own historians and poets. The same may also be affirmed of modern pagan countries, whose moral condition may explain more fully, as they are now so well known through our intercourse with them, the genius and moral tendency of the ancient idolatries, with which those of India, and other parts of the east especially, so exactly agree.

These are the facts. They affect not a small portion of mankind, but all who have not had the benefits of the doctrines and morals of the Holy Scriptures. There are no exceptions from this of any consequence to the argument, though some difference in the morals of heathen states may be allowed. Where the Scriptures are unknown, there is not, nor ever has been since the corruption of the primitive religion, a religious system which has contained just views of God and religious truth, the Theists of the present day being judges ;-none which has enjoined a correct morality, or even opposed any effectual barrier against the de­terioration of public manners. These facts cannot be denied: for the allegations formerly made of the morality of modern pagan nations have been sufficiently refuted by a better acquaintance with them; and the conclusion is irresistible, that an express revelation of the will of God, accompanied with efficient corrective institutions, was become necessary, and is still demanded by the ignorance and vices, the miseries and disorders of every part of the earth into which Christianity has not been introduced.

But we may go another step. This exhibition of the moral condition of those nations who have not had the benefit of the renewal and republication of the truths of the patriarchal religion, not only supports the conclusion that new and direct revelations from God were necessary; but the wants, which that condition so obviously created, will support other presumptions as to the nature and mode of that revelation, in the case of such a gift being bestowed in the exercise of the Divine mercy, for if there is ground to presume that almighty God, in his compassion for his creatures, would not leave them to the unchecked influence of error and vice; nor, upon the corruption of that simple, but compre­hensive doctrine, worship and morals, communicated to the progenitors of all those great branches of the family of man which have been spread over the earth, refuse to interpose to renew and to perfect that religious system which existed in an elementary form in the earliest ages, and give to it a form less liable to alteration and decay than when left to be transmitted by tradition alone; there is equal ground to presume, that the revelation, whenever vouchsafed, should be of that nature, and accompanied by such circumstances, as would most effec­tually accomplish this benevolent purpose.

Presumptions as to the manner in which such a revelation would be made most effectually to accomplish its ends, are indeed to be guarded, lest we should set up ourselves as adequate judges in a case which involves large views and extensive bearings of the Divine government. But without violating this rule, it may, from the obviousness of the case, be presumed, that such a supernatural manifestation of truth should, 1, contain explicit information on those important subjects on which mankind had most greatly and most fatally erred. 2. That it should accord with the principles of former revelations, given to men in the same state of guilt and moral incapacity as we find them in the present lay. 3. That it should have a satisfactory external authentication. 4. That it should contain provisions for its effectual promulgation among all classes of men. All this, allowing the necessity and the pro bability of a supernatural communication of the will of God, must cer­tainly be expected; and if the Christian revelation bears this character, it has certainly these presumptions in its favour, that it meets an ob­vious case of necessity, and confers the advantages just enumerated.

1. It gives information on those subjects which are most important to man, and which the world had darkened with the greatest errors- the nature and perfections, claims and relations of God-his WILL [5] as the RULE of moral good and evil-the means of obtaining PARDON and of conquering vice-the true MEDIATOR between God and man-Divine PROVIDENCE-the CHIEF GOOD of man, respecting which alone more than three hundred different opinions among the ancient sages have been reck­oned up-man's IMMORTALITY and accountability, and a FUTURE STATE.

2. It is also required that a revelation should accord with the principles of former revelations, should any have been given.

For since it is a first principle that God cannot err himself, nor de­ceive us, so far as one revelation renews or explains any truth in a preceding one, it must agree with the previous communication; and in what it adds to a preceding revelation, it cannot contradict any thing which it contains, if it he exhibited as a truth of unchangeable character or a duty of perpetual obligation.

Now whatever direct proof may be adduced in favour of the Divine authority of the Jewish and Christian revelations, this at least may be confidently urged as evidence in their favour, that they have a substan­tial agreement and harmony among themselves, and with that ancient traditional system which existed in the earliest ages, and the fragments of which we find scattered among all nations. As to the patriarchal system of religion, to which reference has been so often made, beside the notices of it which are every where scattered in the book of Gene­sis, we have ample and most satisfactory information in the ancient book of Job, of which sufficient evidence may be given that it was Written not later than the time of Moses; and that Job himself lived between the flood of Noah and time call of Abraham. Of the religion of the patriarchs, as it existed just at that period when Sabianism, or the worship of the heavenly luminaries, began to make its appearance, and Was restrained by the authority of the "judges," who were the heads of tribes or families, and as it existed in the preceding ages, as We find from the reference made by Job and his friends to the authority of their "fathers," this book contains an ample and most satisfactory record: and from this venerable relic a very copious body of doctrinal and practical theology might be collected; but the following particulars Will be sufficient for the present argument:--

