This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1811. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... Homer, and Callimachus may be as reasonably charged with plundering the sacred treasures of David, and the other Hebrew prophets. It is much the same with the illusions of corrupt religion. The fauns and nymphs of the ancients, holding their residence in shadowy groves or caverns, and the frightful spectres of their Larvae: to which we may oppose the modern visions of fairies; and of ghosts, gliding through church-yards, and haunting sepulchres; together with the vast train of gloomy reflexions, which so naturally wait upon them, are, as well as the juster notions of divinity, the genuine offspring of the same common apprehensions. Reason, when misled by superstition, takes a certain route, and keeps as steadily in it, as when conducted by a sound and sober piety. There needs only a previous conception of unseen intelligence for the ground-work; and the timidity of human nature, amidst the nameless terrors, which are everywhere presenting themselves to the suspicious eye of ignorance, easily builds upon it the entire fabrick of superstitious thinking. With the poets all this goes under the common name of Religion. For they are concerned only to represent the opinions and conclusions, to which the idea of divinity leads. And these, we now see, they derive from their own experience, or the received theology of the times, of which they write. Religious sentiments being, then, universally, either the obvious deductions of human reason, in the easiest exercise of its powers, or the plain matter of simple observation, regarding what passes before us in real life, how can they but be the same in. different writers, though perfectly original, and holding no correspondence with each other? 2. And the same is true of our moral, as religious sentiments. Whole volumes, inde...
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