Serle - BT590 N2 S47 1776

E 4g 7 diftorted and mifapplied. Firft the Attributes of the Deity, then the Properties of Nature, then the Productions of Nature, and at laft the very Infir- mities of the human Frame, were reckoned among the Gods, and of Courfe efteemed worthy of re- ligious Adoration. The fcientific Greeks, and the graver as well as more powerful Romans, caught alike the fuperftitious Contagion of Egypt*, and com- municated its Idolatry, like a Peftilence, to the World. Nor was the Errorconfined (as Latlantius obferved) to the rude and unlettered Multitude; but the wifeft Se& of the Philofophers embraced the fame Opinions, and reputed all the Powers in the celeftial Machine to be fo many refpe Live Gods t. Human Wifdom proved a feeble Barrier againft this Torrent of Corruption, with which Satan had well nigh covered the Earth : And that wonderful Repulfion, which the Gofpel of Chrift (by means the molt unlikely to human Senfe) afforded to the impetuous Stream, proved, that a more than hu- man Efficacy attended its Promulgation, and that it was the omnipotent Operation of a Divine Hand.. The Grace of Heaven prevailed, when earthly Wifdom and earthly Might were neither able to refit nor convince. " Thehigheft Charafter (fays the prefent learnedBithop " of BrUtol) given of Solomon'sWifdom is, that it exceeded " the Wifdomof all the Children of the Eaft Country, and " all the Wifdom of EGYPT. But with this Wifdom, and " this Greatnefs, it [Egypt] was early corrupted, andwas. " as much the Parent of Superftition, as is was the Mif- " trefs of Learning ; and the one as well as the other " were from thence propagated and diffufed over other " Countries. It was indeed the grand Corrupter ofthe " World, the Source ofPolytheifm and Idolatry to feve- " ral of the Eaftern, and to molt of the more Weitern " Nations ; and degenerated at laft to fuch monftrous and EUSEB. de prep. evan. I. I. c. 6. -¡ De Orig. Errar. I. z. fed. S. ; Rev,xu. ts. ! beaftly