One Supreme Being alone is recognized throughout, as the object of adoration, worship, hope, trust, and fear; who is represented as of infinite and unsearchable majesty, eternal omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, and of perfect wisdom, justice, goodness; governing all things noting and judging individuals, regarding the good, punishing the wicked placable, listening to the prayers of the penitent. The natural corruption of man's nature is also stated; and his own inability to cleanse his heart from sin. Man, we are told, cannot be just with God, and therefore needs an intercessor. Sacrifices, as of Divine appointment, and propitiatory in their nature, are also adverted to as commonly practised. Express reference is made to a Divine Redeemer and his future inovation, as an object of hope. The doctrines of an immortal spirit in man, and of the resurrection of the body, and a future judgment, have all a place in this system. Creation is ascribed to God; and not only the general doctrine of Providence, but that most interesting branch of it, the connection of dispensations of prosperity and affliction with moral ends. Murder, theft, oppression, injustice, adultery, intemperance, are all pointed out as violations of the laws of God; and also wrath envy, and other evil passions. Purity of heart, kindness, compassion to the poor, &c, are spoken of as virtues of the highest obligation; and the fear and love of God are enjoined, with a calm and cheerful submission to his will, in humble trust that the darkness of present events will be ultimately cleared up, and shown to be consistent with the wisdom, justice, holiness, and truth of God. The same points of doctrine and morals may also be collected from the book of Genesis.

Such was the comprehensive system of patriarchal theology; and it is not necessary to stop to point out, that these great principles are all recognized and taken up in the successive revelations by Moses and by Christ,-exhibiting three religious systems, varying greatly in circumstances; introduced at widely distant periods, and by agents gr differing in their condition and circumstances; but exactly hamizing in every leading doctrinal tenet, and agreeing in their great moral imsion upon mankind-PERFECT PURITY OF HEART AND CONDUCT.

3. That it should be accompanied with an explicit and impre external authentication, of such a nature as to make its truth obvious to the mass of mankind, and to leave no reasonable doubt of its Divine authority.

The reason of this is evident. A mere impression of truth on the understanding could not by itself be distinguished from a discovery made by the human intellect, and could have no authority, as a declaration of the will of a superior, with the person receiving it; and as to others, it could only pass for the opinion of the individual who might promulge it. (Vide chap. 3.) An authentication of a system of truth, which professes to be the will, the law, of him who, having made, has the right to command us, external to the matter of the doctrine itself, is therefore ne­cessary to give it authority, and to create the obligation of obedience. This accords with the opinion of all nations up to the earliest ages, and was so deeply wrought in the common sense of mankind, that all the heathen legislators of antiquity affected a Divine commission, and all false religions have leaned for support upon pretended supernatural sanctions. The proofs of this are so numerous and well known, that it is unnecessary to adduce them.

The authority of the ancient patriarchal religion rested on proof external to itself. We do not now examine the truth of its alleged authentications,-they were admitted; and the force of the revelation depended upon them in the judgment of mankind. We have a most ancient book, which records the opinions of the ante-Mosaic ages. The theology of those ages has been stated; and from the history contained in that book we learn, that the received opinion was, that the almighty Lawgiver himself conversed with our first parents and with the patriarchs, under celestial appearances; and that his mercies to men, or his judgments, failed not to follow ordinarily the observance or violation of the laws thus delivered, which was in fact an authenti­cation of them renewed from time to time. The course of nature, dis­playing the eternal power and Godhead, as well as the visitations of Providence, was to them a constant confirmation of several of the leading truths in the theology they had received; and by the deep im­press of Divinity which this system received in the earliest ages from the attestations of singular judgments, and especially the flood, it is only rationally to be accounted for, that it was universally transmit­ted, and waged so long a war against religious corruptions.

But notwithstanding the authentication of the primitive religion, as a matter of Divine revelation, and the effects produced by it in the world for many ages; and indeed still produced by it in its very broken and corrupted state, in condemning many sinful actions, so as to render the crimes of heathens without excuse; that system was traditional, and liable to be altered by transmission. In proportion also as histo­rical events were confounded by the lapse of time, and as the migra­tions and political convulsions of nations gave rise to fabulous stories, the external authenticating evidence became weak, and thus a merci­ful interposition on the part of God was, as we have seen, rendered necessary by the general ignorance of mankind. Indeed the primitive revelations supposed future ones, and were not in themselves regarded as complete. But if a republication only of the truth had been neces­sary, the old external evidence was so greatly weakened b the lapse of ages, which as to most nations had broken the line of historical testimony on which it so greatly rested, that it required a new authentication, in a form adapted to the circumstances of the world; and if an enlarged revelation were vouchsafed, every addition to the declared will of God needed an authentication of the same kind as at first.

