But it is needless to recapitulate instances. The idea that a higher power was needed in the development of all good things, was so universal in the early periods of the human race, that it might well be called an instinct of man's nature. The ideas which men then entertained of God, were oftentimes very imperfect, and perhaps generally so; but, whatever they might conceive him to be, they had a conviction, which entitled to higher and better practical results, that he was the true source of all good. Mr. Dryden has alluded to this early conviction in some happy lines:
"When Jubal struck the chorded shell,
His listening brethren stood around,
And wondering, on their faces fell,
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a God they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell,
Which spoke so sweetly and so well."
Readily, and with entire strength of conviction, do we yield our assent to the great truth, which is thus imperfectly indicated in benighted times and by the the light of nature, while it is clearly asserted and illustrated in the Scriptures. All poetry, all music, all painting, all statuary and architecture, all wisdom in legislation, all useful mechanic invention, everything whatever, which has in it the elements of living truth and beauty, implies the fact, as it seems to us, of the presence and aid of a divine power. At any rate, so far as these things, or things of a kindred nature, are done or attempted to be done without divine aid, so far they are attended with imperfection. And so far as they are imperfect, and could be carried into effect otherwise and better than they are, so far they stand in need of redemption; — a redemption, which comes to them through the mediation of Jesus Christ, as truly as redemption comes in any other form from that source.
— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 8.