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§ 15. What true or tolerable notion of a deity could they have, who acknowledged and worshipped hundreds? Every deity that they owned above one was an infallible evidence of their ignorance of him, and a proof that they had no true notion of God, where unity, infinity, and eternity were excluded. To which if we add their gross conceptions of corporeity, expressed in their images and representations of their deities; the amours, marriages, copulations, lusts, quarrels, and other mean qualities attributed by them to their gods; we shall have little reason to think, that the heathen world, i. e. the greatest part of mankind, had such ideas of God in their minds, as he himself, out of care that they should not be mistaken about him, was author of. And this universality of consent, so much argued, if it prove any native impressions, it will be only this, that God imprinted on the minds of all men, speaking the same language, a name for himself, but not any idea; since those people, who agreed in the name, had at the same time far different apprehensions about the thing signified. If they say, that the variety of deities, worshipped by the heathen world, were but figurative ways of expressing the several attributes of that incomprehensible being, or several parts of his providence: I answer, what they might be in the original, I will not here inquire: but that they were so in the thoughts of the vulgar, I think nobody will affirm. And he that will consult the voyage of the bishop of Beryte, c. 13. (not to mention other testimonies) will find, that the theology of the Siamites professedly owns a plurality of Gods: or, as the abbe de Choisy more judiciously remarks, in his Journal du Voiage de Siam, 107/177, it consists properly in acknowledging no God at all.
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§ 16. This was evidently the case of all gentilism; nor hath even amongst jews, christians, and mahometans, who acknowledge but one God, this doctrine, and the care taken in those nations to teach men to have true notions of a God, prevailed so far, as to make men to have the same and the true ideas of him. How many, even amongst us, will be found, upon inquiry, to fancy him in the shape of a man sitting in heaven, and to have many other absurd and unfit conceptions of him? Christians, as well as Turks, have had whole sects owning and contending earnestly for it, and that the deity was corporeal, and of human shape: and though we find few among us who profess themselves Anthropomorphites, (though some I have met with that own it) yet, I believe, he that will make it his business, may find, amongst the ignorant and uninstructed christians, many of that opinion. Talk but with country people, almost of any age, or young people of almost any condition; and you shall find, that though the name of God be frequently in their mouths, yet the notions they apply this name to are so odd, low, and pitiful, that nobody can imagine they were taught by a rational man, much less that they were characters written by the finger of God himself. Nor do I see how it derogates more from the goodness of God, that he has given us minds unfurnished with these ideas of himself, than that he hath sent us into the world with bodies unclothed, and that there is no art or skill born with us: for, being fitted with faculties to attain these, it is want of industry and consideration in us, and not of bounty in him, if we have them not. It is as certain that there is a God, as that the opposite angles, made by the intersection of two straight lines, are equal. There was never any rational creature, that set himself sincerely to examine the truth of these propositions, that could fail to assent to them; though yet it be past doubt that there are many men, who, having not applied their thoughts that way, are ignorant both of the one and the other. If any one think fit to call this (which is the utmost of its extent) universal consent, such an one I easily allow; but such an universal consent as this proves not the idea of God, any more than it does the idea of such angels, innate.