If we presume, therefore, that a new revelation was necessary, we must presume, that, when given, it would have an external authentication as coming from God, from which there could be no reasonable appeal; and we therefore conclude, that as the Mosaic and Christian revelations profess both to republish and to enlarge former revelations, the circumstance of their resting their claims on the external evidence of miracles and prophecy, is a presumption in their favour. Whether the evidence which they offer be decisive or not, is a future question; but in exhibiting such evidence, they accord with the reason of the thing, and with the common sense of all ages.

4. It is farther presumed, that, should a revelation of religious truth and the will of God be made, it would provide means for its effectual communication to all classes of men.

As the revelation supposed must be designed to restore and enlarge the communications of truth, and as, from the increase and dispersible of the human race, tradition had become an imperfect medium of con­veying it, it is a fair presumption, that the persons through whom the communication was made should record it in WRITING. A revelation to every individual could not maintain the force of its original authentication; because as its attestation must be of a supernatural kind, its constant recurrence would divest it of that character, or weaken its force by bringing it among common and ordinary events. A revelation on the contrary to few, properly and publicly attested by supernatural occurrences, needed not repetition; but the most natural and effectual mode of preserving the communication, once made, would be to transmit it by writing. Any corruption of the record would be rendered impracticable by its being publicly taught in the first instance; by a standard copy being preserved with care; or by such a number of copies being dispersed as to defy material alteration. This pre­sumption is realized also in the Jewish and Christian revelations; as will be seen when the subject of the authority of the Holy Scriptures comes to be discussed. They were first publicly taught, then committed to writing, and the copies were multiplied.

Another method of preserving and diffusing the knowledge of a re­velation once made, would be, the institution of public commemorative rites, at once preserving the memory the fact, and of the doctrine connected with it, among great bodies of people, and leading them to such periodical inquiries as might preserve both with the greatest ac­curacy. These also we find in the institutions of Moses, and of Christ; and their weight in the argument for the truth of the mission of each, will be adduced in its proper place.

Allowing it to be reasonable to presume, that a revelation would be vouchsafed; it is equally so to presume, that it should contain some injunctions favourable to its propagation among men of all ranks. For as the compassion of God to the moral necessities of his creatures, generally, is the ground on which so great a favour rests, we cannot suppose that one class of men should be allowed to make a monopoly of this advantage; and this would be a great temptation to them to publish their own favourite or interested opinions under a pretended Divine sanction, and tend to counteract the very purpose for which a revelation was given. Such a monopoly was claimed by the priests of ancient pagan nations; and that fatal effect followed. It was claimed for a time by a branch of the Christian priesthood, contrary to the obligations of the institution itself; and the consequences were similar. Among the heathens, the effect of this species of monopoly was, that those who encouraged superstition and ignorance among the people, speedily themselves lost the truth, which, through a wicked policy, they concealed; and the case might have been the same in Christendom, but for the sacred records, and for those witnesses to the truth who prophesied and suffered, more or less, throughout the dark­est ages.[6]

This reasonable expectation also is realized in the Mosaic and Christian revelations ;-both provided for their general publication both instituted an order of men, not to conceal, but to read and teach the truth committed to them-both recognized a right in the people to search the record, and by it to judge of the ministration of the priests.- both made it obligatory on the people to be taught-and both separated one day in seven to afford leisure for that purpose.

Nothing but such a revelation, and with such accompanying circum stances, appears capable of reaching the actual case of mankind, and of effectually instructing and bringing them under moral control;[7] and, whether the Bible can be proved to be of Divine authority or not, this at least must be granted, that it presents itself to us under these circumstances, and claims, for this very reason, the most serious and unprejudiced attention.


