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vK- A DISSERTATION concerning the
immediately transferred the glory of the aftion to him who had
given that aid.
Had Offian brought down gods, as often as Homer hath done, to
affift his heroes, this poem had not confifted of elogiums on his
friends, but of hymns to thefe fuperior beings. To this day, thofe
that write in the Galic language feldom mention religion in tlieir
profane poetry ; and when they profefledly write of religion, they
never interlard with their compofitions, the adlions of their heroes.
This cuftom alone, even though the religion of the Druids had not
been previoufly extinguiflied, may, in fome meafure, account for
OiHan's filence concerning the religion of his own times.
To fay, that a nation is void of all religion, is the fame thing
as to fay, that it does not confift of people endued with reafon.
The traditions of their fathers, and their own obfervations on the
works of nature, together with that fuperftition vvliich is inherent
in the human frame, have, in all ages, raifed in the minds of men
fome idea of a fuperior being. — Hence it is, that in the darkeft
times, and amongO: the moll: barbarous nations, the very populace
themfelves had fome faint notion, at leaft, of a divinity. It would
be doing injuftice to Offian, who, upon no occalion, fliews a narrow
mind, to think, that he had not opened his conceptions to that
primitive and greateft of all truths. But let Ofiian's religion be
what it will, it is certain he had no knowledge of Chriftianity, as
there is not the leaft allulion to it, or any of its rites, in liis poems ;
which abfolutely fixes him to an asra prior to the introduftion of
that religion. The perfecution begun by Dioclelian, in the year
•^o^, is the moft probable time in which the firft dawning of Chri-
llianity in the north of Britain can be fixed. — The humane and
mild charadler of Conflantius Chlorus, who commanded then in

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