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The subject of inquiry, that nothing is really and ultimately ill in the state of man, 3. Indisposition of many towards revelation accounted for, 5; particularly of the French philosophers, ib.; and Voltaire, 6. Christianity really friendly to the interests of mankind, ib. Revelations made known by Moses and Jesus Christ, 7, 8. Province and design of miracles, 9. What is nature, 10; and the course of nature, 12 : the God of nature net to be lost sight of, 13. Plain old argument for believing a God, ib. Concession of d'Alembert, ib.; of Voltaire, 14. Reasons for rejecting divine revelation, 15; how to be refuted, 16.
Conversation the second - •, 17
The author of the Characteristics said to have little regard for the Scriptures, 18; remarkable proof of his veneration for the Creator, 19; pains taken by him to print a volume of sermons, 20; educates a person to be a clergyman, 21; his want of candour towards sacred persons and sacred laws, 22; remarks on the extermination of the Canaanites, 24; his opinion of miracles, 25; letter to his young friend, 27; his scepticism and raillery, 28; general view of his character, ib. Benevolence of the Deity affirmed, 29; proofs of it in the happiness of the animal cre-ation, 30; objections from the nature of ravenous beasts obviated, 33; goodness towards man as an animal, notwithstanding diseases and death, 35; as a reasonable being, 37; all nature properly invoked by the Hebrew poets to celebrate the praise of the Creator, 41 ; difficulties from the consideration of the real state of mankind, in a moral point of view, 43. o
CoNVERSATION THE THIRD - Page 43
Inquiry into the existence and interference of a superior evil
I Have a singular satisfaction oftentimes in recollecting a conversation which took place some years since at “**, the country-seat of our respectable friend, in which you bore no inconsiderable part, and in my opinion came off with more honour than those who were crowned in the Olympic games; an honour that, however, not to be attained without much labour and self-denial. But you gained a victory over yourself, and many narrow and inveterate religious prejudices which you had the courage to renounce, and, notwithstanding obloquy and various worldly disadvantages, have ever since remained firm in the profession and worship of the one true God and father of the universe, as prescribed and practised by Jesus Christ. o In the account of the conversation to which I. allude, it is stated, that the way of worship, which you, after much inquiry and deliberation, embraced, B Was
2 Conversations on the was that held forth to the English nation and to the church of England in particular, in the “Amendments, humbly proposed to the Consideration of those in Authority, of the Book of Common Prayer according to the Use of the Church of England. By Samuel Clarke, D.D. Rector of St. James’s, Westminster.” Such is the modest style, in which this excellent person speaks of what had been the fruits of many years labour and thought to promote the honour nd credit of the established church, and a purer worship of God in it. What farther information may be desired concerning this valuable manuscript work of Dr. Clarke, which, after his decease, was presented by his son Mr. Clarke to the British Museum, and deposited there, may be found in a Tract, entitled, “Conversations on Christian Idolatry.” . And I cannot forbear adding, that, from some facts reported at the close of that Tract, it may appear probable, that the pure worship of the One true God might silently and quietly, in a course of time, have then made its way * in France, had the first happy revolution in that country proceeded and continued as it began, and not been followed by such dire and violent convulsions. It affords, however, a pleasing omen of what may hereafter take place there in-more
favourable times. - But I have run out to a much greater length than
* See the French Constitution, pp. 371-375, the 2d edition, with corrections and additions, by Benjamin Flower. " " .