DIFFERENT opinions have been held as to the ground of moral obligation. Grotius, Baiguy, and Pr. S. Clarke, place it in the eternal and necessary fitness of things. To this there are two objections. The First is, that it leaves the dis­tinction between virtue and vice, in a great measure, arbitrary and indefinite, dependent upon our perception of fitness and unfitness, which, in different indi­viduals, will greatly differ. The Second is, that when a fitness or unfitness is proved, it is no more than the discovery of a natural essential difference or congruity, which alone cannot constitute a moral obligation to choose whatis fit, and to reject what is unfit. When we have proved a fitness in a certain course of action, we have not proved that it is obligatory. A second step is necessary before we can reach this conclusion. Cudworth, Boiler, Price, and others, maintain, that virtue carries its own obligation in itself; that the understanding at once perceives a certain action to be right, and therefore it ought to be per formed. Several objections lie to this notion. 1. It supposes the understandings of men to determine precisely in the same manner concerning all virtuous and vicious actions, which is contrary to fact. 2. It supposes a previous rule, by which the action is determined to be right; but if the revealed will of God is not to be taken into consideration, what common rule exists among men? There is evi­dently no such rule, and therefore no means of certainly determining what, is right. 3. If a common standard were known among men, and if the understand­ings of men determined in the same manner as to the conformity, or otherwise, of an action to that standard; what renders it a matter of obligation that any one should perform it? The rule must be proved to ho binding, or no ground of obligation is established.

An action is obligatory, say others, because it is agreeable to the moral sense. This is the theory of Lord Shaftesbury and Dr. Hutchinson. By moral sense appears to be meant an instinctive approbation of right, and abhorrence of wrong, prior to all reflection on their nature, or their consequences. If any thing else were understood by it, then the moral sense must be the same with conscience, which we know to vary with the judgment, and cannot therefore be the basis of moral obligation. If conscience be not meant, then the moral sense must be considered as instinctive, a notion, certainly, which is disproved by the whole moral history of man. It may, indeed, be conceded, that such is the constitution of the human soul, that when those distinctions between actions, which have boon taught by religious tradition or direct revelation, are known in their nature, relations, and consequences the calm and sober judgments of men will approve of them; and that especially when they are considered abstractedly, that is, as not affecting and controlling their own interests and passions immediately, virtue may command complacency, and vice provoke abhorrence; but that, independent of reflection on their nature or their consequences, there is an instinctive prin­ciple in man which abhors evil, and loves good, is contradicted by that variety' of opinion and feeling on the vices and virtues, which obtains among all uninstructed nations. We applaud the forgiveness of an injury as mangnanimous a savage despises it as moan. We think it a duty to support and cherish aged pa rents; many nations, on the contrary, abandon them as useless, and throw them to the boasts of the field. Innumerable instances of this contrariety might be adduced, which are all contrary to the notion of instinctive sentiment. In. stincts operate uniformly, but this assumed moral sense does not. Beside, if it be mere matter of feeling, independent of judgment, to love virtue, and abhor vice, the morality of the exercise of this principle is questionable; for it would be difficult to show, that there is any more morality, properly speaking, in the affections and disgusts of instinct than in those of the palate. If judgment, the knowledge and comparison of things, be included, then this principle supposes a uniform and universal individual revelation, as to the nature of things, to every man, or an intuitive faculty of determining thieir moral quality; both of which are too absurd to be maintained.

The only satisfactory conclusion on this subject, is that which refers moral obligation to the will of God. "Obligation," says Warburton, "necessarily im­plies an obliger, and the obliger must be different from, and not one and the same with, the obliged. Moral obligation, that is, time obligation of a free agent, farther implies a law, which enjoins and forbids; but a law is the imposition of an intelligent superior, who hath power to exact conformity thereto." This lawgiver is God: and whatever may be the reasons which have lcd him to enjoin this, and to prohibit that, it is plain that the obligation to obey lies not merely in the fitness and propriety of a creature obeying an infinitely wise and good Creator, though such a fitness exists; but in that obedience being enjoined.

Some, allowing this, would push the matter farther, in search of a more renote ground of obligation. They put the question, "Why am I obliged to obey the will of God ?" and give us the answer, "Because obedience to the commands of a benevolent God must be productive of the agent's happiness on the whole." But this is putting out to sea again; for, 1. It cannot be proved that the considera­tion of our own happiness is a ground of moral obligation at all, except in some such vague sense as we use the term obligation when we say, "We are obliged to take exercise, if we would preserve our health." 52. We should be in danger of setting up a standard, by which to judge of time propriety of obeying God, when, indeed, we are but inadequate judges of what is for our happiness, on the whole:

