The power, that gives with liberal hand
The blessings man enjoys, while here,
And scatters through a smiling land
bundant products of the year;
That power of nature, ever blessed,
Bestowed religion with the rest." (1-6).
This says that God does not speak through special revelation or a burning bush. Instead you go to nature to see what it has to tell you through a regular bush. As an enlightenment belief, nature's religion is open to all of us. This open knowledge is not mysterious or secret, but it is waiting for us to discover it. This is a universal revelation, something nature is telling all of us.
Born with ourselves, her early sway
inclines the tender mind to take
The path of right, fair virtue's way
Its own felicity to make.
This universally extends
And leads to no mysterious ends." (7-12).
This says you don't need a mystery, special revelation, church, or a priest. You can find true religion all around you.
This is opposite the puritans' point of view or their doctrine of humanity.
Puritans believed in total depravity, but this says we are not depraved
but are naturally good.
Nature / Nurture: The puritans' believed nature was a problem because all were born evil. In contrast, the people during the enlightenment believed that nurture was bad. They believed we were born good, but society taught to be bad. They believed if you were brought up outside of society like Tarzan, you would be good. The Puritans point of view is represented by Lord of the Flies; when sweet boys are stranded on an island, they become total savages. Freneau has the view that nature makes us good and evil comes from elsewhere.
"Religion, such as nature taught,
With all divine perfection suits;
Had all mankind this system sought
Sophist would cease their vain disputes,
And from this source would nations know
And that can make their heaven below" (13-18).
· Our leaving the natural system lead us into sophistic arguments on systems of religion. The sophist are classified as the Puritans, Presbyterians, Congregationalist, Quakers, and all other denominations. Can you prove any religion is right? Some say other religions are just off track.
This deals not curses on mankind,· This is just the opposite from "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." This says if you don't believe you will not go to hell, but will be left on your own to make yourself miserable.
Or dooms them to perpetual grief,
If from its aid no joys they find,
It damns them not for unbelief" (19-22).
Upon a more exalted plan
Creatress nature dealt with man¾" (23-24).
The puritans' viewed God as a man. Here nature is portrayed as mother nature. He makes nature a loving mother rather than a punishing father.
Joy to the day, when all agree
On such grand systems to proceed,
From fraud, design, and error free,
And which to truth and goodness lead:
Then persecution will retreat
And man's religion be complete" (25-30).
· This says we will not need to persecute one another when we have natural religion. However, Freneau like Franklin's missionary ("fiction, falsehood, and fable") assumes those with another system follow "fraud, design, and error." Meanwhile, in France they had the guillotine. Natural religion is just as prone to persecution as any other religion.