n had become necessary in order to counteract the fatal consequences of these debased and debasing superstitions. This is the view of the great natural religions of the world which was taken by such writers as Leland, Whitby, and Warburton in the last century. Even liberal thinkers, like James Foster and John Locke, declare that, at the coming of Christ, mankind had fallen into utter darkness, and that vice and superstition filled the world. Infidel no less than Christian writers took the same disparaging view of natural religions. They considered them, in their source, the work of fraud; in their essence, corrupt superstitions; in their doctrines, wholly false; in their moral tendency, absolutely injurious; and in their result, degenerating more and more into greater evil.
A few writers, like Cudworth and the Platonists, endeavored to put in a good word for the Greek philosophers, but the religions of the world were abandoned to unmitigated reprobation. The account which so candid a writer as Moshei