or.   3. It would make moral obligation to rest upon our faith, that God can will only our happiness, which is a singular principle on which to build our obedi­ence. On the contrary, the simple principle that moral obligation rests upon time will of God, by whatever means that will may be known, is unclogged with any of these difficulties. For, 1. It is founded on a clear principle of justice. lie who made has an absolute property in us, and may therefore command us; and having actually commanded us, we cannot set up any claim of exemption-we are his. 2. He has connected reward with obedience, and punishment with dis­obedience, and therefore made it necessary for us to obey, if we would secure our own happiness. Thus we are obliged, both by the force of the abstract principle, and by the motive resulting from a sanctioned command; or, in the language of time schools, we are obliged in reason, and obliged in interest, but each obligation evidently emanates from the will of God. Other considerations, such as the excellence and beauty of virtue, its tendency to individual happiness and univer­sal order, &c, may smooth the path of obedience, and render "his commandments joyous ;" but the obligation, strictly speaking, can only rest in the will of the su­perior and commanding power.


THOUGH some will allow time ignorance of former times, they think that the improved reason of man is now more adequate to the discovery of moral truth.

"They contend, that the world was then in the infancy of knowledge; and argue, as if the illustrious sages of old, (whom they nevertheless sometimes extol, in terms of extravagant panegyric,) were very babes in philosophy, such as the wise ones of later ages regard with a sort of' contemptuous commiseration.

"But, may we not be permitted to ask, whence this assumed superiority of modern over ancient philosophers has arisen? and whence the extraordinary influx of light upon these latter times has been derived? Is there any one so infatuated by his admiration of time present age, as seriously to think, that the intellectual powers of man are stronger and more perfect now than they were wont to he; or that time particular talents of himself, or any of his contemporaries, are superior to those which shone forth in the luminaries of time Gentile world? Do the names even of Locke, Cudworth, Cumberland, Clarke, Wilkins, or Wollaston, (men so justly comment in modern times, and who laboured so indefatigably to perfect the theory of natural religion,) convey to us an idea of greater intellectual ability than those of the consummate masters of the Portico, the Grove, or the Lyceum? How is it, thien, that the advocates for the natural perfection, or perfectibility, of human reason, do not perceive, that for all the superiority of the present over former times, with respect to religious knowledge, we must be in­debted to some intervening cause, and not to any actual enlargement of time human faculties? Is it to be believed, that any man of time present age, of whatever natural talents he may be possessed, could have advanced one step beyond the heathen philosophers in his pursuit of Divine truth, had he lived in their times, and enjoyed only the light that was bestowed upon them? Or can it be fairly proved, that, merely by time light of nature, or by reasoning upon such data only as men possess who never heard of revealed religion, any moral or religious truth has been discovered since time days when Athens and Rome affected to give laws to the intellectual, as well as to this political world? That great improvements have since been made, in framing systems of ethics, of metaphysics; and of what is called natural theology, need not be denied. But these improvements may easily be traced to one obvious cause, the widely diffused light of the Gospel, which, having shone, with more or less lustre, on all nations, has imparted, even to the most simple and illiterate of the sons of men, such a degree of knowledge on these subjects, as, without it, would be unattainable by the most learned and profound." (VAN MILDERT'S Boyle's Lect.)


[1] Plutarch in the Lives of Themistoclee, Marcellus, and Aristides. (Livy L 22, c. 57; Florus 1. 1, c. 13; Virg. AEn. x, 518, xi, 81.)

[2] See Maurice's Indian Antiquities; the writings of Dr. Claudius Buchanan; Ward on the Hindoos; Dubois on H indoo Manners, &c; Robertson's History of America; Bowditch's Account of Ashantee; Moore's Hindoo Pantheon; and Porteus and Ryan on the Effects of Christianity.

[3] See Leland and Whithy, on the Necessity of a Revelation; and the writers on the customs of India,-Ward, Dubois, Buchanan, and Moore, before referred to.

[4] Hence Chaerea, in Terence, pertinently enough asks, Quod fecit is qui tern.

pie coeli summa sonitu concutit, ego homuncio non facerenz? Eunuch. Act. 3, sec. 5. He only imitated Jupiter. And says Sextus Empyricus, "That cannote Unjust which is done by the god Mercury, the prince of thieves, for how can a god be wicked ?" (Apud. Euseb. Prep. lib. 6, cap. 10.)

[5] See note A at the end of the chapter.

[6] Bishop Warburton endoavours to prove, by an elaborate argument in his "Divine Legation," that in the Greater Mysteries, the Divine Unity and the errors of Polytheism were constantly taught. This, however, is most satisfacto­rily disproved by Dr. Leland, in his "Advantage and Necessity of a Divine Reve­lation ;" to both of which works the reader is referred for information as to those singular r institutions-the heathen mysteries.

[7] See note B at the end of the chapter.