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casily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, bopeth all things, endureth all things. No ; be that went about doing good, did not put the murderous dagger into the hands of his children, nor dictate to them a code of intolerance. The mildest, the most compassionate, and the most just of beings has not* breathed into the hearts of his disciples the spirit of persecution, but has tkindled within them the divine fire of charity.
“ To pretend” (says this eminent writer again,f whom I have already quoted, and whom I could quote continually), “to pre“ tend to say, that religion is not a restrain“ ing motive, because it does not always “ restrain, is equally absurd as to say, that " the civil laws are not a restraining motive. “ It is a false way of reasoning against re“ ligion, to collect, in a large work, a
* John xx, 22-A symbolical but very significative action. of Luke xxiv. 32.
| Montesquieu, Spirit of Laws, lib. xxi.y. chap ü.
“ long detail of the evils it has produced, “ if we do not give, at the same time, an "enumeration of the advantages which “have flowed from it. Were I to relate all " the evils which have arisen in the world “ from civil laws, from monarchy, and " from republican government, I might tell “ of frightful things. Were it of no advan“ tage for subjects to have religion, it " would still be of some, if princes had it, " and if they whitened with foam the only “ rein which can restrain those who fear “ not human laws. A prince who loves and “ fears religion is a lion, who stoops to the “hand that strokes, or to the voice that ap“ peases him. He who fears and hates re“ ligion is like the savage beast, that growls " and bites the chain, which prevents his “ flying on the passenger. He who has no " religion at all, is that terrible animal, who
perceives his liberty only when he tears “ in pieces, and when he devours."
With what satisfaction do I remark this profound and humane writer, this preceptor of kings and nations, tracing with his immortal hand the eulogium of that religion, which a well-disposed mind, the
more philosophical it becomes, the more it will admire! “Let us set before our eyes, “ on the one hand, the continual massacres " of the kings and generals of the Greeks " and Romans ; and, on the other, the de"struction of people and cities by those fa. "mous conquerors * Timur-Beg and † Jen“ghis-Khan, who ravaged Asia ; and we " shall see, that we owe to christianity, in “ government, a certain political law : and " in war, a certain law of nations; benefits " which human nature can never sufficient “ ly acknowledge.
“ It is owing to this law of nations, that, " amongst us, victory leaves these great " advantages to the conquered, life, liber"ty, laws, wealth, and always religion,
* Timur-Beg, or Tamerlane, emperor of the Tartars, and one of the most renowned conquerors, died in 1415, aged 71. He gained several victories over the Persians, subdued the Parthians, reduced the greatest part of the Indies, and brought into subjec. tion Mesopotamia and Egypt. He triumphed over Bajazet, em. peror of the Turks, and thus reigned over three parts of the world.
+ Jenghis-Khan, one of the most illustrious warriors conquer. ed the Mogul, and Tartars, and founded one of the greatest em. pares in the world; he died in 1926, aged 72.
“ when the conqueror is not blind to his. “ own interest."*
How many domestic virtues, and acts of mercy exercised in privacy and retirement has this doctrine of life produced, and pro. duces still! How frequently are the cha racters of a Socrates and an Epictetus met with under the garb of an ignoble artisan ! if indeed that epithet can ever be justly applied to an honest man; and how superior the knowledge of this artisan, concerning the duties, and future destiny of man, to that of either of those two philosophers ! God forbid that either injustice or ingrati. tude should harbour in my breast. If I enu. merate the blessings which accrue from true religion, it is to her, I perceive, that philosophy itself is indebted for its birth, progress, and perfection. If the Father of ligbt had not vouchsafed to enlighten mankind, can I venture to affirm, that I myself should not have been an idolater? Born perhaps in the midst of the most profound darkness, and of the most monstrous superstition, I should have remained immersed in prejudice and depravity; and in the *Montesq. Book axiv. Chap. ii.
works of nature, and my own wonderful frame, I should have seen little more than an irregular chaos. And if happily, or unfortunately, for me, I had elevated my mind so far as to entertain a doubt concerning the author of all things, concerning my present or future destiny, &c. that doubt would have been perpetual ; I should never have been able to remove that doubt, which perhaps would have proved the torment of my life.
Can true philosophy, therefore, refuse to acknowledge the infinite obligations it has to religion ? can it glory in loading it with charges which must recoil upon itself ?-And can true religion, on the other hand, rise up against philosophy, and forget the important services which may be derived from it?